The quest for the perfect camera bag is journey that many photographers are familiar with. For those that have yet to find the ideal bag, the Think Tank Retrospective may bring that search to a conclusion, if you’re prepared to spend the money. I bought mine online from Speedgraphic after reading lots of positive reviews. Unfortunately it appears there are virtually no shops that stock the Retrospective so I had to buy purchase sight unseen and based purely on photographs and Youtube videos.
I was looking for something to replace my Lowpro Event Messenger 150, which I’d outgrown, so I plumped for the larger Retrospective 20, which at 13″ x 12½ x 7″ is not a small camera bag. I fact it may be too large for the average photographer, but given the negligable cost difference between this and the smaller Retrospective 10, I chose the 20.
All of the reviews I read commented on the quality of the bag – and indeed the materials and manufacture are top class. One reviewer remarked that you could probably tow your car with the strap and he may well be right. This is a bag that is made to last not years but decades. And the quality doesn’t stop with just the physicakl properties of the bag. Think Tank have put a lot of thought in to the design as well.
The Retrospective 20 has enough pockets, zips, compartments and velcro to satisfy every need. The bag easily accomodates a full frame SLR with telephoto lens attached (in my case a 70-300mm Nikkor). There’s also room for additional lenses and accessories such as flashguns, filters, spare batteries, remotes and any other paraphernalia you might want to carry around.
The front flap is secured by velcro and features a silent mode, whereby you can foldback the velcro so that it doesn’t make that familiar ripping sound when you open the bag. My one quibble here is that there is no alternative method of securing the flap.
The Retrospective range comes in three colours, black, blue slate and the colour I chose, Pinestone.
As I said earlier, the Retrospective 20 is probably larger that many photographers might need. Had I been able to experience both the Restrospective 20 and 10 first hand I might have gone for the smaller bag, which is 2″ shorter (but the same width and depth). However the 20 leaves me with plenty of room for additional kit. At the moment I carry a Nikon D600 with 24-85mm kit lens, a 70-300mm telephoto lens, 35mm and 50mm prime lenses, SB700 flashgun, polarising filter and various accessories.
It may be some time before I need a new camera bag!