Jan 162011

[ Black Label Bags ]

Distilling the padded world of

camera bags one step further

is the “Kando” from Black Label.

It is the easiest way to get from

origin to destination without any

extra luggage.

Kando Camera Case by Black Label: Available in black, brown, grey or red.

Travel Light

When I travel the goal is to take as little as possible and make it last for the entire trip. Any product that lightens my luggage is welcome aboard. Flying with only carry ons makes travel infinitely easier. The anxiety of arriving in Cairo while your bags are on their way to Johannesburg is something best avoided. The only way I would ever check my camera equipment would be locked inside a foam padded hard case. Since I have never found “The Perfect” camera bag, my current solution is a hybrid of padded inserts (from an Artisan & Artist bag) and a shoulder bag (from Filson) designed for carrying hunting supplies.

On this last trip to Italy I had a chance to leave the padded inserts at home and try a Kando Camera Case from Black Label. This scallop shaped case is large enough to hold a camera body with a lens, an extra battery and a few SD cards. For the first time, my 50mm travelled in the leather case Leica provides. Everything fit neatly inside of the Filson Field Bag allowing room for two books, a passport, charger + wires, and 13″ MacBook (for updates on the road).

Kando & Leica MP.

What’s Inside

  • Outside. The exterior is made of Italian leather, very similar to the leather from Luigi Crescenzi at Leica Time. Those of you who love Luigi’s half cases and straps will instantly recognize the quality of the Kando. At first the leather is firm, but within a weeks the case was beginning to remember the shape of the camera.
  • Inside. The suede interior is an elegant alternative to nylon lined bags, which feel cheap in comparison.
  • Zipper. Opening and closing the bag is a Riri zipper of mysterious Swiss origins. I am not a zipper expert and can’t speak to great experience with Swiss zippers. YKK is the company I trust on all hiking/climbing gear but would seem out of place on a fine piece of leather. This zipper has coated metal teeth and a large circular pull for easy opening and closing. Like any quality product it gets better with use.
  • Protection. The case has a small amount of padding on the bottom to protect the camera when you set it down.
  • Straps. There are two small loops for attaching a strap, but nothing is included. The case functions best as something to protect the camera inside of a larger bag. It could also work well for people who throw their camera in their cars and want to protect it from unneeded scratches to the viewfinder or screen.
  • Extras. Inside there is a small slot for (1) SD card. I considered this the emergency card slot. I carry a small zipper pouch with (2) SD cards, an extra battery, and small micro fiber in my pocket, but its nice to know there is an extra card in the Kando as a back up.
  • Fold Away. The empty bag folds flat and will fit into most winter jacket pockets.

Kando emergency SD card slot. 


The Japanese word Kando loosely translates:

“The excitement a consumer feels

when they discover a product of

perfect balance, form, and function.”

Kando Camera Case in red with a Leica MP silver.

The Kando Camera Case matches the philosophy of Leica. Its small, light weight, and doesn’t look like a piece of professional gear. The leather will age over time, picking up the scuffs from every trip you take. Years of reaching for the bag will match the brassing on the body of a Leica. They will age side by side as the Kando and an M share similar sensibilities. The Kando Case will attract similar criticism as the Leica M’s, but this could be considered a sign of a success.

There are bags with more features, lower prices, and similar performance. It is true. But in exchange for the bells and whistles of other bags the Kando offers a highly specialized solution to getting your camera from point A to point B. For those who enjoy Luigi’s straps the Kando is a natural extension of that design philosophy.

Kando zipper detail with finger pull.

Style is a part of Leica’s history. George Rodger, co-founder of Magnum Photo, once made an ascot from the parachute silk he wore while jumping on paratrooper raids with the Royal Air Force. When he first met Robert Capa after the invasion of Salerno Italy, Capa was so taken by Rodger’s style he fashioned his own cravat to match. Its the little details that make a difference.

Robert Capa (left) & George Rodger (right) sporting a parachute silk ascot.

The Kando Camera Case from Black Label is available at Photo Village ( $ 219.00 ). It comes in Black, Brown, Grey, & Red.

  3 Responses to “Kando Camera Case”

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  2. Hi Adam,

    Great article on the Kando case. Very useful to read hands on experience. I’ve been looking for such a case, so I can protect my M9 inside a larger bag. The Rina case is out of production (for a long time now), and I can’t find any good looking (and functional) cases elsewhere. I normally carry the M9 over my head and arm, ready for action, but you have those days where you don’t.

    I only have a 50mm f2 and a 28mm f2.8 lens for my camera, and I’m wondering how this Kando case behaves with that. The pictures above show a similar lens length (with the red internal finish), and I might regret ordering this case when it turns out to have too much space at the top. What do you reckon?

    You mention you’ve traveled to Italy where your 50mm lens was in the Leica case. Not on your camera inside the Kando?

    Happy to hear your view on this.

    Thanks Adam!

    Patrick Arends
    The Hague – The Netherlands

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