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View Full Version : Just stop with the Velcro and stiffening boards, please


culprit
04-01-2009, 12:29 PM
The F-5XB and F803 are my two favorite bags. However, since I wore out my originals I haven't replaced them and now use bags from a competing manufacturer.

Why?

On the F-5XB: I used to grab that little bag when I wanted to go light and discrete with my little rangefinder. However it was a bit hard to be discreet when there was a giant RRRRIIIIPPPPP every time I needed to take my camera out. I band-aided the problem by taking an awl to the bag and just tearing the Velcro out. Please use your trademark metal buckle or something else to close the flap. The Velcro has got to go. After the bag wore out, I went out shopping for a new one... only to find that the "new" F-5XB has a hard board sewn into the bottom of the bag that cannot be removed. See, the whole selling point of the Domke is the minimal padding, enabling the bag to mold to the photographer's body, as opposed to the stiff boxy designs of your competitors. Well, that's sort of negated when the edge of a hard, non-removable board is whacking against my hip bone with every step I take.

On the F803: Same issue as the "new" bottom board I mentioned earlier - only this time it's the stiffening bar across the top of the bag. Why is it there? There is no messenger bag made that has a hard plastic bar sewn into the top of it. All it does is again, prevent the bag from molding comfortably against my body, instead constantly reminding me that it's there by smacking me with every step I take. Thankfully, after a year or so the bar wore its own hole through the fabric from the constant smacking, so I pulled it out and threw it away, and had a shoe repair shop close the hole.

Fix these problems please.

admin
04-03-2009, 01:41 PM
We hear you and we are working on some new styles that solve your issues.

brandons
04-21-2009, 07:51 AM
I have seen some people use adhesive velcro strips to silence this. Just put the strip on to the velcro part of the flap, but don't take the backing off.

Or just cover the velcro with gaffer's tape, which won't leave much (if any) residue.

Inclemency
04-26-2009, 10:18 AM
I found velcro strips at a fabric store that have no adhesive backing. I tried two different ways of using the velcro on the bag....

First I got two different widths of velcro, and use one narrow strip and one wider strip to cover the velcro on my bag, this way if I want all the velcro showing I'll take off both strips (since no adhesive, they roll up into a nothing size).

If I want just a thin strip of velcro showing I'll use the wider velcro, that leaves only a thin strip on the bag showing. If I want a wider strip of velcro showing, I'll use the narrow strip on it.

I also got a third strip the size of the velcro on the bag. I'll attach it to the velcro on the bag either covering it all, or I'll offset it a bit to leave velcro showing on the bag so it's not a giant 'riiiiiiip'. For me, I like the two strips but the one does work.

It's just nice that there's no adhesive on the velcro.

Jon
04-26-2009, 04:03 PM
Frankly, I wouldn't want to have my F-802 without the top stiffener. I often carry it by the handle and without the stiffener, it'd sag badly; I've had messenger bags without stiffeners there and this has been a problem.

culprit
04-28-2009, 12:05 PM
Frankly, I wouldn't want to have my F-802 without the top stiffener. I often carry it by the handle and without the stiffener, it'd sag badly; I've had messenger bags without stiffeners there and this has been a problem.

And frankly, most people don't carry messenger bags by the handle, because messenger bags were originally designed for (gasp) bicycle messengers who need both hands on their bike handles. If carrying by the handle is what you normally do, then what you need is a briefcase.

Besides, if you're carrying the bag by the handle then you're not photographing. Domkes are working photographers' bags, which means bag over the shoulder, camera in both hands. The handle is there for convenience, to pick the bag up before slinging it over the shoulder.

My point stands, because the exception does not make the rule.

Andrea
04-28-2009, 01:15 PM
Actually, I agree with both of you, however, almost all Domke bags come with both a shoulder strap and a top handle. We'd have to hear from Jim as to why he decided to put both, but I have heard from some user that shoot in some not so safe environments, that being able to grab that handle and run has come in very handy.

Jon
04-28-2009, 02:03 PM
It's also much more useful to hand carry when going through airports or down narrow aisles, like on mass transit (bus, train, plane). My F802 fits quite conformally when slung over the shoulder yet the plastic insert gives it just enough rigidity that when I need to hand-carry it I can without it flopping all over the place.

culprit
04-29-2009, 12:38 AM
Actually, I agree with both of you, however, almost all Domke bags come with both a shoulder strap and a top handle. We'd have to hear from Jim as to why he decided to put both, but I have heard from some user that shoot in some not so safe environments, that being able to grab that handle and run has come in very handy.

I think you've misunderstood. I am not complaining about the presence of a handle. I think having a handle is a good thing.

My problem is with the plastic stiffening bar that is sewn into the top of the F-803. It makes the bag very uncomfortable in its intended use, which is slung over the shoulder and resting against the hip or small of the back, while photographing with both hands. Maybe I'm skinnier than average, but that bar HURTS.

Jon is arguing in favor of the stiffening bar from the standpoint of using the bag as a briefcase. Well then... buy a briefcase; there are more than plenty on the market. Let us working photographers have our bags.

Right now I and most photographers I know who used to own an F-803 are using military surplus bags with Tenba inserts. These are very comfortable but the construction quality and longevity compared to Domke leaves much to be desired. I'm hoping the new bags mentioned in the new bag style for 2009 (http://www.tiffen.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65) thread don't have excessive stiffening.

Jon
04-29-2009, 11:23 AM
I'm saying that the plastic strip on the F802 doesn't interfere in the least with the bag's function as a shoulder bag, but its absence would seriously impede your ability to comfortably carry it by the handle when necessary, especially when laded. And yes, I do use my F802 as my shooter's bag quite a bit; much more than I hand carry it.

culprit
04-30-2009, 05:15 PM
And I'm saying that it does interfere, and it goes completely against the whole point of Domkes which are bags that are supposed to mold against your body. Maybe your body has a geometrically-flat surface that you rest your bag against, Jon, but mine doesn't, and neither does any other normal human body I've ever seen.

As a photographer, I carry my shoulder bag by the handle so rarely that common sense would dictate that this shoulder bag should be designed with its most common method of use in mind - over the shoulder. I couldn't care less if my ability to carry it by the handle is "serious impeded" because I hardly ever use it that way.

If you claim "I do use my F802 as my shooter's bag quite a bit; much more than I hand carry it" then why are you arguing with me? You might as well recommend a 4x5 camera to someone who shoots action 99% of the time and landscape 1%. It seems to me like you're arguing just for the sake of arguing, even though your standpoint doesn't make an ounce of sense.

Jon
04-30-2009, 07:30 PM
Just presenting the other side. Your absolutes may apply for you, but not for thousands of other Domke users. I know many people who love their F-802 bags, plastic reinforcing strip and all; you're the only person I've heard voice any objection other than about the lack of padding (which I also view as a plus). And, like me, they're happy to recommend the bag, because it works. It makes the bag versatile and maneuverable, which is what we need going down narrow aisles, or flipping on and off of inspection tables, in our normal haunts.

culprit
08-11-2009, 03:40 PM
Honestly, Jon, you remind me of the Leica M8 paraders who argue that the camera is "fine" because the excessive IR sensitivity "feature" is great for IR photography. Never mind, of course, that most people forking over $5k for the camera aren't exactly intending to use it for IR.

There are plenty of people complaining about Domkes, you just have to take off the rose colored glasses for a second. On one forum alone (L Camera Forum), which I can't link due to the 10-post antispam rule, just do a search for "Domke" and you'll find things like (bold edits mine):

"I recommend a bag called [name and model withheld]; a Domke F-803 clone but better. The Domke is uncomfortable to wear with a stiff canvas and a hard top. This bag is the same design, nice and soft and much better inserts."

"With a small bit of sewing/craft skill and a seam ripper or x-acto knife you can easily remove the hard part of the F-803. I thought the same thing as you about it until I ripped the plastic out of it..."

"I think I'll stick with the knock-off bag..."

"Another vote for the [name and model withheld] here. I have both [name and model withheld] and Domke bags, early and late. The [name and model withheld] is as well-made as Domke bags used to be."

"The other comment I'd make is about [name and model withheld]. It is not a "Domke ripoff" or "Domke clone". It is an exact copy of a Domke bag - I have the one that looks like a F803 - but crucially, made like they used to be. I have an older F2x (I think) that is tough as old boots and made of stout canvas. I also have much more recent F2, and it is considerably more flimsy. The [name and model withheld] is made like the Domkes of old - heavy duty canvas and indestructable metal fittings. [name and model withheld] started making the bags when Domke went out of business. They breached no copyright laws in doing so, and I would buy a [name and model withheld] over a Domke anytime."

If people are saying these things about COUNTERFEIT bags, then Tiffen/Domke would do well to wake up and listen.

culprit
08-30-2009, 07:13 PM
photo.net/equipment/bags/small-bags

"The clone of the Domke F-803 is a better bag in every respect. Better strap, canvas, stitching, insert and [B]best of all it doesn't have that pesky plastic insert under the top handle that makes the F-803 so very uncomfortable. It is also less than 1/2 the price..." (Peter N.)

coaxord09
11-26-2009, 12:28 PM
It is better to give than to receive So the saying goes.

As long as we give responsible and accurate information, that should be enough, right ?

Cheers