View Full Version : Canvas or Ballistic Nylon?

06-17-2006, 20:45
Which do you prefer? If other, please specify.

06-17-2006, 20:50
Nylon. Canvas is just a terrible material. It gets and stays wet. It is heavier. It creates dust. It wears out faster.

06-17-2006, 20:55
Ballistic nylon. Canvas may have a finer texture and more polished appearance, but ballistic nylon is hard to beat for toughness, water resistance and rot resistance. No question IMO.

06-17-2006, 22:13
Canvas will rot evntually. Wet or dry it, will break down. As Finder said it does create it's own dust. Looks cool, but it has a much shorter half life than nylon.

I started a thread about a nylon diaper bag discovered at Target. Does well as my camera bag now. Chek it out-

06-17-2006, 22:23
Ok, since I suspect you're referring to camera bags (otherwise this post will be OT, and pardon my interruption), let me put my suggestion forward for the world's best camera bag. I have ditched my Domke F-5XB canvas bag for a new Courierware extra small camera bag in cordura nylon. The material is amazing, the bag is soft and settles against your hip/lower back perfectly and holds an M body with 50 cron with room for at least two other lenses and plenty of other stuff. It is the perfect bag (for me). The Domke ended up being a tad too small and a bit like lugging a square brick against one's side. Canvas is supposed to be more supple, but, with the padding in the Domke and the reinforced corners and edges, this bag is not.

Anyway, if anyone wants to take a sand-coloured F-5XB off of my hands, drop me a line. I know this bag has many fans. I'm just not one of them.

Oh, and, in case it's not obvious, my vote is for Cordura ("other").


06-18-2006, 07:11
Unfortunately, Domke doesn't do nylon in anything but basic black, which gets MUCH too hot...
and canvas is much quieter. So... tradeoffs.

06-18-2006, 10:06
I prefer canvas. As has been noted, quieter, softer (usually), and it DOES dry through a natural wicking action. Nylon will be dry to the touch on the outside, but can trap moisture inside the bag. I've never had much of a problem with canvs "creating its own dust"; for the small amount that may be created, I simply clean out the interior when necessary.

06-18-2006, 10:52
Domke canvas. Spray it several times with NikWax TX.Direct spray-on (available from outdoors suppliers like REI) and it will be downpour-proof.

06-19-2006, 04:27
ballistic nylon???
What the heck is that. And why ballistic.
Are raindrops going through it without scattering processes??

06-19-2006, 10:32
Well, I have each, so I guess I am sort of ambivalent. Even so, I think I prefer canvas. They may not hold up as well. I don't know. I have only had mine for about 27 years, so I can't really say how much longer it will last. There is some minor fraying on a part of the strap too. And it has only survived one house fire so I can't say much about its resistance to acid water (it has been to other fires for evidence photography if that counts). It was on the floor so it didn't have to cope with as much heat as it could have. But then I had a canvas bag that survied the same thing as well. I guess not carrying them so much for the last 15 years helps. :D

06-19-2006, 10:34
I'm the same... I've got both.. but I've grown to love the Domke canvas.
The nylon's good, and I store a lot of stuff in the bags I have, but the Domke canvas is more of a "home" for the RF gear.


06-19-2006, 11:54
Canvas, I prefer the feel of natural fibers.

Flyfisher Tom
06-19-2006, 11:55
Are we talking about camera bags or undergarments?

Doesn't matter ... canvas !

06-19-2006, 12:01
Canvas - I prefer the feel and look, plus it's quieter. I don't know, but nylon just doesn't feel right and annoys me to no end.

Flyfisher Tom
06-19-2006, 12:08
Domke canvas. Spray it several times with NikWax TX.Direct spray-on (available from outdoors suppliers like REI) and it will be downpour-proof.

Thanks for the tip, Peter ! Great idea :)

06-19-2006, 13:35
Canvas (Billingham Stormblock, to be precise). Canvas will rot as Bob said, but the good thing IMO is that canvas will rot and not moulder in the landfill for an unknown length of time. My bike bags are cotton duck, BTW.

Mark [/treehugger mode off]

06-19-2006, 18:18
Which do you prefer? If other, please specify.

Ballistic nylon. Looks good, more durable and weather resistant.

Kiron Kid

06-19-2006, 18:20
Thanks for the tip, Peter ! Great idea :)

Flyfisher Tom, is that Lake Tenaya in your icon?

Kiron Kid

Flyfisher Tom
06-20-2006, 03:48
Flyfisher Tom, is that Lake Tenaya in your icon?

Kiron Kid

Hi Russ,

It is an alpine lake in the Sawtooth Mountains (Idaho). Not sure what its real name is, but we call it affectionately: "Breakass Lake" ... as it takes about 1/2 day of nearly vertical climbing to reach the top. The beauty is you are the only one up there, and the trout are beautiful. cheers

06-20-2006, 04:57
No mention of leather? Actuelly, canvas is more practical, but, with my old cameras, I like old leather camera bags. Leather is natural, and a well worn old bag just looks and feels good to me. They can be picked up for a song as no one wants them any more. Some are really classic.

Of course, all my more modern equipment is in modern synthetic bags (it isn't really 'ballistic' nylon). :cool:

06-20-2006, 06:19
Tom, are they rainbows or speckled trout up there?

07-18-2006, 07:23
I have both. But, like Dave, I tend to store gear in my nylon bags and carry my RF in canvas. Ever since I bought a Safrotto F-803 clone, I have rarely taken another bag out for a day of shooting. The only exception is when I have to lug all of my SLR gear out for a shoot. Then I take it in my bigger nylon bags. But for a day of street shooting with the Leica, it's canvas for me.

BJ Bignell
07-18-2006, 07:49
I voted "Other", for ChickenTex. It's what Crumpler Bags used to call the stuff they make their bags from. I just checked, it's heavy-duty rip-stop nylon. Whatever, I still like ChickenTex.

07-18-2006, 10:02
I have bags in both. I tend to store in nylon, and was carrying canvas - but I found a small nylon Tamarac that holds both my Canon P, an extra lens, plus my Rolleiflex comfortably (and is still small) - that has become my standard carry bag.

07-18-2006, 10:26
Does anybody here know how many the compartments a standard Domke 803 ships with? I've read conflicting statements that it ships with either 1 or 3.

07-18-2006, 16:13
One Erik.

08-06-2006, 20:22
Does anybody here know how many the compartments a standard Domke 803 ships with? I've read conflicting statements that it ships with either 1 or 3. My 803 (canvas), which I bought in mid-2002, came with an insert pouch which works out to three compartments. Pull the pouch out (held by a Velcro strip lining the bag's interior so you can put it where you like), and you have one compartment. Different inserts are available; the one that came with my bag works out best for my setup: a pair of RF bodies w/lenses (28 & 50) attached, small flash and third lens (90mm) in central compartment, larger flash sometimes tucked under one of the cameras. Great bag thus far.

- Barrett

08-13-2006, 09:08
I have used bags made from plastic, nylon, cloth, and paper to carry photographic equipment.

I have also used diaper bags, fishing bags, camping bags, hiking bags, computer bags, laundry bags, and garbage bags to carry equipment.

I have been able to pick up some great bags at garage/yard sales for $1.

However, leather and suede are my personal favorites. Other than these two materials, it makes little difference to me.

08-15-2006, 12:40
drop me a pm re the domke bag.
[email protected]

Simon Larbalestier
08-19-2006, 09:40
Domke F6 Ballistic is a mix of ballistic nylon and canvas - best of both worlds
For the 802/3 satchels i like the canvas.

08-21-2006, 07:17
Just got a Safrotto 803-clone, and its THE perfect bag that ive been searching for, for a very long time! and it got here suprisingly quick! also perfect size for my g4 powerbook 15", in case anyone else was wondering.

Simon Larbalestier
08-21-2006, 08:34
The clone must be a bit bigger than the 803 because my G4 15" only fits in my 802 not my 803 - but then i do have it in a padded slipcase....

08-25-2006, 08:02
it is kind of a tight fit, and it only doesnt fit inside the insert, and not much else fits after that. i only mentioned that because i remember reading somewhere that someone wanted to know if it could fit in any way in the smaller bag.

Simon Larbalestier
08-25-2006, 08:42
ok thanks for letting me know i was thinking of getting one.

09-19-2006, 15:03
The clone is slightly bigger than the F-803 Simon. I have both. I think the clone is a better bag.

09-19-2006, 15:35
I just bought a Tenba P211 and like it much better than my Domke 803--lighter, roomier and adjustable dividers.

John Robertson
09-19-2006, 16:50
My leather edged canvas Billingham was bought in 1986, is still waterproof and hasn't fallen to bits. It was expensive at the time but has been well worth it.

10-06-2006, 14:03
Another vote for Billingham: supple, durable and still lookin' good.

10-06-2006, 14:16
I like the look and feel of canvas and just got a Mekko F803 clone for my birthday. It holds my T90 kit just right. Now I need to find a smaller canvas bag to replace the nylon one my CL kit is in.


10-07-2006, 08:57
Domke J-6 canvas. An exterior coat of nixwax or scotchguard does wonders.

10-07-2006, 10:02
My vote goes for the Billingham canvas style bags. I have had the opportunity to try out a few and it is a tie between the L2 Alice and the Hadley Pro. Too bad they do not have the olive colored canvas any more. Would love to have a Hadley Pro in Olive.

Edit: I think it always helps to see an image of a bag with equipment in it. I know it is not necessarily a thread about what can fit in the bag but more what material. This canvas bag has been in 3 different jungles in 3 different countries nad my gear has never gotten wet. Including a waterfall tour in Costa Rica. The outside got wet but dried in about an hour. Equipment in the bag is 2 MP's with a 28/f2 and 35/f1.4 with a Leicavit mounted on one MP. Plus a 21/f2.8 with accessory finder on top and there is a Sekonic L-558 in the front with 5 rolls of film under that.

Harry Lime
10-07-2006, 12:13
I like the way the Domke canvas feels and looks, but don't take those bags anywhere it can rain. Nothing worse than a soaked bag, with your gear in it.
For a while I took a super compact backpack rain cover with me, that I would use if it started to pour.

In addition I have the Domke J-803 in black nylon and will take it anywhere. It's water resistant and very tough, but it would be nice if they made a version in tan colored nylon for hot climates.

That said I also have a canvas Billingham L2, which has proven to be extremely water-resistant. I've been caught with it in several storms and while the bag got soaked, the contents remained bone dry.

My only complaint about the Billinghams is that when they are new they look rather flashy and expensive, which IMO makes them a target for thieves. They are so well made that it's taken about 6 years of abuse to take the 'newness' off of mine. ;-)


10-07-2006, 12:28
I am glad to see that no one has mentioned the Leica M bag. Although this bag appears similar to the L2 Alice it has zippered fron section and then a flap that goes over the top and closes with the typical billingham style closures. Those closures are not made of leather so that when they get wet they do not hold their shape well. My M Billingham bag will never stay closed now because those securing pieces got wet. Only accept real leather closures.

10-10-2006, 17:58
Glenn: Not related to bags, so OT, but... there's GOTTA be a story about the Glenfiddich girl on your website. I'm not a Glenfiddich fan (save for bottlings I've not yet tasted), but this lass might turn me. Nice photo.

10-10-2006, 18:25
Dude.... She was like 19 years old man... I just couldn't (I'm getting too old and will have to turn in my "DAWG!" id for a marriage certificate). Sooo, she got me drunk and she slammed back 2 shots herself (drinking age is allot different in Colombia) and I called it a night. I did make a print for her though and she loved it.

10-10-2006, 18:43
Well, I figured she was about that young and nothing inappropriate inferred... just a real nice photo. You dawg.

03-29-2007, 20:50
I love the feel of my old Domke canvas bag, it has my old Nikkormat in storage in it. Of late I too am using several diaper bags I got a Target too, but mine were $10 USD each. They are small enough that I can carry two without too much trouble. The extra insulation helps keep film from getting over heated in the hot sun. I like the two bag option, one for my M6, winder and three lense, the other or my F2, 28/2.8 AIs, TC-200 and 180/2.8 ED.

B2 (;->

03-30-2007, 06:20
Other... Depends on what I'm wearing.

Ben Blacket
03-30-2007, 06:30
I'm posting a "broken in" Olive/Tan Billingham Hadley LARGE for sale in a few weeks, so keep an eye out if anyone's interested.

03-31-2007, 13:26
Everyday use & walking around locally, I prefer canvas.
However when travelling, I prefer nylon. I recall being in 4 days straight of moderate-heavy rainfall in Amsterdam with my camera bag fully exposed for an average of 5 hours/day (tourist - what can I say) with no affect on the gear inside.
Or perhaps I've just had crappy canvas bags?

Philip Whiteman
04-02-2007, 09:22
I'd go for the newer material got the word on how hard wearing it is from Ros Billingham when I ordered one of the new Hadley bags directly from the factory.

Nominally a D SLR bag, this was for my Nikon D100 (Boo! Hiss!) but it takes my R-D1 plus Voigtlander SW Heliar, and 35 and 50 mm Summicrons very neatly camera face-down on top, one spare lens in each internal pocket and the 15 D finder in the 'well' between them. Looks lovely in sage with tan leather trim too.

04-13-2007, 10:11
Domke states that their canvas bags are treated with a water repellent during manufacture.

04-13-2007, 10:18
Ballastic is ok in front loader, frequently need to do this, beer ingress, mud ingress, cement dust, ...


04-13-2007, 10:42
I'm a canvas guy- humidity here scares me with a plastic bag. A little lower profile too? I think my Domke 803 can really look like a messenger bag if you don't have the camera out. I guess it would also depend on your location- around here a canvas bag is less of a 'sore thumb' than a ballistic one would be.

I've never had rain troubles with the Domkes, been caught out for short spells a few times, no full day in the rain. I also find them to be cooler on the hip in the summer- I do hate being too hot.

06-13-2007, 05:50
Domke states that their canvas bags are treated with a water repellent during manufacture.If so its a pretty poor one. I bought a new F-1x earlier this year and first time out in the rain the water went into the fabric. I use NikWax TX.Direct spray-on and give each bag 3-4 coats. It works reasonably well.

06-13-2007, 06:57
I'm surprised about canvas not being waterproof. I have found that canvas canopies on (military) trucks etc. last years longer than the various plastic alternatives and are more waterproof. Presumably most nylons have the waterproofing on the "outside", but (rather expensive admittedly) canvas is waterproofed all the way through. I have not seen a camera bag made out of that stuff.

The nylon I've seen is more flexible than the mega canvas though, and lighter too. Swings and roundabouts. If I expect lots of rain I always use a drybag liner anyway.

I use a small Macpac rucsac (their own canvas-like material) hanging off one shoulder, or an Agu bike handlebar-bag made for camera use. Both are effectively "invisible" in Holland.

04-03-2009, 12:09
Normally latex...

alan davus
04-03-2009, 14:21
Which do I prefer? Whatever My Billinghams and Fogg are made from.

04-03-2009, 18:46
Normally latex...

Actually, this is a camera forum.

04-03-2009, 19:34
Actually, this is a camera forum.

Did not mean to upset your sensibilities...ballistic nylon if in fact the question has to do with what kind of camera bag I prefer.

Best regards,


04-03-2009, 19:39
Ballistic Nylon. It seems to be more water resistant and so far I have used it in very harsh conditions without any problem. This is with a DSLR and RF in the bag.

04-03-2009, 22:28
I acknowledge the technical superiority of nylon, but I only use cheap canvas satchels from the army surplus store, as they are a lot more discreet. Nylon camera bags look like camera bags.

06-25-2009, 11:06
Mods ...

Fred has just ended this thread. :D

Al Kaplan
07-07-2009, 17:51
At one point I had a bag made out of old blue jeans. I guess it would be stylish again now!

07-07-2009, 18:51
At one point I had a bag made out of old blue jeans. I guess it would be stylish again now!A couple years ago I got in the habit of stapling a few paper grocery bags (the kind with handles) together, then throw my camera stuff in there, and put some laundry on top of the cameras and lenses. I could leave that bag anywhere and be assured that it would still be there, unmolested, when I returned.

I got out of the habit when the bags finally ripped through and dumped my laundry - AND CAMERAS on the ground.

It was embarrassing. :o

07-08-2009, 08:24
Which do you prefer? If other, please specify.I find canvas a little rough for my underwear, so I guess I'll go with the nylon ones. But I really prefer silk.

07-08-2009, 09:53
Wax, always.

07-08-2009, 11:35
I only use canvas bags,like a post above said, I spray several coats of water proofing spray on my Domke's and never had wet lenses.

08-26-2009, 19:32
Canvas. Ballistic nylon is a very good substance for making tough stuff from but it has a nasty feel to it.

I think the canvas dust issue is overblown. You have synthetic inserts in a Domke and an clean them out once in a while anyway. Unless you shoot only in cities, much more dust is going to come from the great outdoors than the break down of canvas.

08-27-2009, 03:07
My SLR bag is a Tenba 995 that I bought about 25 years ago. Made from coarse Nylon woven material that wears like iron, except that the edges fray. I just sew them closed, and keep on going. It was quite expensive for the time (over $300.00 as I recall, but in retrospect worth every penny).
A few months ago I found another one that had been used by a camera store for rentals. I bought it for ten dollars, got new interior dividers and plastic hardware from Tenba for $25.00, and after some do-it-myself repairs to fix it up, keep my rangefinder kit in it.

09-05-2009, 21:22
Whatever material they use for military backpacks...I get my bags from the local military surplus store...just picked-up a new one last week...this one's for the Mamiya 645 stuff...

09-05-2009, 21:49
Billingham Fibrenyte. Look and feel similiar to their "Storm Block" canvas, but is a tougher, lighter synthetic fiber laminate. Sage color replaces olive.

09-05-2009, 22:34
Ballistic Nylon is awsome stuff, it's tough, bright, strong, washable, very weather resitant. It doesn't tear or have it's stiches go and get nasty brown after it gets wet.

Roger Warren
09-24-2009, 00:16
I use canvas because, just like my camera I want to feel comfortable with the bag.