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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars25
Color: Olive DrabChange
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2009
The Domke F-802 is exactly what I was looking for in a satchel style photo bag that holds a serious amount of equipment for a days work, easy to access, carry and lays against your body while giving me balance (I sometimes use a cane in one hand to steady myself while walking). Here is what I have put in my bag so far: A Nikon D90 with a Nikkor 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 lens and a MB-80 battery pack attached (may take this off when using this bag); a Nikon Kit 18-105 lens; a Nikon 50 mm 1.8 lens; a SB 600 Speedlight; 2 lens hoods; a flashlight; extra batteries; cards; some manuals; and a Canon G9. And I still have room.

I have also ordered, but not yet received, one 2 compartment and one 3 compartment Domke insert for this bag, but I don't think I will need them. I should also tell you that there aren't any velcro strips on the walls of this bag like the other bags in this line. I really like the versatility this bag offers you.
Why? Well the F-802 doesn't come with inserts the F-803 does.

Upon receipt of the bag I placed my equipment in the bag with the lenses enclosed in the padded bags that came with them. This arrangements works fine If you don't mine the lack of padding. I did, however, place a thick strip of extra padding in the bottom of the bag even though this bag is padded on the bottom and the sides.

I am comfortable with this arrangement because the Domke F-802 is made of heavy water resistant canvas and is well made. I have use and own other Domke bags for years and no equipment has ever been damage in them and I use and carried them literally everywhere. I plan to use this bag to carry my Nikon on day trips and as mentioned earlier I found that satchels and messenger bags lay great against my body giving me the balance I need when shooting without a tripod and generally while carrying this equipment.

I had the Domke F-X5 large messenger bag but it didn't have the pockets I needed and I returned it. Pockets are everything. Did I mention I still had room in this bag for my Macbook. Although I will ( but don't need to) to take the MB-80 battery pack off the camera to allow for a better fit. Domke bags wear well over time and soon conform to your body. I believe this will be one of my favorite Domke bags. I will rate the Domke compartment insert when I receive them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2008
This is a versatile, affordable case for photogs and commuters.

The space:
* two interior bag-width pockets (1 deeper for laptop)
* two front pockets, each 1/2 bag-width (strap divides them)
* one back magazine pocket
* two flap zippered pockets (strap divides them)

It's a canvas briefcase divided into two main compartments (with various extra pockets), the rear being for a laptop, thus wider (and I think a bit padded), and the front shallower but still being the width of the bag. Each expands generously along with the rest of the canvas bag. If I don't have my laptop, I put an SLR in the back (in a wrap) and an extra lens if I want it, and my notebooks, books, accessories in the front wide pocket. If I have my laptop, I can stuff the SLR in the front pocket, but I have a bulkier bag. No big deal, but not an everyday comfortable way to go.
Two boxy front pockets each have a flap over the top with a Velcro closure; the flaps are covered by the big flap when the bag isn't overstuffed. If your bag is overstuffed, the flaps are exposed but easily closed by the Velcro, so your stuff won't be exposed or fall out. I keep a rangefinder camera in one and rolls of film and my keys in the other. You could easily slip a flash/speedlite and pocketwizard in each of the front pouches.
The back pocket easily fits a notebook, a couple of magazines, and a couple of odd items (pens, cell phone) or a newspaper. It will really take all, but you'll sacrifice room inside.
The zippered front pockets are ideal for iPod, cell phone, memory cards, pens, small notepads or notecards, business card case.
The main strap's clasp is a pain. It's an older-style metal clasp. I've dug deep grooves into my fingernails trying to open it with one hand. It gets easier over time. It does make me feel that the bag is more secure than with, say, a plastic pinch clasp, so I don't mind.
The shoulder strap is wonderful, with rubber woven into the canvas to make for an excellent grip that isn't too grippy. Just enough to stay put but not enough to wrap a nylon jacket over your shoulder and around your neck when you try to take the bag off.
The canvas wears well over time. In rain, it is slightly water-repellent but what it does take in it absorbs in a way that keeps the wet away from the gear to a large extent. This is not your rain bag, but it will do in a drizzly day.
The bag hangs well on the side or hip and does not feel like it's in the way. The canvas isn't rigid, but it holds its loose shape for packing, etc.
The top handle is so welcome. I hate shoulder-strap briefcases that leave this off. It's invaluable for grabbing the bag quickly or keeping it close to the body or lifting it easily (over a turnstile for example).
I have a second just for a small lighting kit (stand, umbrella, two speedlites, pocketwizards, cables, accessories...)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2009
I have been using Domke camera bags for my photographic equipment for years. The Domke F-1X bag I have is is almost 20 years old, has traveled with me all over the world, and has held up flawlessly. I was in the market for a new brief case and found the Domke Reporter's Satchel. The construction, materials used, and quality of the Reporter's Satchel are identical to the F-1X Shooter's bag that I use. The bag is nice looking, and works great as a brief case. The bag has several cargo pockets, and the two zipper compartments in the top closing flap are really handy keeping pens, keys, and other items that you want quick access too. In short, this is a well constructed bag that will last for years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am a part time free-lance professional photographer. As I have written before in other reviews, and any photographer will attest, you will one day find yourself surrounded by many gear bags. It just happens- don't try to fight it. After culling my most recent collection, I was left with a Domke 700-02A F-2 Bag (Brown Waxwear Finish), a Lowepro Fastpack 350 (Black), a Lowepro Stealth Reporter D650 AW Camera Bag, a Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 Laptop Messenger Bag (modified with a Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insert), and a Lowepro x300 that replaced my Lowepro Pro Roller x200 Camera Bag (Black). As any photographer will tell you, there are specific bags to meet specific needs and your needs (and style) change regularly. For example, do you really want to bring an X300 to a street shoot in downtown Nashville? What if you need to mix gear and a day's worth of food and weather gear? Do you need a tripod on your pack? Two camera bodies or one? Either way, there are many variables that come into play and they are as unique as the individual photographer.

Just very recently, I had decided to streamline my gear carrying needs. Gone are the days of carrying bulky heavily padded gear bags. I really did some soul searching and examined my needs (realistically), wants, style, and past-gear carrying techniques. For example, I actually threw my back out once using the Lowepro D650 AW; the kind of back injury where you actually hear an audible pop and then see a flash of light before you realize you cannot move. I clearly overloaded the bag and I admit it was my fault. Nevertheless, that event alone should have caused me to ditch the bag (though they are great bags). Based on my examination, I sold all the bags except for my Domke F-2. I then realized I needed to replace my Timbuk2 setup as an "everyday and everything bag" to transit between work and home while still carrying my camera. Based on my experience with the F-2 I purchased both the Domke F-802 and F-1x. The F-802 would serve as my everyday bag while the F-1x in place of/or as a supplement to the F-2 would be used when I need to carry a lot of gear. The F-802, as with all Domke bags, is a pleasure to hold and use. The genius of this bag is the simplicity of the bag itself. The bag takes a minimalist approach. Gone is the extreme padding and bulkiness of the Lowepro with the countless pockets, large and small. Gone is the weird shape my Timbuk2 commute 2.0 bag assumed when used with Snoop camera insert and the numerous buckles and zippers. The new bag, clearly intended to be retro style.

The build quality of the F-802 is the same as other Domke canvas satchels. A minimal approach to internal padding provides sides and bottom padding, though not very thick. Very heavy duty water resistant canvas combined with heavy duty metal clasps, quality Velcro, very heavy duty plastic (where used on shoulder strap), and heavy duty webbing shoulder strap with woven in (and somewhat famous) anti-slip rubber material on the underside. I can't say enough about the build quality of the bag. The design of the bag, though simplistic and minimalistic, is well thought. Domke provides a top handle to the messenger bag, which I believe is critical for easy use. The two front pockets on the bag, which expand generously, have Velcro flaps and the main flap then covers those pockets. On the main flap, on the outside, are two critical zippered pockets. The single cinch strap design makes it far easier to use than those bags that have two. There are two compartments inside the bag- the main compartment and a file/magazine pocket. You will find no pencil pockets, memory card pockets, etc... The back pocket easily fits an Ipad or notebook and magazines or other items. The design of the bag provides you the ability to move about discreetly unlike larger bulkier bags. This bag stays close to the body and unless completely over stuffed, conforms to your body. I find it much easier to carry than my Timbuk2 Commute Messenger 2.0 with a Snoop Camera Insert.

Though the minimalist approach of the Domke F-802 makes it far more streamlined, the bag can hold a decent amount of gear and will completely satisfy those that take their cameras about everywhere they go. However, note that the F-802 does not come with inserts. You will need to provide your own. In my case, I had some old Domke inserts and simply conformed those for use with this bag. In my configuration, I was able to easily (emphasis added) fit the following items without making the bag bulky. I still had room left over.

-Nikon D300s (grip off)
-Nikon 85mm f/1.8G (attached)
-Nikon SB-700 Speedlight in OEM case
-Nikon 80-200 f/2.8
-Two magazines
-Car Keys
-Two file folders

Although the bag does not come with a raincover, the canvas is water resistant and more than sufficient for light rain. There are raincovers you can buy third-party, but you would have to give up room in the bag to store it. In short, most people will not be disappointed with this bag unless they have a lot of gear they want to carry. This is an everyday bag or a street shooters bag. If you are going on location and bringing a lot of gear, look at the F-1x or move over to the Lowepro Stealth Reporter or roller series. In my case, I decided to move away from heavily padded and bulky bags with the exception of a Domke Roller (220) for those times I need a lot of gear. Even the roller is streamlined compared to other brands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2011
Typical od Domke bags, this is really well made and should stand up to lots of hard use. Fits a laptop well with room for lots of other things on top of it, but for something called a "Reporter's Satchel" I wish it had a panel with loops for pens, small pads, cell phone, and so on somewhere in it. It seems strange that it lacks these things. I had another Domke laptop bag that had a padded vertical insert and also all of the organizational elements that I am describing, but why not in this one? Overall, I am pleased with the bag and would not hesitate to buy it, or any other Domke bag, again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2007
What it lacks on looks is exactly why it excels. If you want to move-about with your gear DISCREETLY, this bag is second-to-none.

I use mine with several Domke inserts to make this bag work for any situation. It's very easy to configure it to haul most anything.


An absolutely classy and discreet looking bag. It's a wonder these things are so hard to find.

I simply adore this bag (as well as all other Domke bags. I think I have them all, LOL).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
Perfect when you need photography equipment and a laptop. Laptop sleeve is a perfect fit for my 15" MacBook Pro. Even with the laptop, I have room for my full size DLSR and a few lenses - buy the protective compartments. The front pockets are huge! I also use it for my everyday briefcase, Take out the cameras, put in the books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2007
I purchased this bag earlier this year in preparation for a trip. Now I use it for almost every outing. It fits nicely in the overhead compartment and under the seat for airline travel. Easy access so it's easy to open and close at security checkpoints. This bag can be modified to take several lenses, a flash, and extra batteries. I purchased some extra inserts so that I can change the configuration to match my needs. Right now my bag has a Canon 30D with a 28-135 lens attached, an 85 and a 50 with the small 70-35 lens and a speedlite. In the front pockets I have three spare batteries as well as batteries for the speedlite.

The only changes I would (have made) to the basic bag itself are: 1) padded shoulder strap for those long excursions and 2) added a different clasp to the front that is easier to open and close on the fly. The clasp that comes with the bag sometimes required to hands to open and close.

Because of this bag I have ordered another Domke bag. Hopefully it will have the same excellent quality that the F-802 has.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
I love this bag for it's aesthetics and big roomy pockets. But I hate it for it's weight. The bag, empty, is already pretty weighty. I have to add a couple cameras and lenses, plus food and water, when I go out to shoot. It leaves my shoulders hurting. If you have alot to carry, think about picking up an additional shoulder pad support. Apart from the weight, the material is extremely durable, easy to clean, and thick. It serves it's purpose well, I just wish it wasnt so heavy.
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on February 18, 2011
I bought this bag to use as an unobtrusive getting-around bag in Sierra Leone, and now I use it everywhere.

What I love
- Really well thought out pockets help me stay organized, and give me very fast access to my camera without feeling like there's much risk from pickpockets.
- The bag has enough structure to look ok when it's nearly empty, while still being able to hold tons of stuff when I need it to. See "What I fit" below.
- The clip is tricky the first few times, but with practice I can open it one-handed as easily as a nylon buckle. I consider the trickiness a feature as a pickpocket deterrent. One-handed opening instructions are below, for those who have trouble with this
- The best camera bag I've used, and it doesn't look like a camera bag. Camera bags usually look tacky and expensive, neither of which suits my style or my purposes.
- If I'm not carrying a laptop, the bag wraps comfortably around my body, avoiding most of the uncomfortable, side-loaded feeling that sometimes comes from one-strap bags.
- Rubbery threads in the strap stop it from moving around too much on my shoulder

Minor quibbles
The bag isn't super comfortable with 15" laptop in it. It's not terrible, but if you always carry a 15" or larger laptop you might prefer a bigger bag.

What I fit
All the following items fit in this bag at the same time, in a well-organized fashion.
Main compartment:
- 15" macbook pro with power supply and wall plug adapter
- 1 litre cylindrical water bottle
- Hat
- A few hundred small bills in local currency (Sierra Leone denominations are all pretty small, so carrying around big bricks of it is common
- A ukulele (with the headstock sticking out a bit from one top corner of the bag)
Front pockets under flap:
- Panasonic DMC-GF1 micro four-thirds camera with 20mm pancake lens went in one, by itself. I could swing the bag around my body, snake my hand in under the flaps, fish the camera out and be ready to shoot in under five seconds. I could have fit a lot more in that pocket too, but it would have made getting the camera in and out harder.
- Sunscreen
- Hand sanitizer
- Small hand towel
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- A couple granola bars
Back pocket:
- 8x10 notebook, pen and pencil
- 1/2 litre bag of water (small Platypus bag)
Front flap pockets:
- 2 pairs of sunglasses
- Lens cleaning kit
- Copy of passport and immunization records
- Bottle of malaria pills

All that and I still could have fit a bit more, and yet if I use the bag for just the camera it still feels good.

The front pocket where I keep my camera does not come padded. I don't mind this at all, as I carry it with the camera near the small of my back most of the time, where it's unlikely to get bashed into anything very hard, and as I'm not in the habit of bashing camera bags into things. Even so, I might cut a patch of stiff leather to line the pocket with, both for protection and because I think it might make it even easier to get the camera in and out.

If I was using this bag for an SLR, I'd partition off a section in a top corner of the main compartment for the camera. I'd probably sew the partition in, because I do that kind of thing, but just chucking the camera in on top of a sweatshirt or something would work fine too.

A lot of people say they have a hard time opening the clip on the strap one-handed. I find it easy but it takes a little technique. Here's the explanation. It looks like a lot of instruction, but it's easy and only takes an instant once you're used to it.
- With the bag hanging at my right side, I place the tips of the first two fingers of my right hand on the ring that the clip attaches to, with one finger on either side of the hooked part of the clip.
- I reach around to the inside of the clip with my right thumb, and place my right thumb against the spring.
- at this point, the ring has to be touching the inside of the hook, just below the tip of the spring
- I press on the spring with my thumb, at a slightly downward angle. This opens the spring and slips the hook down off the ring.

To close it one-handed, stick the end of the clip through the ring from the outside, so that ring lies against the spring, and lift up on the hook.
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