My Worst Camera Bag - Sadly!
I write this almost with tears in my eyes...the Think Tank Retrospective 20 is a gorgeous bag to examine in the shop, to buy and to use over short distances. I've had it for several months and carried it occasionally - used it for an hour or two and thought it excellent.
Mine's a wonderful grey canvas-sort-of-material, with tiny pieces of leather here and there and plenty of space inside. Configurable for a DX-sized Nikon with a 70-300mm or almost a 70-200mm (hood reversed)...a couple of other similarly long compartments - a big front pocket inside and and big front one outside with flaps, etc. I'm sure it could do an FX rig too with something like a 24-70mm - and, of course, Canon and other equivalents. Big wide strap, with a big wide pad, rubberised grips under the pad...massively comfortable, it's looks like it's just the best bag I've ever owned.
It's not. In fact, the reverse.
This well-proportioned bag is right now with me on a holiday in Paris and it's carrying nothing more exotic than a Nikon V1 and two 1 Series lenses. Throw in an ordinary sized guide book, a spare battery, a couple of SD cards and some Metro tickets and that's it.
We went out for the first time on on Friday last week (May 31) - last evening, Monday (June 3), I had to buy a small Nike waist bag thing (fanny pack?) because I could carry the Think Tank no further.
The big thick pad under the big thick strap digs into my shoulder so relentlessly that it becomes torture. No matter whether I adjust the main strap long or short, and wear the strap on one shoulder (as a woman might typically carry a hand-bag) or like a sling (between right shoulder and neck with bag on left thigh and vice versa).
I'm reasonably convinced that it's the rubberised grips - which, hour after hour, turn themselves into mediaeval instruments of torture.
In comparison, a year or two back, I had a Lowepro Classified 140 - quite nasty and shiny, much smaller than the Think Tank Retrospective 20 - but which, with a waist strap too, was much much more comfortable to carry. (Used for a Canon G11 + bits and pieces + guidebook...you can't get any more in! Had my younger son not inherited both camera and bag, the bag at least would be with me today...)
Nor was the Think Tank an inexpensive bag - ZAR1,600 - about $160, give or take exchange rates.
So beware - if you're thinking of buying one, ask you local camera store to let you carry it around for several hours, loaded, and see how your shoulder feels.
(And yes, I am well aware that camera bags can be even more personal than partners!)
(For Nikon 1 users - the Nike pouch thing cost just under 18 euros from Go Sport, Le Republique, Paris. As a camera bag, it's utterly useless - except that my Nikon 1 V1, 10mm, 10-30mm and 30-110mm fit and it doesn't dig into my shoulder. It will get me to the weekend and home....hopefully.)
I tried posting this as review - rather than a new thread - but the site refused to allow me - probably my fault, and apologies in advance. Mods, shift and re-classify if necessary. If anyone has had a similar experience and - more importantly - found a workaround, I'd love to hear about it. The bag's great - the strap is a disaster, IMHO. (For those who don't know the bag, the strap is not detachable. The obvious "take the strap off and find another that works..." doesn't apply.) Long post - thanks in advance to all for input; hope my comments are useful for anyone thinking about bags.
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