he Domke F2 'Shooters bag' has been one of the world's most popular pro camera bags since US photo-journalist Jim Domke invented it...
The Domke F2 ‘Shooters bag’ has been one of the world’s most popular pro camera bags since US photo-journalist Jim Domke invented it in 1976 as an alternative to the bulky, heavily padded models that still proliferate today. Although padding does aid protection, it makes bags heavy, stiff and unyielding, reduces their capacity and makes the contents more difficult to get at in a hurry. Domke’s canvas bags are soft and light, mould around your body for comfort, and are designed to enable quick access to gear without removing the bag from your shoulder.
Inside, a removable four-compartment padded insert holds and protects the lenses/flash and can be positioned in the middle or at one end of the bag, while a body and lens, or two bodies, fit in the remaining cavity or cavities. A variety of other optional inserts can be added or substituted as required.
While the F2 bag itself hasn’t changed, for a small premium it’s now available in an optional new fabric, Waxwear – a brown, cotton canvas impregnated with wax. This not only provides weather-proofing but gives the bags a ready-made distressed, weathered look. (They give you a spare can of wax, too.)
The US marketing poster shows the F2 Waxwear bag next to a bullwhip and fedora, and this does indeed look like a bag that Indiana Jones might use. Tastes in bags are subjective and you’ll either like this bag or you won’t. Philosophically it’s the polar opposite of a modern urban brand such as Crumpler or the rigid, shell-like design of some Kata bags.
Available from www.tiffen.com
Personally I love it. I love the look and the utility of it and also the fact it weighs just 1.4kg when empty. For an average kit of one to two bodies and three to five lenses it’s the ideal size. At £200 it isn’t cheap, but having proven its ability to withstand years of professional use it should last a lifetime. Now, where’s my bullwhip?