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Review: Think Tank Retrospective 7 Camera Bag

by Chris Gampat on 06/16/2012

The Think Tank Retrospective 7 is the latest in the line of Think Tank’s much loved Retrospective line of camera bags: which have all been very positively reviewed here on The Phoblographer. The new bag is designed for use by mirrorless camera users on the go and sits between the company’s 5 and 10 camera bags. I’ve been testing the bag for nearly two months now, and at one point was able to carry an incredible amount of gear.

Tech Specs

Specifications borrowed from the Amazon listing.

  • Perfectly suited for standard DSLRs with a pocket for an iPad/11″ MacBook Air
  • Sound Silencers to turn off the front flap hook and loop for silent operation
  • Cushioned and padded nonslip shoulder strap for all day comfort
  • Organizational and zippered pockets for accessories
  • Removable divider set for custom layouts
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 7 x 9 inches ; 4.2 pounds

Ergonomics and Build Quality

The Think Tank Retrospective 7 is a camera bag that is really just the perfect size for most mirrorless camera users. It is large enough to hold a lot of gear but not too large to encourage overpacking. In that way, it also forces your mind to focus on only the essentials and nothing more.

The front of the bag is characterized by a giant pullover flap that stays down with Velcro. The exterior is a relatively soft material and it all feels relatively the same as the other Retrospective bags.

The interior can pack a ton of gear, but we’ll get into that more later on.

The main compartment of the bag features a giant interior with two dividers that can be adjusted and placed anywhere you would like. Behind and in front of the main pocket are two other pockets. The front one closes with a flap and can hold quite a bit. The interior zippered pocket is a good place to store valuables.

The top flap has what are called, “Silencers.” You can find these as denoted by the mute symbol on them. The best practice to do is to only bring the soft side of the velcro down a bit, which then decreases the surface area that has to come up when opening the bag.

If the silencers are totally down, the bag won’t really stay closed. Think Tank could consider a small buckle in their next redesign if they so choose to.

The front pocket takes up almost the entire length of the camera bag and also has expandable sides to accommodate novels and the like for when you’re traveling on the subway.

Indeed, almost everything about this camera bag seems like it was designed for New Yorkers.

The back pocket of the camera bag features another zippered pocket. It is designed for use of an iPad tablet or similarly sized device. For the record, it could also hold a Macbook Air.

The strap contains a padded buffer that is really quite comfortable. In fact, Think Tank makes the most comfortable buffers out there and the company could easily get more serious in the camera strap game by putting these buffers on straps.

Both the left and right sides of the camera bag have pockets on them. This is generally where I might store a thin wallet or even my phone.

In Use

During my testing period, I was able to fit the Olympus OMD with 12-50mm, Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 lens, Sony NEX 7, NEX 50mm f1.8, NEX 24mm f1.8, and the NEX 30mm f3.5. They fit in there quite comfortably. Unfortunately, since I have a 13 inch Macbook, it could not be accommodated by this bag. However, that may change in the future.

The bag survived loads and loads of rainfall and protected all of my gear with no problems. I also took it along during my cosplay shoot to keep the gear and weight down.

During this review period, I also moved from one location to my new apartment. During the move, this bag held a ton of gear and had no problem protecting it from the usual banging around that anything will take while a move happens.

Conclusions

In the end, I can only give nothing more than overwhelming and absolute love and support to the Retrospective 7 camera bag. In fact, I’d go as far to say as this is Think Tank’s best bag yet. It was designed for the street photographer in mind and I’d even go so far as to say that it could become a main bag if you’ve decided to ditch your DSLR. In fact, it can’t hold one without modifying the interior.

If you own any mirrorless cameras, I’d say that this is the camera bag to spring for. It is currently available for a little under $160 at the time of publishing this post.

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