A couple of weeks ago, we showed you a great camera/laptop backpack from Crumpler, called the C-List Celebrity, which is available with a massive interior volume of just under 40L. This time, thanks to the fine folks over at Think Tank, we’re going to the opposite end of the storage spectrum and taking a look at their fantastic Retrospective 5 shoulder bag. Before we get into the whys and wherefores and the pros and cons, let’s just get something out of the way right here. If you are a street photographer (which I am), or if you use a Micro Four Thirds kit, such as the new Olympus P3 that I am now coveting, the Retro 5 just may become your new favorite bag. It has definitely become mine.
The Retrospective 5 is not a large bag by any means, nor does it want to be. This is a bag designed to carry one DSLR body, one or two lenses (maybe even three) and some accessories or, according to Think Tank, an entire Micro Four Thirds system (I’ll report back after I get my P3). I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, during which my set up consisted of a Nikon D300, a battery grip, a Lensbaby Composer, a Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 and various cards and cables, all of which fit comfortably. On several occasions, I also had a Lumix LX3 stashed in one of the two collapsable nylon pockets. The interior dividers are removable and the bag comes with several extras, letting you completely customize it to your particular load out. If you find that you just have to have more storage, perhaps for an additional lens or a flash, the bag has wide webbing loops at both ends, allowing you to attach one of Think Tank’s Modular or Skin pouches. Though not really feature, but simply a nice touch are the “Sound Silencers”, which are basically just flaps that allow you to close the hook and loop closures on themselves, eliminating the rrriiippp each time you open the bag.
Think Tank Retrospective 5
|Width:||25.5 cm / 10 inches|
|Height:||21.5 cm / 8.5 inches|
|Depth:||15 cm / 6 inches|
|Weight:||1.0 kg / 2.3 lbs|
DESIGN & BUILD
Part of making good street photographs is blending in and just becoming part of the background so that people either don’t notice you, or at least aren’t bothered by you. The Retrospective 5, especially in the Pinestone finish, looks more like a messenger bag than a camera bag, which is a good thing. Design wise, the bag is extremely flexible. The interior walls are loop material (as in hook and loop), so you can remove the dividers and use it as one compartment, or, via the included extra dividers, create any number of custom configurations. There are interior and exterior pouches for manuals, cards, maps, etc. and the Retrospective 5 also comes with a rain cover, just in case. I really like the material used for the exterior of the bag and the overall fit and finish is top notch with, perhaps, one minor quibble. Actually it’s not even a fit and finish issue, as much as it is a design choice. The swivel clip used inside is metal, which could potentially scratch your gear. Chances are, it shouldn’t be a problem, just be sure to keep it tucked in its pouch.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I love the Retrospective 5. From the looks to the build quality to the fact that it is the perfect size for the type of shooting I do most. Think Tank’s lifetime warranty is a great bonus as well. If I had to nitpick a negative, it might be that there’s not enough room to carry my iPad. But, then again, they also make the Retrospective 10, which is just a bit bigger and only $20.00 more. Either way, if you are a street shooter, or don’t carry a lot of gear, the Retrospective 5 is a fantastic choice.
If you are looking for a new camera bag, when you order $50 or more of Think Tank products via F&B, at checkout you can select a piece of gear to receive for free! Use the banner in the sidebar or click HERE to get started.