[YABT*] Domke users - shoulder bag for OM-D with grip and 35-100

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by owczi, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    * YABT - Yet Another Bag Thread


    I'm looking for some help with deciding on which Domke bag to get next and I'm hoping there are some Domke users here with similar requirements to mine that could share some of their experiences. Please bear with my rambling but I intend to use the bag for many years to come. I'm looking for Domke only because I like their bags - this is my personal choice and I will not discuss it any further ;)  - when I get a Landrover and start doing weddings suited and booted maybe I'll look into Billingham to match my suit ;)  (they are great bags and unlike Domke come with nice inserts, but I feel they're just not for me).

    I started off with Oly E-P2 and for the last three years I've been using an F-803 bag with the FA-230 3-compartment insert. This bag is capable beyond belief and is great for transporting kit and for RF-style bodies, but it's too thin to hold the E-P2 with the EVF on and a longer lens. It can handle the OM-D lens down with the horizontal grip just fine if a little tight, but add the portrait grip and it's stretched like a pitched tent. I hate having to take off the grip unless I'm not taking any more pictures.

    So this is what I'm looking for - and bring me down to earth if you don't think I've a chance of finding it:

    - Enough room to carry an E-M5 with full grip and 35-100 plus two, three other lenses and accessories. If the 35-100 can have the hood on it's a big plus. Lens down or horizontally. Occasionally I will also carry a film body with a standard prime,
    - Allow me to work out of the bag: I want to be able to comfortably dump the camera in the bag without much thinking and start running if needed (rolling more like), and then pull it out the same way. Sling straps are a different topic - when I'm shooting I have the camera out all the time but when I'm hiking or moving between locations it's sometimes more safe to keep the camera in the bag,
    - Not too bulky. I know that the big bags will hold everything I want and more, but I don't want to carry a moloch, that's not why I went for mu4/3,
    - Not too stiff and blocky. I'm quite big so the bag strap is adjusted to max length, so ideally something that would slightly mould to my hip - the F-803 sticks out and wobbles a little. Something more sacky would be great,
    - Ideally as water resistant as possible. I have the RuggedWear version of the F-803 and the main compartment (before the insert goes in) has a layer of green technical fabric lining that looks like additional protection. Some bigger bags only seem to have the outer canvas in the main compartment. Not a big issue with inserts but a benefit.

    My initial picks so far are F-3X Super Compact, F-5XZ, F-5XB and F-5XC - most are available in the RuggedWear version which I like most.

    I would want to add "doesn't look like a camera bag too much" but I don't think many other Domke bags look less like a camera bag than the F-803. I'm prepared to cut off the logo if there's one on the outside.

    Thanks for your patience and I would greatly appreciate your help :) 
  2. agwe

    agwe Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 13, 2011
    Manila, Philippines
    With the grip attached, I'd take the F-3x or an F6. Both are available in Ruggedwear.

    Haven't owned either but got to compare them when I was shopping for my first Domke 3 years ago. Ended up with a F-2 in regular canvas. I still use it as a "mothership" for all my gear now and take a F-5xb for day trips.
  3. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    I have the Domke F-8, and frankly, I'm not totally satisfied with the way the partitions are set up. However, it seems to work better for me than anything else I can find -- or at least, anything I can afford.
  4. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    Thanks for the tips guys and keep them coming :) 

    I'm starting to lean towards the F-3X more and more; I don't do pro work so I don't need to lug all my kit around at any time, just the essentials for the given trip or shoot - no need for a mothership.

    My problem is that I have no shops around where I could try one out. There used to be a Jessops here but they only did Billingham, plus they also folded down. We have a Calumet as well, but this being Belfast (Northern Ireland) they probably only do LowePro.
  5. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    I did a mini pictorial review of the F-3X Ruggedwear bag a while back. However, it's geared towards Canon SLR gear. It may help though:

    Domke F-3X Ruggedwear review

    I've since switched to the ballistic nylon version. You won't have a problem with your setup with the F-3X. Cheers.
  6. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    BTW, here are the Domkes I have. Feel free to ask any questions. I agree with the poster above: F-3X and F-6 would be the best for your needs:

    F-1XB (Ballistic nylon)
    F-2 (Ruggedwear)
    F-803 (Ruggedwear)
    F-3X (Ballistic nylon)
    F-802 (Sand)
    F-6B (Ballistic nylon)
    F-10 (Black)
    F-5XB (Brown)
    F-8 (Black)

    Here's my review of the F-5XB (DSLR):

    Domke F-5XB review (Chocolate Brown) - Canon Digital Photography Forums
  7. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    Thanks Sabesh, I've come across your review before.

    So I was in Calumet today and as I suspected they only had LowePro in the shop - but they will be able to order an F-3X I can try without any obligation to buy.
  8. m43er

    m43er Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 6, 2011
    Domke is coming out with 4 new lines of bags any day now.

    Maybe you want to wait for those before deciding.

  9. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Very nice review. I always look at them at B&H.
  10. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    Thanks for that, I wasn't aware of it. The new inserts look surprisingly similar to Billingham :) 

    New bags should mean price drops for the current models... or should they.

    I was looking to get the bag before May - I can wait a little to see the new models at least. I wonder if it's also a refresh of the current models or all-new stuff or both.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I use the F3X with an F2 insert. I don't hike/climb so the camera never goes in the bag. But using the bag with the supplied panels, it shouldn't be a problem to accommodate your needs. The canvas is much more comfy than the ballistic, as the canvas will conform to your body better. But then the canvas probably offer less protection. I've been in some tight situations when the flexibility of the canvas made it much easier to squeeze through small spaces.

    Tell me what lenses you want to carry and I'll set up my F3X as a test. (I have a lot of lenses.) The OM-D w/grip ana P35-100 w/hood and not reversed, will fit nicely into the main bag with plenty of room on top. With the hood reversed there is room for another lens using the extended interior side panel as a partition.

  12. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member


    Thanks for offering to help. I'm aware that the F-3X may have more room then I need. Accessories go into pockets which I think F-3X has 4 so not worried about that).

    This is what I'd want to carry (core kit):

    - E-M5 with full grip and P35-100,
    - PL25/1.4
    - P14/2.5
    - Sometimes MZD 14-150 or MZD 45/1.8.


    - Nissin DI466 flash, may soon change to Metz 58AF-2 or FL-600R.

    At some stage a P12-35 or the new Oly zoom will join, or the P7-14 - some WA zoom anyway.

    Outside the core list when I go on holidays I usually add my film kit to this, and that is:

    - Canon T70 body,
    - Canon FD 50/1.4,
    - Canon FD 28/2.8,
    - Canon FD 20-35/3.5L

    However I wouldn't be carrying the whole list above at all times, I'd probably leave extra kit in a hotel safe when I'm out so I'd only be transporting it - I've stacked lenses on top of each other in Domke inserts before, separated with foam - without any issues.

    The F-2 insert is the 4-compartment square one? I know that the F-3X has two inside "loop" pockets and the rest of the space can be divided in two, joining the two pockets with a divider, or alternatively a bigger insert can be put in. I already have a 1-compartment square insert and a 3-compartment FA-230 insert.

    If you've used the F-803 do you know much bulky does the F-3X feel like in comparison? Is it much wider?

    Thanks again, much appreciated.
  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Okay owczi, here we go ... everything in your µ4/3 list easily fits in the F3X with beacoup room left over. When I lift the bag near my mouth and speak, there is so much extra room it echoes.

    A) Gripped OM-D w/ P35-100 (hood reversed) in main compartment;
    B) PL 25mm w/hood inside loop pocket;
    C) Nissin Di466 w/bag in left side pocket;
    D) O45mm w/hood in right side pocket; and
    F) P7-14 in front pocket.

    Nothing in back pocket and nothing in flap pocket.
    As to your film stuff. I suspect that if you are willing to stack and pack the cameras without attached lenses, you may be able to get both systems into the bag for traveling purposes. The loop pockets have velcro for divider attachment. I don't see any advantage to insert a single compartment, the three compartment insert would work if it fits. Actually the stiffness of the 803 makes it much more noticeable when worn than the F3X (at least for me). The wideness of the F3X varies due to the flexibility of the bag. I shot for decades with the F2 so the F3X seems tiny.

    On your existing gear in the F3X, switching out the PL25mm with the Nissin, will easily give you room for at least one additional lens per side pocket and two lenses in the front and you still have the flap pocket and back pocket for filters, cleaning stuff, popcorn, et al.

  14. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    Thanks Gary, I think this got me convinced. The fact that the F-3X isn't stiff would be the main point for me. In case of the F-803 it's not just the nylon lining that makes it stiff, it's also the reinforcement plate sewn inside the top of the main flap / lid, feels like metal or thick cardboard or plywood or something. Without that, the bag bends more. But since it's so thin, any kit inside straightens it and stiffens it.

    I really like the nylon lining but I'll just have to live without it it seems - it's mainly the top cover where I'd like to see it because it makes the bag even more water resistant.

    I'll wait a little more in case if the new stuff gets announced, but it will most probably end up being F-3X. I will miss the little zipper pockets on the outside of the weather flap though.

    Did you guys look at the press announcements and initial pictures of the new bags and the list of improvements they made? Looks like they're aiming hipster kids now, they changed the snap hooks to easy-release so it's easier to steal from your bag ;)  Don't know about you but I love the original hooks. First time I used a Domke bag I thought opening it was really inconvenient... But once you master the three-finger technique it you can do it blind - and yes I'm still talking about Domke bags!
  15. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    F-803 is definitely stiffer than the F-3X. Even stiffer with a Billingham Hadley insert in it.

    The F-3X is bigger than the F-803. However, the 803 is wider by an inch. The F-3X isn't all that big, considering I carry around an F-2 as my daily bag :) 
  16. m43er

    m43er Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 6, 2011
    Just hope they have some bags for m43.

    Almost all bags are too tall or just too bulky overall.
  17. JStheoriginal

    JStheoriginal Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    +1 :dash2:
  18. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM Subscribing Member

    I always liked the length of the inserts, they're deep enough to stack two mu43 lenses on top of each other plus more, or to hold a mu43 camera lens down with another lens below, or simply to hold longer legacy lenses. Bulkiness doesn't bother me either (there are some limits of course), but stiffness does.
  19. 2mnycars

    2mnycars Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2012
    I like adding Domke Postal Pads to Domke bags.
    And watch the plastic "loop" that connects the strap to the bag. I've replaced mine with mini-carabiners. One of mine was broken...F2 bag.
  20. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    I rarely use my Domke postal pads anymore. Too stiff and heavy for my liking. I now use Safrotto shoulder pads. They are light and comfortable.
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