About four years ago, the first mirrorless cameras came onto the photography scene and since then, they have greatly evolved and are now widely available. One thing that did disappoint me early on was the lack of camera bags that were specifically designed for these new systems. In the beginning, I tried using smaller bags that were designed for a DSLR, but it always seemed like a major compromise.
Since then, things have changed dramatically. There are many camera bags now that are designed with mirrorless camera systems in mind.
My wife and I recently had the privilege of visiting Greenland this past summer – it was an amazing trip. We both took our mirrorless systems with us – I use a Fujifilm X-Pro1 plus lenses, she uses a Nikon V1 kit. They were perfect for us as our camera systems were compact and lightweight, yet we could produce images that we wanted.
Since I took the mirrorless plunge, my favourite bag has become Think Tank Photo’s Sling-O-Matic 10 as it incorporates the best features of both a backpack and a shoulder bag. It is now my main bag when I want to transport my entire mirrorless system (two bodies, five lenses, 7″ tablet and accessories). I find it extremely convenient to wear it as a backpack, but when I want to retrieve an item from my bag, I don’t have to take it off – I just need to “sling” it in front of me, unzip the top flap and take out what I need. When I am finished, I close it up and simply “sling” it into place on my back.
I love using this “sling” bag. It is easy to use and it saves me a lot of time and hassle.
My wife’s current camera bag is Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective 5. I originally purchased this shoulder bag for myself when I first acquired my X-Pro1 kit, but she decided it was a great bag so she
stole it started using it for herself. The Retrospective 5 served her quite nicely until one day, she ascended a very steep slope in Greenland – her shoulder bag didn’t work so well in that situation. What would have been better for her on this trip is a sling bag.
She really liked my camera bag as I could wear it as a backpack, but it had the convenience of a shoulder bag when removing my camera. Unfortunately, the Sling-O-Matic 10 is overkill for her basic Nikon V1 kit. It is perfect for a larger mirrorless system, but for someone owning a small camera body and a couple lenses, it is just way too big.
Think Tank Photo recently announced their Turnstyle 5 sling bag which looked like it would be the perfect solution for my wife. They were kind enough to send me a copy for evaluation, so this article will outline our findings using this new bag.
The Turnstyle 5 is made from a lightweight, water-resistant ballistic nylon fabric and comes in two colours: Blue Slate (Amazon – Adorama – B&H Photo) and Charcoal (Amazon – Adorama – B&H Photo). It is extremely light weighing in at 0.4 kg (0.8 lbs) and compact having interior dimensions of 16 cm x 28 cm x 9 cm (or 6.3″ x 11″ x 3.5″).
And as shown in the image above, it is worn as a sling bag – having both the benefits of a backpack and a shoulder bag.
There are both interior and exterior pockets to hold accessories – plus you can easily put a mirrorless camera body and 2-3 lenses inside the main compartment.
A feature we both really liked is the rear pocket – you can easily fit a 7 inch tablet (such as an iPad mini, Samsung 7″ Galaxy Tab or a Google Nexus 7) in it. Since the rear pocket is padded, it will protect your tablet.
For those of you who are curious, I decided to compare the size of the Turnstyle 5 (on the left hand side in the photos above and below) to my Sling-O-Matic 10 (on the right hand side in these photos). There is obviously a large difference in size. My mirrorless kit consists of two camera bodies (sometimes three), five lenses and quite a few accessories, but for someone with a simple kit, the larger bag would be overkill.
I decided to compare the Hubba Hubba Hiney (shown on the left in the following photo) to the Turnstyle 5 (shown on the right). I use the Hubba Hubba Hiney at home when I want a shoulder bag to carry one camera body and a couple of lenses. The Turnstyle 5 is a little bit smaller than it (volume wise) but obviously has the advantage of being a sling bag.
You can easily place following combinations of gear into this bag:
If for some reason you have a sore shoulder (or do not wish to use it as a sling bag), you can even wear the bag around your waist to better distribute the weight on your hips. That is something you cannot do with the Sling-O-Matic 10.
Here is a quick summary of the Turnstyle 5:
I was originally interested in this bag for my wife – and now that we have been testing it out for a few weeks, we both love it. It is perfect for a small mirrorless kit and now my wife proudly owns this bag. There are two larger models (the Turnstyle 10 and 20) which are available if you have a bigger mirrorless kit.
If you are interested in the Think Tank Photo Turnstyle 5 sling bag, please consider using one of our site sponsors:
Many thanks to Think Tank Photo for the opportunity to review this bag.
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