56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2006
Color Name: SandVerified Purchase
i've been looking high and low for a bag like this one. like any avid photographer, i've owned and have many a camera bag. Nothing quite like this though. I was looking for a bag to carry my Rebel XT, 17-85mm lens attached, sigma 70-200 F2.8 lens, PD70X PSD, 35mm F2 prime lens, batteries, cards, hoods, remote, cleaning gear, and my ipod. just enough stuff to be ready for practically anything. this bag fits the bill, without looking like a techno geeks man purse.
my velocity 5 was being called a purse far too often. a clear sign you need to find a domke. that and i can't fit another lens in the velocity 5.
this bag has very little padding. it is made of heavy canvas. the only padding is on the 3inch width sides and bottom. no padding on the front and back. it does come with one domke lens insert. it's capable of swallowing my sigma snuggly. excellent. the scarce amount of padding gives the bag a very very slim profile. if you're used to having a million padded velcro dividers like a tamrac or lowepro bag, you're in for a shock with this bag. it has practically none. it's domke's way of forcing you to carry less? with this bag, you tend to pack items in small nylon bags, and tossing them into the bottom. i did scavenge one velcro divider from a different bag to hold my slr upright.
like any other camera bag, it won't be perfect for every situation or everyone. but it's perfect for me when i'm running around town.
things you should know:
1) shoulder strap is NOT removeable
2) comes with a domke bag tag
3) the top flap of the bag has a steel or plastic insert to retain the bags briefcase shape when closed.
4) the clasp for the bag is hard to operate, but very strong.
5) extra clasps on the sides of the bag to carry more items.
6) not waterproof by any means
7) bag will probably not stand on it's own if set on the ground.
8) looks nothing, and i mean nothing, like a camera bag. mine is sand colored. gives peace of mind, especially when inside is several thousand bucks worth of camera gear.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: BrownVerified Purchase
While this bag looks great in terms of color, I hated the Waxwear finish. It rubs off on your hands when you touch it and also when you put something in the back slot such as a book or folder, the wax rubs on that. And if you put something that is rubber there, it will ruin that. I put my Apple iPad there with the Apple iPad case, which is black rubber and the wax rubbed against that and ruined it for good.
The inside of the bag does not have the Waxwear finish so you don't have to worry about your equipment there however all of the pockets do have the wax and it can indeed rub off on whatever you place there.
I returned this bag and got a standard canvas one of the same model and am much happier with that.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2008
Color Name: Sand
This is one of two Domke bags that I own, with the other being the smaller F5-XB. It has the usual excellent construction and attention to detail which is typical of Domke.
If you like bags with two inches of padding and a load of dividers you're looking at the wrong brand. Domke bags are for use...not for storage or heavy duty protection. By keeping the padding to a minimum, Domke keeps its bags small relative to their carrying capacity. This approach also cuts down on weight, which you'll appreciate at the end of the shooting day.
The F-803 comes with a nicely padded interior divider that, depending upon placement, will provide either 2 or 3 spaces in the main compartment. There are also two good-sized front expansion pockets and a "magazine" pocket on the rear. The front flap has two zippered compartments which I find pretty much useless as even a filter is a tight fit.
The flap closure is very secure. So secure that you really need two hands to open it....which can be a nuisance. The usual Gripper strap is provided but, on this model, it's not removable and without swivels. I prefer my bags to have removable straps with swivels, but that's really a matter of personal preference.
I can easily fit either my Nikon D80 or D300 and two or three lenses in the main compartment with a flash and some accessories in the front pockets.
After two years of fairly hard use, mine is still in good condition. I've actually removed the divider and tossed the canvas shell in with the laundry a few times. The canvas has softened over time and the bag now kind of "molds" itself to my side making it very comfortable to carry.
Something that you might want to consider is that, being canvas, this bag isn't even a little bit waterproof. If you shoot in wet environments that could be an issue. There are waterproofing sprays available that might help, but this is most certainly not an "AW" bag.
Every bag is a compromise and this is no exception. However, it does what it's supposed to do and it does it well. If you can live with minimal padding and no waterproofing, you might be a good candidate for owning a Domke.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2007
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
I've included quite a few measurements in this review, since I carefully considered these factors before ordering the bag. My goal: A small, discreet, conveniently designed, well-made bag that would carry my camera gear along with a few small personal items. Mission accomplished with this Domke bag! If you have similar equipment, you'll probably love this bag.
I ordered the optional one-compartment 3 x 6 x 8" insert, and my Nikon D80 SLR with lens attached rides on its back in the insert. The zoom lens is rather large -- 4" from camera body to filter when fully retracted.
The optional insert made a big difference in my enjoyment of the bag. It's easier to slip the camera in and out, and the camera receives extra protection without the bag becoming too bulky. Also, for some reason, the bag now stands up on its own. Before, it tended to need to be propped up against something.
I stash a flash in the 3 x 4 x 8" insert that came with the bag, but it would be fine for a couple of lenses if you don't mind stacking items. The flash, which is 3-1/2 x 2 x 6-1/2" inches, also fits in one of the front pockets but just barely. I personally wouldn't carry the flash in the front pocket because I prefer the more spacious feel, ease of access and extra protection of the insert, but it's doable.
The two inserts fit well within the bag, but perhaps not perfectly. Together, they might be about 1/2" too long. Perhaps it's by design, but they "fold" just a little. It's not bothersome. They have kind of molded themselves to the shape of the equipment. Domke's inserts are clever, and I appreciate the way you can remove them with contents intact and can remove the individual foam paddings from whatever sides you want.
The bag's pockets have plenty of room to carry small items such as filters, a wallet, a couple of manuals or magazines, etc. There are hooks on each side -- handy for carrying an extra pouch for more gear or even lunch. The bag has a plastic bar that runs the length of the top flap; I suppose it helps keep everything in place.
As reviews elsewhere mentioned, the main hook is somewhat difficult to open and close. Domke says this is to make it more pilfer-proof, and it probably does. After I used the bag for a few weeks, either I got used to it or it loosened up a bit. Still, I'd prefer an easier hook and have considered replacing it.
One of the main reasons I chose this particular bag is that it's very discreet. It doesn't look like a camera bag at all, and the Domke logo is hidden under the main flap.
The construction quality and materials appear to be superb. I've owned another canvas Domke bag for about 25 years. It even went through several years of professional use, and it still looks and functions great. It doesn't appear that Domke has scrimped on quality over the years.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2011
Color Name: BrownVerified Purchase
I have avoided real "Camera bag"s like the plague... they are usually bulky, and scream "steal me." Instead, I used an old WWI vintage US Army Surplus gas-mask bag... It served me well but the canvas started to wear out and my lens collection started to grow. I looked at other messenger bags, but they didn't seem like they would hold my camera securely enough. I was intrigued by the Naneu Pro Sahara 115º but it seemed way too big with the camera insert. The Domke bags seemed to match the aesthetics of my old surplus bag, but they were all way too wide for my tastes.. eventually I found this.
There is a minimal amount of padding, but it is all you really need if you are carrying this on your person... it is not a storage/shipping container. Most camera bags seem to be built for travel and storage, rather than on the fly daily use.
I have the 1-partition insert positioned about a half-inch from the side-wall, and wedge my Rode VideoMic Pro down in there (A speedlight would also wedge in nice). It fits perfect and now there is no excuse for me not to have good sound. In the insert I throw my Nikon 18-105VR down at the bottom (I rarely use it, but it can be a lifesaver where my AI glass won't work) Then I throw my 50mm 1.8 AI-s with HN-7 screw-in hood directly on top of it (the flexible plastic cap I use provides enough cushion between the two). In the rest of the compartment I slide my D7000 with 24 2.8 and HN-3 hood... it rests sideways on the bottom with plenty of space to spare, you could put a zoom lens on the bottom in a lens-wrap and still have plenty of room for the SLR, or wrap a small prime and fit the camera in lens down. (in my setup, the camera fits with the 18-105 mounted sideways with the hood reversed, or lens down with the hood straight)
In the front compartment I have a small filtercase in one with a swiss army knife, and lens cleaning supplies/usb cable/flash diffuser in the other. They use velcro, so are definitely not quiet open if that bothers you, but you can put some tape over the velcro then let the weight of the main flap hold them closed, but they won't be as secure. They are large enough to fit my Nikon FE comfortably without a lens mounted, to give you an idea of their size. They should be more than generous enough for a speedlight or charger, etc
I still don't even use the zipper pouches, but you could easily use them for flash media, info booklets, or other slim-profile stuff.
The strap is really heavy duty, and the slip-resist rubber banding is non-descript, but highly effective. A Hufa Holder just BARELY fits on the strap.
the clips on the side seem just decorative, but I found them great for holding knife/multi-tool belt cases... you can slide the clip through the belt loop and clip it in place. With a Gerber or Leatherman you now have a small toolcase at your disposal... just don't forget to take it off when going out into populated public places (public transit and other downtown institutions are typically not fond of knives), but it can be a lifesaver on private shoots. Anything with a belt loop should hook on pretty well.
The flap is heavy and there is no need to keep hooking/unhooking it if you are taking your camera out very often... when you hook it you can know it is secure. But even with practice it takes a second hand (only a finger or two, though) to guide the loop.
I have had absolutely no problem with the waxwear finish... I love it, it seems slightly more water resistant than normal canvas and looks much more rugged... It really matched the aesthetics of my old surplus bag. I can tell it is getting slowly worn off, but I have slid Moleskines down in the back pouch with no transfer, in the time I used front pouches for my Rode VMP I never got any transfer, and I have yet to see any on my filter case.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
Color Name: BrownVerified Purchase
I'm a reporter with a camera, not a dedicated photojournalist, so this tiny bag is all I really need to haul my photographic gear as well as my other reporting tools. So many reviews are about technicalities, so let me show you my real-world, day-to-day use of this fantastic bag.
How I pack my Domke bag (to show space use):
I keep my Nikon D-7000 capped and lensless on one side of the removable padded partition (yes, there is one, which makes three slots when it's in use) and then stack two prime lenses and an 18-135 mm kit zoom lens in the partition itself. On the other side of the partition I keep various accessories including one dynamic and one condenser microphone, some foam windscreens and various XLR cords. In the front pocket with the "Domke" logo I keep my digital field recorder (which, by the way, is the HUGE TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder, which fits just fine and has plenty of room) and my primary dynamic microphone. In the other pocket I keep chargers and lens cleaning solution and microfiber cloths. In the (extremely tiny and tight) pockets in the flap I keep connector cords and extra microSD cards for both my camera and my field recorder as well as a lens adapter to allow the use of some old Canon lenses on my Nikon camera. In the back flap I keep various legal papers and folders for whatever story I'm working on and also my tablet, which all fit nicely.
So, if you're going to be lugging around multiple camera bodies and several massive lenses as well as other gear, I would look at another bag. If, like me, you're a reporter who also happens to have some photographic training and have to take photos for your own stories then this is THE BAG for you. Also, if you're a photographer who primarily uses mirrorless and/or rangefinder cameras then this could serve you well.
I've noticed quite a few reviews on here that say the waxy finish on the bag (if you opt for that version) is slick and comes off. I haven't experienced any problems with the wax finish and I think it gives it a world weary traveler look to it. I used to live in Florida and southern California so maybe if I was still in the sun all day like that then there MAY be problems, but I can't imagine that since the bag hasn't even begun to give me any problems or even the shadow of a worry for any future problems.
The bag is simply rugged. In fact, I kind of want to throw a few hammers and screwdrivers in it and go tumbling down a hill with it to rough it up and let its true personality shine.
I'm not a "bag" type of guy. I like lots of pockets in my jacket and carrying as few things as possible. I usually have my camera slung over my shoulder while working, too, so the bag really is just a transport rig so all my stuff is at the ready. Also, if you're carrying lots of heavy stuff, buy the Domke mail carrier's shoulder strap cushion. It's comfortable and fits the look.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2008
Color Name: BlackVerified Purchase
The ultimate non-descript camera bag. Classic and timeless styling. Can also double for everyday use as briefcase or commuter bag. Can easily access DSLR camera body and two lenses. Sturdy and well made (in the USA). Metal cinch buckle takes some getting use to with one hand, but doable with use. Flap close pockets under main flap keeps secure, medium sized items, wallet, keys, cellphone, lens cap, filters, small flash, etc. Backside flat pocket for quick access to reading material. Adjustable shoulder strap long enough to wear across body, rubberized gripping to keep from shifting. Having tried many camera bags, but this is the most useful for daily use for many years to come.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
Color Name: BrownVerified Purchase
I received my Domke 803 in waxwear finish today and I am thoroughly impressed.
It is much smaller than I had expected but fits a ton of stuff. If you are considering this bag to carry a laptop, move on to a larger size like the Domke F-802, 701-88 or the like. It will hold netbooks, ipads, tablets and the like easily in the back compartment.
The main interior compartment is large and roomy and Domke includes a single insert with the bag. I did not order the three divided insert to accompany this bag as I wanted to see if the single insert would suffice. So far it seem it will fit the bill nicely. The single padded insert easily accommodates my X100 (with hood) or Olympus EP-2 (with 14-45 lens). With the insert moved to the farthest point to the left or right, I can even fit my D700 with 50mm in the main compartment. I then use the insert for my 70-200. The back pocket easily fits my iPad2 in a moleskine like case (from Pad&Quill) and doesn't stick out of the top of the pocket as it does in the "ipad friendly" pockets of most bags. The two flap pockets easily hold my keys, wallet and cell phone. The two front pockets under the flap are large enough for chargers, batteries, memory cards, pens, notepads, sunglasses, etc...
The shoulder strap is the typical Domke gripper strap. It works great and is very comfortable. If you are debating on buying the Domke Post Office strap pad, I'd suggest passing on it as this bag is small enough it is difficult to load it down enough to warrant the extra padding, although if you go with a larger bag the Domke strap pad is a great item to have for a heavily weighed down bag. As with most Domke bags, the strap is not removable.
The overall build quality is very good. Quality stitches, quality fabric and the waxwear finish protects everything from anything but the harshest environments. The main compartment is sufficiently padded on the bottom and sides. I do wish Domke could design a better bag clasp as the metal clasp can be difficult and even painful to open one handed while the bag is suspended on your shoulder. The 803 is the typical high quality I've come to expect from Domke and I know I'll be using this bags for years and years to come.
Bottom-line: Great bag, exactly what I wanted. If I had it all to do over again, I'd choose this bag.
very durable, will last a lifetime
roomy (can fit my ipad and camera gear)
versatile (Configure insert in any way you wish)
small, light (easily fit in under-seat storage on a flight)
1/2 the price of Billingham's cheapest bag
3/5 the price of Artist & Artisan's cheapest bag
Bag enclosure clasp can be difficult to use one handed. Small gripe, I suspect it will loosen up and become easier as my other domke bags have.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2009
Color Name: Brown
Recently got this bag for carrying my camera around NYC when I don't want a huge bag or one that screams "expensive equipment, steal me." I'm not sure if this is true of their regular material bags, but the waxwear bags have a lining inside that seems like nylon. The strap, handle, and other details are in a nice light khaki material (looks white in the photo, but is actually the same color as their khaki version.) On the shoulder strap, there are what appear to be rubber threads sewn in which makes it stay on your shoulder very well.
The main compartment can be nicely divided into 3 sections by the included removable padded divider. I can fit my Nikon D50 with 50mm lens on the left, 18-135mm lens in the middle, and a Yashica TLR on the right. If I attach the 18-135mm to the d50 and stick it lens-down in the middle, the camera does stick up above the top of the bag, but the flap will cover it if necessary. With the 50mm, the d50 will fit with lens facing down, sideways, or toward the front. The main compartment has a strip of hook-and-loop (velcro) running the length of the front and back, but it's near the top - this makes it a little harder to use some dividers from another bag.
The two pockets under the main flap are pretty big - can hold a speedlight easily, or spare batteries, etc. On the outside of the flap are 2 small zipper pockets, they can only hold thin things, like memory cards, business cards, spare battery. The back has a slot that holds things like magazines, papers, maps very nicely. Seems like a good place to put reading material for a long subway ride so I don't have to expose the inner contents of the bag to access it. Finally, each side of the bag has a ring and clasp that connect to form a loop you can put things in, or you could unclasp them to connect things to.
The new waxwear material offered by Domke on specific bags is great. I really like the somewhat 'worn' look of it and that fact that it's waterproof (although I haven't had to test that yet.
Compared to my Crumpler 7 million dollar home, it is slightly shorter, the same width, and about half as thick. It seems to be more flexible too which makes it comfortable to carry - except the top of the bag that the handle attaches to has a rigid panel inside that keeps it square on top - it kind of prevents it from conforming to your side when carrying.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2014
Color Name: SandVerified Purchase
I have two of the Domke F 803, one in sand, and another in dark blue. It is a favorite bag of mine, not only for carrying camera gear, but for general purpose as well. It easily fits an ipad or small netbook--my 13 inch fits just fine.
The F 803 is not a bag for people who want many differently sized compartments, or who desire a great deal of protection for their gear. The bottom is generously padded, and that is enough for my needs. I can fit three camera bodies in this bag with two camera backs touching, and another on top. Not ideal, but it works in a pinch. Normally I carry a Canon 60D with kit lens, a couple of prime lenses and/or Speedlite in addition to the usual purse things. Other times, I carry two or three film bodies.
The canvas is sturdy but supple, and improves with use. By 'use' I mean several months; I did not think I liked the bag initially, because it was stiff and more boxy than I had imagined. However, after making a small incision into a layer of canvas running beneath the carry handle, and removing the 3/4 inch thick panel of pvc sheeting that is used as a stiffener, I like this back much better. It conforms nicely to my side and is comfortable for long walkabouts. Canvas itself is incredibly durable; My bags are scuffed and a little dirty (they wash fine in the machine), but no rips or tears to date. I would not say it is waterproof, but having gotten caught in multiple downpours in New Orleans last summer, my bag did really well with a third party rain cover hastily stretched over the top. I would not set the bag down on wet surfaces, but for an occasional shower, it is fine.
A word about Domke inserts for those who might dismiss them as poorly designed (as I have seen mentioned in other reviews): the Domke inserts are intentionally left unstitched at bottom so that the user can customize the level of padding. I have not yet had a piece of foam slide out of a compartment on accident, and the foam is very durable. The beauty of this design is that it allows the user to make the insert as floppy or rigid as necessary to fit a particular bag. For example, I use the insert intended for the F 803 in many handbags and totes, and often removed a piece of foam to make it fit better. This works great for me.
This bag can be great as a camera bag and as an everyday bag, but not at the same time. While I have traveled with this as my only carry-on, and managed to fit camera items (in the Domke insert made for this model) as well as full size iPad and other items, I would not use the bag that way every day.
At 5'3 and 125 pounds, it is difficult to find camera bags that are comfortable and practical. The Domke F 803 happens to be one of those bags, and is my favorite of the many, many bags I own.