ONA The Roma

Last updated January 8, 2013


ONA primarily makes higher-end camera shoulder bags, messenger bags and backpacks but they also offer a variety of small goods. One such item is The Roma - which is a camera insert and bag organizer.

You might be asking, "a what?" When you think of a camera bag, you think of a bag specifically for your camera - and not much else. If you have a lot of gear (especially if it's on the larger side) you would typically be right. This in itself is a problem because if you need someplace to keep travel items and other stuff... Now you're talking about two bags. But what about owners of smaller cameras and systems, like the Leica M system? A lot of the camera bags on the market are made for point and shoot or DSLRs it seems, and nothing quite in the middle. Taking a second bag just seems like too much. Another problem is that most camera bags - look like camera bags... Making them prime targets for thieves. Finally, most camera bags large or small tend to be expensive. Enter The Roma. Now you can make any bag into a camera bag! And as it turns out, it's the perfect size for a Leica M or two (with lenses) for the weekend getaway.

Rather than looking at your luggage as, "camera bag - and everything else" you can now look at it as "favorite bag with The Roma slipped inside." If you already have a backpack or messenger bag for school, work or travel - drop The Roma into it and you're off. Of course, you can use it with multiple bags depending on the situation, moving it from one to another as needed. Its size and design make it easy.


The Roma comes shipped in a regular brown shipping box, but the contents are packaged very nicely. Snug in the box, there's no dead space. The Roma itself is very neatly wrapped in white tissue paper, held closed with an "ONA" logo sticker. Also in the box is a small card...

...Which reads as follows:


Marked by refined elegance and superior craftsmanship, your new ONA bag or accessory is designed to complement your life and your style. Whether you're photographing an afternoon at the park or a holiday on the Amalfi Coast, an exquisite wedding ceremony or an evening with friends, your new ONA bag or accessory promises to add a wealth of charm to the experience. We thank you for your purchase and hope that you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed creating it.

There you have it. Nothing more, nothing less (nor is it needed). Efficient, relatively green packaging that's a little nicer than you might expect - yet not over the top. We'd rather pay for quality products than ritzy packaging any day. ONA has found a nice balance here and made the most basic, elegant.


The specifications for the insert (via ONA) are:

  • Handcrafted with premium Waxwear
  • Leather side handles for easy removal from your bag
  • 5 exterior organizer pockets
  • Snap closure flap
  • Room for a DSLR and 1 small lens or accessory
  • Fits in most small-to-mid-sized bags
  • Exterior dimensions: 10.5"L X 7"H X 4"D
  • Interior dimensions: 9.5"L x 6.5"H x 3.5"D

The Bag

Not being a camera bag per se you'd think there wouldn't be much to say about the specifications, but for its size The Roma is impressive. The black waxed canvas exterior is a nice choice in material as it's tough and water resistant. Even if the outer bags gets soaked in the rain, there's a high likelihood that your gear will remain dry. On each side are soft, subtle brown leather handles to make handling the bag (such as inserting and removing it from your main bag) much easier. While they have rivets on either end, they're only cosmetic. There are a total of five pockets on the bag; two on the front and one each on the sides and rear. They're not pleated or stretchy, so putting bulky items in them will impact interior space. Stick with thinner things like lens tissues, SD cards and filters.

The bag closes with its own (lightly padded) cover flap, held closed with two magnetic latches. No loud Velcro, nothing complicated to buckle. It opens fully and can lay flat down the back of the insert if you prefer it to remain completely open on top. This is important since you'll be stuffing it into other bags. You can keep your camera gear isolated and protected - or opened up for quick access just by reaching in.

The Roma is perfectly proportioned for M shooters, as it turns out. The height and width are exactly the right amount to hold two M bodies snugly, side to side and top to bottom - while the length can accommodate them fitted with sizable lenses. To get a sense of scale, here it is loaded with two M bodies; the M8 on the left has a Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton mounted while the M9 on the right has a Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH lens mounted.

The interior is plush, lightly padded (similar to the cover flap) and Velcro-friendly from corner-to-corner. You can place the single (supplied) divider anywhere you want. If you're like us, chances are you have a drawer or box full of leftover dividers all your other camera bags. You can easily use these with The Roma if you wanted to stack lenses on one side instead, for example. While we might have liked to see a smaller, square(ish) divider provided for this purpose, it would only encourage overpacking... They're available separately if you insist. Finally, the stitching throughout is neat and clean.

You might think, "why not put some buckles on the sides and throw in a strap, for shoulder use?" The Roma is designed to be an insert. Therefore it's not stiff enough, nor is the top secure enough for this. The padding is lightweight and just enough for a couple of bodies with lenses. This keeps cost, weight and bulk down. If you need shoulder carrying capability then check out The Bowery which can function as a bag or an insert and is of a similar size.

The Verdict

Overall, The Roma is similar to products from Billingham or Domke in that they all go into another bag for convenience or security. Where The Roma differs is that not only is it perfectly sized for an M body (or two) with lenses for short trips and weekend getaways inside your normal bag - it looks just as good outside of your bag. The others are intended more for converting a bag into solely a camera bag, having neither a cover flap nor pockets. This makes The Roma more versatile as it's better able to co-exist with other stuff, knowing the cover flap can keep things separated.

The materials and workmanship are top notch. The design is smart; simple yet practical. The devil's in the details as they say and you shouldn't be disappointed with this product. The outside is tough wearing, water resistant and good looking while the interior is very soft and plush with sufficient, but not bulky padding in between. A lightweight, M-sized insert that'll look good and work well in whatever bag you toss it into. It's less than $60USD with a 30-day refund or exchange policy (minus shipping) and features a one year warranty.

Further Research

ONA Bags onabags.com
Review of the Roma Camera Bag Insert and Organizer by ONA wanderlustandlipstick.com
Romalicious - The Ona Roma Camera Insert amyupnorth.com
ONA's Roma Camera Bag Review and Giveaway geekinheels.com
Giveaway: Ona Roma thatwifeblog.com