Cameras

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 7 Shoulder Bag Review

A quick look at the Think Tank Photo Retrospective 7 shoulder bag.

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We don’t typically dabble in apparel reviews. Think Tank Photo sent us one of their new Retrospective 7 shoulder bags anyway, so we’ll take a crack at it.

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The Retrospective series bags are a little more chic than Think Tank’s professional, sometimes utilitarian designs. The model we received (the Retrospective 7) is on the small side for a typical messenger bag. It’s available in three shades, black, blue slate, and pinestone, all with a polyspun, denim-esque texture. It blended right in on the streets of our east-coast, liberal-elite city. Photographer? Harvard Divinity School student? Or just a guy with a purse? Is there even a difference?

The soft sides and adjustable, padded shoulder strap made for comfortable carrying, even on a lengthy bicycle commute. There’s also a hand strap, and it comes with a rain protector as well (which can be bunched up to double as extra padding if your rig doesn’t quite fill out the main compartment).

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The design and quality are excellent, but the compact size is felt a bit limiting, mainly because it can only hold a tablet computer or 11-inch (or smaller) laptop. There’s enough room for a reasonably large camera system—basically a standard DSLR with two, maybe three lenses. The compartments within the bag are customizable thanks to velcro lining and a handful of removable dividers, so it’s pretty flexible, but it obviously works better for some rigs than others.

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We used the bag with a few setups. The Sony A77 with 16-50mm and 70-300mm lenses was the most comfortable fit. It was a bit roomy for the Olympus OM-D E-M5, even with the extra battery grip and two lenses (12-50mm kit and Panasonic 45-200mm). The Canon 5D Mk. III and kit lens was a snug fit, and the Nikon D4 plus lens was uncomfortably tight. It’s not for a full-size pro setup, basically.

The Retrospective 7 could be a good bet for students, traveling photographers who pack light, and hobbyists with smaller setups. At $154, it’s not cheap, but it’s a quality bag that should last for a while. It’s available in a few different sizes as well, for smaller or much larger rigs.