Padding in Domke J-Series Bags for Bulky 35mm Gear?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, May 2, 2010.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I have two Domke F-6 bags, and they suit my 35mm equipment very well. I like the rather unique layout, as I am able fit two motor-driven bodies--one on each side--without any problem. The "in and out" aspect of their design is perfect for me. My only complaint is that the F-6 lacks padding, especially on the sides. My Nikon F3s are farily bulky and heavy, and thus I would like more protection. When I put the bag down, I sometimes forget that there is not much padding, and therefore I often cringe at the resulting "clunk." The F-6 needs to be put down gently, not quickly. Would a Domke J-2 offer more padding and protection for my gear? The J-series bags appear to have better padding, but I am not sure how much better it is. I would probably opt for the ballistic version.
     
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Minimal padding was the essence of the original Domke ethos, so it should come as no surprise. The bags are made to protect cameras during the course of everyday use. They aren't suitable for baggage-handler treatment, or falling off the roof of your car.

    But for a working bag to get in and out of easily as you shoot, they are unsurpassed. I should know; I have three! :smile:
     
  3. cysewski

    cysewski Member

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    I have found that putting another camera bag, or a bag insert in a Domke bag works well. I have a Lowepro Stealth insert that works well. If you have many bags, like most of us do, try to mix and match.
     
  4. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    i know, you probably won't sleep all night after you read this but... try to love the clunk! in a quest for even more clunk i removed all the padding i could find in my domkes. i never looked back. and i'm talking motorized F2 pillboxes here

    :cool:

    ...oh, wait, you mean you're worried about all the café tables you'll break with the bag, right? forget everything i said
     
  5. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    Some interesting responses here :smile:

    Have any of your camera bodies or lenses ever suffered any damage as a result of the lack of padding in the Domke?

    I know that LowePro makes a fine bag, but I just cannot bring myself to buy a Chinese-made camera bag. They are expensive bags, and with their slave-wage Chinese labor, I am sure LowePro (and many others) are laughing all the way to the bank.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2010
  6. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    I have several Domkes; an F1X (my very first camera bag), an F804, and three F3X. I have never suffered any kind of damage using an unpadded Domke, but then I do not mistreat my gear. (I also have two Tamracs and three Billinghams). I also use a Filson field bag for my Nikon F4, with a Tenba Wedding insert for padding. The only time I have ever damaged photo gear was when I accidentally swept a camera (with lens mounted) off the end of my bed; it landed on its back, and the mount ring on the lens came loose.
     
  7. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    ah, lowepro, yaaaaa... they did make one good bag for a short while, the stealth backpack. zero padding. impossible to rip. i got me two before they discontinued it. foam must have astronomical profit margins--otherwise, why bother to convince millions of hominum (allegedly) sapientium that it's good for them in any way...
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Get a Billingham bag, they are hand crafted in Britain and the best quality bags I've ever seen, and easiest to work out of http://www.billingham.co.uk/acatalog/5_Series_Bags.html I've had two a 335 that's ideal for 35mm SLR gear and a 550 for my medium format stuff for nearly twenty years, and lugged them all over The World, they both still look brand new, which is more than I can say for myself.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2010
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I've got an F2 & added some foam from an exercise mat on the bottom. about 3/8" thick.
     
  10. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I appreciate all the advice, especially in regard to Billlingham. I have considered these bags in the past, but the price has kept me at bay. They seem very nice, indeed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2010
  11. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Most outfitters/camping supplies carry a foam sheet that can be placed in a sleeping bag. It's about 3/8ths of an inch thick and can be cut to fit. It also is not expensive. I have used it in small duffel bags to protect cameras effectively.
     
  12. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Yep, closed cell foam sleeping mats are perfect to craft your own pads.
    They come in several thicknesses. Don't take up mositure. And are (relatively) cheap.

    I have cut up a few of those too to create custom inserts for various bags and packs. Use pads to put between things stacked in too-deep compartments in regular photo bags too.
    Well worth considering if you want to add some padding to a unpadded bag.
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Especially cheap if you buy them at a second hand store, $2-$5ea. around here.
    More at a military surplus store $10-$20.
    I owned a Billingham once & it was a nice bag but not $200 nice. I know! It's a hobby, spoil yourself.
     
  14. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    They have always been expensive even in the U.K when I bought mine about twenty years ago, but you only buy them once in a lifetime. I understand Billingham's biggest markets for their bags are the USA, and Japan where they change hands for big money .