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Thread: Domke F-5XC Review

  1. #1
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Domke F-5XC Review

    A few weeks ago, I outgrew my Domke F-5XB (the 'B') by just a bit. I've spent hours perusing bag reviews and was almost positive that there just wasn't a bag for my needs. As it turns out, the Domke F-5XC (the 'C') did the trick. Originally, I just wasn't "getting" the 'C', but with the help of a review on another forum, I could finally see its utility.

    First, the 'B'. I used the 'B' to hold the following for a day's shooting:

    • Leica M8 + 25/35 lens
    • 25/35 lens
    • 90 lens
    • light meter
    • extra M8 battery
    • cell phone


    The 'B' handled this quite well. The problem arose when I added another body a few weeks ago (a Leica M2). You can fit two bodies + lenses + additional lens in the 'B', but it's all way too close for comfort. So, I started shopping for a bag similar to the 'B', but one compartment "wider". Long story short, it doesn't exist in the Domke lineup. Everything else seemed to be deeper or broader.

    Deeper seemed goofy to me -- I don't want to stack more stuff up, I want it to be accessible. As I saw it, the 'C' fit into the deeper category, as did the Domke F-803 which everyone seems to love for some reason. Puzzlingly, the 'C' did have this odd little door across the bottom that Domke described as "giving you access to items that have fallen to the bottom". I remember thinking "geez, Domke, if you just made the bag wider rather than deeper, you wouldn't need that door!"

    I was bummed about all this until I read a review where someone mentioned that they use one of the bag dividers to split the 'C' into two "stories". That's when the odd little door at the bottom of the 'C' started to make sense (so, Domke, you could have communicated that a bit better!).

    So, I bought a 'C' to try out. I split the bag into stories with one divider, and split the bottom floor into three compartments using the other divider. I then used the dividers from my 'B' to divide the top floor. Now everything is golden (except that I probably shouldn't carry this much stuff ).

    I can use the 'C' to hold the following:

    • Leica M8 + 25/35 lens
    • Leica M2 + 35/50 lens
    • 25/35 lens
    • 35/50 lens
    • 90 lens
    • light meter
    • lens pen
    • extra strap
    • extra M8 battery
    • cell phone


    The above weighs exactly 8 lbs, a pretty easy load to shoulder, esp. across the chest.

    The 'C' offers the same general features of all Domkes: solid canvas construction, quality zippers, a nice long shoulder strap, a low-profile funky look, etc. I also like the fact that, like the 'B', you can flip the flap over the back of the bag, against your body, and shoot out of the bag pretty easily.

    Note: the "waxwear" version of this bag, the 'Z', looks very similar but does not have the lower door for some goofy reason. Keep that in mind if you think the 'C'-style bag might be for you, and find yourself attracted to the wax finish.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    I also posted a video detailing the bag on youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG8K4hgbe8o

    Enjoy...

  3. #3
    Mango
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    Thanks for the very comprehensive review. This looks like the most practical shoulder bag for M cameras.

    Maybe I'm getting old, but I find even one M + lens to be more than enough in a shoulder bag (F5XB). Anything more, and I go for a LL Bean backpack. I guess I need to go to the gym more often.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    Glad you found the review useful. I agree with your thoughts on carrying too much gear. While the 'C' filled with my gear represents a very manageable load, I doubt I'll really carry *all* of it very often. So, the 'C' is a really good storage bag with potential to carry, but the 'B' is the most practical walkaround shoot bag (2 bodies + lenses in my case) for sure.

  5. #5
    d2mini
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    Would this fit an ipad (vertically i guess) in the back pocket?

  6. #6
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    Quote Originally Posted by d2mini View Post
    Would this fit an ipad (vertically i guess) in the back pocket?
    Hmm, I'm not sure, since I don't have an iPad (unfortunately). If I had to bet, I'd say it would, but just barely (going off the published dimensions of each).

  7. #7
    d2mini
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    For anyone else interested in carrying an ipad, i decided to order this bag to see for myself, and the ipad does not fit. It just barely fits in the pocket when oriented vertically, but it sticks out the top of the pocket leaving almost half of it exposed.

    Decided to get the Domke F-803 to compare and it is a much better fit for anyone wanting to carry an ipad. The ipad fits in the pocket horizontally, fully, with a case, it's a nice loose fit making it easy to take in and out. I was a little worried about the depth of the pockets for a rangefinder kit but it's not bad. The M9 stored vertically only leaves 2 inches of space between it and the top of the bag. Put a little bit of foam padding at the base of the bag for extra protection and you end up with even less.

  8. #8
    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    If this bag had a belt loop, clip instead of velcro and a regular unzippered opening at the top (hate zips that scratch cameras/lenses) it would be my ideal bag.

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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    F5xc
    Can one of the bodies have enough room for a viewfinder attached? Can a 90 mm lens fit below . Can you change lenses in a hurry out of the bottom compartment without it falling to the ground? Thanks David

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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    That would be a 90 f2 fit below thanks David

  11. #11
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Domke F-5XC Review

    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    F5xc
    Can one of the bodies have enough room for a viewfinder attached? Can a 90 mm lens fit below . Can you change lenses in a hurry out of the bottom compartment without it falling to the ground? Thanks David
    Quote Originally Posted by dseelig View Post
    That would be a 90 f2 fit below thanks David
    There is room for three compartments above (I had to add my own dividers due to my two-story design. If you create only two compartments, you could fit a body with the VF attached (it's all about the orientation of the camera, combined with how much room you've allowed with the dividers).

    I do have a M-Hexanon 90mm below. It fits easily. I don't change lenses in a hurry, but I think the bottom door does a pretty good job of keeping things from falling right out when it's open. It doesn't just flop open -- it's a little stiff. But I'm still pretty careful when I'm switching stuff out, just in case.

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