This is a contribution to Jez Braithwaite’s Fan Of… #53 challenge and a long, rambling post about camera bags.
I used the same brand and model range of camera shoulder bags for years. I got my first Tenba Pro Pak, a P595 in 1981. They were so new to the U.K. I picked it up from the importer/distributor as they didn’t have any retailers in place. I went on to get two more sizes of the bags over the next decade. I tried different brands of shoulder bags over the years but ended up going back to the Pro Pak bags every time.
My P595 in the snow at Hatherton, Cheshire, England in 1982.
Tenba discontinued the range around 2003 but it was no big deal, my bags were still going strong. They had a few stains that wouldn’t wash out but all the zips and closures still worked as if new.
However, as a result of going digital I was carrying less equipment and on occasions my smallest Tenba bag was now too big. Plus the Pro Pak bags with all their external pockets were never exactly discrete and there was times a more understated bag would have been nice. So after researching what was available I picked up a Domke F-6, a small and plain looking bag in sand canvas.
To show that some things stay the same here’s the Domke F-6 in the snow a few years ago. Around 35 years after the photo of the Tenba in the snow was taken.
I liked the simple design of the F-6 so much that two or three years ago I got the larger Domke F-2 in RuggedWear to haul my DSLR and large auto focus zoom lenses around. RuggedWear is the Domke name for waxed cotton fabric used in some waterproof jackets.
The design of the F-2 goes back to the 1970s and it’s basically a bag with a flap, a pocket at each end and two small, open pockets on the front.
Just for a change, the F-2 sitting on a rock rather than in snow.
That’s not the end of this long, rambling story however. Last spring I fell of a ladder and ended up with restricted movement in the right shoulder and a weaker right arm. As a result I had to make some changes to my kit. I went to a smaller, lighter mirrorless camera and for a lot of my personal work I put together a lightweight kit of three manual focus primes that fit into a tiny Domke F-5XB.
The Domke F-5XB hanging from a tripod on the Colpoy’s Bay shoreline at sunrise.
I should add that I’m not recommending Domke to anyone. They’ve gone out of fashion with a lot of photographers due to their lack of padding and security. I use very flexible third party padded inserts in the F-2 and F-6 rather than the poorly designed Domke padded inserts. I have always preferred a quick to open and access bag so don’t care about the lack lack of security. Indeed, the extra security of the zip on the Domke F-5XB is proving to be a minor annoyance.