I’ve had a few camera bags over the years – a big blue Crumpler, the classic Domke J-3, and a re-purposed Patagonia bag with the Mountainsmith Cube. All very good bags. The Crumpler is no longer around (replaced it with the Domke), the Domke still gets loaded up for formal events, and the Patagonia will still likely be employed for ultra-lightweight adventures.
But the Think Tank Retrospective 10, I think, has just become my go-to bag – the one that always has gear in it – the one ready on a moments notice.
This is a well made bag – with so many details – even Think Tank didn’t list them all on their website.
And if you’ve been poking around on the web – you’ve probably seen the reviews: “swallows up gear” with “room for more”. All I can say is that from my experience – that looks to be pretty accurate.
How did it do in the field?
I decided to take this bag to task and carried it exclusively for this last trip to the Central California Coast (Big Sur to Santa Cruz). For day-to-day shooting I had a 50D + 70-200 f/4L (attached), 20D + 24mm f/2.8 (attached), a Lensbaby, Lensbaby Fisheye Optic, a couple of Kenko extension tubes, and a Blackrapid strap in the primary compartment.
In the front pocket – blower, pocket notebooks, memory cards, MP3 player, small flashlight, headlamp, and biz cards. In the side pockets – one had a small case that I use to store a couple of P-filters and a Cokin filter holder – and in the other a small water bottle.
Also – crammed in various pockets I had a couple of filters, extra battery, and some lens cloths. And at times – I had the little travel Gitzo tripod + Joby Ballhead X across the top – held securely under the main flap.
In other words – I had the smallest bag in the line crammed with stuff – and it worked beautifully.
After checking to see if my body + lens combo would fit in the bag – my next decision was color: Bristlecone or Black? I was leaning towards Black – but thought it might be a bit formal – and went with the Bristlecone. Glad I did – it’s dark enough – and has a good distressed feel.
The feature list reads like a sushi menu – there’s a lot here.
The bag includes a comfortable (non-slip) shoulder strap, inside stash pockets, external water bottle holders, rear external zippered pocket, rain cover, Velcro silencers, and even more pockets.
The only knocks I have are very (very) small.
(1) It is a true 7” wide. I wouldn’t mind if it were an inch or two narrower. But I think it’s something I can get used to. And (2) I’d like a slightly larger water bottle pocket. This bag will only take the narrowest bottles – and I insist on carrying water when I’m out shooting.
If you’re gear is longer than the 70-200 f/4L + camera body – it might not fit in the R10. But for me – this bag is brilliant. I’m a fan. It looks great, carries well, is easy to work from, and appears to be exceptionally durable.