My name is Roël and I am a bagoholic. Really, I am.
Most photographers that I know are always in search of the perfect camera bag – and I am no different. The problem is, “perfection” doesn’t exist. What does exist, however, are camera bags that are perfect for specific applications.
I recently had the opportunity to shoot promotional images with a pre-production X-Pro1 and lenses for Fujifilm’s product launch in early March 2012. It is a great little camera and all of my camera bags seemed like overkill when I put the compact X-Pro1 system inside – they were just too big. I know that micro four thirds, NEX or NX system users often have the same issue storing a camera body and 2-3 small lenses. I wondered if there was a high quality bag that was in keeping with the compact (and stylish) nature of these camera systems?
I have long been a fan of ThinkTank camera bags – in fact, I currently own five of them and have sold everything else. They are that good. Lifetime warranties, excellent construction, very functional, excellent attention to detail – and designed by photographers for photographers. I am sold on their products.
Someone suggested that I try out the Think Tank Retrospective 5 (B&H – Amazon – Adorama) for my Fujifilm X-Pro1 system. I am glad I did – I really love this little bag. It comes in two colours – black and pinestone (which is the one I have and pictured above).
Why do I love this little bag?
The Think Tank Retrospective 5 (B&H – Amazon – Adorama) is extremely well made and looks like it is build to last. The Pinestone version I have (shown here), is made of a gorgeous, soft, yet durable material. When you lift up the front flap, you will see the velcro that keeps the flap in place.
As you continue to lift up the front flap, you have the option of using the “silencers” over the Velcro, if quiet operation is important to you. As shown above, there is a place for your business card or ID tag.
There is a lot of room in this small bag to store a complete compact camera system. My X-Pro1 and three lenses with hoods (plus spare battery, extra SD cards, etc) fit perfectly and there was room for another small lens or other items if needed. There are padded inserts that can be reconfigured any way you’d like and will keep your gear safe and sound. Other compact systems such as micro four thirds, Sony NEX and Samsung NX will fit easily into this bag.
There are pockets on the inner ends of the bag to store a small flash or other suitable items. An inner (small) zippered pocket is included as shown in the above photo.
There is also a largish front pocket which can easily hold a small DSLR, however, once you close the flap, it makes the bag a little bulky and front heavy. Usually, I have my Kindle and/or the rain cover (discussed a bit later) in it.
A convenient rear zippered pocket (in addition to all of the other storage compartments) is great for storing manuals, books, maps, your passport, etc.
Think Tank usually supplies a rain cover for most of their bags and the Retrospective 5 is no exception. It folds up neatly in a pouch for storage and it is really simple to use it when needed. There is a very comfortable, non-slip strap which easily adjusts – and if you do not want to use it, there is also a handle at the top of the bag.
There are even side pockets – I tried to get a bottle of water into it (as shown above), but it was a painful process as it is a tight fit. In fact, the only thing I could put in there were pens or a small flashlight.
The only other drawback – since the bag is fairly compact, there is no room for a laptop or iPad. Perhaps, a smaller 7 inch tablet device (like a Playbook or Samsung Galaxy Tab) would fit in the front pocket.
One thing I really appreciate about the Retrospective 5 is that there are no obvious markings indicating that it is a camera bag. I bought my compact camera system for traveling or when I needed to be discreet and this bag draws very little attention to itself. I guess that is part of the reason I got the pinestone version as most camera bags are black – plus the pinestone version hides dust really well.
So, if you have acquired a compact camera system and are looking for the ideal bag, I urge you to check out the Think Tank Retrospective 5 – I really think you will like it. You can get it from B&H Photo/Video, Amazon, Adorama (check out the other ThinkTank products they carry).
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