Review: Think Tank's Retrospective 5

Photo courtesy Think Tank Photo

I, like many of you who have been bitten by the photography bug, have a lot of gear. Many lenses for getting the right shot; a flash for when it gets dark and a tripod for taking landscape photos at dusk. I have huge camera backpack to carry it all around in, which is great, but I am always looking for the perfect small size camera bag to throw a camera into and then get outside and take pictures, without always having to lug around my full kit.

One of my favourite bag companies, Think Tank Photo, have been making awesome bags since 2005. The folks at Think Tank were nice enough to send me one to review, and I have been putting it through its paces over the last few weeks.

Think Tank Photo is relatively new on the camera bag scene, compared to standard names like LowePro, but since the company was formed by two working photographers and two designers, their products have always been unique, yet highly functional.

This holds true for the Retrospective 5, which is designed with a micro four-thirds camera or small DSLR in mind. The shoulder bag is made from canvas and available in two colours: black or a retro styled pinestone. The design is minimal, as to not attract to much attention to the valuable cameras you carry inside.

I was able to comfortably carry a larger size DLSR with a lens attached, as well as a longer zoom lens for getting some shots of the kids soccer moves. Everything packs away quickly into the main compartment, which has movable padded inserts you can use to custom the bag to your gear. 

Inside the main compartment there is also a handy organizer for sticking odds and sods – batteries, flash cards or a business card or two. An outer pocket holds a full size seam sealed raincover which is custom made for the bag – a great touch. It quickly attaches when a summer downpour catches you, leaving room for the shoulder strap so you can still carry the bag.

There is another outside zippered pocket in the back of the bag where you can tuck a map, or tickets to the show in, another nice touch so you don't have to go routing around in your bag for important documents.

One of the neatest features of the bag is that you can actually cover up the large velcro patch that holds the main flap closed. This puts the bag into “silent mode” so you don't hear a large ripping sound as you dig in your bag for a lens change. I was really excited about this feature, and if you have ever been seated in the front during some quiet wedding vows, you'll appreciate it too.

Overall I found the bag to be a great value ($169.99; Henry's Camera) considering the durability and added features for the price. This will be a great bag for the photo enthusiast who just wants to grab a few things and hit the road, but wants a bag with lots of features with a working photographer in mind.