The perfect shoulder bag for any level of photographer.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get to review the Retrospective Laptop Bag from Think Tank Photo. It’s a classy, well-made bag that leaves a strong, positive impression. It’s such a classic design that Think Tank turned it into a shoulder bag for camera gear, too. A little over a year ago, Think Tank released the Retrospective V2.0 in a color called Pinestone. This is the same color of my laptop bag. It’s a mild, standstone/green color that provides an ‘earthy’ feel to it. The Retrospective V2.0 has been one of Think Tank’s most popular shoulder bags to date and fans of the bag have been wishing for the bag to be offered in black. Think Tank heard their fans and decided to grant that wish. The Retrospective V2.0 Shoulder Bag is now available in black.
DETAILS & FEATURES
The Retrospective V2.0 series Shoulder Bags have a classic look, but incorporate a lot of innovative, modern features for photographers to take advantage of. The bags are soft, form-fitting, and lighter than the original Retrospective from Think Tank. Designers had security for gear in mind when they created this second generation shoulder bag. There is a zippered opening under the main flap that tucks away when not in use. There are five different sizes of the Retrospective V2.0 and each bag features a dedicated interior tablet or laptop pocket, a luggage handle pass-through, and a water bottle pocket.
The bags — regardless of their size — are made with premium materials including durable water-repellant coating, polyurethane coating, 100% cotton canvas, YLL RC Fuse (abrasion resistant) zippers, nylon webbing, 3-ply bonded nylon thread, Closed-cell foam and PE board reinforced dividers, 210D silver-toned nylon, Polyester 300D two-tone twill ripstop liner, Polyurethane backed velex liner and dividers, and 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed rain cover.
I had the pleasure of testing out both the Retrospective 7 & 30 V2.0 Shoulder Bags for the past few weeks. I have included the individual bag specs below including examples of what can fit into each bag, and their internal/external dimensions.
Retrospective 7 & 30 V2.0 Shoulder Bag Specs
- Hook-and-loop “Sound Silencers” offer discretion when needed
- Webbing rail to accommodate modular pouches or carabineer
- Additional dividers to sub-divide compartments for smaller lenses
- Organizer pocket
- Wide storage pocket on back
- Removable carrying handle
- Zippered pocket for valuables and small items
- Adjustable shoulder strap with cushioned non-slip pad
- Seam-sealed rain cover included
- Standard DSLR
- 10” tablet
- 13” laptop
- 24–70mm f/2.8 attached
- 70–200mm f/2.8 unattached
- Example: Nikon D850 with 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, 70–200mm f/2.8, SB-5000 AF Speedlight
- DJI Mavic Pro drone, controller, batteries and accessories
- Internal: 2.5” W x 8.8” H x 5.4”D (31.8 x 22.4 x 13.8 cm)
- Exterior: 13.5” W x 9.5” H x 6” D (34.3 x 24.1 x 17.8 cm)
- Laptop Pocket (fits up to 13” laptop): 2.2” W x 8.7” H x 1.0” D (31 x 22 x 2.5 cm)
- Weight: 2.7 lbs (1.2 kg) including all accessories
- 2 gripped DSLRs
- 70-200mm f/2.8 unattached
- 24–70mm f/2.8 attached
- 16–35mm f/2.8 attached
- Up to a 15” laptop
- Example: 2 Nikon D5 bodies with 14–24mm f/2.8 and 24–70mm f/2.8 attached, plus a 70–200mm f/2.8 unattached, iPad or 15” laptop
- Internal: 15” W x 10.5” H x 6.7” D (38 x 26.7 x 17 cm)
- Exterior: 16” W x 11.2” H x 7” D (40.6 x 28.5 x 17.8 cm)
- Laptop Pocket (fits up to 15” laptop): 14.2” W x 9.8” H x 1.0” D (36 x 25 x 2.5 cm)
- Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg) including all accessories
As I mentioned above, I was lucky enough to have experience with both the Retrospective 7 and 30 versions of the shoulder bag. I had the 7 in-hand before the 30 and for me, it is the perfect size. My main camera is a Canon 70D. I’m an intermediate-level photographer with a DSLR and I’m not ready for a full-frame camera. My partner, Nick, on the other hand, is a professional and has a Canon 5D Mark IV as his main shooter.
Along with that camera body, Nick has four main lenses that he uses — the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8, Canon Macro 100mm, Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8, and the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8. He found the Retrospective 30 to be much more his size and style for the amount of pro-gear he hauls around. Nick also usually uses a Think Tank backpack, but we both really like the option of being able to quickly toss our camera and lenses into the Retro shoulder bag and move from shot to shot.
Since we’ve had the bags, we’ve been able to visit a local horse race track, a baseball stadium, a small town in Kentucky, a family reunion, and a local park. The Retrospective Shoulder Bag has been the perfect option for these types of shoots. We can throw our camera body with a lens attached along with some choice accessories and alternative lenses and go shooting. I can’t tell you how many times we look at the clock and realize that
We have both been very impressed with how comfortable the Retrospective V2.0 is to carry around — even when it’s loaded with gear. Nick had an out-of-town shoot last week and the Retrospective was the bag he took with him. He said that he walked away from the shoot with no shoulder pain — like he usually has — and found that the bag wore really well. From here on out, the Retrospective V2.0 is going to be his ‘go-to’ shoulder bag. I know it will be mine, too, and I’ve even considered using it as my daily carry-all.
So exactly how much can you fit into the 7 and the 30? Well, from where I sit, the 7 currently holds Canon 70D with the Spider Holster pro grip attached and the Canon 18-135mm lens also attached. I also have a 10-18mm macro lens, 55-250mm macro lens, external flash, and shoulder strap for the camera in the main compartment. My computer of choice is a 13-inch MacBook Pro (another reason the 7 is perfect for me) and I’m also usually carrying a 10-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard around. I’m happy to say that both of those personal computing devices were able to slide into their designated pockets along with all of the aforementioned items stowed in the main compartment. The external pouch is also quite spacious and I have a couple of lens filters, spare batteries, a charger, and my Pelican SD card case stored there. As some one who has been known to pack around everything and the kitchen sink with her, my love for the storage abilities of this bag knows no bounds.
When you move up to the Retrospective 30, you have quite a bit more space to work with. Nick had his 15-inch MacBook Pro in the laptop sleeve, 11-inch iPad Pro in the tablet sleeve, Canon 5D Mark IV with 24-70mm lens attached, the 70-200mm lens stored alongside it, a flash with some accessories including remote triggers, spare cards and batteries, a camera cover, backup hard drive, and puffer device packed inside. When you look at the two bags side-by-side you can see the size difference and also how much each bag can carry. At one point, we did pack the 70D’s body with no lens attached in the 30 along with the other gear for the 5D Mark IV and didn’t have any issues with space.
In a couple of weeks we are shooting a special event and the Retrospective shoulder bags have become an integral part of our equipment planning. It will be a very quick event with several set-ups and being mobile is crucial to being able to getting the shots the client is calling for. The Retrospective bags are going to make that possible with their easy, quick access to accessories and the fact that they are black is a very special bonus because it helps to keep us more ‘invisible’ for the client.
The Retrospective 7 V2.0 in black is an incredible bag. It’s perfect for quick shoots and even for the longer day shoots with multiple set-ups. Think Tank product designers really thought about what photographers need with a shoulder bag and worked it into this bag. There are several different sizes and the bag is perfect for a seasoned professional or someone who is just starting out on their photography journey.