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Difference Between Canvas & Ballistic Nylon Domke Bags

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Droogie, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Hi all, just getting ready to pull the trigger on either the Domke J-5XB (the ballistic nylon version) or the F-5XB (the green or black canvas, not the brown rugged wear - not big on the brown color). Anyway I have a few questions on the differences between the two bags. The first is the ruggedness - any comments on the wear between the ballistic nylon and the canvas and the resistance to water? Also, I'd noticed that the nylon version seems to have a little more padding - on the ends and also has what looks to be a nifty little rain fly under the zipper that the canvas 5XB doesn't. Is this true? And is there a difference between how the bag will conform to my body over time?
     
  2. eclipes

    eclipes New to Mu-43

    3
    Jan 3, 2011
    i think i may be able to help you. I've used the J1 which is Ballistic Nylon and the original F2. In terms of durablity, the ballistic nylon is always better, good when you're shooting in the rain (but not waterproof). Domke bags openigs are not tight closed even though their padding is good. If you are set for long term use, Ballistic will be a better choice, the stitching will probably pop out before you even see a rip on the bag. Canvas like all bags, not good when wet however it conforms to the body better than J1, Ballistic is very sturdy in its shape so it wouldn't change much. I think J1's padding was much better than the F2 only because it was a bigger bag. To conclude, if you are looking for long term use and rough usage - Ballistic if not, Canvas. Other than that, its just which style or look you prefer more.
     
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    +1 on what eclipes stated. I've been using Domke since the '70's. I still have my original brown, canvas F2, (I think back then it only came in brown). Yeah, it's showing some age, but still very capable and serviceable. I was a news photog and used that bag every work day and it didn't wear out. I find the canvas much more comfy and body-adjusting than the plastic. In very wet conditions I slap a plastic bag over the Domke.

    Gary
     
  4. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Thanks for the input

    Thanks for the input guys, basically it is going to be my travel and around town bag for my EPl2 and a legacy lens, I'll use it on weekend trips and such or to put into a larger messenger like a Timbuke 2 for carry on. I don't think I'll be going in the outback. But I did want it to be somewhat water resistant (tend to go to a lot of coastal areas). I guess the canvas can always be treated if I need it or as you said, just put some plastic around it. I have an inexpensive Tamrac holster for my G3 but it is built like a tank and only holds the camera. But the ballistic nylon did pique my interest.
     
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    If you decide to buy a canvas model (of which I own way more than I care to admit), heavily Scotchguard the entire outside of the bag before using it. Then, find a plastic bag that will fit the entire Domke bag, fold it up nice and tight, and stick it somewhere in the bag where it is out of the way. I usually stick my bags in the back outside pocket as I rarely use it except for holding the bag, and sometimes some paper towels or other things I do not care about. As your bag breaks in, you will appreciate how the canvas will shape itself to your body, and how much less bulky it feels compared to a ballistic bag. And for the record, I do have ballisitic bags as well.

    --Ken

    P.S. If you are looking for a nice ballisitic bag that you can slip around your Domke, have a look at Travel bags, laptop bags, and backpacks. The best materials and innovative construction since 1972 - TomBihn.com. I use their Imago bag around my Domke F-10, as the latter fits perfectly into the former. If I need the use of a second bag, I just slip the Domke out of the Imago. Very convenient for travel.

    --Ken
     
  6. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Thanks

    Thanks for the tip on the scotchguard, and the plastic bag. Thanks for the travel bag link, those are fabulous.
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Tom's gear is incredible. He designs everything himself, and everything is made by his staff in his factory in Seattle. The level of quality is unsurpassed. I could go broke on Domke and Tom Bihn alone, without so much as buying another camera or lens!

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  8. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    cool

    That makes it better . . . I live in Spokane. Love to support the local artisans.
     
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Domke's are made in the USA. Jim Domke was a news photog for the Philadelphia when he made his first bag. Then his bags went from a cottage industry to big time when he sold the biz to Tiffen. Don't know how much oversight he has today, but the new bags reflects much of his original concepts of speed (getting in and out of the bag quickly), efficiency (holds a lot) and comfort (comfy). I'm not being competitive, just wanted to share that Domke is also made in the USA. If Tom is your neighbor and you like his bags ... give him a visit, maybe he can do a bit of customization for you. (I ordered a handmade bike from an LA manufacturer and had them customize the bike. Even had them paint my name on the frame.)

    Gary

    PS- I really like Tom's stuff. But I only saw one camera bag. That bag seems nice for travel but not easy to work out of. I could spend a million bucks on his other stuff. I'd definitely visit his shop if I lived in Seattle.

    G
     
  10. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Oh, I'm definitely getting the Domke, probably order it today. But Tom's travel carriers sure look nice don't they? I always support the American companies first and foremost. Now if I can just talk my wife into letting me get a Timbuk2 messenger for work . . . hmmm. That may take some work. :)
     
  11. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Tom used to be based in Port Angeles, but he moved his operations to Seattle about 10 years ago. He has a small factory showroom if you are ever in Seattle. It's a bagoholic's dream come true/worst nightmare!

    --Ken
     
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Gary,

    You are not being competitive at all. I was using Domke bags before I got turned on to Tom Bihn, and it's amazing that Tiffen is still making them in the USA. I recently bought an F-6, and the quality is as good as the F-3 that I bought 20 years ago.

    Tom's camera bag is a new design, and it is a great bag (& tripod quiver). The nice part of his designs is that things like the bag (& laptop cases) can clip into many of his briefs/backpacks/luggage. Unfortunately, Tom is not one to do custom work, but every now and then a prototype ends up for sale in the factory store. My Imago bag is a bit different than the stock model, and I would be loathe to part with it. As I said above, it just fits a Domke F-10, so I can have both bags with me when I travel. Eventually when my very old The North Face luggage dies on me, I will buy a couple of new pieces from Tom.

    It's great to have so many good choices. And its great to have companies that still believe in manufacturing their own products with their own staff in their own factories.

    Take care,

    --Ken
     
  13. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    One more quick question, do either of you have any experience with the Domke rugged wear bags?
     
  14. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I like the looks of their rugged wear bags, but have never owned one. I have heard a complaint or two about the wax getting on things, but I am not sure if that was just a disgruntled customer.

    @Gary - Have you owned any rugged wear bags, and do you know if the wax is a problem? I'm curious as well.

    --Ken
     
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I never had a problem with the wax. I've purchased a F-803 and I think the F-5Xc. I gave the 5XC to Mary Lou and the 803 to my oldest daughter. Living in SoCal there isn't much of a need for the wax, so I've only given then an initial application. Both the 803 and 831 are stiffer than my other bags and are not as comfy, not uncomfortable, just another bag type of feel. As I'm no longer a working photog, I no longer live out of a camera bag so it's no big deal having a less comfortable bag. Gotta tell yeah, the ability of the canvas bag to mold to you body and its ability to easily be reshaped to squeeze through cramped areas while still being worn was a valuable feature ... surprisingly used quite often. As a hobbyist, that feature rarely comes to play. The 803 and 5XC are pretty good looking bags but not as fast to get in and out as the classic-style bags. That speed, that ability to quickly change a lens and keep shooting is what made Domke the favorite amongst photo journalists.

    Gary

    PS- I dunno why bags are so appealing that we spend so much time on them. But they are. lol
    G

    PPS- I have an F-2 for hauling a lot of stuff, but use my F3X for everyday shooting.
    G

    PPPS- I recently purchased a Fossil man-bag thingie for the Fuji. It is a lot like the 5XC.
    G
     
  16. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    I know what you mean about the appeal of bags . . . it's a little frustrating not having a brick and mortar store nearby that carries Domke to actually feel one in my hands. Seems like I've been researching this particular bag for weeks. Especially for something that amounts to a weekend kit bag. But then if I did have easy access that would open a whole new can of worms :). I think my main love of these bags though is the beautiful feel and look of a well worn piece of canvas. Maybe men are just hardwired to want to store stuff in bags. As much as I thought I didn't like the brown finish on the rugged wear bags though . . . they are really growing on me.
     
  17. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    I agree, but never found the 803 hard to work from. I do not care for bags with zippers as it is difficult to quickly reach in and swap gear, so I probably would never like the 5XC.

    I belive that we find bags appealing because they can make our daily routine very easy if they are well designed for our needs. A bad bag is a living hell.

    --Ken
     
  18. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Here is a useful site that seems to have currently exceeded its bandwidth limitation, but it is full of good photos of Domke bags with gear in them: www.cambags.com.

    --Ken
     
  19. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Thanks Ken, great link. As soon as the Passover holiday ends for the east coast stores I'm going to order the Fxb Domke Rugged Wear . . . It seems the perfect fit for northwest weather and my little mFT kit. Plus the waxed canvas really looks good the more I look at it.

    --Tom
     
  20. Droogie

    Droogie Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Feb 23, 2013
    Washington State
    Wow, just received my Domke Rugged Wear FXB today from B&H . . . Wow. It's a fabulous bag. Light and functional. Love the waxed canvas finish. Thanks Gary and Ken for your valuable insight.