Domke: canvas or nylon?

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yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 14,763
Domke: canvas or nylon?

After all these years, I am considering buying a dedicated camera bag for the first time.  The Domke F-5XB has risen to the top of my list. Should I choose canvas or nylon?

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Austinian
Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 12,664
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?
2

yardcoyote wrote:

After all these years, I am considering buying a dedicated camera bag for the first time. The Domke F-5XB has risen to the top of my list. Should I choose canvas or nylon?

I went with olive canvas for mine. It's been excellent. Very comfortable to walk with.

The Velcro flap closure is a bit noisy when opened quickly, so I replaced it with silent magnets. This bag seems to be one of those great photo 'accessories' that becomes a near-necessity over time.

It's a little short on internal padding in places, but I added a couple of internal dividers for batteries and a filter that works nicely for that.

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OP yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 14,763
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

You are not concerned that the magnets in your new magnetic closure will interfere with the computers in your cameras or items like smartphones you may want to stash in your bag?

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Austinian
Austinian Forum Pro • Posts: 12,664
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

yardcoyote wrote:

You are not concerned that the magnets in your new magnetic closure will interfere with the computers in your cameras or items like smartphones you may want to stash in your bag?

Not a bit. The magnets are on the extreme ends of the flap, the camera body in the middle. These are ordinary cheap hardware-store magnets, not powerful rare-earth ones, and the camera is never switched on in the bag. If magnetically attached filters on the lens itself while a camera is powered on don't wreak havoc on cameras, I'm OK.

Smartphone has its own pouch.

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The Grumpy Snapper Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

The other option is waxed RuggedWear canvas. My F-5xb is green RuggedWear. I really liked the bag initially but now it sits in the closet being used as lens storage.

I replaced it with a F-10 JD becase there's no zip and a big pocket on the front.

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OP yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 14,763
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

No waxed canvas for me. Too messy.

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Seedeich Veteran Member • Posts: 3,033
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

Canvas or nylon depends on how much rain you get.

Living in a country where we get lots of rain, I prefer nylon because it dries much quicker than canvas.

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OP yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 14,763
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

Good point.

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olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 4,127
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?
3

I have used both. Nylon seems to be more robust, canvas more comfortable. One thing to note with Domke bags is that the quite coarse weave is hard on the trousers which can develop holes at the hip from the constant rubbing of the bag (has happened to me more than once). I wouldn't buy one with vecro closure due to the noise it makes. I have a F6 where I removed the velcro for this reason. The metal closures also makes some ringing noise but far from the volume of the velcro. Take care not to have the metal closures hit your lenses in the bag.

The Domke bags are not water proof. With prolonged exposure to rain, they get damp inside too. You can impregnate them but it only lasts so long.

I like the Domke bags a lot, but nevertheless, as the years have past I have switched to Billingham bags for a couple of reasons: They are water proof (have layer of rubber between the outer fabric and inner lining), are silent in operation due to their "QRS" strap and brass stud closing system. They have inserts with good padding (much better than Domke). They are very well made and will last for decades. The Billingham parallel to the Domke F-5XB is probably the Hadley (or Hadley Small?). Billingham bags are not cheap and their old time colonial military style is not for everyone, but if you are not put off by that, you may have a bag for life. They patinate gracefully. Get a shoulder pad with neoprene for the 1½" strap - it will prevent the bag from sliding off the shoulder. https://billingham.co.uk/collections/camera-bags/products/hadley-pro-2020-camera-bag?variant=16742172786731

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OP yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 14,763
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

Thank you for the notes-- very complete and gave me a lot to think about. I'm afraid I'm one of those people for whom the Billingham design does not resonate. Price aside, I can't imagine myself actually carrying one.  I'm much more of a "tactical sling with a turkey feather and a Sharpie stuck in the molle webbing" kind of a person.

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ahinesdesign Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

I have both canvas and nylon Domke bags.  The ballistic nylon F6 is my every day carry, and it has proven to be tough as nails, reasonably water resistant, and still looks good after 7 years of heavy use.

I like the canvas bags, they feel nice and supple after some use, but don’t like that they absorb and hold water, and the tan bag I have shows dirt and stains quite easily.

I dislike the F6 metal clips, and plan to replace them with something else one day (or perhaps nothing at all, I rarely clip the flap closed).  The Velcro closures are fine except when you want to be discreet…

As for padding, I swapped the stock Domke insert with another from Amazon that really improves the bag’s protection and ability to hold its shape.  The smaller F-5XB has enough built-in padding and doesn’t hold enough to need another insert.

The Grumpy Snapper Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

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ahinesdesign Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?
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The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

Care to elaborate on what part of this thread is misinformation?

The Grumpy Snapper Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

ahinesdesign wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

Care to elaborate on what part of this thread is misinformation?

I have two waxed RuggedWear bags. Neither has ever been "messy"

The only Velcro on a F-6 is inside to hold the inserts in place. Quite why you'd remove it to silence the bag I don't know.

If the water absorption of regular canvas was an issue they wouldn't have been the pros bags of choice for all the decades. I treat my regular canvas bags with a waterproofing spray for canvas every year or so. Dirt and stains on canvas can be dealt with in the washing machine if your bag is a fashion accessory rather than a tool carrier.

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olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 4,127
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

ahinesdesign wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

Care to elaborate on what part of this thread is misinformation?

I have two waxed RuggedWear bags. Neither has ever been "messy"

I have no personal experiences with Domkes waxed bags, but some (among them a couple of reviewers) has complained that the wax smears off onto hands and the clothes it rubs against in warm weather. Maybe it also depends in production inconsistencies. Some may have more waxing than others.

The only Velcro on a F-6 is inside to hold the inserts in place. Quite why you'd remove it to silence the bag I don't know.

I clearly remember that I cut out velcro closure from a Domke bag. If it wasn't the F-6, it must have been my F3X.

If the water absorption of regular canvas was an issue they wouldn't have been the pros bags of choice for all the decades. I treat my regular canvas bags with a waterproofing spray for canvas every year or so. Dirt and stains on canvas can be dealt with in the washing machine if your bag is a fashion accessory rather than a tool carrier.

From my personal experience with 3 Domke canvas bags (F-2, F-6 and F3x) they do get damp inside though not necessarily soaking wet when exposed to rain for prolonged time which happens ever so often in my country where it rains a lot. Even if the gear is unharmed and dry, the bag needs to be dried afterwards and the gear must be removed until the bag is completely dry. Leaving gear in a damp bag is a sure recipe for fungus attacks. Impregnating helps somewhat but it has to be redone at regular intervals. But as I have found a waterproof alternative (Billingham), I don't need to deal with that hassle. Billingham bags rely on a layer of butyl rubber (the same as used for bike tubes) between the outer fabric and the inner lining.

BTW, Billingham bags were originally intended and produced as bags for anglers. However, they became popular with some N.Y. photogs who removed the fishing specific inserts and replaced them with camera inserts from other brands. When Martin Billingham heard this, he decided to try his luck by changing the production to camera bags, and as we know, they are now sold to all parts of the world.

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ahinesdesign Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

ahinesdesign wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

Care to elaborate on what part of this thread is misinformation?

If the water absorption of regular canvas was an issue they wouldn't have been the pros bags of choice for all the decades. I treat my regular canvas bags with a waterproofing spray for canvas every year or so.

If water is not an issue, why treat the canvas with waterproofing spray?

Others experiencing things differently doesn't make it misinformation...

The Grumpy Snapper Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

I think most photographers should be using Billingham bags. Then the Domke user has got the shot and moved on while the Billingham user is still getting into their fashion accessory.

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The Grumpy Snapper Contributing Member • Posts: 573
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?

ahinesdesign wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

ahinesdesign wrote:

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

An impressive amount of misinformation in such a short thread.

Care to elaborate on what part of this thread is misinformation?

If the water absorption of regular canvas was an issue they wouldn't have been the pros bags of choice for all the decades. I treat my regular canvas bags with a waterproofing spray for canvas every year or so.

If water is not an issue, why treat the canvas with waterproofing spray?

Others experiencing things differently doesn't make it misinformation...

Because Domke add a water repellent treatment so after using and abusing my canvas bags for 6 months to 2 years I like to reinforce that treatment.

What's really amusing is that no one has pointed to the downsides of ballistic nylon bags.

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olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 4,127
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?
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The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

I think most photographers should be using Billingham bags. Then the Domke user has got the shot and moved on while the Billingham user is still getting into their fashion accessory.

Of course, it always possible to be snarky and sarcastic if you can't come up with better reasoning. As the old advice goes: If your reasoning is weak, raise your voice. But FYI (and not misinformation):

Most Billingham bags are as least as easy to get into and work out of from the top as Domke bags if not easier. While I have always needed to use two hands for the hard spring on the Domke metal hooks, the Billingham leather closure strap can be opened and closed with one hand when the leather has softened after one or two weeks use. The buckle on the closure strap can be deceptive for some but it is there only for adjusting the length of the strap, not for opening and closing the bag. Most users like the bags for their properties and not for their "fashion accessory" styling as you put it. Some like their styling (fashionable or not), others don't, which is fair enough. Some also find them too expensive, which is also fair enough (though they last for many years). But most of the Bilingham bags are well thought out and very well made and serve their purpose as camera bags perfectly year in and year out - better than other bags I have had through the years.

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olstrup Veteran Member • Posts: 4,127
Re: Domke: canvas or nylon?
1

The Grumpy Snapper wrote:

What's really amusing is that no one has pointed to the downsides of ballistic nylon bags.

Well, here's one downside: I had a ballistic Domke bag which, when filled with heavvy SLR gear, abrased holes in my trousers even faster than the canvas bags. My wife began to complaint that it was too expensive with those worn through trousers. That's when I bought my first Billingham bag (whose fabric is not so coarse).

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