Think Tank Retrospective 20 Camera Bag Review
One of the challenges of being a professional photographer or a serious amateur photographer is figuring out effective and comfortable ways to carry around camera gear that is larger than most. When I’m photographing a wedding or other paid shoot, I need to carry a ton of gear and I rely on the Think Tank Airport Security V2.0 to do the job. However, there are lots of times when I just want to carry a camera, two lenses, and a flash and don’t want to haul around a huge rolling suitcase. That’s where the camera shoulder bag comes in. I’ve avoided most camera shoulder bags in the past because they usually have one of the following issues: they look terrible, they scream “rob me”, they don’t fit professional gear, or are uncomfortable. I am happy to report that the Think Tank Retrospective 20 solves all these problems in one fantastic shoulder bag. Think Tank is my go to company for camera carrying gear because of their commitment to the “for professionals, by professionals” philosophy that is so evident in their products.
The Retrospective line of shoulder bags (4 sizes currently available) is designed to look good and blend in with a crowd while still offering good protection and capacity. They come in Pinestone color (greenish-grey), Slate Blue, or Black and I loved the look of the Pinestone that was my review unit. This review is of the Retrospective 20, which I believe is the best option for pros and serious amateurs because it offers added height that allows you to transport a 70-200 2.8 lens without problem. I am able to photograph almost any situation with 4 pieces of equipment and I wanted a bag that fit those perfectly. The Retrospective 20 comfortably holds: Nikon D700 camera body(with vertical grip attached), Nikon 24-70 2.8 lens, Nikon 70-200 2.8 lens, and a Nikon SB-910 flash. The Canon equivalents would fit just as well. This set of equipment is perfect for when I go to friend’s weddings that I am not photographing, other events, and any situation where I want to be inconspicuous with my gear. As with every Think Tank product, smart features and customization abound in the Retrospective 20. The flap of the bag is secured with two velcro patches that can be “silenced” by tucking them into special holders. On the inside of the case, there are two areas for storing miscellaneous items, one is zippered for security and the other is an organizer pocket for pens, memory cards, etc. A large front pocket is perfect for an extra flash or a backup camera body (although it is unpadded). The back exterior of the bag has another zippered pocket for magazines and papers. That came in handy when I carried the Retrospective 20 on the plane and put it under the seat in front of me. There is even an included rain cover that slips over the bag to offer protection from the elements. It would take a while to go over all of the features but you get the idea.
I found the fully loaded Retrospective 20 relatively comfortable to carry due to the breathable cushioned pad on the strap. The pad slides around for optimum placement and the soft canvas of the strap keeps it from digging into you too much. I also found the taller (in relation to the other bags in the series) design of the Retrospective 20 to be more comfortable than a wider shoulder bag that awkwardly sits on your side.
The Think Tank Retrospective 20 is an awesome bag that holds as much gear as most people would want to carry around. It is very well designed and extremely well built. I expect it to last a lifetime of use. The Retrospective 20 can be had for a very reasonable $167.75.