The Herald is the grandchild of the Domke F-803. It is a traditional satchel bag, featuring a leather grab handle and a nylon shoulder strap. You can get it with a ruggedwear, cordura or canvas outer material and is available in four colors. I got ahold of the military green and black/sand bags for this review.
The Herald bag is a great looking camera bag. In a world of camera bags that mostly look like they came off the shelves of Best Buy, Domke Herald bags are set apart by their traditional journalist bag appearance.
Not only do the bags look great, they are functional. The Ruggedwear material feels tough, yet it appears smooth – almost like a suede/canvas material – and it has more character than the myriad of nylon bags that clutter the camera bag world. Don’t get me wrong, I love plenty of the nylon bags out there; however, there is just something special about Domke bags.
The Herald will fit a mid-range DSLR with a lens attached, along with a large spare lens in the main compartment. I was able to easily fit my Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm f/4L lens attached and a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in the main compartment with some wiggle room left over.
Along with the new Next Generation line of camera bags, Domke introduced a GearProtex divider insert system, which allows you to customize the arrangement of the inside of your Domke bags. You can use standard dividers as part of the system or one of the many new PocketFlex specialty inserts that allow you to hold memory cards, cell phones or other items securely in your camera bag’s main pouch.
The downside of the new GearProtex system is that the Herald bag includes a single divider and a patch pocket, which limits the out-of-the-box flexibility of the camera bag. The single divider in the Herald bag is rather thin, which makes it almost too small for larger DSLRs like a D810 or 5D model. You can easily find more dividers (and some vary cool accessory pouches); however, they are at least $20 each, which seems to be asking a little much after you’ve paid $300 for a camera bag.
Most camera bags that I have used (both cheap and expensive) ship with multiple dividers. Some bags even include an obnoxious amount of dividers. However, this is the first time that I have found myself wanting more dividers when I first opened the bag. And that’s my only real complaint about the Domke Herald.
Moving on the the little things, there is also a dedicated pouch for a standard iPad that is both padded and zippered. Speaking of zippers; all of the zippers on the Herald are YKK zippers, which is a level of quality I appreciate on a camera bag.
There is an outside, zippered pouch on the top flap and two internal pockets under the flap and in front of the main compartment. The internal pockets will handle small accessories like filters or business cards. However, they can be expanded via button closures to accommodate large accessories like speedlights or even small lenses. Beware though, there is no padding in these front pouches.
The side pockets are well designed with a double pocket, both of which are covered by a large flap. The large pocket is expandable with plenty of room for a couple speedlights or a large water bottle.
Other thoughtful features include rear roller straps for securely resting your back on your luggage and velcro silencers that allow you to disable the velcro fasters on the outer patches for silent use.
The Domke Herald camera bag is extremely well made and the design is very functional for photographers. The Herald’s styling stands out in a crowd of boring bags. The only real downer is the lack of additional dividers included with the bag.
You can find all of the Domke Herald bags, along with GearProtex and PocketFlex accessories at the links below.
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