November 17, 2014

Tiffen Domke Metro Messenger Camera Bag - $499.00

Review by Steve Douglas

Let's face facts. After spending enough money to take out a second mortgage on your house to finance the purchase of your latest and greatest camera or camcorder, it makes no sense to protect that investment with a cheapo nylon camera bag or backpack which I have seen some people do. I don't quite understand the reasoning or common sense behind this approach to camera protection, but I can assure you that it makes no sense to me.

Of course, there is a wide variety of different bags, most designed well enough for the environment they will be needed in. International travel, for me, almost always demanded a wheeled bag that enabled me to circumvent the pedestrian foot traffic, narrow rows on the airlines and still be able to fit in the overhead compartments above my seat. However, for walking around towns and villages or just shooting in the city one cannot reasonably be expected to be pulling what is essentially a suitcase around town.

That is where the Domke Metro Messenger camera bag comes into play. This is one very impressive camera bag. In fact, my first impression was that this one might last a lifetime or two. Let's get the tech specifics out of the way first. The Domke Metro Messenger bag, one of several new bags in the Tiffen/Domke line of camera bags comes with outside dimensions of 21" Length, 5" Wide and 12" High, an interior dimensions of 16"L x 4.5"W x11.25"H. The bag weighs in at only 5.2 lb. Its Ruggedwear® (waxed canvas duck) is made from a heavy duty cotton fabric treated with what Domke says are 'environmentally friendly' waxes and oils. The Domke bag is water resistant but does not inhibit the fabrics ability to breath. While I chose the olive green military color with a black color webbing, it's also available in Ruggedwear ® Black; Khaki Canvas; and Black Cordura ®. A shoulder strap is additionally included as is a 2 year warranty.


Access to the bags interior can be had two ways. There is a zipper along the top that can be pulled from either side for quick access to your camera, lens or other gear, and there is a steel clip secured overhead flap that will open the entire bag for you to put in or take out whichever camera or lens you might choose. On the back side of the Domke bag is a length wise pocket that would hold securely your laptop or iPad and whose inside is padded with a nice felt like material.

I really like that the two pockets on either end of the Domke bag are both expandable should the need to stuff even more bits and pieces are needed. Two pockets under the main flap are also expandable and there are a couple more pockets that would be more than suitable to store business cards, lens caps and cleaning cloths. Two dividers come with the bag held in place by velcro allowing you to reposition your cameras, lens and other equipment. It will fit two DSLR bodies with 3 mid-zoom lenses plus a flash unit at one time plus whatever you need to stick in its other pockets.

Also on the bag is a numbered ID plate should you misplace the bag or have it stolen and recovered by someone honest enough to try to return it to you. For maintenance purposes, while it is suggested that you clean the bag with a soft, moist damp cloth or sponge, should the bag really need a major cleaning, a good sized tin of their Refinishing Wax is included with your purchase. Tiffen also suggests that all zippers be thoroughly dried to prevent rust on any of the metal hardware. If I had any suggestion to improve this bag it would be to use a larger, more heavy duty type of zipper material.

The Domke Metro Messenger bag has a very rugged feel and finish to it and I do like the look and functionality that it comes with.


Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 7 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis Production, and Productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve was a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition.




copyright © Steve Douglas 2014

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