Saturday, January 05, 2008


Review: Domke F-5XB Camera Bag

This camera bag will hold one or two rangefinder bodies (depending on lens and other stuff), or a DSLR with kit lens and not much else. It has a top zipper opening, and also a wrap around messenger style bag flap with velcro, and a side outside pocket.

The dimensions are about 11" x 5" x 7" and the material is heavy canvas with metal clips, and a shoulder strap with grip texture on one side.

The bag is made by Tamron Domke, and mine, purchased sometime in 2006, is made in the US. The bag sells for around $60 at photo stores or Amazon and they have larger and smaller bags, but not in this same exact configuration. I've seen sales on them for about $40, and they come in a few other colors besides black.

Previously I've used this bag with two Leica M bodies, usually one without a lens, and one with a lens mounted. In this configuration, there is not much room for much else besides either a small lens or two, and a handful of film.

In the photo here, I have a Leica M6 with 35/2 Summicron ASPH attached in the middle (an M-Rokkor 40/2 , or Summicron 35 pre-asph will be thinner by ~2cm or so) and a 75/1.4 on the right, it its case. On the left is a phone, flash unit (Hexar AF flash in case), about 3 film canisters, and the Cron rectangular hood. In the side slip pocket is an SD card, some BART cards, and spare batteries for the M6.

I can pretty much carry the bag all the time, even with additional carry-on bags, and it can easily fit upright under an airline seat in front of you. It can also fit in a medium size notebook size backpack for easy toting and protection.

What I don't like about this bag is that while the canvas is thick and heavy, and the bottom has some kind of sturdy fiber board allowing it to sit upright easily, is there is little padding, so if there's a chance it is going to get bounced around, you really need to add some padding at the bottom and sides.

With one small lens attached, it's quick and easy to keep on your shoulder and slide the camera out quickly, but when a large lens is attached, I remove one of the two included dividers, and use the bag as more of a storage bag and rest the back of the camera body on the bottom with some extra padding under it, and zip it up with extra padding about the mounted lens. This still allows for another lens or two, and some film to fit.

The flap and zipper securely keep everything wrapped up, but the large YKK plastic zipper has to be held open to ensure nothing gets scratched, so lens should always be capped if it's going to be pulled in and out frequently. Also, unlike my Domke J803 bag, this one could use a top handle. When carrying in and out of the car from the passenger seat, I don't grab the strap as it's too long, but have to grab the side tabs or ring. I'm not sure how to solve this, as a top handle would make the bag look ugly. Overall I like this bag a lot, and would highly recommend checking it out.
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Nice review, Ted. How about a picture of you with the bag on your shoulder so we can see how it looks?

Hi Ted, Nice review. How about posting a picture of you with the bag on your shoulder so we can see what it looks like overall?



Need I say more?

Frank Blau
Hey Frank, Nice gallery! What else are you up to these days? Give me a call sometime and let's catch up!
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