Think Tank Retrospective 30 Blue Slate Review

Think Tank Retrospective 30 Review5 resized

I was eagerly awaiting my Think Tank Retrospective 30 Shoulder Bag for an upcoming trip. I knew I HAD to have it for this trip to keep my gear securely organized and safe! While I am a big fan of Think Tank and already have their Airport Take Off and their waist system (to be reviewed in the future), I did not have any sort of professional shoulder bag for carrying my camera gear. Previously, I had taken a large purse and affixed some foam for protecting my camera and called that my camera shoulder bag. It was awful and I was in great need for a professional, durable, smart shoulder bag for my travels. Think Tank came to the rescue.

Think Tank Retrospective 30 Review3

1) Product Specifications

1.1) Features

- Minimalist outer appearance conceals expensive photo equipment
- Carries a pro size DSLR with standard zoom lens attached
- Wider size to fit a 70-200 f2.8 attached to DSLR facing sideways
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Think Tank Airport Commuter Review

Airport Commuter Backpack

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to test and use the Airport Commuter backpack from Think Tank while taking it on trips as well as using it around town. In this review, I will look at the backpack in detail, go over its features and discuss how it has been serving my photography needs when I travel. As you may already know, I am a wildlife photographer, hence not many bags can accommodate my gear. I decided to get the Airport Commuter because it is one of the largest travel-safe backpacks offered by Think Tank, which can fit long, super telephoto lenses like 400mm f/2.8 or 500mm f/4.

Airport Commuter Backpack

1) General Information and Dimensions

1.1) Features

  1. Meets International and USA domestic airlines’ carry-on size requirements (check with your airline to confirm before traveling)
  2. Cable lock & locking YKK zipper sliders for added security
  3. Holds your laptop and iPad in a separate (lockable) zippered compartment
  4. Includes tripod/monopod mounting system
  5. Bottom hinge opens bag completely for quick and unencumbered access
  6. Light, comfortable and contoured harness system
  7. Top zippered pocket for boarding pass
  8. Removable waist belt for additional stability when walking, running, etc.
  9. Adapts to Pro Speed Belt for additional support
  10. Water bottle pocket
  11. Ultra-Stretch pockets on shoulder straps
  12. Robust handles on three sides
  13. Easily accessible front organizer pocket
  14. Seam sealed rain cover included
  15. YKK RC-Fuse zipper and highest quality materials throughout

1.2) Dimensions:

  1. External Dimensions: 12.5” W x 18.” H x 8.5” D (31.6 × 45.7 × 21.6cm)

  2. Internal Dimensions: 11.5” W x 16.3” H x 6.8” D (29.2 × 42.4 × 17.3cm)

  3. Laptop: 11” W x 16” H x 1.3” D (27 × 40 × 3.5cm)

  4. Weight: 3.5-4.2lbs (1.5-1.9kg)

1.3) What’s in the Bag?

Here is a photo of a partially loaded Think Tank Airport Commuter bag:
Packed Airport Commuter Bag with D4 and 300

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Think Tank Hydrophobia 300-600 v2.0 Review

Hydrophobia in snow

If you don’t get out to take photos when it’s raining or snowing, then you are missing some great opportunities! In this review of the Think Tank Hydrophobia 300-600 v2.0, I will go over the features of this protective cover, talk about its use and how it helps me capture unique photographs of wildlife in the most difficult weather conditions.

Hydrophobia in snow

When it comes to protecting your gear in inclement weather, you can go the cheap route with a plastic bag, or if your gear fits, really “go big” with a plastic protector with cinch closure such as the Optech Rain sleeve – better than a plastic trash bag, but still not the best option. I have used the Optech Rain sleeve in the past and while it is light, takes up almost no room and is cheap, it isn’t very durable and isn’t as easy to use as the more expensive rain covers. For instance, one limitation is the single opening that your hand has to go up to control the camera. I tend to keep one of these available in a backpack if I am not planning on bad weather but want to be prepared just in case. They work in a pinch and for brief showers so they are good for the unexpected, but for real protection, you’ll want to invest in a dedicated rain cover that will allow you to fully operate the camera and still protect it from rain, snow, dirt or sand. If you are likely to run into bad weather or harsh conditions such as wind blown sand or dirt, consider a more complete system such as the Hydrophobia from Think Tank, a complete system that is built like its manufacturer’s name – a tank. To suit your needs there are 3 different sizes to choose from: one to fit a 70-200mm lens, one to fit a 70-200 with a flash mounted and lastly, the Hydrophobia 300-600 v2.0, designed to fit lenses from 300mm to 600mm f/4 and which we will review here.

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Think Tank Airport Accelerator Review

Airport Accelerator Backpack front view

The Airport Accelerator Backpack is a high quality bag worthy of consideration by anyone that frequently carries a healthy amount of gear through airports and doesn’t wish to check their bag. This bag is also ideal for wedding, portrait, and landscape photographers who often find it impractical to use a roller-style bag on wooded or irregular terrain.

Airport Accelerator Backpack front view

1) Initial Thoughts

My first impression of the Airport Accelerator was similar to that I have of all Think Tank products – well-built and well-designed. This bag uses the same quality nylon materials, zippers, seams, buckles, compartments, padding, and cord as found in other Think Tank products. Think Tank is famous for their quality and the Airport Accelerator lives up to the company’s well-deserved reputation.

2) Dimensions

EXTERIOR:
14.0 x 20.5 x 9.0″ (35.6 x 52.1 x 22.9 cm)
INTERIOR MAIN COMPARTMENT:
13.0 x 18.8 x 6.8″ (33 x 47.8 x 17.3 cm)
Laptop compartment: 11.8 x 17.3 x 1.4″ (30.0 x 43.9 x 3.6 cm)
WEIGHT:
4.1 – 5.5 lb (1.9-2.5 kg)

3) Size

This bag has plenty of room for just about all the gear you might want to take on any photography journey. It boasts the ability to accommodate a 600mm lens, and although I don’t have one, I have little doubt that it would fit comfortably in the Airport Accelerator. If you have read Nasim’s and Tom’s reviews of the Airport Security, and the Airport International, you will notice that these other bags are very similar to one another with respect to dimensions, and to the Airport Accelerator as well. Think Tank also makes another rolling bag named, the Airport Takeoff Rolling Camera Bag. What’s the main differences between these designated “Airport” bags? Wheels and a bit of size. The Airport Security, Airport International, and the Airport Takeoff Rolling Camera bags sport some spiffy wheels much like traditional carry-on luggage, whereas the Airport Accelerator is a backpack design.

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Think Tank Airport 4-Sight Review

Think Tank Airport 4-Sight

This is a review of the Think Tank Airport 4-Sight rolling camera bag. My previous camera bag was the Think Tank StreetWalker HardDrive Backpack and I absolutely loved it. Think Tank has an almost legendary reputation among photographers, but the backpack was the only Think Tank product I had ever used. When it was time for a new bag, I had no doubt in my mind that it would be a Think Tank bag as well. The Airport 4-Sight just recently came out and caught my eye. It looked like it would be easy to travel with and hold all of my gear without being too cumbersome. Did it live up to my hopes and expectations? Read on to find out.

Think Tank Airport 4-Sight-1

1) Product Specifications

1.1) Features

Holds 2 Standard DSLRs, 3-5 Basic Zooms
Holds 2 Pro DSLR with Smaller Lenses
Holds a 300mm f/2.8 with Body Attached
Rolls on Four Wheels or Two on Carpeting
User Replaceable Handle / Wheels
Zippered Top Pocket for ID, Passport
Two Position Locking Handle
Three Carry Handles/Lockable YKK Zippers
Cable Management Organizer
Rain Cover

1.2) Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions 14.0 x 8.0 x 21.0″ (35.6 x 20.3 x 53.4)
Interior Dimensions 12.3 x 5.0-6.7 x 16.0″ (31.2 x 12.7-17.0 x 40.6)
Weight 8.9 lb (4.0 kg)

2) Overview

2.1) Initial Impressions

The first time I actually saw the bag, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit all of the gear that I was used to carrying with me. I had my StreetWalker HardDrive backpack pretty well dialed in and had everything I’d need for a shoot with me all the time. Also, I was pretty used to the larger Think Tank Airport bags that a few of my studio mates use. Would this bag be big enough? Had I miscalculated?

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Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 Review

Think Tank Airport Security

This is a quick review of the Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 rolling bag, one of the most popular and premium bags by Think Tank Photo. Targeted for busy photographers that have to travel on assignments with their gear, the Airport Security line is specifically designed to meet US domestic flight carry on size requirements. The bag also comes with TSA-approved combination locks and has an extra security cable to attach it to a fixed object. Best of all, it is a fairly large bag that can accommodate plenty of photo gear – whether you are storing a single DSLR with a 600mm lens or multiple DSLRs with smaller lenses. I have been personally using the bag to store my DSLRs, lenses and flash equipment and the bag has seen plenty of abuse this past summer during the wedding season.

Think Tank Airport Security

1) General Information and Dimensions

1.1) Features

  1. Meets USA domestic airlines’ carry-on size requirements
  2. TSA approved combination lock secures the main compartment
  3. Security lock and cable built in to the frame
  4. Security ID plate and unique serial number
  5. Holds pro-DSLR and super telephoto lenses up to 600mm
  6. Emergency shoulder straps for occasionally carrying the bag as a backpack
  7. Front stretch pocket holds an optional case for 15″ or 17″ laptops
  8. Optional low divider set allows for up to 17″ laptop to fit inside
  9. Clear Business card holder
  10. Seam-sealed rain cover included
  11. Looks like standard luggage rather than a photo bag

1.2) Dimensions

Internal Dimensions: 13” W x 21” H x 7–8” D (33 x 53.3 x 17.8–20.3 cm)
External Dimensions: 14” W x 22” H x 9” D (35.6 x 55.9 x 22.9 cm)
Weight: 12-14 lbs / 5.4-6.4 kg (weight depends on accessories used)

1.3) What’s in the Bag?

Here is a partially loaded Think Tank Airport Security v2.0 roller bag (click the image to enlarge):

In the bag close

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Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2.0 Review

Think-Tank-Urban-Disguise-60-V2-Front_View

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of what I would find during my review of the Think Tank Urban Disguise 60 v2.0 bag. For many years, the Tumi Alpha Large Expandable Organizer Laptop Brief has been “gold standard” of laptop bags for me and many other road warriors. And while not designed for photography, the Tumi bag nonetheless remains the benchmark for quality that I measure all types of luggage and bags against. It was inconceivable that I might find another bag that I thought matched or beat it.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

- William Foster

Think-Tank-Urban-Disguise-60-V2-Front_View

As I criss-crossed the globe and our country over the years, my original Tumi bag endured more abuse than I had a right to expect of it, often being filled to its limit and being jammed under countless airline seats. For some time, Tumi had free lifetime repairs on its bags. I made good use of the policy. At some point, Tumi ended its generous free lifetime repair policy (I suspect I might have had something to do with single-handedly dragging down Tumi’s profits and the resulting change in policy!), and I started to pay $50 or so per repair. As wear took its toll on my Tumi bag, I eventually had to consider the cost of cumulative bag repairs vs. buying a new bag.

Those of us who travel frequently get attached to our bags. They reliably and safely carry our precious belongings when we are far away from home. When my Tumi bag finally reached its end, I couldn’t dream of donating it or (gulp!) tossing it into the trash. No, the Tumi deserved nothing less than a Viking-style funeral! So one night, as I sipped a glass of wine, my Tumi bag literally went up in a blaze of glory in my fireplace (don’t call the environmentalists!). I drank a toast to it’s many years of dedicated service and recalled the interesting adventures we shared. I slept well that night knowing that the Boatman collected the coins I had placed in the Tumi, and had safely transported it across the River Styx.

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Think Tank Airport International v2.0 Review

Think Tank Airport International Review

In our previous bag reviews, readers have commented positively on their experiences with Think Tank products, a company well known for making quality photographic bags and accessories. When carrying substantial amounts of gear while traveling, it is nice to have the features of a roller bag, so let’s take a look at how their Airport International v2.0 stacks up.

Think Tank Airport International Review

1) General Information and Dimensions

1.1) Features

  1. Legal carry on size meets international airline restrictions
  2. TSA approved combination lock secures the main compartment
  3. Security lock and cable built in to the frame
  4. Security ID plate and unique serial number
  5. Holds pro-DSLR and super telephoto lenses up to 500mm
  6. Front stretch pocket holds an optional case for 15” or 17” laptops
  7. Optional low divider set allows for up to 15” laptop to fit inside
  8. Compatible with Airport Check-in briefcase
  9. Clear Business card holder
  10. Seam-sealed rain cover included
  11. Looks like standard luggage rather than a photo bag

1.2) Dimensions

Internal Dimensions: 13”W x 6.5”- 7.5” D x 18.5” H (33 x 16.5-19 x 47cm)
External Dimensions: 14” W x 8” D x 21” H (35.5 x 20.5 x 53 cm)
Weight: 9.5-11.5 lbs/ 4.3-5.2 kg (weight depends on accessories used)

1.3) What’s in the Bag?

Here is a loaded Think Tank Airport International v2.0 roller bag:

Loaded Think Tank Airport International

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