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Fogg Last Waltz: The Leica M of camera bags


Herr Barnack
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I'm not sure if this is  good place to post this but since this category is for all things related to the M10 and M10R, i thought maybe this would be a good place for it (attn: mods, you may feel free to relocate this thread if you feel there is a better home for it).

When the Last Waltz was first released (I think it was in 2016) by Bee & Nigel at Fogg Specialist Camera Bags, I was taken by the sheer beauty of this camera bag.  For me, the Last Waltz was one of those things that puts down deep roots in a corner of your mind and refuses to go away.  I debated with myself off and on over the years about this bag - It is hands down the finest, most beautiful camera bag I had ever seen. 

The only thing that kept me at bay was the price of $850 USD, which seemed hideously high at first.  After doing some research, I discovered that for residents of the U.S., there was a tariff built in to the price of all Fogg bags; for the Last Waltz, it was around $250 USD, give or take. The real price of the Last Waltz then is actually around $600 USD, which seemed more reasonable in my mind considering the materials, the craftsmanship that goes into making Fogg camera bags and the level of quality of the bag. 

For whatever reason, "Uncle Sam" has decided to add a very stiff tariff to Fogg bags, which are made in France; it is not fair to lay the blame for that at Bee & Nigel's doorstep, or at the doorstep of the few U.S. based photo retailers who stock Fogg Specialist Bags.

After more deliberating and a couple of conversations by PM with @derleicaman who is a dyed in the wool advocate of Fogg camera bags, on October 27 I at long last placed my order for a Last Waltz with Tom Gramegna at Bergen County Camera in Westwood, NJ.  Tom is a great man to work with on a purchase such as this and he is a true gentleman; I would highly recommend him as "The Guy" for Fogg bag purchases.

My last Waltz arrived on November 30, just a little over four weeks from the day I placed my order - not a long wait at all, given the fact that Bee & Nigel make each Fogg bag by hand; there is no staff of dozens of anonymous bag makers churning out 50 of these bags a day.  My Last Waltz contains a sewn in leather tag, identifying it as Last Waltz #91.  I thought about that for a moment and realized it is nice to have something as rare and unique as the Last Waltz.  There are billions of camera bags in the world but (for now) there are just 91 Fogg Last Waltz bags; given that the Last Waltz came into the world of photography in 2016, 91 bags makes it a rare breed - even more rare than the Leica M cameras and lenses that will be carried in it over the coming years.

I am posting some images of my Last Waltz to show the beauty and craftsmanship of this unique creation, and to honor my commitment to Bee to post a few images of my Last Waltz on this forum.  It is small in size - 11.25 x 8.5 x 5.5 inches in outer dimensions (30 x 22 x 14 cm.) and light in weight at 32 oz. or 900 g.  This convenient size makes for a bag that is easily carried without being a burden.  Inside, the Last Waltz can carry one M camera with a lens attached and an extra battery for a day of light and fast shooting, or it can accommodate two M cameras with lenses attached, two additional M lenses and two batteries (see the images below).  This is a surprising amount of equipment for a bag of this small size to have room for, which is a result of the Last Waltz's design and layout.  Bee and Nigel both deserve much credit for a well thought out and executed design.

With regard to the materials, craftsmanship and build quality of the Last Waltz, the images on the Fogg website do not mislead; when held in the hand, the Last Waltz is every bit the equal of the images presented on Bee & Nigel's website.  In fact, I would have to say the Last Waltz is even more beautiful in person than the photographs can convey.

After years of deliberating on the Last Waltz, I am very happy to have finally taken the plunge.  I am more than pleased with this addition to my M camera kit.  I am now required by Mrs. Barnack to put my Last Waltz back in its box and wait till December 25th to finally have it, as it is my Christmas gift from her!  The next three weeks is going to seem like three years but the Last Waltz is definitely worth the wait.

 

 

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A few more photos:

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33 minutes ago, Ouroboros said:

There seems to be a slub in the strap (last image, bottom left) .  Send it back.

That did not escape my relentlessly OCD eye.

Since it does not negatively affect the durability of the strap, sending it back would be more trouble than it's worth IMHO. 

If I wear the strap out or damage it, I'll send it in and have a new strap installed at that point.

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29 minutes ago, Herr Barnack said:

That did not escape my relentlessly OCD eye.

Since it does not negatively affect the durability of the strap, sending it back would be more trouble than it's worth IMHO. 

If I wear the strap out or damage it, I'll send it in and have a new strap installed at that point.

Obviously it's your call.  I agree it is a minor cosmetic issue and won't affect functionality but I'm surprised to see it, given the high cost of the bag.

Anyway, it's a very nice bag and I've no doubt it'll serve you well.

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2 hours ago, Herr Barnack said:

That did not escape my relentlessly OCD eye.

Since it does not negatively affect the durability of the strap, sending it back would be more trouble than it's worth IMHO. 

If I wear the strap out or damage it, I'll send it in and have a new strap installed at that point.

No worries there—Nigel and bee are unbelievably good about fixing old and abused bags, typically without charge.  With one of mine, this meant not only a repair but a substantial redesign.  After ten years of hard use…

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Jono has written about his affection for Fogg, with some background on bee and Nigel.

https://www.slack.co.uk/fogg-and-the-new-satchmo.html
 

My Fogg inventory consists of two smaller, all-black, bags….the b-laika and lyre…each bought decades ago and now well used but still robust.  The prices were more sane back then, and the sizes for the same named bags were somewhat more compact to accommodate film M gear.  (There was also a much larger US dealer network back then, making it easier to see and test their bags locally.) For larger bags, I now prefer the lighter, less expensive (and still all-black) Billinghams. 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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27 minutes ago, rramesh said:

You've got a bag that will probably outlive any Leica M. 😄

I don't know - my M4-P is about as sturdy as a block of granite.

My M-P 240 Safari has also served with distinction.  I have made close to 59,000 images with it in five years without a hitch (not that 59k is anything to write home about).

Edited by Herr Barnack
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I bought a a Fogg Forté bag directly from them four years ago. The purchasing experience was extremely good in terms of available customization options and communication (with bee).

When I saw this thread popping up, I had a ear-to-ear grin in my face, does it actually show the very bag I happened to order yesterday morning, this time from Robert White. Going to be my Christmas present :) Thanks for sharing, @Herr Barnack

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Good there is a world of choice, but Fogg bags will not be for me.

 Not that anyone asked but IMHO they look antiquated as well as shouting amateur photographer's camera bag steal me !

Not sufficiently dust and damp proof or a practical way to include a water bottle and other day exploration essentials.

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