Review: Domke Chronicle Camera Bag

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There are camera bags, and then there are camera bags with heritage and tradition. The Domke Chronicle Camera Bag falls under the latter. The Chronicle is the descendant of the Domke F-2 and has quite a lot to live up to. It is part of the updated journalist series of shoulder bags from the company which have been newly designed to have a more modern feel and look. I’ve used a lot of camera bags in my time, but this is my first Domke Bag. These bags are known for their long life and durability, and so I wondered how it would measure up against my daily routines. I move around a lot in a lot of different ways at times, and so I’ve grown accustomed to a particular type of camera bag.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Domke Chronicle is easily configurable.
  • There are lots of pockets.
  • The bag arrives already waxed and comes with extra wax to refresh it.
  • Cons

  • The bag could use a more rugged covering on the bottom of the bag, just in case you have to temporarily put I on the ground in crazy weather.
    No rain protection beyond the wax coating for those ultra heavy rains.

Gear Used

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With this bag I loaded is up with my Sony A7 a few lenses, a flash, my iPad and cleaning supplies. Everything fit in the bag with room to spare. As part of the review I also tested the bag with two lenses, a Nikon D700 with a NIKKOR 50mm f1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens and a Sony A7 with a 28-70mm lenses. The bag can hold what you need when you need it. I also put the Nikon D700 with a 35-70mm 2.8D along with a Tamron 70-200mm.

Tech Specs

From B&H

  • Holds DSLR, 70-200 Lens, 3 Lenses, Flash
  • Accommodates iPad or Similar 9.7″ Tablet
  • Expandable Exterior Pockets
  • GearProtex Customizable Insert System
  • Dual Zipper & Clip-Lock Closure
  • Detachable Shoulder Strap
  • Rear Trolley Strap

Ergonomics

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The bag has side rain guards to help keep the rain out of the Chronicle in really bad weather. They flip-up to get your gear out the camera bag easily. They are very unintrusive but they do work. I did get caught in the rain and my gear was dry.

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There’s a padded sleeved than can hold a tablet or a small laptop. The padding is just the right size and also keeps the bag’s contents from moving.

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The side pockets are expandable and hold the important things like coffee cups or your lunch. I also carried small reflectors and my cleaning equipment. The bag held them securely and kept them dry in bad weather–just as you should expect from a bag like this.

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The front pockets were useful as well. A great place for batteries filters, or when expanded a flash or whatever else you could thing of putting there. There’s a padded sleeve for your iPad or any other tablet you may have. You can do almost anything with an iPad in the field now and sometimes it’s all you need.

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All the pockets have a quiet system for toss event where you can’t make noise. There is a numbered identify plate on the bag if it gets lost (obscured here). It makes it easier to report the bag being lost.

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The hardware is custom antique steel. They feel durable and they put up with the stress I put on a bag. With the zipper on the top of the bag I did not have to use them much. I used them to get iPad out mostly.

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The main strap on the bag is detachable. It has a grippy surface on it the keeps it on your shoulder. When walking, this bag stays on your shoulder and even without a pad it is comfortable.

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There is a smaller hand-held strap that allows you to grab the bag quickly. It was also useful on trains when you could not get the bag on your shoulder fast enough. This strap made commuting easy. It also made getting in and out of cars easier.

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The bag traveled extremely well during the review period. It did not take up a lot of space and easily fit in with tripod and other equipment. The Domke Chronicle had a decent footprint. It stays up right even with a little bit of gear in it.

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On the top of the bag you can access your gear without having to open the main flap. This makes getting your camera out in a pinch a breeze.

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The inside of the bag is extremely flexible and you can customize it to fit your needs easily. As I changed gear in this bag, configuring it was easy.

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The wax coating holds up pretty well in the rain. The rain beads off, and the bag dries off quickly.  I got caught in a morning rain and the bag withstood it. The gear inside was dry.

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The bag comes with an extra tin of refinishing wax. Over time the wax coating wears off, but you can put it back on.

In Use

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The Domke Chronicle was just right size to provide a lot of flexibility on the go. If you have a long day, where you don’t need a laptop, this bag was perfect. The Chronicle was easy to walk with. I have to walk a lot. My job has me mobile at times. I walked over a mile with the bag and I had no issues with it. The Chronicle is comfortable when full or just has a camera in it. I kept the Domke Chronicle with me in my daily commute.  It has been with me on trains and buses between New Jersey and New York often. The Chronicle sat on my lap comfortably or hung from my shoulder when I had to stand.

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Getting your gear in and out of the Chronicle is easy. If you’re out at an event, or at a press conference, you can get your camera out of the bag quickly. That is extremely important. If you only have a few minutes to get your shot you do not want to fumble around getting your camera out. Things happen and its good to be ready. This also comes in handy it starts pouring down rain. I was able to get to the train station in the rain, get my camera out and get a shot as an express flew by. If I had to fumble with my bag I would have missed that shot.

Conclusions

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I did not think the Domke would be as comfortable as my daily routine, but it was. The Domke Chronicle is nondescript. The logo on the side of the bag can be tucked away. Unlike its grandfather the F-2, the Chronicles has a backbone. It will stand up on its own with its proper padding. This makes it more of a proper camera bag for today’s camera gear. Even though our Editor-in-Chief liked the Domke F2, I felt that it was a little flimsy and it was never really a choice for me. The Chronicle remedied all the issues I had with the F2 and more. A photojournalist would definitely appreciate this bag. The quick access and the comfort it provides would make the bag great to use on terribly long days where you have to take care of many jobs .

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Gevon Servo

Gevon Servo aka @GServo is an eclectic, NJ/NY Photographer. He’s a Nikon shooter, by choice nevertheless, will always test any piece of photography equipment. He believes that like ‘Photography’, ‘Coffee’,’Beer’ and ‘Comics Books’ and other things ‘Geek’ “You must try everything once to discover what you want to try again.