Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Domke F804 Super Satchel

shoot-327I may have mentioned I kind of have a bag problem. My beloved likes to poke fun at me about having so many bags because I’m in touch with my feminine side. I’ve had to put myself on a bag diet of sorts. When the closet got full, and so did the space under the bed, I had to cull the collection. The Domke F804 Super Satchel made the cut, though and got to stay.

Domke is a legendary bag maker. He made his first camera bag while working as a photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1975. Like that first bag, they’re all simple, rugged canvas bags with minimalistic interiors. Some people don’t like that about them. They like little specialized pockets and flaps for items. While I do find those useful in things like a shoulder bag for laptops, I find them useless in camera bags. The velcro pocket for SD cards always annoys me since I can’t re-purpose it.

The Domke F804 stays true to the line. It’s rugged, versatile, good-looking, and simple. I mistakenly thought it just had enough room for a camera or two, closer to the original F-2. It’s more than twice that size.

My 4x5, film holders, meter and all fit inside well. The only thing that doesn't is my tripod.

My 4×5, film holders, meter and all fit inside well. The only thing that doesn’t is my tripod.

The F804 is just one big space inside. It does have a mesh compartment on the back wall that I’ve never actually used. There is a spot that can hold a laptop in front of that space, and it has two huge pockets in front of that. The flap, which covers the front of the bag secured by a heavy-duty metal clip, has smaller pockets for electronics and light meters on the underside and two zippered pockets on the outside. Some people do not like the absence of built in padded dividers. I love it. This allows me to configure the bag in any way I want to use it.

The bag can be carried a few ways. It has a non-slip shoulder strap which is what I use most of the time. There is a harness of sorts that can be affixed to the bag that allows you to wear it like a backpack. It’s not really comfortable enough to actually use the bag as a backpack, but it is easier to wear the bag than carry it when rock scrambling a short distance to get a shot. It also has what Domke calls the Super Handle. It’s a rigid carrying handle that clips to the bag with metal clips. It’s heavy-duty and very comfortable to use.

It’s billed as a waterproof bag, but I wouldn’t submerge it. It does hold up to an afternoon rain shower pretty well, though.

This bag carries a lot of stuff. I’ll have my cameras and clothes for a weekend in it when I travel with lots of room to spare. Now that I’m trying out large format, I can carry my 4×5 with ease in this thing.

Domke is right. The F804 is pretty super.

The Domke F804 Super Satchel

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