Domke F-5XB camera bag and modifications

Further to my last post about the purchase of a new camera bag to house my Fuji X-E2, the new bag duly arrived courtesy of Amazon. As with all Domke bags it looks as though it’s built to last and the quality is just as it should be.

 

Domke F-5XB
Domke F-5XB

As I stated yesterday, the bag is black apart from a very visible red badge sewn into the outside of the flap. The excellent shoulder strap has two clasps which fasten onto the strong loops that are sewn on to either side of the bag. The base of the bag has some kind of stiffener sewn into it, as it is quite rigid.

 

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Pulling back the flap to open the bag, the first thing that you will notice is the grip and noise of the two patches of Velcro that hold the flap closed. The hoop side of the velcro is on the front of the bag, whilst the ‘smooth’ velcro is sewn under the main flap. In the image above you can see the velcro on the front of the large pocket.

The inside of the bag is different to my F6 in that it has a (very) lightly padded container sewn into the main bag structure (the F6 has no padding at all). There are also two Velcro fastened inserts which can be moved around the inside of the container to facilitate placement of equipment to suit the user. I am quite happy with the amount of padding in the bag. I don’t want a bag to stand out from my hips, I like them to form themselves around me which is why I chose the lightly ‘armoured’ Domke canvas bags.

 

F-5XB open
F-5XB open

The interior of the bag is accessed by the very strong looking zip. The picture above shows my X-E2 with 18-55mm f/2.8 – 4 zoom lens fitted in the central main compartment and my 35mm f/2 lens slipped into the bag at the right-hand side. There is still some room on the other side of the camera for other bits of pieces. On the front of the bag there is also a full length pocket in which you can put spare batteries etc. You can also see the strip of smooth velcro at the top of the inside of the flap.

 

F-5XB bag  modified
F-5XB bag modified

My first job with the bag was to remove the obtrusive red Domke label. This I did quite easily with a seam-puller from my wife’s sewing box. The next step was to remove the two patches of hoop-side Velcro on the front of the long pocket. Velcro is just too noisy to put on the main flap of a camera bag. Every time you open it you get the loud crrruuunch sound. I removed these with the seam-puller again, but left the smooth panel of Velcro on the underside of the flap as there was no need to take it off with the hoop side pieces removed. I then had to ensure I could close the flap so I found a 25mm side release buckle and two lengths of 25mm webbing. The female buckle part, I sewed on to the main part of the bag at the front near the bottom, whilst the male clasp part I sewed to the main flap.

 

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The image above shows the bag with the two hoop-side panels of the Velcro removed from the front of the pocket, you can just see the needle holes from where they were removed.

I’m now looking forward to using the bag.

 

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New Camera Bag

There is one thing on this blog that I haven’t talked about in a long while and that’s camera bags. I always use a bag to carry my gear, although I never carry an excessive amount around. I tailor the gear I carry to the days shoot. As a result I don’t need to carry huge bags. I also have to say at this point I am not a fan of the heavily padded bags that most manufacturers make. There is an amusing post here from photographer Kirk Tuck about canvas bags (in particular Domke) and the padded things that a lot of people use.

I love the comment from Kirk, “In term of coolness the giant, semi-rigid, b-nylon bags are the comb-overs of camera bags.”

I think every photographer has several bags. They are just something that we accumulate. We’ve decided that we don’t need another camera or lens yet so what new camera gear can we get. That’s right – a camera bag.

I have been carrying my Nikon gear around in a converted Barbour Tarras bag, which has been brilliant. It is waxed so it is waterproof, it has got two large clip pockets at the front, and a flap which fastens down with straps. I use an insert from a cheap Crafter camera bag in the Barbour to give a little bit of protection. It is a great bag, very strong and carries everything I need on a days shooting.

barbour tarras
Barbour Tarras Bag

 

But I now have the Fujifilm X-E2, and carrying my D800 in the Barbour is one thing, but the little X-E2 would get lost in it and I would be carrying around extra storage for no reason.

I have been using a leather man bag I use for work to also carry the X-E2 around since I got it. However it is a little narrow, and coming back from a shoot and looking at my photos to find over 100 very dark shots taken inside the bag because the sides were pressing on the shutter during the day has made me think it was time to look at a proper bag for it.

I was adamant I didn’t want a large bag as I was going to use it as my walk-around bag whilst on holiday with my wife, but it also had to carry odds and ends as well as perhaps a small bottle of water.

Once I started looking, it became clear that I was looking more at Domke bags rather than any other make. I already have one, an ‘F6- a little bit smaller bag’, in black which I love. It was my main bag before the Barbour and is now getting to look nice and worn in.

F6
Domke F-6 – A Little Bit Smaller Bag

 

So I began to look closer at Domke bags and in the end I decided on the F-5XB. Designed for mirrorless or small cameras, the size is ideal. It’s made of the same hardwearing heavy canvas that my F6 is and will last a long time. It has a slightly padded interior with compartment separators and the usual excellent Domke non-slip shoulder strap.

F5
Domke F-5XB

 

I then hummed and haa’d about the colour; olive, sand, black, black rugged-wear or brown rugged-wear? In the end I decided to go with plain black. I substantiated this choice because I still wanted the bag to look fairly smart as I walk around and black will also match the other Domke I have, the F6-a little bit smaller bag.

 

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