I’m always looking for the perfect camera bag. I have at least one camera on me at all times, plus a few other gadgets. I have a few different bags (my wife might find this an understatement) for different situations, and for the last few years I’ve been using Think Tank’s excellent Retrospective 7 shoulder bag as my everyday bag which can hold a mirrorless body with a few lenses and a tablet and a few other accessories. But it is a little too small for a full frame system. When I saw Domke’s Metro Messenger bag I was intrigued by its stylish look and the size and format of it.
When I received the bag a couple of things jumped out at me immediately. This bag looks great. Even my 5 year old daughter loved it and still asks about it (the bag was sadly stolen from my car’s trunk along with lots of equipment in it at an assignment). The orange zippers complement the military green perfectly and the finish of the material is excellent. It also comes with extra wax which according to the manual can weather-seal it again after a few years if needed. The stitching, the quality, the attention to detail are all top-notch.
The second thing I noticed right out the box was the plastic buckles and hooks attaching the shoulder strap to the bag. This was a concern, since I knew this bag could get very heavy. It’s a full sized shoulder bag with pockets for a laptop, a tablet plus all other heavy camera gear. I thought these attachments needed to be metal. But after months of using the bag with very heavy equipment, I have yet to encounter any problems with it. Thich is seriously strong plastic. There is also no shoulder pad on the strap but after using it for a while I find the trap comfortable enough and I didn’t miss having a shoulder pad.
The bag can easily hold a full frame system, a body and few full size lenses plus a flash and other accessories, while the back foamed pocket can hold a 15” laptop or any size tablet. I’ve even used it to carry a full frame body with a couple of lenses, plus a micro four thirds system and a mini tripod all in this bag. Needless to say this setup can get very heavy, but the bag was still very comfortable and unlike some other bags holds its form really well even when it’s full.
The two side pockets are expandable through it’s great looking orange zippers, and when fully expanded they can hold a flash, like a Canon 580EX or any other similar flash. The two main front pockets are also expandable, although they are fixed at the bottom. There is a slide pocket at the back which is great for throwing any documents, magazines etc. and there is a luggage strap which is handy when travelling. There is a zippered front slide pocket which is good for more important documents and small front slide pockets can hold cards.
As for the main compartment, there is a zipper on top of the bag which is great for accessing the gear quickly without opening the bag. There are also flaps on the sides of the main compartment to protect the gear from the elements which is a great detail. The bag is weather resistant and I’ve used in heavy rain and snow conditions and haven’t noticed any leaking.
There are two tall dividers in the bag that divide the interior two three sections. I would have liked to see more options for customizing the inside of the bag especially since this bag is very deep and it’s not exactly comforting to stack two shorter lenses on top of each other without support in between. I ended up loading my lenses and flash units in their pouches before putting in the bag which isn’t ideal. But overall, these are minor issues for an otherwise great bag.
-Beautifully designed and crafted.
-Lots of storage pockets and compartments.
-Plastic buckles for the shoulder strap don’t scream confidence (although they worked for as long as I used it)
-Could use more dividers and customization options for the main compartment.
The Domke Metro Messenger is the best looking and one of the most well crafted bags I have used.