Thursday, May 2, 2019

Review - Think Tank Photo Retrospective Series V2.0

We reviewed the Think Tank Photo Retrospective 30 way back in early 2011. It remains one of our favorite camera bags to use because of its durability and design.  Even now after 8 years of heavy use on numerous photoshoots, the bag hardly shows any wear and tear. When Think Tank Photo recently updated their Retrospective line, I was very interested to see how they could improve an already great camera bag.  Thankfully they were gracious enough to provide us with several bags to review for our readers.

Today we will be taking a look at three of the bags in the Retrospective V2.0 lineup - from left to right the Retrospective 10 V2.0, Retrospective 20 V2.0  & Retrospective 30 V2.0.

The basic design is the same between all 3 bags, with the main difference being capacity - the Retrospective 10 being the smallest of the three and the Retrospective 30 being the largest. 

All of the bags have the same heavy duty non-removable padded strap.

A new feature for this update is that they all now have a pass-thru slot on the back to slip it over the handles of a roller bag. This was one of the main things I sorely missed on the original bag and I'm glad they added this to the 2.0 lineup.

The front flap now has a slight design accent with two metal grommets.

Like the previous version, Think Tank wisely kept their logo small and on the back of the camera bag so that the front of the camera bag remains discreet and doesn't scream " camera bag"

The front pockets are also the same as before, very roomy and able to accommodate a gripped camera body in each pocket.

The Retrospective 30 has two front pockets while both the 10 and 20 have a single front pocket.

One big change they have done in this revision is the organizational pocket (for pens, business cards, etc.) which has been moved from the inside of bag to the outer front of the bag.  On the Retrospective 30 this is in a zippered compartment on the front of the bag.

While this makes for easier access to the organizational pocket, I kind of wish they had thought to relocate the velcro flaps for the front pockets to just under the zipper since the flaps block access to the zipper.

In the case of the Retrospective 10 and 20, the organizational section is outside of the zippered front pocket, which makes it easier to access.

One thing that was missing from the original Retrospective was a dedicated laptop compartment - this has been rectified in 2.0 and you can now easily fit a 15" MacBook Pro in the Retrospective 30.

Because the 10 and 20 are smaller than the 30,  neither one of them can fit a 15" laptop.  Specs on the site state that a 10" tablet or 12" laptop will fit but unfortunately at the time of this review I didn't have either one available to try out with these bags.

The interior of the main compartment of the original version of the Retrospective featured pockets on both sides of the bag which have been removed in version 2.0.  In all the years I used the original Retrospective 30, I never really used those pockets, so I don't miss them.  Their removal just makes for a cleaner looking interior.

A tethered clip is included to attach things like keys or a Think Tank Pixel Pocket memory card holder.

They have reworked the sound silencer velcro closures in this revision so that they now tuck in behind the velcro hook panel.  It makes for a much cleaner appearance.

Also new to the 2.0 revision is a separate panel under the main flap which can zipped to close off the entire top of the bag.  This is a useful feature for deterring pickpockets when you're traveling with the bag.

It is a bit of a struggle in the corners when trying to zip or unzip this cover.

During a typical shoot, I will usually leave this panel unzipped.

To keep it out of the way,  you can attach it to the main flap using this circular spot of velcro.

Or you can tuck it into a pocket on the inside of the main flap so that it is completely out of the way.

The back pocket is not large enough for a laptop,

but it does easily handle a 12" iPad Pro.

To help you get an idea of the size differences between the three Retrospective bags, here is how much a 12" iPad Pro sticks out of the back pockets of the 10 and 20.

Like all Think Tank bags, a raincover is included with each Retrospective bag.

The side pockets on the original Retrospective bags were really tight and since it was difficult to get anything in and out of them, I rarely ever used them.  In version 2.0, they have eliminated the pocket from one side of the bag.

They kept the horizontal strap on this side of the bag, which makes a good mounting point for a Peak Design Capture Clip.

On the other side they have thankfully made the pocket much larger and also expandable.

Unhook the strap, flip down the little panel inside the pocket...

and you can now fit a lot more than before.  You can even fit a pretty decent sized water bottle in there.

I used each of these bags on several different shooting assignments over the course of several months and here is what I ended up carrying in each one:

The Retrospective 10, the smallest of the three bags, I found perfect to use as an everyday carry for stills and video.

Sony a6300 w/18-105 f4 G lens
Sony a6000 backup body
ND filter
spare batteries
spare memory cards
Cheetahstand V850 flash
Godox XPro S flash trigger
Tascam DR10C audio recorder with lavalier microphone

The Retrospective 20, due to its taller form factor, was particularly suited for lighting gear.

Flashpoint Evolv AD200 with MagGrip attachment
3 Cheetahstand V850s with MagGrip attachment

Eventually I am planning to replace the 3 V850s with 3 AD200s, which this bag will have no problem accommodating.

The Retrospective 30, the largest in the lineup - made it very easy to carry pretty much everything I needed for a typical wedding shoot.

Sony a7rii with battery grip
Sony a7ii with battery grip
Sony a6000 spare body
Sony 16-35mm f4
Sony 24-70mm f4
Sony 70-200mm f4
Flashpoint Evolve AD200
Godox XPro S flash trigger
spare batteries
spare memory cards
Tascam DR10C audio recorder with lavalier microphone

The new zippered panel that can seal off the interior of the bag also makes for a handy way to carry a small light stand and umbrella with you in the same bag (instead of carrying it in a separate lightstand bag).

While the zippered panel does not have much in the way of padding, it does protect the back of the cameras from getting scratched by the lightstand when carried like this.

Overall, I really liked the improvements they have made to the lineup.  If you are in the market for a good shoulder bag for your camera gear that is durable enough that it will probably outlive your camera gear, the Think Tank Retrospective V2.0 line is definitely worth checking out.

If this review has been helpful to you, please consider using the links on this page to visit Think Tank Photo.  A small portion of the sale will go to help us keep this blog going and continue to do more reviews and behind the scenes posts of our photoshoots.

No comments: