A Review of Oberwerth Bags

Mar 18, 2016  By Bill Rosauer
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Dr. Stefan Immes, CEO of net SE, parent company of Meyer Optik Gorlitz and Oberwerth bags, attended our recent annual meeting in Washington DC. At the trade show, he had several examples of his Oberwerth bags for sale. Oberwerth is a newcomer to the high end camera bag market, unlike some of the more familiar names such as Billingham and Fogg for Leica users. Oberwerth bags are hand made in Germany of the highest quality materials. The company’s slogan, “Because “good” isn’t good enough”, says a lot about their mission and the objective of making some of the very best quality camera bags on the market. The bags feature vegetable tanned cowhide, which is naturally tanned and dyed. The cowhide has an oiled finish and shows off the beautiful qualities of the leather  itself and has a self-healing quality to it. You can restore the finish by wiping with a damp cloth or treating with a high quality leather dressing to preserve its patina. High quality Cordura fabric is used in the rest of the bag construction, which is very durable and resistant to wear, waterproof and oil and dirt resistant. High quality zips are used to ensure smooth function of the zipper closures. Incorporated into the adjustable carry-strap is a cut resistant steel cable to deter theft. All the stitching is laser straight and even, as would be expected of a German-made product.

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I chose the Freiburg model, which I felt was well suited to the Leica M and several lenses as a light carry bag for a day’s shooting. The dimensions are 27 x 20.5 x 11 cm externally and 24 x 18 x 9 cm internally. All of the Oberwerth bags feature a removable insert with Velcro movable dividers. The insert is made up of a gray velour material with air filled bladders instead of the usual foam padding. The insert is beautifully edgebound and finished as nicely as the rest of the bag. The insert features a cover flap with Velcro tabs for extra secure closure when needed while transporting your gear. The insert flap also features two leather pockets for memory card storage and another small pocket on the outside end for odds and ends storage. The bag itself has a single full-width pocket on the front, a full width zippered pocket on the back and a smaller open pocket and a zippered one on the inside back wall of the bag. The main flap is secured with unique, German-made quick release fasteners which can easily be opened with one hand. The entire bag is designed to have the minimum weight possible, yet still be strong and durable enough to withstand rigorous use in the field.

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