Sunday, March 27, 2011

Think Tank Photo, Retrospective 30 Camera Bag Review

Think Tank Retrospective 30

Every photographer needs a good camera bag (ideally a few).  So when it came time to upgrade my trusty old LowePro shoulder bag, I decided to check out the latest bags by Think Tank Photo.  Its not that I didn't like my old LowePro, but I was wanting a bag that was slightly bigger and one that doesn't look like a camera bag.  This is where Think Tank Photo came in with their latest line of shoulder bags called Retrospective.

The Retrospective line are camera bags designed not to look like camera bags, which, if you're a photographer who has spent any time in crowds or in locations where its best to not look so conspicuous, then you can most definitely understand how valuable a bag like this can be.  Think Tank has several sizes and color styles available, but I decided to go with the largest, the Retrospective 30.  I also chose the Pinestone color as opposed to the black.  I think I like this color primarily because it looks even less like a camera bag and also has a more 'rugged' look to it (which should go well with my rugged good looks, cough ;)
Not only does this bag look great, but it has a ton of room!  This bag can easily hold 2 camera bodies, multiple lenses (even a 70-200) a flash or two and all the batteries, cables, gels and what not that you can stuff in it.  The interior is easily customizable with removable, velcro dividers and can be configured to hold any camera body with just about any lens attached.  I like the Retrospective 30 because its size allows you to place a camera with a lens attached in various positions, depending on the lens you use and still have room for various other necessities.

One of my concerns about this bag was whether or not it had enough pockets to store smaller items.  After checking out this bag, I can tell you it has more than enough!  There are neatly arranged pockets everywhere on this bag, inside and out.  The arrangement is smart and designed to hold everything from batteries to memory cards to even note pads.  There are 2 big flat pockets on the inside, front and back, a large flat pocket on the outside of the back, pockets on shorter sides, inside and out and even smaller pockets inside the larger ones.

Another awesome thing about this bag is that while it isn't water proof, it does come with an excellent rain cover that packs away neatly in one of the front pockets.  This was another concern of mine since my old bag was waterproof.  However, I've used other Think Tank products and their rain covers work perfectly.

Something else that is definitely worth mentioning, these bags are built like tanks!  The stitching and hardware that Think Tank uses reminds me of military grade products.  I think it would take years of wear and tear to damage this bag and considering Think Tank's customer support, I believe it would be no problem to get replacement parts or repairs done.  However, I don't ever anticipate this being an issue.

The last thing I really like about the Retrospective 30 bag is how comfortable it is to wear.  My old shoulder bag was a little more rigid and felt like wearing a small TV around my neck.  Since the Retrospective 30 is soft sided, it almost molds to you as you have it around your neck or shoulder and this bag has a huge, no slip shoulder pad which makes it really nice if you prefer to just carry it on your shoulder.  For a large shoulder bag, its definitely the most comfortable one I've owned.  For those interested, this highly sought after camera bag model is available at VERY affordable rates. :)

If you're interested in a new shoulder bag, then I would definitely check this one out.  I picked up my bag at Outdoor Photo Gear which carries every Think Tank product available and their customer service is second to none!  If you're local and would like to check out any of these bags first hand, give the guys at Outdoor Photo Gear a call, or just stop in to check them out.

oh, and as always, click on any pic for a larger view!


Pierre said...

Thanks for the write up!

I currently have a Lowepro Classified 160. Like the bag but it is showing it's age. I also want a new shoulder bag with a bit more room in it.

Pierre said...

Great write up, thanks!

I also currently have a Lowepro shoulder bag (Classified 160) and while it is great for every day, I want something a bit bigger. Debating between the bigger Lowepro or the Retro 30.