review

Domke F-2 RuggedWear photojournalist camera bag

Monday, October 07, 2019

The best way to photograph action  is up close and personal with a bag that will let you replace lenses on the fly while keeping your eyes on the subject.
Backpacks and sling packs are popular camera bag choices but the classic "camera bag" with a shoulder strap is the only camera bag style that will let you work out of the bag, literally, on the run.
Photojournalists and press photographers have been using the classic style camera bag since, at least, the 1960s when news photographers at the time used English style fly fishing bags to store their camera equipment.
The utilitarian design of the English fishing bag style soon caught on and immortalized ever since in camera bags like the Domke F-2, which is designed to fit two digital single-lens reflex camera (dslr) bodies and up to five camera 300mm lenses so, there is plenty of space for a long zoom camera and short zoom camera with two or three other lenses.
As well as being able to carry your main camera setup, the Domke F-2 camera has ample space to store accessories such as an on-camera flash, powerbank, polarizing filters, memory card holder, extra batteries and even a camera sensor cleaner kit. There is no space for a full size tripod or laptop but you can fit a small tripod and/or an iPad size tablet.
Designed for run-and-gun shooting, the Domke F-2 main camera compartment has no zips. In fact, there is only one YKK zip, which is located horizontally on the inside of the fold over lid of the main camera compartment.
The fold over lid zip compartment comes useful for storing valuables like a smartphone, wallet, keys, etc. On either side of the inner side of the fold over lid, there are two adjustable cotton webbing straps with steel snap hooks to clip on to the d-rings attached to the body of the bag.
The clasp of the snap hooks have very strong resistance so, they will not come undone easily and because they're made of metal, stepping on them won't crash them like it would a plastic clasp.
A short horizontal velcro hook strip is also incorporated in between these webbing straps to help keep the fold over lid tightly down to secure the contents inside the main compartment.
The velcro loop strip section of the lid is located on the body of the bag (the front vertical strips that you see on the picture above).
Velcro hook and loop strips are also used to fasten the side pockets.
The Domke F-2 contains mostly open access compartments to quickly and easily reach gear. There are two small open pockets on the front of the bag and one large open access pocket on the back of the bag, which is large enough to store a smartphone style tripod.
Looking closely at the stitching, the short webbing straps on the inner side of the fold over lid seem to be glued as there are no stitching marks on the other side. The d-ring webbing straps are properly sewn into the bag. The grab handle strap snap hooks also attach to the same large d-rings.
The Domke F-2 strap adjuster twin buckles and large d-rings are made of hard plastic. The shoulder strap is 2 inches wide and made of thick cotton webbing with a grippy texture inside it to prevent the shoulder strap slipping off your shoulder.
The 5ft long shoulder strap integrates steel snap hook clasps to clip on to the steel d-rings; hence the straps can be detached from the bag.
There is a combination of single and double stitching done to the Domke F-2 bag that should make the bag last a long time.
A section of cotton webbing strap can be seen sewn onto the bottom of the Domke F-2 bag, which is a continuation of the shoulder strap sewn from the large d-rings continuously around the bag via the side pockets.
Having the shoulder strap webbing sewn along the outside of the bag not only makes the shoulder strap more secure but, it also provides rigidity and surface protection when placing the bag on the floor.
Speaking of rigidity, the inner base of the Domke F-2 also features a removable stiffener that is lined with military green fabric. The stiffener further strengthens and stabilizes the base of the Domke F-2 camera bag.
The military green fabric also lines the removable four-compartment divider, which has two velcro hook strips on either side for attaching the divider to the long, horizontal velcro loop strips sewn to the body of the bag so, you can position the divider anywhere inside the bag.
The Domke F-2 measures approximately 43 cm long (17-inches), 22 cm tall (9 inches), 20cm wide (8 inches) and weighs 1.4 kg when empty.
The Domke F-2 bag isn't constructed with foam padding all-around but it integrates a detachable foam-padded pouch divider insert with four sizable compartments.
removable foam padding
While the Domke F-2 isn't designed with clever compartments or foam padding, the slimline and softness of the bag allows it to hug your hip, increasing comfort greatly so, you can move more easily through crowds and doorways while transporting your gear.
There is an open pocket on the back of the Domke F-2 bag, which measure 11 inches long and 8 tall inches tall so, it's big enough to hold an iPad.
The Domke F-2 is made with cotton canvas fabric material that is coated with wax oil from factory so, the F2 bag will feel somewhat oily to the touch but the feeling of oiliness quickly subsides after a few days of the bag being exposed to the elements.
A tin of solvent-free wax is included to recondition/recoat the bag after washing it by hand in a bucket of warm water. You don't have to reapply the wax if you don't want to but, it's worth noting that natural canvas is not waterproof.
The pictured Domke F-2 bag is naturally brown in color but because of the special wax coatings applied to the bag, it gives the F2 bag a patina finish similar to the natural patina finish the statue of liberty had back in the 1880s.
Aside from the brown patina and desert sand color scheme, the F-2 camera bag is also available in military green and a limited edition F-2 camouflage bag that is sold with a unique camo pattern that will be different from another F-2 camo bag. A percentage from the sales of the limited edition F-2 camo bag will be donated to multiple Veteran based charities.
The Domke F-2 camera bag also comes with a 2 year warranty provided by Tiffen. You can register the Domke F-2 online, which is a good idea in case you misplace the purchase receipt. A smaller, satchel version of the F-2 bag can be found in the F-5XB bag.

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