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Domke F-3X Super Compact Domke Ruggedwear Bag
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- Smaller compact design
- 9 compartments
- Movable center partition
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|Item Dimensions||12 x 18 x 10 inches|
|Item Weight||2.2 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||2.6 pounds|
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Like your favorite pair of jeans, Domke bags get better with age and with the new Domke Ruggedwear collection you don’t have to wait. The fabric produces a unique distressed and weathered look right from the start. The Ruggedwear classic bags feature high-quality, weather-tough, durable cotton canvas that is treated with special non-solvent waxes to afford the fabric a lifelong resistance to inclement weather. The special formula allows the fabric to breathe while the waxes produce a unique, timeless, weathered, distressed patina finish. By using the included refinishing oil, bags can be restored to its original finish quickly and easily. Resized to fit today's digital SLR's, but still deceptively compact, this is the bag to grab when the assignment doesn't call for dozens of pieces of equipment. No space wasted, because the inside and outside dimensions are nearly identical. The result is a very inconspicuous camera bag that carries a surprising amount of gear. Includes removable, padded partition wall, adjustable non-slip Gripper™ Strap with durable cotton webbing, removable hand carrying strap, YKK zippers, and steel snap hook Ideal For: 1 Pro SLR, 2-3 lenses, pro flash and accessories. Exterior Dimensions: 15"W x 7"D x 9"H; Interior Dimensions: 9.5"W x 6"D x 9"H.
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The F-3x is a superb bag in every respect, as usual. I have never been dissappointed by Domke and their build quality is revered by most in the industry. The straps are all heavy duty with quality materials. The shoulder strap has a "gripper feature" that helps prevent the bag from sliding off your shoulder. The hardware is impeccable. Bottom padding is sufficient while retaining a minimalist approach. There is no sideor internal padding other than a single divider that can be attached to internal velcro, but if you are considering purchasing Domke, you probably already know that and know it is actually a feature. The bag will conform to you unlike many other bags, of which you must conform to the bag (i.e. LowePro Stealth Reporters). The design of the bag allows you to not stick out in a crowd. The design of the bag is best intended for those wanting to travel light. Inside you have a main compartment and a compartment on either side. On the outside you have a front and back pocket as well as two side compartments. The main compartment can hold a body with attached lens, in my case, a Nikon D300s w/grip and an attached 85mm lens with room to spare. You can fit a lens and flash using the inside side pockets. You can load up the bag using the outside pockets with additiona lenses, flash, etc... Interestingly, this bag is nearly the same size as my F-2 (just a little smaller and not as deep) when compared side by side.
Many people complain about the Waxwear finish. Having owned and heavily used many Domke bags with this finish I only had one issue. I put too much wax on the bag (to refinish) then went out in 104 degree Tennessee heat for a shoot in bright sun. I noticed some of the wax was melting off the bag where I was coming in contact with it. It was my fault however for putting too much wax on and not using a heated hair dryer to "seal" the bag as recommended. I happen to like the waxwear finish more, simply for style reasons as either the canvas or waxwear provide sufficient rain protection for my needs.
Bottom line? Since I dumped the large padded gear bags, I feel much better. Domke bags were designed by a real photographer and it shows. While many new photographers start out with the large gear bags with tons of padding and dozens of individually padded compartments and pockets, it has been my experience and observation that seasoned shooters tend to move toward Domke or other equivalently minimalist gear bags. They just have to realize it is ok for camera gear to touch other gear and it will not be ruined.
Unfortunately I have two issues with this bag that are causing me to send it back. These are not actually design flaws, but more like incompatibilities with my lifestyle, so I'm not reducing my rating because of them. Here they are:
1. This bag is really floppy and by itself has almost no structure whatsoever. It's kind of like carrying your equipment in a burlap sack. Domke's are famous for this "body hugging" trait which many people find quite attractive. For me, however, removing my camera seemed to cause everything else to sort of fall to the center and take its place, filling the space and making it difficult to replace the camera when I was done with it. This made the bag a bit difficult to use while hanging on my shoulder. A bit more structure (padding or otherwise) probably would have alleviated this problem.
2. The top flap is quite loose and allows your hand to access the interior of the bag even when clipped shut. This is probably a plus for pro photographers who need quick access to their equipment--in fact, I suspect the somewhat unusual cloth loops on either side of the main chamber were put there to hold equipment in this "quick draw zone." However, it also means that you have to make sure your bag is upright at all times or equipment could potentially fall out. As a father of a 3-yr-old and a 6-yr-old, I can't guarantee that anything I own is upright at any given moment.
As I said, in general this is a well-made bag and probably works just fine for many people. For me in particular, however, it doesn't fit my lifestyle.
There are only a couple of cons:
1. This particular design looks, unfortunately, a little more like a "camera bag" than I would like, especially when compared to some other Domke designs. It's not exactly difficult to see that I'm hauling cameras around.
2. The fabric is tough, which is good, but very coarse. The black metal edges of some of my gear—for example, the hot shoe on my Olympus OM-D E-M1—have had the black finished buffed silver on the corners by the coarse fabric. While it's not the end of the world (and no problem at all if you carry a silver camera), I would be happier with a soft interior. Still, none of the camera bodies themselves have suffered, and my equipment still feels (and looks) very well-protected, despite the absence of lots of padding. I greatly prefer Domke's minimalist approach, and I don't intend to roll my camera bag down the stairs any time soon.
All things considered, I'd buy this bag again. Just as no camera is perfect for every scenario, neither is this bag perfect for everything, but it's SO good generally that I have yet to find any bag I've enjoyed using more. Highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
never let me down.....EXCELLENT