Domke F-6 ‘Little Bit Smaller’ bag
$109 | Tiffen.com

The F-6 ‘Little Bit Smaller’ bag is the same however extra compact various to Domke’s iconic F-2.

Domke is among the many most well-known names within the pantheon of digicam bag makers, and for good purpose. The corporate makes among the hardest and most sensible luggage in the marketplace. Historically geared toward photojournalists, Domke’s luggage are normally powerful, considerably on the heavy facet, very accessible, and able to accommodating a shocking quantity of substances. I have been utilizing an F-6 for about three years now, and it is accompanied me on journeys all around the world. That is my long-term check.

Key Options:

  • Weight: 740g (1.6lb) with second strap hooked up, together with foam insert
  • Exterior dimensions: width: 11.5″ depth: 7″ peak: 7.5″
  • Inside dimensions (essential compartment): width: 11.25″, depth: 5.5″, peak: 7″
  • One outer zipped pocket, one inside zipped pouch, one open rear pouch
  • Comes with one 4-compartment foam insert (detachable)
  • Machine cleanable (non-Ballistic and non-RuggedWear variations solely).

Design

The F-6, also referred to as the ‘Little Bit Smaller’ bag belongs to what Domke now calls the ‘Heritage’ vary, and shares loads of traits with the venerable (and a Little Bit Larger) F-2. Most blatant are the F-6’s box-shaped essential compartment and distinctive clamshell prime, which is secured with two sturdy metallic clips to the entrance of the bag. The bag is not actually ever ‘closed’ as such (even with the clips secured, it is nonetheless potential to slide your hand into the principle compartment for those who attempt exhausting sufficient) however this design has the benefit of permitting fast one-handed entry to both finish of the principle compartment with out fidgeting with any zips.

A big entrance pocket is large enough for a small mirrorless or rangefinder digicam, however is most helpful for odds and ends like reminiscence card wallets, snacks and spare batteries.

There are two zips on the F-6 for much less often-accessed compartments: one on the big entrance pocket, and one other one inside the highest cowl that secures a doc pouch sewn into its underside. This pouch runs the total size of the highest cowl, and it is good for instruction manuals, maps or a paperback e book or two. Not like the principle compartment, prying fingers will battle to search out or get entry to this compartment, so once I’m touring that is normally the place I will retailer my passport and pockets. I am telling you that in confidence – please do not unfold it round.

The F-6’s essential compartment is surprisingly roomy, and might comfortably match a 2-camera, 3-lens outfit, together with extras like an iPad, and a flash or two.
With the froth insert eliminated, the F-6’s essential compartment is principally box-shaped. The bottom is evenly padded, however I normally add a bit additional foam padding simply in case of accidents.

The F-6’s essential compartment is deceptively capacious, and with out the included foam inserts it might simply accommodate a full-size skilled DSLR and commonplace zoom. That is loads of weight, although. The place the F-6 actually shines is as a bag for smaller digicam techniques. With the froth insert added, I can match two slim mirrorless or rangefinder our bodies and as much as three lenses inside with out the F-6 feeling overloaded.

A full-height pouch on the again of the bag is massive sufficient for a pocket book, 9.7in iPad Professional, or a few paperbacks

Complete space for storing is augmented by the entrance pocket, which I usually use for batteries, rolls of movie, reminiscence card wallets and different odds and ends however which at a pinch might additionally home a small mirrorless or rangefinder digicam physique. A full-height pouch on the again of the bag is massive sufficient for a pocket book, 9.7in iPad Professional, or a few paperbacks.

Whereas the clip-to-close design is not completely safe, it has the benefit of permitting very quick access to the principle compartment without having to place the bag down.
The clips are straightforward to undo by really feel, which means you needn’t take your eyes off the motion to achieve down and pull out a digicam.

I used to be impressed to put in writing this overview after a current journey again to the UK to go to household, throughout which the F-6 amply demonstrated its Tardis-like capability. Once I’m in transit, I have a tendency to make use of the F-6 to retailer my most dear and delicate gear, in order that I can maintain it multi functional place on my lap or by my ft and I haven’t got to fret about something getting bumped round in overhead bins or baggage holds. Over the previous couple of years I’ve abused my F-6 in virtually each approach potential, however I feel my current journey to Seattle to London was the excessive (or low, relying on the way you have a look at it) level:

  • Fujifilm X100F with 28mm lens adapter (essential compartment)
  • Leica M2 (body-only, tucked vertically into the froth insert)
  • Leica 35mm F2 (foam insert)
  • Leica 50mm F2 (foam insert)
  • studying glasses (foam insert)
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (sitting on prime of essential compartment)
  • Bag of nuts (roasted, salted, tucked alongside the headphones on the highest of the principle compartment)
  • Sun shades (entrance pocket)
  • Reminiscence card pockets (entrance pocket)
  • iPhone energy adapter and 1m cable (entrance pocket)
  • Spare X100F battery (entrance pocket)
  • Four rolls of movie (entrance pocket)
  • Dramamine (entrance pocket)
  • 9.7in iPad Professional (inside Logitech keyboard case – rear pouch)
  • Paperback (Tom Robbins’ ‘One other Roadside Attraction’, thanks for asking – rear pouch)
  • Passport (British – inside pouch)
  • Pockets (inside pouch)
  • Keys (inside pouch)

Clearly that is an insane quantity of stuff to cram right into a digicam bag, however hopefully you get the purpose. The truth that the stitching has held as much as a number of years of this sort of shameful abuse can also be testomony to the F-6’s energy and commonplace of building, and I solely want I might say the identical factor about my shoulder…

In use

In everyday use with a extra practical mirrorless or rangefinder equipment, the F-6 is far more manageable. After all, like all shoulder luggage, it might nonetheless get fairly uncomfortable after a protracted day being carried round on my shoulder. The thick cloth strap is properly textured and rubberized (so it by no means slips) but it surely’s unpadded and might dig painfully into my neck after just a few hours. Alternating the bag’s place helps, and Domke additionally makes a dense foam shoulder pad for $30 which will be hooked up for those who want a bit of additional padding. I’ve one and it really works properly, but it surely’s cumbersome and since I attempt to not overload my F-6 (regardless of what you may suppose from the record above) I desire the way in which the bag handles with out it.

Talking of straps, the F-6 comes with a brief, slim detachable strap for hand-carrying the bag. It is a good thought, and does make the bag simpler to choose up and carry for those who’re touring, however I discover it will get in the way in which, so I relegated mine to the sock drawer – subsequent to the shoulder pad.

A full-height pouch will be discovered on the rear of the F-6, which is ideal for an A4 pocket book, or an iPad. That is my 9.7in iPad Professional, inside a Logitech keyboard case, pulled out diagonally for illustration.

Within the years since I purchased my F-6 I will need to have walked 1000’s of miles with it, but it surely’s held up remarkably properly. The rubberized thread sewn into the strap is beginning to break up in a few spots, the rear pouch has been buffed to a excessive shine towards varied (principally blue, apparently) coats and jackets and there are small holes worn into its corners, however I reckon I will crumble earlier than the bag does. The dearer F-6B (‘B’ stands for (B)allistic nylon) ought to theoretically maintain as much as the pains of each day use even (B)etter. I ought to most likely throw mine into the washer sooner or later and re-wax the canvass however I am not in any fast rush.

Backside line

Is the F-6 good? It isn’t. Though the principle compartment has some padding on its base, it is most likely not sufficient to stop injury to a heavy digicam or lens for those who drop the bag from any vital peak. I’ve accessorized mine with additional padding from an previous unused foam insert, and if I am carrying a rangefinder, I normally add much more simply to keep away from any DIY roadside focus recalibration after a knock or fall.

When you’re exterior within the wind and climate for a number of hours, it is best to anticipate water to make its approach into the principle compartment

The F-6 itself can take a good quantity of abuse, however there are limits. For one factor, it isn’t significantly waterproof, even when model new. The heavyweight waxed materials does job of maintaining mild rain from getting in, but it surely quickly will get soaked in heavier precipitation and for those who’re exterior within the wind and climate for a number of hours, it is best to anticipate water to make its approach into the principle compartment. After all the older and extra worn the canvass will get, the much less efficient it turns into at repelling moisture. On the plus facet, it dries out remarkably shortly and would not are likely to retain dampness so long as you possibly can air it out for just a few hours.

This shot reveals one of many F-6’s two essential clips, which maintain the highest cowl closed. As you possibly can see by the chipped paint, they’ve already held as much as loads of heavy use. The draw back of their sturdy metallic building is that they’ll scratch gear contained in the bag in the event that they’re allowed to dangle or fall into the principle compartment.

I like the metallic prime cowl clips for his or her sturdiness and the convenience of entry that they supply to the F-6’s essential compartment, however as a result of they’re metallic they’ll (and do) scratch cameras and lenses for those who allow them to flop into the principle compartment when the duvet is unsecured. Simply one other good purpose to be strict about lens caps and protecting filters.

I’ve already talked about the included detachable hand-strap – I do not discover it significantly helpful, however as a eager bicycle owner, I want the F-6 was suitable with a waist strap. Once I’m driving my bike the F-6 flops round like mad. A waist strap would assist maintain it safe. It will additionally make me look a bit bit like a bicycle messenger from the 1940s, and a bit bit much less like a person about to have a bicycle accident.

The ultimate phrase

Regardless of these complaints, the F-6 is undoubtedly probably the most helpful digicam bag that I personal for on a regular basis images. There are higher choices on the market for big DSLR and multi-lens kits, however for day-to-day taking pictures with a compact system, the F-6 is difficult to beat. With the froth insert eliminated, the F-6 is a helpful bag for procuring, journey and each day use, too.

What we like:

  • Surprisingly capacious
  • Sturdy construct, extra-tough stitching
  • Easy accessibility to essential compartment through clips
  • Giant, safe inside pocket
  • Giant, zipped entrance pocket
  • Effectively-sized rear pouch

What we do not

  • Unpadded strap is uncomfortable when bag is absolutely loaded
  • Dangling clips can scratch gear for those who’re not cautious
  • Fundamental compartment by no means completely ‘safe’
  • Gentle padding on base of bag
  • Not waterproof

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