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Customer Review

34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great bag for a Fuji X100 & Canon S95 combo, September 11, 2011
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This review is from: Think Tank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag - Pinestone (Camera)
I confess to being obsessed by camera bags. I typically buy about 2 cameras a year -- typically the "latest and greatest -- and se;; the displaced cameras on eBay. Since size, weight and suitability for "street shooting" candids are of the most concern, right now my "kit" consists of a Fuji X100 and Canon S95. About 75% of my shots are taken on cruises where the ship typically visits several countries and at least 10 ports, with the remainder being taken mostly on race committee boats from which I photograph sailboat races.

Unfortunately I usually don't sell off the bags that I buy for each combination of cameras and this has left me with about a dozen bags ranging from a rolling case for my late DSLRs with their multiple lenses, to waist packs that can only handle one small camera plus a spare battery and card. Until my Retrospective 5 purchase, my last favorite was a Tamrac bag able to handle these two cameras along with a decent number of accessories plus an Apple iPad 2. However, this is a bit too bulky for outings when I can leave the iPad at home or in the cabin of a cruise ship, so this hasn't proven to be as easily handled as I wanted it to be. Besides I've found that the iPad2 is less than ideal for photo storage , organization and editing; and therefore it is being replaced on my next few cruises by my good old Dell laptop that doesn't fit in the Tamrac.

Enter the Think Tank Rerospective 5: This is -- hands down -- the best made and most thoughtfully designed bag for a person carrying 1 or 2 small cameras and some extra gear. I keep the cameras and the most essential accessories (e.g., spare batteries, memory cards and the 2 battery chargers and the Fuji manual)in the main compartment, and then put the less-essential accessories in a zippered mesh bag that I place in the front compartment. That way my whole kit is together when I travel so that all I have to do is put the Retro 5 into a corner of my carry-on bag when I'm flying, and remove the mesh bag and the chargers from the bag when I go out shooting. Without the mesh bag and chargers, the entire kit weighs slightly less than 5 pounds, and when I fly the weight including the accessories still comes in under 6 pounsd.

The Retro 5 is superbly built and organized. Everything can have its own place as there are probably close to 20 compartments and padded separators. The only (minor) problem is that to get to some of the smallest compartments, you may have to go by feel into some of the smaller and more obscure compartments, or temporarily remove a larger item from an adjacent compartment. However this is preferable (to me at least) to having a jumble of small items sharing a few compartments and having to dump many things out to find and get to the smallest ones. This is the direct opposite of the philosophy behind the similiarly-sized and priced Domke bag which is probably the closest competitor to this bag in terms of cost, quality and appearance, but which has a bare minimum of compartments to add to its flexabilty.

The best feature of the bag is the Velco fasteners that secure not only the flap enclosing the entire bag, but smaller tabs that close off some of the larger compartments as well. The fasteners assure that the bag is securely closed, but at the same time they can be opened in a fraction of a second even by someone wearing gloves or with some loss of strength in their fingers; which is again very different from the Domke bag which has fasteners that are very difficult to manipulate by most people who are wearing gloves or on Social Security.

Finally I really like the weather-proof bag which will protect your gear in a downpour. And ... in typical Thinktank style ... you have at least 3-4 compartments to choose from in deciding where to store the waterproof bag.

Is ANY small bag worth $135? That as much money as I have typically spent on 2-3 of my other small bags. My answer is YES; this is a bag that I anticipate using with an entire generation of new cameras that I can choose from this year including the Sony Nex7, the Fuji X10, the Olympus and Panasonic 4/3 cameras,the tiny Pentax, and the fabled mirrorless Nikon pro camera. In short, DSLRs are losing ground to lighter and smaller gear, and it's only a matter of time until bags that weigh more than about 8 pounds fully loaded will be considered as cruel & unusual punishment for anyone that is not getting paid big bucks to shlep everything around!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 8, 2014 5:57:03 AM PDT
After reading your review, I more impressed with your life than with the bag. Two cameras per year, cruises, ports, race committee boats....where does one sign up for such a life :)
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Location: Playa del Rey, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 50,717