is a camera bag that
doesn't look like a camera bag. That was the single largest attraction
to it. Most camera bags, with their high-tech look of fancy black and
gray fabrics scream "steal me". This is a big concern on
international expeditions, but even in day to day life it's nice to
have a camera bag that won't cause undue stress when you need to set it
down for a minute.
Out of the box the ThinkTank Retrospective 30 reeks of
quality and craftsman ship. The fabric is nice and think, the stitching
well done and everything feels right. It just has a good tactile feel
to it. Camera users know this feeling from high end camera bodies. In
many ways with its old looks and quality build the ThinkTank
Retrospective reminds me of an old Nikkor AIS lens. Simply a well made
Yes it can hold that much.
And it can hold it well. About the perfect amount of stuff for a
weekend on the road with no planned shoots. Inside: Nikon D700 with
Nikkor 24-70 2.8 attached. Nikkor 70-300VR, Nikkor 135mm 2.8,
Samyang 14mm 2.8 and Nikon N6006. Plenty of room for extra small
stuff; a stack of filters, wireless remote, batteries, headlamp,
lenspen, lens cleaning solution, lens cleaning cloth, pen, notebook,
flashlight, batteries, cf cards, hand warming thingy and a headlamp. At
this point the bag is full and that all adds up to quite a bit of
With that weight, I find the ThinkTank
Retrospective 30 much more comfortable than the LowePro SlingShot 300
that I've used extensively. A large part of this is due to better
padding on the shoulder strap and the ability to switch shoulders. It's
also much easier to get a camera out of the ThinkTank
Retrospective, because there are no zippers to hassle with. A nice
detail on the ThinkTank
Retrospective is the Velcro covers for the top flap. You can either use
Velcro to keep the top flap snug, or cover the Velcro for silent egress
of the camera.
It's easy to get gear in
and out of, and is comfortable for shorter hikes. It carries just the
right amount of gear for day to day use. The configuration is flexible
and easily adjusted to carry a variety of gear. People just don't think
it's a camera bag. While waiting for a moon rise a couple came up and
asked me to take their picture. I was carrying the ThinkTank
Retrospective and a tripod. They were confused why I had a tripod and
wasn't a photographer. The bag also has not one but two pockets that
can either fit a small laptop or paperwork. This is nice, as too many
bags on the market lack a pocket or sleeve large enough to fit
paperwork into without folding it. There is a lot to love about
Retrospective 30, but
nothing is perfect, and there are a few things that could be improved
short carrying handle blocks the top flap from fully opening. I would
like to have a carrying handle, but took this one off
because I'd rather have the top open all the way.
side pockets at each end of the bag are useless. They are not an
elastic material, getting anything in or out of them is a struggle.
Perhaps they were just designed to be covers for the strap attachment
point, but they could be great water bottle pockets.
is a flap of excess fabric on the inside ends of the bag. When trying
remove a snug fitting lens with the lends hood reversed, the will hood
sometimes catch. They should be sewn down or trimmed better
at the factory.
designed to store filters. It would be nice to see a couple of pockets
for 77mm filters on the inside of the top flap. As it is, there is no
great place to put filters in the bag.
to make this summary just like my lens reviews.
- 10/10 if it was
made in the US or similar instead of Vietnam
- It handles very well with a few
minor issues noted above, notably snagging of lens hoods and carry
- Very little I would change on this bag. People won't
assume you're a photographer or carrying something valuable. Easy to
get gear in and out of.
- You get what
you pay for. It's not cheap at $190 but it's well built and will
outlast a modern camera or lens.
- Damn near perfect, could be
with a few adjustments in design.