Domke is known for their no-frills bags that have just the right amount of features, and the F-8 is no exception. The outside of the Domke F-8 is made of abrasion-resistant heavy duty canvas that breaks in over time, just like a comfortable pair of jeans. For a canvas bag, I’m always amazed at how durable Domke bags are. I know photographers who have owned Domke bags for decades and they are still holding up. I’ve owned my Domke F-2 for 6 years and it practically looks like the day I bought it.
Domke claims that the F-8 contains 8 compartments and pockets, although this figure is subject to interpretation. The large, padded main compartment has two removable velcro dividers that can be reconfigured to create 3 sections. Even with the dividers, I still consider the main compartment to be a single unit, not 3 separate “compartments.” Additionally the F-8 has a narrow front pocket that spans the width of the bag, two side pockets with velcro-adhered flaps, a very tight rear pocket, and a rounded pocket in the lid for small items.
The top lid of the bag is wide enough to cover any internal equipment and protect your gear from the elements. The lid is secured tightly via a metal clasp – a recognizable Domke feature. A swatch of velcro helps keep the lid in place, even when the metal clasp is not attached. The inside of the lid is lined with ballistic nylon, which provides additional water resistance for the top of the bag.
The Domke F-8 comes with a single, thick canvas strap that can be adjusted for length. When fully extended, the length of the strap works fine when worn over the shoulder but seems a bit short when worn across the body. The width of the strap makes it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The underside of the strap features a non-slip gripper material to help keep the strap securely in place on your shoulder. Each end of the strap has convenient metal clips which connect to metal loops on the bag body.
The Domke F-8 is small…tiny even! I had expected it to be petite, but when I pulled it out of the box I was amazed at how diminutive it is. Essentially it looks like someone took the Domke F-3x and shrunk it in a clothes dryer. I immediately began wondering if I could even fit my minimal camera kit in the bag. As it turns out, I couldn’t. The official dimensions of the Domke F-8 according to the Domke website are as follows: [external] 9" x 5.25" x 7"; [internal] 6.5" x 3.5" x 6.5"; [weight] 1.7 lbs. What the Domke website doesn’t specify – and I spent an impossible amount of time trying to find this information online – is the sizes of all the external and internal pockets. So for those of you who are as curious as I was, here are the pocket dimensions for the Domke F-8: [side (x2)] 4" x 2" x 4.75"; [front] 6.6" x 1.75" x 5.25"; [rear] 6.5" x .25" x 4.25"; [flap] 7.35" x 1" x 3.5" (rounded).
The Domke F-8 is ideal for carrying a small, mirrorless camera (Sony a6000, Fujifilm X-T1), an extra lens, a small flash, and variety of small accessories. The F-8 is even capable of carrying a single compact DSLR (Nikon D40, D60, or a Canon Digital Rebel) with a few accessories. Along with the DSLR, you may even be able to squeeze in second lens, depending on its size.
I anticipated that the Domke F-8 would be able to hold my Sony A7r camera, two medium-sized lenses (with lens hoods), filters, batteries and charger, SD cards, a table top tripod, and a few other small accessories. I was wrong. The main compartment was too tight to hold the Sony A7r body with an attached 24-70mm lens and an additional 16-35mm lens. The side pockets were small to the point where they could hold a couple extra batteries but not the battery charger. Inevitably, the bag just was a bit too small for my travel kit.
If you are looking for a quality camera bag from a trusted manufacturer for your compact camera kit, the Domke F-8 is an excellent choice. The bag is durable and has just the right amount of pockets and features. The F-8 has classic, rugged looks that doesn’t scream “camera bag!” Just be sure your camera gear will fit in this small “everyday” bag before you plunk down your hard-earned cash.