Like most photographers I am always on the quest for the Holy Grail, “The Perfect Camera Bag”. After the endless youtube reviews, forum reviews and magazine read ups, here is another for you to ponder over, with a few pictures to help you decide whether this could be the bag you have been looking for.
For me, this bag left me with mixed emotions, some great features, a nice size, but things could be better. Especially for the hefty £45 price tag. I wager the materials and manufacture cost closer to £5, so Think Tank are really taking advantage of a target market, the bag range even being named specifically to tempt people with more money than sense into adding one of these to their shopping basket, and paying for it from paypal funds in the hope that the other half doesn’t notice.
So the cost aside which all can only agree is twice what it should be lets look at the bag and I will offer my opinion. And it is only that.
First impressions on taking it out of the box were disappointing, I own numerous other bags, made by Billingham, Lowepro and Kata and the think tank just didn’t feel anywhere near the same quality as others that I own. I was also a little worried by the size at first, but this soon faded when I loaded it up. More on this later.
The materials are ok, just not as rugged as I would have expected for the money, padding is not very thick either, thick enough I suppose but again just not substantial enough to inspire confidence.
The inner dividers are next to useless, having no rigidity or padding whatsoever, these will be getting replaced, they are just to flimsy and would offer no protection between items. Also if the bag is not full the weak velcro and thinness can not keep the X100 upright. Very poor. Great idea with the iphone slot, and slots for memory cards, great ideal just poorly executed.
The small pockets at each end are just that, two small pockets, I doubt I will use them but they could hold a battery or two, or a cable etc.
Whilst all this sounds kind of negative, my first impressions seemed not to matter so much when I started to load it up. It grew on me instantly. It all just works very well, for me at least. It holds just what I would like to carry, with the exception of there being nowhere to put a bottle of water, but this isn’t the end of the world, just would have been nice.
So, here it is. A few shots of it loaded up.
Top flap back and you can see the magnets used to hold the flap down, note these are not strong enough to allow you to pick the bag up by the handle without the bag tipping open if the zips are open, but fine to hold the flap down whilst walking about with the bag slung.
Front pocket has two internal slip pockets, just a couple of batteries and a pen in here. I will use this to put anything extra I want to take with me when I take the bag out. There was also a rain cover in here, which I took out, as unfortunately it is pretty useless. If you put the cover on you cannot use the shoulder strap or carry handle. Think Tank by name, not by nature.
Inside the main compartment I have my X100, an X10, EF20 flash, phone, notebook and neck strap. Nothing in the top sleeve pocket yet, conscious of whatever goes in there will knock onto the cameras, also the pocket is only held closed by a piece of velcro in the middle, meaning anything small in there will fall out. Again quite poor.
Now this I was pleased about, it will hold my Ipad Mini, not that I always carry it, but it is nice to have the option. The dividers need detaching from the back of the bag, but the gear inside keeps them in place anyway.
So despite what could be considered a critical review, and my pointing out a number of things which are quite poor, I do really like the bag, its just the right size for its intended use, holds my gear nicely. Think Tank could really have done better, especially for the price. I suspect, and hope other manufactures will soon come out with their versions for what is becoming a very popular market.