I often hear woman say there is no perfect handbag for every occasion and this is just the same for camera bags. You can’t find one bag for every job; most of the time camera bag manufactures get it so wrong. Most people want a camera bag that protects their gear but is also light and easy to carry. I guess this is where most people have to compromise as most camera bags weigh a ton even before they are filled to the brim with camera gear.
I have acquired quite a large collection of camera bags over the years. I now have one for nearly every occasion from Landscape to Workshops. The only one I did not have was a decent working Street Photography bag. I was making do using a ‘Next’ canvas bag and it was great, a little padding on the bottom and lots of space, possibly too much space. Sounds mad too much space, but if you have extra space you end up filling the gaps with something. Unfortunately my ‘Next’ bag was coming to the end of its life, so I decided I needed something smaller and longer lasting.
I wanted a very hard wearing canvas bag that was waterproof and would carry just what I needed and no more. So with a little research I found ‘Domke‘ the bag is listed as water resistant and that would do for me as I can always add a cover if I needed to. I quite like the idea of a breathable bag at least then if my cameras get wet in use they have the chance to dry out.
When you look at all the bag images online people take out the packets of sweets, pens, phones etc and all the other bits so it looks good for the photo. I shot this image above with all my junk in view the only items not in the shot was my i pad and a couple of lens cloths.
So I think I have found my perfect Street bag. The first big test was a Street Workshop I led in Edinburgh March 2015. It went well, it rained quit a lot over the weekend and the bag kept the water out so that was a big plus as my ‘Next’ bag was not waterproof.
The Domke Crosstown Courier is a heavy duty cotton fabric treated with environmentally friendly waxes and oils to keep the water out. A tin of wax is also supplied with the bag to top up the water resisting qualities. I am told the bag looks better and better with age like a favourite pair of jeans! I quite like that idea as I hate new looking things out on the Street.
The bag has pouches at each end that detach and these are great for when I am not teaching photography courses, I can take them off to save even more weight if I need to.
The bag has a large interior compartment and padding. I take most of the padding out as I find the padding takes up too much room in all camera bags. I wrap my lenses and cameras in micro fibre lens cloths that double up as cleaning cloths. I put my i pad in the main compartment with my X-T1 and XPro1 with a few lenses and I put my X100T in the pocket at the front so it’s at hand when I need it. My travel battery pack goes in the rear pocket for phone and battery charging on the move. It has two full size pockets length ways one on the back and one hidden under the flap. A large mesh pocket and two expandable front pockets are also very useful. It also has an anti slip shoulder strap which is very handy as some bags do tend to slip off your shoulder.
There is a bigger version but I am happy with this bag. I can carry it all day and it does not become a burden.
My only negative with the bag is once full if you don’t pack the heavy gear at the bottom of the bag it swivels to a funny angle as you walk but that is probably just the way I pack mine ! I do like to carry lots of lens cloths for padding and these can end up at the bottom.
One nice little touch is the fact that you can register your bag online. If you lose the bag and someone is kind enough to try and get it back to you there is a bar-code riveted plate on the bag with a phone number to call.
I have been using the bag for about six weeks now and have to say I love it! At first I did think it would be too small but as a Street bag it’s perfect for me not only for teaching but when I am out on my own. I have not taken the pouches off yet as I love them for easy access.
It’s probably not the cheapest bag on the market but it’s very well made and very rugged. I think it will last the rest of my life and a lot longer than any of my other bags. So well worth the investment.