Apr 122010
 

After trying out a few bags from the Crumpler line as well as Billingham I finally found “the” bag for me. While on my trip in AZ I saw this bag in a camera shop and fell in love with it. The Domke F-803. The store that had it on display said it was their only one and it was kind of scratched up and beat a bit. Their price was $169 so I pulled out my trusty Iphone and searched to see if B&H Photo had it. Not only did they have it in stock their price was $139, no tax. So I ordered from B&H as the shop was not willing to bring down the price any. The bag arrived today and I LOVE IT! I purchased the “waxwear” version.

Here is a youtube video I just put up on the bag:

The thing I like about the Domke F-803 is that it is thin, messenger style, looks and feel rugged and holds all of my gear while giving adequate protection. It does not give the same protection as the Crumplers and is not as sophisticated as the Billingham but it has a great mix of looks, features, protection and usability. It’s perfect for my needs. As you saw in the video, it even holds an Ipad in its back pocket :)

B&H sells the DOMKE F-803 for $139 and I also purchased the 3 pocket padded interior for it because it only comes with one padded pocket (though it is a very nice one). This is a bag I can highly recommend for those who want  something thinner, something that does not look like a camera bag and just so happens to be an attractive, very well made and rugged bag.

BTW, if you do not want the “waxwear” version you can choose from a variety of colors and they are even cheaper at $119!

Here are the specs as listed by Domke:

• Canvas material coated with waxes and oils, the fabric produces a unique distressed and weathered look right from the start. The treated fabric protects the bag from inclement weather, but retains the breathability of cotton
• To return the bag to its original appearance, it includes an ointment to re-apply to the fabric
• Padded side walls and bottom protect equipment
Compartments
  • Flexible main compartment with FA-280 1 compartment mini insert
  • Full length second compartment
Pockets
  • Two zippered pockets on flap
  • Two expandable cargo pockets with individual weather flaps under flap
  • Rear slip pocket
Carrying options
  • Adjustable Gripper shoulder strap sewn completely around satchel
  • Reinforced handle is box-stitched to top of bag

  88 Responses to “I found my bag! The Domke F-803.”

  1. Steve, I have the Domke 803 and a Billingham. The Domke is a great bag, and even more stealthy than the Billingham. The latch is also fantastic and quick.

    My only gripe is the level of padding in the 803.

  2. I’ve got one and love it. I also ordered the Safrotto from ebay, and it is the exact same bag for 1/2 the cost, and the insert is better, offering even better protection. Course’, if you want the waxwear version, it’s still the Domke. Worth doing a search to check out…

    • Hey, James, im interested in that bag. Could you please do a little review about it? I can’t find decent pictures about the interior. If you could send me some that would be amazing.

  3. It is very interesting to read through the articale and Jag’s comment too it seems that we all used a few bags but we all came to one conclution that the Domke F 803 is the one :)

  4. Great looking bag. Thanks for the review. Would be interested in your take on the iPad! Hope we can expect a ‘real world’ review from you soon! :-)

  5. Thanks Guys…

    I also found the padding lacking but when I put in the insert all was well. Great bag. I just loaded it with an M7, M9 and a couple of lenses. Also tried it with the M6, E-PL1 and an extra two lenses, some film, memory card holder, reader and the Ipad. Awesome!

    James, thanks for the info!

  6. Hey Ariel,

    The Ipad is fabulous but so far I have only been using it for email/web browsing. I have loaded up some large photos on it and it is VERY fast and responsive unlike the Iphone. As soon as the camera adapter is out there will be a review on the site :)

    Thanks!

    Steve

  7. Ha, that’s funny. I am looking lately for a bag where I can fit in more than into my A&A Oskar One Day bag for work occasions. The Domke F2 original in waxwear is so far my fave.

  8. I have the same bag!

  9. Question for all Domke specialists. Don’t like the insert of the F2. What else can I use and where do I get it?

  10. Nice review, how many bags does that make it now Steve? :)

    Domke really do make great stuff, pretty hard to get hold of in the UK other than internet purchasing which is a pain because you do need to see/try these things in the flesh rather than buying on the strength of a 2″ wide photo on a camera sales site that really shows you nothing. Reviews like this though break down that barrier so it’s nice to see.

    Anybody know btw if Domke still make traditional type cotton/material camera straps? All I can find these day’s are the neoprene type ones on the web.

  11. Errmm…. where did all the Crumpler raving go?…

    Richard.

  12. can it fit a 5d with a 24-70 without grip?

  13. HA!! Saw this bag too and can’t wait to get it!!

    roger767 – you certainly can with the lens detached.

  14. Richard, the crumpler are great bags as well that offer more protection that ANY of the bags I have tried to date. We kept the 5 MDH and my son loves it.

    This post is about the domke so no crumpler raving needed. :)

    for my use I prefer the thinner domke but that doesn’t mean that I do not like the crumpler as well.

    Thanks

  15. Steve, welcome to the club! It is an awesome bag and both rugged and inconspicuous!

  16. I’ve have one of these for nearly 10 years and it’s still in service.

  17. To roger767 – Yes you can do that. During Fashion week I use my 803 to carry a 1ds a 24-70 a flash and a quantum battery. Use the just the single insert, the flash and the battery fit in the front two pockets.

  18. I’ve used these for years, love them. My only major complaint is that over time – think five, six years – the rubber gripping in the sholder strap gets old and peels off. Based on the bag design it isn’t easy to replace the stap so I’ve just used them without the grip (the rest of the bag ages well, so why toss it?).

    - M.

  19. YEAH! Nice intro music of the video :-)

  20. B-E-A-uutiful… But the damn thing costs 226,- Euros here in Europe… Thats close to 300,- US$…

  21. Steve

    Happy you finally found the bag that you like. Personally, while I like the waxed look, I really don’t like the other bag furniture at all. Still, each to his own, right. I am about to receive the 5 million dollar home from B&H, via a friend who was in NY last week and all because Cumpler sell different bags in different continents. I think it’ll be much more to my taste, which is as stealthy as possible.

  22. Steve, I usually try to get something I find in a local camera store, in the store. I know it is $30, but they are there and they are local. Generally I am all about saving my money, but I think it is important to support local photo outlets, especially if they are helpful and provide a good service to the community.
    I buy the majority of my camera items online, but when I need to go and look in a store, if I find something I like there, I will pay the extra $$$ because I like being able to see things first hand.

    Jonathan

  23. I absolutely approve of your choice of bag!

  24. Sorry to be thick…

    Is the domke f2 bag bigger?

    And is there a domke bag which you’d take a macbook and a rangefinder or an old film slr?

  25. Nice write-up Steve, and the video is very helpful. Curious for more comments comparing to the Billingham Hadley Small. I was all set to plunk down for that one in all black when I see that you have experience with both. With the amount of money I’ve put into Leica gear in the last year, I’m not scrimping on a bag at this point, so value aside, why one over the other? Looking at dimensions, it looks like the the Domke is taller and wider on the outside and may have a little more interior room, but the Domke interior was probably measured without the padding of that three-pocket insert you bought. Thanks!

  26. Cool bag. I was in the store looking to get the same, but then saw a Billingham Hadley padded insert that was the right size for my unused Jack Spade messenger bag. So I got the insert, saved myself a couple of bucks and no one would ever guess that it’s carrying a camera and lenses.

  27. Hey TJ, I am not familiar with the F2 but maybe someone else here is…

    Ron R, The Billingham is thicker but the Domke is wider and taller. Me, I prefer the Domke but I really wanted this style of bag to begin with. With that said, you cant go wrong with either. The Hadley Small is gorgeous and very well made.

  28. It comes in waxwear? Sold.

    On a more longer note: this is exactly what I was looking for, a slim messenger style bag for iPad and a Leica M, so thank you very much for this find and video.

  29. Yep. Comes in this finish and with a spare can of wax. :)

  30. Gotta share my favs. Fogg bags. Lovely, with a Leica – like price tag to complement that…hahahah.

    Here’s the Fogg flute, in sand/cognac…

    [/img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2803/4517175992_0e0fb71589_b.jpg[/img]

    [/img]http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4022/4516541227_b584f4b03d_b.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2702/4516540601_503c1e0efc_b.jpg[/img]

  31. Ashwin

    That’s one serious wrist strap.

  32. Ashwin, I’d like a wrist strap like that for my G11. What is it? Where can I get one?

  33. The wrist strap in Ashwin’s pic is (unless I’m very much mistaken) a Gordy’s wrist strap and they are great, he also does pads and separate strap bumpers too! His site is here:- http://www.electricedge.com/gordy_s_straps/

    If you live in the UK you can get them from Tripman the Oly Trip reconditioning legend:- http://www.tripman.co.uk/

    @ TJ

    The Domke F2 is way bigger than this bag, it’s the sort of bag to carry *all* your gear in as opposed to a day type messenger bag like the 802/803 Domke’s. HTH.

  34. Wow Steve….. as they say on Senfeld… now THAT’S a man bag :)
    Seriously I love my Domke bags. Understated, functional and above all extremely well made. Before that I was totally sold on ThinkTank Photo Urban Disguise bags, which I still actively use when I need a larger bag.

  35. For all – The F2 is larger, can hold two M’s and 4 lenses comfortably, and depending on the insert can be configured a myriad of ways – the insert I use on the F2 allows for my 7D with a 24-70 mounted, a 70-200/4 L and a 17-40/4 L along with a 580 and a moleskin plain notebook, along with my CZ cable in the main compartment, before using the outer compartments and flaps.

    I also own a Domke F-1x, use to house my Pentax 67 system in that one, now it hold my 1DS along with 8 prime and more junk than I can shke a stick at lol!

    Steve is right – Billingham et al all make great bags, but as far as versatility, I have never used anything better than a Domke.

  36. Does the 803 contain a bottom board inside the bag?

  37. Steve, I know you get kickbacks from B&H, but penny-pinching while shooting an M9 and $2000 lenses is a little ridiculous. Sure B&H sells it cheaper, but large mail houses can afford to do so. It’s this kind of attitude that has put nearly all of the local camera shops out of business, leaving Ritz as the last alternative. The profit margin on cameras and lenses rarely exceeds 10%… if you’re going to handle something in the store (and that experience makes you want to purchase it), do the store a favor and purchase it.

    That said, I do want to thank you for your interesting posts and reviews.

  38. Jack, my “kickbacks” from B&H are only if someone here buys something, and that “kickback” is VERY small. I get no “kickbacks” from buying at B&H and I have been buying from them for 14+ years.

    As for the one lonely Domke bag at the local shop, it was marked at $169, it was all beat up and scratched and looked like it was used. They did not even sell the insert and told me Domke bags used to be “all the rage” but not anymore and they they tried to sell me an ugly Tamarkin bag.

    They would not come down on the price even with it looking like it did. So why would I pay them $170 plus tax when I could buy it new from B&H for $139 and get the insert at the same time?

    Sorry but I am all for supporting local shops but not if they are out to screw me.

  39. Steve….how would the 803 handle the Pentax K-7 if you were so persuaded to carry one?

  40. Hi Steve!

    Very good choice!, see comment #20 in your crumpler article..;-)

    Have the same bag with my M9, M6, a 35 cron and a 50 lux and enough space for some film, memory cards, extra battery, charger etc etc, can’t think of a better combination.

  41. I have that bag too and love it. I can carry my M6, D-Lux4 and an extra lens with room to fit other things. I use the outside pocket for my iPad. I tried using it with my d700 and it doesn’t work well….anyway I bought it specifically for use with my Leicas. The best part is that it doesn’t look like a camera bag.

  42. Great looking bag Steve! Very masculine in appearance.
    Another bag that works well for Leicas is the Pacsafe camsafe 200 which will fit two M bodies and 4 lenses easily with plenty of pockets for film, wallet and I think even an ipad in the back pocket (haven’t actually tested this but looks like it would fit). Moderate padding and the bag is compressible, also has a way to lock it and secure it to something. Not too bulky for around town and fantastic for travel.
    AND it doesn’t look like a camera bag :)

  43. Re: #33
    James, i can answer that. It’s a Gordy strap. I have a black neckstrap with same red wrapping. Custom-made, can carry a ton and was less than $30. Google “Gordy’s strap”

  44. Yes, I too would like to know how your K-7 fits in this bag. I’m very tempted to pick one up.

  45. Steve – just noticed that the inserts your purchased for your bag enables you to move the dividers, however, on the link you posted, the inserts are not movable (also confirmed from the reviews). What gives?

  46. That is the same divider I ordered and mine are movable.

  47. The Domke bag is less bulky than the Crumpler, though the latter has more space. I like the thinness of the Domke, and how unassuming it is. It fits small cameras quite nicely. The Domke would be perfect for Leica M cameras, Leica X1, D-Lux 4, 4/3 camera systems, point & shoots, and their respective accessories. I want to carry a M6, a M8.2 and two lenses attached to the cameras. If i need to carry my wallet, then I may need the bigger bag. Crumpler would store everything easily. the Domke is not as wide. So, depending on what kind of shooting you’ll be doing will dictate the bag you’ll be using. (Being a woman, I like more space for accessories, so all of these bags are quite wonderful.)

    I also use a North Face Backpack to carry camera gear, though usually just one body with lens attached. The insert helps pad the bag, but cuts down a bit on interior space. (Not much, but it does.) The bag came with a middle insert. I didn’t find the padding in the original bag to be as lacking as people said, but have the insert for the extra insurance.

    I also like to use crumpler messenger bags, but they have one deep pocket and really need some sort of insert to separate the gear, or it all falls in the middle of the bag in a jumbled mess.

    I have a Think Tank waist bag, kind of bulkiy, but it holds a lot too.

    There is no “one perfect camera bag”. I’ve never found one. Each bag has pluses and minuses. It’s a compromise.

  48. Is it possible for the DOMKE logo on the top handle to come off? I mean could the stitches be picked out? To remove it?

  49. What I don’t get is how these deep bags solve any problems at all, unless you want to carry a laptop into the field. I love the look of the F-803, but it doesn’t seem to offer any more usable, one item deep, storage. I’m also not sure if it will stand up when set down.

    I have a Domke F-5XB, and have absolutely loved it for my M8 and two/three lens kit (M8 with one lens mounted in the middle compartment, flanked by lenses on each side. The bag has three compartments, so they’re all filled, just so. Now I’ve added an M2. The F-5XB *can* hold the M2 and M8 with lenses mounted, but the third compartment becomes choked. It will hold a lens but it’s hard to get to.

    So, I go looking for a larger bag. Practically speaking, IMO, larger means wider, not deeper: as in one more compartment wide. But all I seem to be able to find is deeper bags (F-5XC, F-803, etc.). Can someone explain this to me? What does the depth buy me? I can see it for giant SLR lenses. But, if Domke simply added 1″ of height and 2″ of width to the F-5XB and (they could call it the F-6XB), it would fit my two M bodies and an additional lens (or two, if stacked) perfectly.

    If you’re a deep bag lover, can you please explain why?

    Signed, frustrated.

  50. Heh, I feel so strongly about it that I made my own video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTDlAcDzCgc

    Thanks…

  51. Mike,
    You might look at the camsafe 200 (www.corporatetravelsafety.com). It is not a Domke but it might be the dimensions you want. I fit an M6 with a 50 cron and an M7 with a 90 asph attached plus a 35 cron and a voightlander 21 in the bag and have room in the front pockets for film, wallet, keys.
    Just a thought.

  52. Thanks Susan. Actually I’ve seen this bag, and had forgotten about it. Looks like it has nice security features. It also looks like it just has two internal compartments. How do you configure it? Do you put a camera in each compartment, and the extra lenses in the pouches on the outside? Or did you add more separators? A negative for me is that it looks a lot like a Crumpler. Still, thanks for reminding me about it :-).

    You’re right — in the end it isn’t a Domke. There’s something about them that I really like. Now, if only they’d make a wider F-5XB :-).

  53. Mike, I agree with you. It’s a sacrifice. Portability equals deep pockets. Usability equals a wider bag. It’s better feng shui to have the wider bag. I actually like the fit of my Crumpler bag than the Domke. The Domke is a minimilist bag. The Crumpler is certainly bigger, but it’s more usable for extra bling. Now, the Think Tank waist pack is VERY usable, but it’s a monster! Hahahah! What I would like to see Domke do is widen the bag a tad, not so much as to make it like the Crumpler, but enough that when you add the bloody insert you don’t lose that space. Add a mesh pocket inside like the Crumpler has. That mesh zippered pocket is quite handy. The outer pockets on the Domke are too tight. Maybe with age they will hold more. The pockets underneath the lip are better than the outer ones. I don’t know if the Domke bag will fall over, but it is rather thin.

    My favorite bag is either a waist pack or the backpack, but that’s because I usually have more accessories of a non-photo nature with me.

    One day the perfect bag will be designed.

  54. Susan, Elaine:

    I left a very positive (I hope) message suggesting ideas for a larger F-5XB on the Tiffen forum. Maybe they’ll run with them:

    http://www.tiffen.com/forum/showthread.php?t=282

  55. … and it wouldn’t hurt if some folks went over and agreed with my ideas :-D.

  56. [...] if required. Not cheap, but looks like a nice dual purpose bag and it should last forever. I found my bag! The Domke F-803. | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS __________________ [...]

  57. Does anyone know whether a macbook air will fit in the back pocket of the F-803? This could be my ideal bag if it will :-)

  58. I have this Domke (same waxed cotton version) and I love everything about it except one key thing – its not very comfortable to wear and walk with for any period of time. Its the most practical bag I own, I love the understated (not too camera-y) look, but I’ve just never been able to get comfortable with it on my back. And I’m a cyclist and messenger bag veteran. In fact I have two larger messenger bags that are very comfortable and I may end up just using this insert in one of those. And particularly with something stiff and hard in the back pocket (like an iPad or Kindle), its even less comfortable. Have you spent much time with it out in the field – how do you like it in that context???

    I have a Tamrac Velocity sling bag that I don’t like nearly as much in a number of ways, but its crazy comfortable to carry around all day. This matters!

    -Ray

  59. Steve,
    I am traveling to Europe at the end of the month, and I have been looking for a bag to hold my iPad and M9 and a few other travel related items. My current bags were all to small to include the iPad. I purchased the Domke 803 in black based on the strength of your review. It’s perfect! I love it! Thanks for the review.

  60. OK, I found my new bag. I read and considered more on the Domke F-5XC, and decided it would work. It is a “deeper” bag, but it has a great feature: it has a bag-wide, thin, “side-entry” door along the front bottom. When I first saw this feature I thought it was goofy. Even Domke’s own description says something like “front-entry door at bottom of bag allows you to retrieve items that have fallen to the bottom”. Sounds like you should have a shorter bag so that items can’t “fall to the bottom” :-).

    However, if you set up the partitions properly, you can create a “two story” bag. I used one of the included inserts to divide top from bottom. The top partition is for camera(s), and the bottom is for lenses. I used the remaining, articulated divider to create three “rooms” in the bottom floor for lenses. I had to use the dividers from my F-5XB to partition the top into three “rooms”. But now that’s done, it’s a very neat system. Two Ms with lenses in the top, with a spare partition for film, etc. Extra lenses are stored separately, on the bottom. That’s two bodies, five total lenses, a meter, lens pen, extra battery, film, etc. Pretty good! Now that I’ve got this set up I think it’s more versatile than the F-803. I’ll keep the F-5XB for days when I want to go minimalist. I can move the partitions back into it very quickly.

    Note that there is an F-5XZ, which has the exact same look, and is waxwear. But it DOES NOT have the bottom door, so you can’t create this system with that bag (why, Domke, why?).

  61. This bag looks great and I really enjoyed your review. I have read another review that said that the oils in the bag material rub off on items in the pockets; specifically complaining about the rubberized ipad case. Have you noticed this or had a this problem?

  62. [...] F-803 – it’s a great looking DSLR camera bag so warrants some style points, and over at SteveHuffPhoto.com they show it has a sleeve at the back that will hold an iPad. So what’s the compromise? Well, [...]

  63. Steve, I tried fhe FX803 in a store and got the impression that while an iPad might fit the pocket, it would be very tight and hard to get it in/out (and worse with the iPad in any kind of case or sleeve.) Comment?

    Incidentally, I have been experimenting with using my iPad with an app called ShutterSnitch, a battery-powered router (cheap Aluratek) and an Eye-Fi card in the camera (Micro 4/3 in my case.) Takes up little space, good battery life, and it’s a blast to pull out the iPad when I need to talk about poses or styling with subjects — images appear full screen in about 3 seconds after shooting, ready for group discussion. So I really need a good way to carry the thing that protects it yet makes it easy to pull out!

  64. Ranger 9, the F-803 hold the iPad without any problems or issues. Actually, mine fits very comfortably and is easy to slide in and out. Np problems and actually, with the Apple case it is a perfect fit.

  65. Any problems with wax wearing off onto your clothing, etc.? I love the look of the bag, but am concerned I’d be constantly covered in wax when wearing it over the shoulder.

  66. Seb, nope! My bag is still going strong after using it every day. No wax, nothing. You do not even feel the wax really, it’s just a thin coating for protection of the bag. Great bag!

  67. Nice one Steve, you’ve sold me on it! I just need to work out whether or not to order the 3 pocket interior or not. Could you please tell me if the pockets are velcro adjustable? They look like it from the pictures, but I’d hate to purchase it on a hunch…

  68. One other question. How big are the two inside pockets? Could they each hold a paperback book that’s say 6″x9″ or what size book could they fit? It’s a deal breaker for me when I’m travelling, though I guess the iPad slot gives to access to a huge library….limited only by battery life :)

  69. Do I get a prize for reading ALL the comments??

    Nice write up, I’m a fan of the old style english fishing bags from Brady, they’re what the Billingham bags are styled on I think.

  70. A vintage one I picked up, came with fishing hooks and sinkers floating around in the bottom! I removed the old metal zips from the main compartment and one of the front ones:

    [img]http://sammurphy.net.au/personal/brady1.JPG[/img]

    [img]http://sammurphy.net.au/personal/brady2.JPG[/img]

  71. [...] Zitat von wlaidlaw I am a big fan of the Billingham Leica M case. It is very well made and "matures" well. It is actually only big enough for an M body and three lenses unless they are very small ones. However, you can very easily add on up to 2 AVEA pockets at the sides for extra lenses, which makes for a very flexible package. The front zipped pocket is good for 3 or 4 batteries, cards, filters and an SF24-D flash plus the usual small junk we all carry around. My only beef is that as supplied, the case only has a shoulder strap (albeit an excellent one) and no pick up/carry handle. I have had a local leathersmith add a matching leather handle. I sent a picture to Billingham and they agreed it was a first class improvement but Leica hold the design rights to this case and they are not allowed to alter it – seems silly to me. Picture below, showing case with one of the two AVEA pockets mounted. FYI, the blade on the measuring tape is extended 19cm out of its case, to give an idea of the size. I believe it also comes in black. Wilson That is a good recommendation, but if you don't have the coin for this, Domke is putting out an absolutely fantastic bag for a rangefinder setup. It is the F-803. You can see the great review on the bag from Steve Huff here. [...]

  72. I bought the Domke F-803 on your reccomendation, perfect for the my M9 with one lens attatched and two others with the iPad in the back, a very comfy bag and not too heavy with the gear in, very good wide strap that does not slip off the shouder and a strong carrying handle, I would say its the best bag I have ever owned and feel comfortable with.

    Thanks a bunch

    Barrie

  73. [...] I found my bag! The Domke F-803. | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS [...]

  74. I’ve got a trip planned for Italy sometime in the Fall and I’m concerned about minimizing the “camera bag” look. I used the brown canvas (but not the Rugged Wear) Domke F-5XB on a trip to Spain, France and London, but my camera was the D80 generally with 16-85 mounted and the 35 f/2 ADF for occasional use. The bag is so small that it was severely strained to carry the D80 with 16-85, much less camera body and lens plus the 35. What worked well—for storage in my carry-on backpack for the air travel– was using the two furnished Domke dividers and storing the D80 body with body cap in one compartment, the 16-8 in another and the 35 in the third.
    When I arrived at each destination (flights over and back from the US and rail travel on the Continent and over to London on the Channel Tunnel train (The British don’t cotton much to the “Chunnel” nickname), I mounted my chosen lens for the planned excursion on the D80, fit the camera body and mounted lens in the F-5XB (and it was a fairly tight fit at that, but it was possible to zip the bag with camera/lens combo inside and pull the camera out fairly easily for shooting. I naively locked the unused lens choice in my hotel safe(s) and had no losses there; however, I was told later that that was a risky practice indeed.
    Now I have the D700 and I’ll bring the nice little 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 zoom and my 35, but it clearly does not fit in the F-5XB. Anticipating the security issue and the size problem, I’ve purchased the J-803 camera satchel in the Rugged Wear finish and the D700 with zoom attached and the 35 alongside on the othr side of a divider, but its size (mostly the 13.5” width), its handle, its rather obvious top handle which adds nothing particularly positive to the bag when used on a shoulder, and its open top, i.e., no zipper on the main compartment, seem to make it an awkward bag for travel packing (it takes up more room than I’d like in my backpack and a fairly large working bag for strolling for hours along cobblestone streets and through museums and churches.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a winner of a bag for my use around my own town, especially when I probably have a car nearby most ventures, but I’m attracted to the F-5XZ which has the benefits of the same depth and width as my F-5XB, and is not more than 4” taller. And it really looks even less like a camera bag than the J-803. The only problem seems to be that the D700 with its almost 5” height “bulges out the bag any way the camera is stored and with either lens mounted (not a problem for the body-capped traveling segment, of course). I suspect the bulging, which is not obvious when the camera is stored in the J-803 is due the 803’s greater width which seems to stretch out and minimize the bulge.
    Have I now found the optimum bag for my travel and pretty modest equipment and I’ll just have to live with the bulge or are there physics professors on this forum that can suggest a more efficient way to pack my modest—but not compact—kit, or others who would suggest a better—but not larger—non-camera-bag-appearing alternative. (If I’d known in December of 2010 I would be traveling to Italy this year, I might well have been tempted to just buy the then sale-priced Panny GF1/20mm f/1.7 kit and the EVF) and stick them in one very large pocket.)

  75. This review convinced me to order one. If anyone is curious, My Canon 7D fits nicely in the F-803 with a tripod plate and Tamron 17-50mm with hood attached. There’s still room for my old 58mm in the main compartment and my Rode Stereo Video Mic in the insert. Batteries, charger and filters go in the front pockets. Memory cards in the zipped flap pockets. Bag still looks super slim. Plan on ordering the non-wax version for my Panasonic GH1 kit.

  76. Hey Steve

    Can I use the same bag to put in my leica M9 and as well my 5D MarkII with the 24-105mm lens?. OFcourse not at the same time, one would be on my neck while the other in the bag?.

  77. I use the F-802 since way back. I bought a used F-802 when I worked for a short while in a camera shop in the summer of 1996. After a couple of years the bag found its way to my brother. After some years I started to miss my old bag and ordered a new one.
    When I got my new bag I soon started to miss my old bag even more. It had been out there for years and now the new one really didn’t feel like the “real” thing.

    I phoned my brother up and told asked him if he still had my old bag and since he did he did send it to me, coast to coast. The metal snap hook closure was broken but was easy fixed with parts found in my local iron store.
    Now I have oneDomke F802 Reporter’s Satchel for everyday work wear and tear and one Domke F802 Reporter’s Satchel for my camera set-up…

  78. [...] No rust on D-ring. Padding firm. Product description: F-803 CAMERA SATCHEL/NAVY Review here: I found my bag! The Domke F-803. | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS 3. Domke F-5XB Navy [...]

  79. [...] Urban Disguise won out over a whole long list of bags I was looking at including the Domke f-803 and Think Tanks own Retrospective series of messenger-stype bags for the major reason is the [...]

  80. Great review and it looks like a great city bag in general but too easy to open for pickpockets. t might be the last thing on your mind aside ease of use and asthetics but it happened to me once on a crowded platform train. Make sure it’s got an extra zipper so you can put a tiny lock on the metal tang. Travel insurance is very nice for hardware but what about your photos? Try to get them back on a holiday… As always, over caution is the first line of defence. Steve I’d like to see a review on theft proof camera bags some day. Keep up the good work!

  81. I thought this would be perfect but after going to the local camera store I was dismayed to find that the shape is kept rigid by a plastic insert on the top. This makes it no unlike a briefcase. What I was hoping for was something that conformed to my body like my Domke F-3X but in a more messenger style. The F-5XZ was a little more to my liking, but it still has a rigid plastic insert on the bottom.

    Does the insert begin to warp and mold around your body over time or does it stay rigid?

  82. Curious if those of you with this bag have had it on during rain? I’ve been looking for a small messenger style but they all seem to have the same issue – the fold is open on the sides. This would allow rain to enter. NatGeo has two shoulder bags but nothing in the middle range – either too large or too small, but they both have a zippered liner for rain.

  83. I’ve been using this bag as my “on my body” bag since 2009 and so far so good. My only gripe is the top panel rigid piece is starting to pierce through the canvas in one spot, so I’ll have to patch it as the plastic pokes, but it has been great and very comfortable to wear with the USPS style strap pad.

    Going to add a drop-in insert to the bag next to be able to quickly swap out from DSLR kit to rangefinder kit next.

    I can squeeze an 11″ macbook air in the inside of the bag, but it does not fit on the outside back panel unless you really force it and/or turn it sideways.

  84. I have this bag, and have had for two or three years. As a severe diabetic I need to carry insulin and all the requisite testing/injection equipment sweets and sugar, front pockets are great for that, plus my mobile phone. In addition the back pocket carries my wallet and keys, no danger of losing them. Inside is great for the camera equipment (Leica or Fuji X-Pro and two lenses). Just about to put it in the washing machine, it will emerge like new!!!

    • Sorry, I should have said. I have the canvas bag and it has been my constant companion for five years or so years. It is still as new, and it WAS perfect when it came out of the washing machine!

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