A&P Review: Domke F-804 Super Satchel

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Jonny Chimpo, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    I should call this "Yet another 7 out of 10 camera bag review" :hs:

    I've been looking for a comfortable satchel style camera back for some time, and after looking at (I think) every bag available, I settled on a Domke F-804 for it's flexibility, comfort and durability. The satchel was $109.95 from B&H and I added a FA-230 insert ($23.95) and a FA-031 shoulder pad ($12.95). Total is $146.85

    Buy link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/16039-REG/Domke_701_84B_F804_Super_Satchel_Black_.html

    [​IMG]

    I'll get the cliff notes out first:

    Pros:
    Awesome construction (I've owned Domke bags before and they are nearly indestructible)
    Plenty of room
    Flexible configuration
    Seven pockets total
    Inexpensive
    Light weight
    Extraordinarily comfortable for a shoulder bag
    Can be used open for shooting on the move

    Cons:
    Doesn't comfortably hold a 40D with attached grip
    Lens insert pockets are far too tight
    Dividers in lens insert are sewn in place
    No pass-though zippers for main compartment or front flap pockets
    "Black hole" effect since the interior is all darker colors
    Uncomfortable hand strap

    The bag is constructed of heavyweight waterproofed canvas which allows the bag to conform to the wearers hip. Thanks to this construction, the bag is stupid comfortable to wear and doesn't get in the way like many large, rigid bags tend to do. The bag doesn't include any padded inserts, meaning you'll need to buy inserts to tailor the bag to your gear. However, there's ample room to do configure the bag for most moderately sized SLR systems. The interior dimensions are 15 x 6.5 x 12.5".

    [​IMG]

    There are seven pockets total, two small pockets on the front flap for cell phone, filters or other small items. Under the flap are two large pockets with velcro closure flaps. Each of these pockets could easily hold a pair of large flashes. Behind these pockets are the main compartment and a slash pocket which is large enough to hold a 13" laptop such as a MacBook. Larger laptops will not in the slash pocket.

    [​IMG]

    On the rear of the bag is a another slash pocket large enough for a pad of paper and some file folders, and a pass through pocket to slip over a rolling luggage handle. The bag comes with a shoulder strap that has rubber woven through it (two stripes) to provide a non slip grip and a rather uncomfortable strap handle to carry the bag with when it isn't on your shoulder.

    I added the optional post office shoulder pad which is a large wedge shaped pad of soft silicon that attached to the main strap with velcro. This pad not only levels the load on your shoulder so that the strap doesn't dig in, it also ensures that the bag wont slip around. The postal pad helps make this bag one of the most comfortable I've ever worn.

    [​IMG]

    There are also a pair of D rings on the rear of the bag which are used to attach the optional FA-100 backpack harness.

    Inside the massive main compartment, there is padding top and bottom, but not on the walls. On the front and rear walls are velcro strips used to attach the padded insert buckets. Domke bags use a system of various inserts to configure a bag to your camera system. The inserts are padded from top to bottom and the three compartment insert is quite deep, providing full top to bottom protection for lenses. The real downside here is that the dividers are sewn from top to bottom, limiting the flexibility of the compartments.

    I also found that the compartments are way too tight and I can't fit lenses with their hoods attached in them. In fact they are tight enough that extracting a chubby lens like a 28-70 f/2.8 is a little difficult. The insert is a dark green color contributing to the "black hole" effect of the deep main compartment.

    [​IMG]

    The bag is wider at the bottom that at the top, but the inserts are the same width top to bottom. This makes a rather large bit of unused space at the bottom of the bag. Overall, the insert really falls short of the mark and makes the total configuration less useful than it would be with a better insert.

    The bag is capable of holding a huge quantity of gear and remains comfortable even with a body, flash and five lenses but space utilization could easily be improved. (I wish Domke would read this) Short of Domke improving the 3 pocket insert designed for this bag, this bag should easily accomodate other Domke inserts, or inserts from Billingham or Tenba.

    As it is, I was able to fit all this crap in it (40D, grip and 28-70 not shown) with plenty of room left over:

    [​IMG]

    Overall, I'm relatively happy with the bag and it serves the purpose I bought it for (lighter, walk around bag) but I still won't be giving up my larger Tenba shoulder bag anytime soon.



    :wavey: That's my public service post for the year.
     
  2. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    Wait..how were you able to fit the 40d with grip in there with those lenses?

    Doesn't look like there is any room. :dunno:
     
  3. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    I need to get a bigger bag and would love a satchel bag...This review leaves a meh taste in my mouth though..looks great..but I dunno. :o
     
  4. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    Wait..why did you get the 3 pocket insert?

    Why not the individual ones?
     
  5. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    Nevermind I can't read.
     
  6. Redliner7

    Redliner7 New Member

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    jeezus. Can't you just edit one post instead of making 5 million?? :hsugh:
     
  7. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    That's why I posted it. The bag definitely isn't for everyone (might not even be for me :o ). I've been on a quest for a comfortable walk around bag for over a year but I still haven't found the perfect bag.

    The real let down with this bag is the insert. Frankly the insert blows and makes an otherwise awesome bag pretty meh-tacular. :hs:

    As for fitting the 40D, I leave the thrifty fifty on it and it lays on top of the other lenses, face down. It works but it's rather bulky.
     
  8. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    Ugh I don't like that at all.

    Why is it so hard to find a good satchel bag? :hsd:
     
  9. Meat Popsicle

    Meat Popsicle What's that smell? OT Supporter

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    How else am I going to get to 70k posts? :ugh:
     
  10. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    Because so few are made. Backpacks are all the rage for walkaround use, but frankly I hate them since you have to take a backpack off everytime you need something.
     
  11. GregFarz78

    GregFarz78 New Member

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    I'm having a hard time finding a good walk around bag too, I can't bring myself to spend $100+ on a bag that isnt exactly what I want. I'll probably go the DIY route, find a cheap shoulder bag and buy the domke inserts.
     
  12. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    The Domke inserts are the problem though. :hs: A better insert would easily make this a 9/10 bag.
     
  13. jerzee201

    jerzee201 ULTRA MEGA GUG

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    Domke FTW!
     
  14. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

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    :cool: looks like a very nice bag and setup. I went with the Lowepro slingshot 300 camera backpack. It just arrived yesterday so I haven't had a chance to see how all my gear will fit.

    I turned my old camera bag (shoulder style) into my strobe bag. It will hold my five strobes but not the PW's I'm gonna probably need to get a third bag for all the miscellaneous gear.
     
  15. Jonny Chimpo

    Jonny Chimpo OT Supporter

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    BTW, I forgot to mention that those two large front pockets are supposed to be big enough to hold a 1D sized body.
     
  16. J R B

    J R B The pink pills are for your sanity, we are buried

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    Nice bag, I love Domke. I'm using the Domke Iguana 20 backpack right now, and love it!
     

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