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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9 reviews
on April 16, 2009
After much research on the net, I settled on this Think Tank Speed Racer camera bag to use on a two week trip to Japan. I needed a travel bag to hold my Nikon D700 along with the large and heavy 70-200mm Nikon VR lens. Also, it would hold a smaller 17-35mm Nikon lens and a SB 800 speedlight flash unit.

All of this equipment in one bag is a lot of weight. I needed a bag that would hold all this comfortably, yet would give easy access to the gear. I could have settled with a backpack-style bag, which would've put the weight equally on the shoulders as well as on my hip. That would've been comfortable. Downside of the backpack-style camera bag is that whenever I wanted to change the lens I'd have to pull off the pack from my back, place it on the ground, switch lenses, put pack back on, etc. A way around that would be to have two cameras dangling from my neck, one with a wide lens, other with long lens, like the pros do. But I can't afford that luxury. I have just one camera with 2 big lenses to switch it with.

Other option was to get a simple shoulder bag that would give me quick access to my gear. Downside with that is all the weight on my shoulder. Warning: shoulder will get sore and require frequent pampering if you want to haul around your heavy camera kit, when using shoulder camera case.

I settled on this Think Tank Speed Racer because of the cool option of the hip pad, along with a shoulder strap, and the easy access it would provide. After two weeks with it in Japan, photographing the "sakura," or cherry blossom season, and walking several miles with it daily, standing with it for hours while visiting museums and riding subways, here's my verdict: I love this bag, best camera bag for holding lots of heavy gear I've ever used. Why? The combination of the hip pad with the shoulder pad spreads the weight around along with quick and easy access to my gear. The secret is to make most, or nearly all, of the weight rest on your hips, and the shoulder pad is there to take up just a little of the weight, enough to stabilize it. The hip pad is very wide, which spreads the weight widely over your hips. It is also very strongly made.

When it was time to walk long distances with it, I could easily lift it up a little and swivel it to the side of my hip, or the back, which made walking easier then having it directly in front of me. When I needed access to my gear, and it was placed behind me, I could quickly swivel it back in front.

Be sure to take the time and adjust the hip pad perfectly for your size. It took awhile for me to adjust it, not terribly easy to slip the strap through the slots that adjust the length of it. The upside with the difficulty of adjusting the length of the hip strap is that once adjusted, it solidly keeps the length you chose.

If you're not going to need to access your bag frequently to switch lenses, then get a backpack-style camera bag with a hip belt to put most of weight on your hips. If you need lots of access to your bag and you don't have much gear (just one SLR and one lens, let's say) then get a smaller camera bag with a shoulder strap.

If you have lots of gear and lots of weight, and if you're not built like a professional weight lifter, and if you need quick and frequent access to your bag, I highly recommend this Think Tank Speed Racer.

It also has lots of nice pockets for extra batteries, cell phone, ipod, pens and note pads, and the like. Amazingly enough, it has nice water bottle holders on the side, which I though I'd never use, but did indeed use, holding a plastic bottle of Japanese green tea! It also has a cover you can pull out to protect your gear from rain, though I never used it, even though I did get rained on while outside. The case alone can take a light rain with no problem when zipped up. In a downpour, far from shelter, the rain-protection covering seems like it would do its job well.

One more thing: the hip pads hide easily in the back of the case, in their own special sleeve, which is nice when bringing onto a plane. By the way, the pack slipped nicely under the seat on my flight.

Remember, this bag is for those of you who have a big SLR or two, and some big heavy lenses that you MUST have with you as you walk and travel, and to which you need quick and frequent access.

I was very, very pleased with this design from Think Tank, so much so that I was compelled to write this review, something I rarely do.
22 comments| 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2011
I have looked for the 'right' bag as long as I can remember. I have been through the usual Tamrac, Lowepro and various other bags from the 35mm days on through the newest digital equipment I have and cary each day.

This bag replaces two Lowepro bags and a Tamrac sling style bag that failed to meet my needs of convenience, comfort and ease of use. The the Tamrac got sent back.

What I have found is Think Tank gets their info from working photographers, in the field each day earning a living.

It shows. It shows in bag constriction (think fine luggage here folks), well thought out interiors, plenty of padded dividers, an included rain cover for those expected or unexpected showers, dust storms, snow showers to snow storms.

What do I carry? Canon 7D, 18-135lens, Sigma 70-300, Canon 10-22, 60mm macro, Canon 580EX II strobe, Canon G11, two circular reflectors, assorted batteries, manuals (should I go dim and forget how to do something), very small, solid Velbon travel tripod (no longer available), various memory cards, filters and I still have room.

The belt is not an afterthought as some manufactures seem to do. The belt is very well padded, comfortable, hugs the small of the back, is easy to slide from back to side to front. A shoulder strap is provided for wearing the bag as shoulder bag with easy access and well padded. In the event you carry the bag as a shoulder bag you have the option of wearing the belt or tucking the belt into the space assigned to hide the belt for even more convenient ease accessing you gear from the shoulder position. The strap can be used cross shouldered with the belt and you almost have a Rotation360 bag by the same manufacturer.

Should this not be enough space for your gear you can add additional modular pieces to the belt for water bottle, lenses or accessories other than what you can pack inside this bag. Modular pieces are an additional cost to the consumer.

Am I impressed by this bag and Think Tank in general? Absolutely.

Is the bag pricey? Yes it is but consider your comfort, what do you normally carry, what you would like to carry and above all else how you work and the ease you would like to work at while keeping your gear readily at hand and safe. Fine nondescript luggage but oh, so worth it to protect your gear while allowing you to be productive and comfortable at the same time. There is a reason pro photographers use these bags and gear, it gets the job done and comfortably.

I would recommend Think Tank bags to the amateur with aspirations of becoming more proficient, serious amateur, semi-pro and professional photographers alike.

A tip for those of you who struggle to rearrange the padded dividers with the Velcro® attachments with arthritic hands like mine, place your lens or other camera gear to be divided in place, use an envelope or piece of paper longer that the divider on both sides, fold in the Velcro® (side in against a non Velcro® part of the divider and slide that divider into place against the lens making it as snug as you want and then, one piece of paper at a time remove the paper while pressing the Velcro® to make it stick to the side. Repeat until bag is packed as tightly as you desire. It's easy and, "Why didn't I think of this before?" comes to mind.
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on April 3, 2011
Awesome bag. Its pretty big, which I dont mind because I love to have as much gear on me as possible in case of an emergency. It has great padding and as long as you fit it right you should be able to wear it for long hours. I love having the easy access to switching lenses instead of digging through a back pack. The construction feels very solid and you can add additional think tank bags/sacs to this which is a plus if you need to expand your storage space!
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on April 19, 2012
Bought this bag to replace my other lowepro inverse 200W which is too small for a D700 with grip. Think Tank has more than enough space for my gears. Superb quality and design. The waist pack design is much stable and distribute weight on hip. I'm with skinny 30" waist and i don't find any problem adjusting the length of the belt and very comfortable. I'm really happy i found this great product and Think Tank did a good job.
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on May 19, 2011
I love the versatility of the shoulder strap and the waist belt. It is the best shoulder strap I've ever had on a camera bag. It was nice to shift to the waist belt when my shoulders got tired. I love the side pockets; they hold a lot. I use this bag for my Canon 7D with battery grip, attached 17-55mm lens, 580EX-II flash, and Quantum Compact Turbo charger, plus 2 extra camera batteries, and 3-4 small 4-pks of AA batteries for the flash.
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