Review: Aide de Camp Camera Bags

I’ve been carrying a tiny handbag to photoshoots lately (to the initial horror of clients who probably thought I left my camera at home), and raving about my new Aide de Camp bag to anyone who’d listen.

Aide de Camp (ADC) is a newly launched brand from Singapore, and their first collection features smart premium camera bags in sleek silhouettes for practical living. All in black, the collection represents the little black dress of camera bags – a stylish staple that matches everything.

The brand’s aspirations are rooted in the role of the ‘aide-de-camp’ – French for camp assistant, the personal aide to a high ranking official. I love how the name brings to mind a tiny assistant, Pixar-style, diligently toting your items around.

It’s so hard to find a camera bag that’s designed with the modern-day female photographer in mind, and it’s a topic I’ve been vocal about since as early as 2010.

So imagine my excitement when I was first roped onboard the project as Aide de Camp’s lookbook photographer – leather bags with gold-plated hardware that actually LOOKED good? Insane. I felt like this guy.

Without further ado, let me explain to you why Aide de Camp is my new favourite camera bag brand.

The ADC bag packaging is prepared with such care and dedication – wish I had more photos to do justice to how unwrapping and unveiling the bag felt!


Lightweight, Practical & Functional

I’m really impressed by the intelligent design of the bags. While the exterior of my Rei bag may look deceptively like a typical lux handbag for women, it features a premium nylon body and minimum hardware, so it’s a lot lighter than a full-leather (or even faux leather) handbag.

Carrying a Canon 5Dmk2 around on one shoulder can really take its toll after awhile, so my shoulders were relieved to find that the additional weight didn’t amount to much, even after a long day.

Plus, the shoulder handles, which look like classic piped handles, are discreetly padded with a neoprene centre for extra comfort! It’s a design that’s exclusive to ADC bags, I believe. They are so comfortable and the weight is so well-distributed. Italics completely necessary. And in case you’re wondering, the straps look like classic leather handles to everyone else!

The bags all come with a camera padding box that’s detachable, so I regularly bring it out, sans the boxes, as an everyday companion. I recently discovered that the boxes can be folded flat as well – definitely a convenient function for maximising usage of the bag on travels.

Did I also mention that the bags are water-resistant?


Size: Compact yet Spacious

The Rei bag may be the smallest bag in the ADC line of camera bags, but it can fit most of my gear! And my hardcover library book. Here’s photographic evidence:

I’m using the Mk2 to take this photo, so I used Drea’s Nikon to illustrate what I mean instead. But that compartment fits my Mk2 mounted with a 50mm comfortably! The other compartment is keeping my 85mm secure.

Rei’s a fantastic size. It’s small and compact enough to feel handy, yet spacious enough for my needs – which quite honestly, came as a surprise. I like that the bag is well-compartmentalised, and I never have to worry about scratching my gear like I do with my other camera bags.

Here’s a cute video ADC came up with to showcase how much you can fit into a Rei bag …and I can attest that the bag actually fits way more.


The Design: Great To Look At + Fantastic Quality

The bag may score off the charts in terms of practicality, but what I love the most about these bags is how they effortlessly double up as a stylish everyday companion.

It may sound like a superficial concern, but as a photographer working in the fashion industry, there’s plenty of events (work or otherwise) to attend and I don’t always have the time to go home and switch to a bag more suitable for a glitzy occasion. It’s usually worse when I’m expected to document the event – I may be appropriately dressed, but my backpack definitely is not.

The ADC bags look really good, and that’s something so many other brands have been unable to produce without compromising the bag’s functionality. (Can I just redirect your attention to this post for a second? )

I love that the bag uses genuine leather, and with 14k gold plated hardware, I feel assured about the quality of the bag, and how long it’s going to last.


To find out more…

Aide de Camp bags are available on the ADC website, as well as Cumulus and John 3:16 if you want to see and feel for yourself how amazing they are in person! The design featured in this review is Rei, which is retailing online at 349 SGD. You can view the full list of retailers here.

Full disclosure: I received the bag as a thank you gift after the photoshoot, and this review was done out of goodwill and genuine love for the designs ♥

P.S. I first met the brains behind the operation, Michele (that’s a single L, guys), on a job shortly before she started designing these killer camera bags for the ladies – she’s also a multi-talented makeup artist, blogger, craft goddess, and mother-to-be! Now’s a fantastic time to join her on her journey to motherhood, and hopefully super-designer-dom on her blog. Go forth and send her some love!

(Photos of me by the lovely Drea Chong, all other photos by yours truly/Lenne Chai)


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One Comment

  1. Posted March 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Sending you a virtual fistbump! ADC bags are the best!

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