Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Domke F-3x Review

I have been wanting to post my opinions of this bag for sometime as it has been grab and go bag for sometime. Let me give one caveat to start. This is not a professional product review, it is my review of how I use the F-3x, nothing more. I will discuss how I load it, etc. so read on if you find such things interesting.

We all know about the pluses of Domke bags. The durability, flexibility, room, etc. is almost legendary, and if you don't know about these things Jon at POTN will gladly remind you. What I want to discuss is what fit in this Tardis like bag (that was for the Dr. Who fans out there). So lets take a look at what this bad boy can do.

Lets start with a shot of everything I load in it as my grab and go F3-x. (Excuse the pictures, batteries in my 40D were dead so I used my wife's P&S)


Here is where everything goes.

Main Compartment:
  • 5DII with grip and L-Bracket attached
  • 24-105 f/4 L hood reversed attached to 5DII
  • 17-40 f/4 L in wrap around pouch
  • 85 f/1.8 hood reversed in wrap around puch
Front Compartment:
  • Hood for 17-40 f/4 L
  • RRS B87-B flash bracket
  • Extra AA batteries
  • Memory cards
  • Body & Lens cap
End Compartment #1:
  • 580EX II
End Compartment #2:
  • Pocket Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Rocket Blower
  • ETTL cord courtesy of FlashZebra
  • Glasses
Back Compartment:
  • Lumiquest ProMax System
Here are two shots of it loaded up.


All Loaded



Everything fits well and access to the items is very easy. Only catch is that I must remove the 5DII to get to my other lenses. But that is not an issue since I only need them when changing lenses so the 5DII is already out of the bag.

And for everyone's reference here is a shot of the F-3x with the main compartment open, just so you can see how things look.

Extra lenses only:

Main Compartment Lenses Only

With 5DII:

Main Compartment Loaded

I have to be honest that it took me some time to come to this configuration. I started out by not pushing the bag any and as a result what I fit in it was limiting. However, over time I found myself adding this then that, and eventually learning the beauty of a Domke, its ability to continue to take what ever you throw at it. In fact, I'm sure I could fit more if I really wanted to.

The only thing to be aware of is that the bag can get heavy fast as you continue to load it up. That is what led me to get a Postman's Pad. The pad is amazing, it makes carrying the bag no matter how full a breeze.

One question I often get is if a 70-200 will work in the F-3x. I'm sure it would, but I have to be honest in that when I use my 70-200 f/2.8 I move to my F2. I like the extra room.

I hope you find this useful. As I mentioned the purpose of this post is not be a formal review but to provide an idea of what can fit in the F-3x. I guess the final question is "would I recommend this bag?" My answer...without a doubt!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Letting Go...

There is an old joke in photography that goes something like this...

A man is standing with his wife watching a beautiful sunset. They are lovingly looking into each others eyes when in the golden sunlight his wife says with a soft tender voice, "I love you." At this moment what is going through the man's mind, "I love you too", "You are wonderful", or other such niceties, nope. Instead, he is thinking 1/125th at f/5.6.

Its a fun little joke, but shows how many of us are constantly thinking of our art and not the moment. Here is where I would normally leave all of you to reflect on the need to let go and recognize where you are, blah, blah, blah. But nope, this is where I tell myself to recognize where I am, blah, blah, blah.

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary. I have been married to the most wonderful person imaginable for 13 years, it is hard to believe that she has tolerated me for so long. :-) In a tender moment this evening we sat down with our 8 year-old son to look at our wedding pictures. There was oohing, ahhing and fond memories galore. Through it all what did I do? Let me tell you, I kept looking at the pictures thinking that the backgrounds were underexposed and the poses were poorly executed.

Not only was I thinking this but I made the mistake of mentioning it to my wife. How stupid could I be, I was essentially implying that she did not look good. How dumb could I be? As you can imagine, there was back peddling and many assurances that she was in fact beautiful...which is no lie by the way. I even went as far as to say the photographer probably underexposed the background in order to draw attention to her. I think that one might have worked...ok it didn't. :-)

So the lesson for me is to let go of my obsessions and live in the moment. Being a photographer is fine and I do love it, but being a good husband is much more important to me. So honey if you are reading this, I love you and thanks for putting up with me for all these years. I hope to one day earn the love you shower on me so freely.