Domke F-803 Bag opinions
I'm buying one of these bags (satchel style bag) without ever having used it due to a great deal on Amazon. I'm debating buying a second as I'm not sure the price will remain as low as it is now: the bags are 80.00 with free shipping on Amazon and sell for 105.00 at b&h with not so free shipping (msrp is 160.00).
I'll fill them with 35mm slr w/2-4 lenses or a mamiya 6 with up to 3 lenses or for lugging extra crap like film holders, lenses etc.. when shooting 4x5. They seem perfect and the price is far less than I was going to be paying at b&h or locally for a crumpler (either the 6 or 7 million dollar home).
Can anyone give me there thoughts on the Domke?
I've been using a very similar Tenba P211 since 1983 and it's my favorite bag if I'm not carrying a huge load. It's unobtrusive, lies flat against the body, and isn't wide enough to bump into surrounding objects in tight quarters like wider bags do. It's also very easy to work out of with the flap folded out of the way.
I've considered buying the Domke, but my Tenba isn't anywhere near worn out yet. Tenba doesn't make a bag of this style any more, so I'd encourage you to go for the Domke. My son and wife have Crumplers, not the same as the 6-7 million dollar homes, but they feel more like big wads of padding with little slots for items and the Domke seems more like a working bag. I think you'd find it less bulky and perhaps easier to work from.
I may need to be more explicit about one point. The Domke will wrap around your body to some degree, a bit of give allowed by the material, construction, and amount of padding. I'd expect the Crumpler to be stiffer and hold itself more in line along the length of the bag because of construction and the amount of padding. That makes the difference in bulk a bit greater than you might otherwise expect.
I use a Domke 803 for carrying my rangefinder kit and like it a lot. I usually carry 1 camera and 3 lenses in the main compartment, although there is room for more. Film and sundries go in the pockets, the back pocket is good for papers, etc. As Lee said, the shape is easy to carry as it doesn't stick out from your body as more traditionally shaped bags do. I have tried several other brands of bags and I always came back to the Domke, so it has finally occurred to me to stop searching for the perfect bag as this one is pretty close.
I've been using one of the F-803 camera satchels since they came out and it's a very nice bag. It is a brief-type bag, so make sure your equipment will fit without having to jam it in. I used it for years with a medium-sized 35mm SLR and a couple lenses, and I've also used it with a Hasselblad 501CM with a single lens + film mags. If you're thinking about a chunky SLR and 3-4 lenses--this isn't the right bag. It's very stealthy and comfortable to carry. These days, I have mine loaded with a Zeroimage 4x5 pinhole camera, 5-6 film holders, light meter, and mini-tripod--very nice for walking around the city.
I have had the black Nylon J model for about 8 years and it is by far my favorite. Doesn't shout "cameras!"
I have carried a Rolleiflex, 120 folder and a small SLR in the bag with no problems other than the weight on my shoulder. You will most likely want a pad for the shoulder strap.
I'm partial to Timbuk2 messenger bags. They are strong, open wide, and they resist water very well. I've owned a few Domke bags, but i ended up selling them.