Domke F-3X review + loaded photos
Image by bgolub
The Domke F-3X is my new favorite bag. Thanks Megen for the birthday present!
Some but not much. This isn’t a bag for transporting your gear long distances (although I’ve taken it all around the world and never had any issues). It’s a bag for shooting from. The bottom is padded but the sides are just canvas. In the top left photo you can see the one insert the bag comes with; it attaches to velcro on the 2 sewn in pieces of canvas that make the side compartments. The canvas actually does a good job to protect the camera. Better than I thought it would. I cannot feel the lenses or camera bounce against me as I carry the bag.
This is a very easy to use, comfortable bag. The canvas material wears well and the whole bag molds to your hip. It looks much smaller than my Crumpler 6 million dollar home but holds more. The strap has rubber woven in to provide a nice grip that won’t move around. Loaded with 3 lenses and an FX body it got a bit heavy but I rarely take my 70-300mm with me. With just the D700, 16-35mm, and 50mm it feels perfect.
It still looks like a camera bag to me; but less so than a Lowepro or even a Crumpler do. I like the green color but you can also get it in a traditional black. It molds to your hip so it looks smaller than what it’s capable of holding.
The side pockets would be great for holding a flash. I use one to hold a rocket blower at the moment. The canvas pieces in the main compartment aren’t sewn to the bottom so they can collapse like in the lower left photo. My only wish is that the velcro came with a "muter" that some newer bags often have and that they used a plastic clip instead of a clumsy metal one that is difficult to use with one hand.
Update: This bag made it through MOMA without a docent asking me to leave it at the coat check. The Crumpler 6 million dollar home, also a great bag, always needed be to checked.
Hover over the photo to see notes on what each piece of gear is to get an idea of how much it holds in different configurations
70s Nikons: Nikomat with 50mm f/1.4 lens
Image by Chris Devers
These cameras belonged to my parents before I was born, when my dad was stationed in the army in Germany. There, they bought the Nikkormat (all manual) and the slightly newer Nikomat (auto-shutter, manual aperture). By the time I was given the cameras to learn on in the late 90s, they were around 35 years old.
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Really, this is all the controls any camera ever needs. Right? Right.
If you want to make some or all of this automatic, fine, but at least make the fundamental controls — shutter release, aperture (f/stop), exposure time (in 1/n second notation), and ISO sensitivity — super prominent and easy to manipulate.
The D50 doesn’t really get this right, but then most of the cameras I’ve played with don’t either. It’s not too bad to hold for one of these settings — set the dial to "M" (full-manual), "A" (lock aperture), "S" (lock shutter speed), or "P" (err, I’ve never fully grasped this one, seems to let you manipulate the focus locking I think), then spin a dial to select the aperture or shutter you want.
But I find the D50’s full manual mode too fiddly to bother with, so I never use it. And the canned program modes — "portrait", "landscape", "kids", "sports", "plants/macro" — seem too gimmicky. If you know what adjusting the fundamental controls will do, and really it’s not that complicated, then it’s easy enough to do it manually, provided that the controls are easy to manipulate.
I guess that’s what I miss: the tactile feedback of these controls. Rather than having to look at an LED panel on top while spinning a thumbwheel, you can keep your eye through the viewfinder while adjusting rings right on the lens barrel to access the controls. On this one, the only viewfinder feedback you’d get would be a simple "over/under exposed" level on the side, along with a focus ring in the middle; with the Nikkormat it would display the aperture (and I think exposure time) as well, which is even better.
Short version: mechanical rings good, software controls & too many options bad.
All that said, I can’t see ever shooting film again, so as nice as these were, I think they have a permanent place gathering dust in the closet now. Poor things.