Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'thinktank'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Gear Zone
  • Technical Zone
  • Travel Zone
  • Story Zone
  • Learning

Categories

  • Wide Angle Primes (6mm to 35mm)
  • Standard Primes (40mm to 70mm)
  • Telephoto Primes (70mm to 400mm)
  • Super Telephoto Primes (+400mm)
  • Zoom Lenses

Forum

  • Photos
    • FZ Official
    • Best Of Fotozones
    • Birds
    • Botanical
    • Macro Photography
    • Nature
    • Other
    • People
    • Challenges
    • Photojournalism
    • Places
    • Ask
  • Brands, Gear & Banter
    • Nikon Zone
    • Micro Four Thirds Zone
    • Fuji Zone
    • General Photo Gear
    • Chat Zone
  • Archives
    • Archives
  • Lightroom CC Classic Users's Topics
  • YouTube Video Club's Videos

Product Groups

  • Subscriptions
  • Photo Safaris

Categories

  • eBooks
  • Lightroom Presets
  • Printable Photo Files
  • Ringtones
  • Lightroom CC Classic Users's Files

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website


Skype


Whatsapp


Real Name


Patreon Link


PayPal.me


Location


Interests


Fav. Camera


Fav. Lens


Fav. Editor

Found 25 results

  1. As a photographer who organises wildlife safaris fairly often, the biggest elephant in the room I usually have to deal with is transporting my camera gear on airplanes between cities in South Africa. The issue is that if you are flying on a domestic airline within South Africa the rule for carry on luggage is that it can't exceed a certain dimension or weight. This happens to be either 7 or 8kgs, depending on which flavour airline you're on. Not a hell of a lot, is it? Put a couple of pro cameras with big lenses and a laptop into the mix and you'll be over the limit very quickly. The domestic airlines here also restrict you to one piece of checked luggage that cannot exceed 20kgs. On my last safari to Namibia I think my camera bag was pretty close to 20kgs on its own. I'll elaborate a bit more on what was in it later in this article. The volume side of the carry-on restrictions is not usually a problem, provided the bag you're using fits into the little aluminium scaffolding apparatus they use to determine maximum proportions at the check-in counter. Smaller planes don't always have overhead stowage so your bag has to fit under the seat in front of you which is not always a possibility, especially if it's a really small plane and also if you find yourself sitting next to an emergency exit. When you are at the check in counter at South African airports that are run by ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) you will also notice that there are signs behind the attendants clearly indicating that you are prohibited from checking in any valuable electronics, including cameras, computers, etc. So, it's a conundrum alright. How do you get yourself and your equipment from one city to the next without going through the stress of possibly being charged additional luggage fees for being overweight, or perhaps being forced to check your equipment in with your regular luggage and running the risk of it being stolen or damaged by the handlers? The answer is simple: you don't. The stress is just something you have to deal with. Fortunately there are a few strategies you can employ to minimise the issue. 1) You can wear your equipment using one of those photographer vests with numerous and large pockets. These work quite well, but you will attract the attention of airport security as well as raise the anxiety levels of nervous flyers who may mistake you for a terrorist. You're also not going to have the most comfortable flight if you're thinking of wearing it in your seat. 2) You can upgrade your ticket to Business Class which allows you more hand luggage, but this is not always available, especially not on regional routes. I haven't seen any business class on any flight to the Kruger Park. 3) You can choose the right bag, one that is unobtrusive, versatile and in the worst case scenario where you have to check it in, will provide your gear with adequate protection. You may also need to be a little devious in this regard. The ThinkTank Airport roller series are such bags (or cases if you're a stickler for details). On the two safaris I have led this year I evaluated two different types of Airport rollers, namely the Airport International V2.0 and the Airport Security V2.0. This article is about the smaller one, the Airport International V2.0 which I used on our Big 5 Safari. I will write a separate article about the Airport Security, which is the one I used on our Namibian safari shortly after the Big 5 trip. So, at the beginning of August this year we did our annual Ultimate Big 5 Safari to the Sabi Sands which is a private game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. I had to fly from Durban to Johannesburg and then once we had all our guests with us we flew from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). I decided to use the Airport International roller because the Security, while only slightly bigger than the International, does appear a lot bigger than it on the outside. When I first received the Security I thought there is no ways that thing is going to be allowed as a carry on - it looks more like a suitcase than anything else, so I got the International just to be safe. We normally fly on SAA to KMIA from Jo'burg and they use a 4 engine jet plane (can't remember the name, so I have a photo of it below this paragraph). This plane has adequate overhead stowage capacity, but sometimes they might change the plane depending on the number of passengers booked on the flight, so prudence is advisable when going to KMIA on SAA. For this trip I had to fly back to Durban on Kulula from Johannesburg and I hadn't flown with them before, so I had to be extra prudent in the light of not knowing how strict they were with hand luggage, or the type of plane they operated. I had managed to keep the weight of the Airport International V2.0 down to about 15kgs. Inside I had my Nikon D700 with MB-D10 grip, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 OS, a couple of teleconverters, a Nikon D3100, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, Samyang 7.5mm fisheye, Panasonic 14-45mm, 45-175mm and Olympus 9-18mm lenses, MacBook Pro 13", iPad Mini. A fair amount of kit for a week in the bush! I was also using the low dividers set for this case which is an absolute must in my opinion. This lets you put your laptop inside the case for extra protection. There is a sleeve on the outside of the roller you could put one into, but it's not advisable. When you open the lid of the roller the laptop will slide out of the sleeve. Trust me, I've done this - it's the making of a movie with a very sad ending. Getting to Jo'burg from Durban on SAA was easy. I have never been asked to weigh my carry-on luggage by SAA and this time was no different. I checked in my main suitcase and they didn't even ask about the ThinkTank roller which I had strategically positioned directly in front of the check in desk so that the attendant didn't really see it. I also draped my jacket over the top of it to camouflage its dimensions a little. No questions were asked. I went through security and on the other side I found the gate I needed to be at, making sure I was the first in line to board. This is important as it assures you of a space in the overhead bin - the last thing you want to have happen if you can't find any space in those overhead bins is for the flight attendants to have to place your bag for you, because the weight will be a major concern and then they will most likely gate check it if they haven't already compressed their vertebrae trying to hoist it somewhere themselves. Get on the plane first and secure a space in the overhead bin. Going back the other way from this year's Big 5 safari required me to make two flights; one from KMIA to Johannesburg, and then from Johannesburg back to Durban. In the past I have flown directly back to Durban from KMIA, but this is where I encountered the small plane problems that I knew I would not be able to take a big carry-on like the ThinkTank rollers onboard. On that flight there was no overhead bin and there was very little space under the seat, so I decided to fly back via Johannesburg this time. Longer and more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for the flights and get all my gear home safely than check it at the gate and possibly lose everything. One of our guests on this safari had brought his gear over from the US in the bigger ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 roller. While we were waiting to board the plane back to JHB from KMIA after the safari we were both approached by a ground personnel individual and asked to gate check the rollers as we walked out to the plane from the gate. She seemed a little unassertive, so we both refused, citing the contents as being too valuable to check. She relented easily enough and we boarded the aircraft with our rollers ahead of everyone else, found our seats, stowed them above us and sat down to enjoy the flight. I also had no problem getting the roller onboard the Kulula flight back to my home city, Durban. Job done. Thank you ThinkTank! If you're thinking about getting this case, I can highly recommend it. You'll fit a decent amount of kit into it and it has some pretty neat features, including a raincoat, lockable zippers, external pockets and also a system for attaching your monopod or tripod to the outside of it. There's also a combination lock you can use to secure your case to a pole or something immovable if you need to be away from it for a short while. I can see this coming in handy when shooting on location. The build quality is also top notch. If I can offer some criticism of the case it's that I found some of the dividers a little too stiff to configure nicely. I think if they could make them a bit more flexible it would be a whole lot more awesome as a solution for your camera travels. Also, the telescopic handle of this model seems very thin and flimsy compared to its bigger brother's handle. Speaking of handles, ThinkTank have placed one on three of the cases edges, which makes it very easy to hoist from any angle. That's clever design. The inside also zips out completely so you can wash it out thoroughly, especially if you're in the habit of dragging your roller into dusty locations, which we tend to do a lot on safari! My associate Pepe is now using this roller permanently and I have opted to use the larger one, the Airport Security V2.0 which I will discuss in my next article. If you are in the USA you can buy this bag directly from ThinkTank and get a free gift when you use this link. Note: unfortunately the images for this article were lost in a software upgrade.
  2. Dallas

    Review: ThinkTank Airport Advantage

    ThinkTank have released what I think is probably the perfect roller for the photographer who needs to travel by air with a decent amount of kit on any kind of photography excursion. As many of my readers over the years will already know, one of the biggest problems I have had since I began hosting photo safaris, is picking a suitable means of travelling with my gear on local flights. In the past I have used both the other (older) ThinkTank Airport rollers, namely the International and the Security. Both have their own strengths as conveyors of equipment, but for the most part they are also part of the problem in that they weigh a fair amount before you have even put any gear in them. These days the airlines are getting stricter with the carry on luggage limits and most of them in South Africa limit you to 7 or 8 kilos in a single carry on item for economy class seats. There is no way I would be able to get away with dragging the Airport Security V2.0 onboard a local flight as hand luggage these days. It’s a wonderful case to keep your gear safe in, but it’s not the most inconspicuous, mainly because of its size. When the cabin crew who man the gangways and plane doors see you bringing it onboard they will most definitely stop you and ask you to sky check it. The Airport International is a bit smaller than the Security, but it is still big enough to attract unwanted attention from the cabin crew. In preparation for this year’s Ultimate Big 5 Safari I was in a bit of a quandary when it came to deciding which bag I should use. On the two previous safaris I used the ThinkTank Retrospective 50 which swallows up an incredible amount of gear, including my 13” MacBook Pro and a bunch of other things like chargers, hard drives and power supplies. I like that bag a lot, but it is a bit large to carry around casually and I also had an issue a few years ago in getting it to fit in the overhead of a small plane. When fully loaded it also doesn’t easily go under the seat in front of you. My favourite and most used camera bag is the ThinkTank Retrospective 7. It can carry both of my Olympus E-M1 bodies, the Oly 50-200mm (without hood and tripod mount) and a bunch of other items I would want on the safari. However, the pouch on the rear of that bag is designed for iPads and isn’t big enough to fit my 13” laptop. Despite this I had pretty much decided that this was going to be my bag because I could always carry the laptop in its Thule case as a personal item and/or put it into that rear slip long side up. Then ThinkTank announced the Airport Advantage about 2 weeks prior to my departure. Just by looking at photos of it and watching the video on their website I knew that this would be the perfect case for me to take on safari this year. About a week or so later it arrived at my door via courier and boy was I happy to meet it! The Airport Advantage is a lot lighter and more importantly slighter in stature than the other ThinkTank Airport rollers, which means that when you look at it, it doesn’t attract any unwanted cabin crew attention. Yet this roller, in spite of this diminished appearance, possesses some sort of TARDIS-like magical power because it swallows up a lot of stuff, including some very large lenses which people coming on our safaris here in Southern African have been known to bring with them. Configuration Options Like all bags with padded dividers there are a lot of configuration options for the interior of this roller. You get a decent amount of dividers with the case too, as well as a raincoat (more about the raincoat later). The three-part telescopic handle only runs about halfway down the spine of the case so the bottom section has enough depth to accommodate the largest of DSLR’s, including gripped ones, with their big lenses attached. Typically on our safaris we find most of our guests bring two camera bodies, one main telephoto lens (the 200-400mm seems to be the most popular lens), a 70-200/2.8 and a wide angle like the 14-24/2.8, a flash, teleconverters and maybe one or two smaller lenses. So I took the opportunity on this most recent safari to see how this kind of kit would fit into the Airport Advantage. Below are some photos showing exactly how it handled a Nikon D4 with 200-400mm f/4 attached, as well as a D3s with the new 300mm f/4 PF with a 2x TC and the 70-200/2.8 on the side. I also put a Canon 7D Mk II with a 300mm f/2.8 and its hood un-reversed in there. You can see for yourself how easily it accommodates these large items and how much room is left over for other things. For my gear I had more than enough space to carry not only my 13” MacBook Pro (there’s a sleeve on the front for that), but 2 Olympus E-M1’s, the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Olympus 75/1.8, Sigma 19/2.8 & 60/2.8, 2x battery chargers, 2x external hard drives, lots of cables, a back-up card reader and a whole bunch of other items like extra batteries. I even had a dedicated space for my Peak Design Slide and Leash straps. It really is quite an incredible roller! With everything packed I weighed it on the bathroom scale and it came in at around 10kgs, which is still over the official carry-on limit, but the thing is because it’s so compact it doesn’t look like a heavy bag and nobody raised an eyebrow at all on my 2 domestic flights this time around. Features While it is a truly amazing roller, there are one or two things about the Advantage that I think could be improved on. Raincoat Firstly the raincoat, like all other bag raincoats I have ever tried to use in a hurry, simply eludes me. We were out on a game drive and it started to rain, so I tried to cover it up but nothing seemed to fit logically. Eventually I just gave up and left it lying on top of the case as we made our way back to the camp. They really ought to coat these cases in something more water resistant than nylon. Maybe a lining inside the nylon would be better? Pockets The other thing that I would like to have had is an external pocket to put my travel documents in. There is a zippered recess just underneath where you can put your business cards, but it isn’t deep enough to hold much more than a passport, and even that is a bit of a wiggle to get in on its own. I think that they could put a pouch on the flap of the laptop compartment which would then make this the absolute perfect safari travel roller. Unlike the other Airport rollers I have used where there is a stretchy sleeve on the front for putting your laptop in, only to have it fall out if you’re not careful, the Advantage has a proper sleeve with a velcro flap. The sleeve doesn’t have any padding though, so if you’re going to travel with your laptop in there it’s a good idea to have some extra protection for your hardware. I use the Thule semi-hard shell for my MacBook and it survived not only a couple of hours in the overhead bins of the planes I went on, but also 12 hours of road transit between Johannesburg and the Sabi Sands. I was careful to make sure that no other bags were placed on top of it though. Handles There are handles on three sides of the Advantage which makes hoisting it into overhead bins quite easy. I like the design of the handle on the bottom of the case which also doubles as its balancing feet. A nice touch. The other top quality finish is the telescopic handle. This feels very well made. I have wondered though why ThinkTank opted to use a dual shaft handle instead of a single one on this roller. I think it may have been a better design to use a single telescopic shaft that is housed on the outside of the back instead of two shafts that use up space on the inside of the case. Perhaps v2.0 will see some of these refinements? Tripod Attachment If you are travelling with a tripod it is possible to strap one onto the side of the Advantage and Think Tank supply removable straps for you to use with the loops on the bag. Personally I always put my tripod in my checked luggage so I doubt I would use this, unless I was using the roller on a local shoot and needed to take a tripod with. Lockable Unlike the big brother Airport Security, this roller doesn’t have a built-in TSA lock but it is possible to lock it from the zipper with your own luggage lock. I have a cheap combination lock which I have no doubt any thief could probably gnaw off in a matter of seconds, but I suppose it’s better than nothing if your bag might be unattended for a short while. Wheels The wheels are super smooth to run and I put those to the test properly when I had to literally sprint through OR Tambo airport to board my flight home on time. I think Wayde Van Niekerk better watch out - this old dude can shift his molecules quickly when he needs to! Conclusion In spite of my few little nitpicks and improvement suggestions, this is by far the most useful travelling case I have ever used for my camera gear. For people coming on our safaris it’s just about all you will need to bring out not only your essential camera gear but also a fair amount of accessories and of course your computer too. I highly recommend getting one to simplify your travels with cameras. If you would like to support Fotozones please use the link below to order your Airport Advantage. A percentage of each sale is paid to us in commission AND you will also get a free gift from ThinkTank when placing your order using this link. ORDER YOUR AIRPORT ADVANTAGE HERE
  3. ThinkTank have released what I think is probably the perfect roller for the photographer who needs to travel by air with a decent amount of kit on any kind of photography excursion. As many of my readers over the years will already know, one of the biggest problems I have had since I began hosting photo safaris, is picking a suitable means of travelling with my gear on local flights. In the past I have used both the other (older) ThinkTank Airport rollers, namely the International and the Security. Both have their own strengths as conveyors of equipment, but for the most part they are also part of the problem in that they weigh a fair amount before you have even put any gear in them. These days the airlines are getting stricter with the carry on luggage limits and most of them in South Africa limit you to 7 or 8 kilos in a single carry on item for economy class seats. There is no way I would be able to get away with dragging the Airport Security V2.0 onboard a local flight as hand luggage these days. It’s a wonderful case to keep your gear safe in, but it’s not the most inconspicuous, mainly because of its size. When the cabin crew who man the gangways and plane doors see you bringing it onboard they will most definitely stop you and ask you to sky check it. The Airport International is a bit smaller than the Security, but it is still big enough to attract unwanted attention from the cabin crew. In preparation for this year’s Ultimate Big 5 Safari I was in a bit of a quandary when it came to deciding which bag I should use. On the two previous safaris I used the ThinkTank Retrospective 50 which swallows up an incredible amount of gear, including my 13” MacBook Pro and a bunch of other things like chargers, hard drives and power supplies. I like that bag a lot, but it is a bit large to carry around casually and I also had an issue a few years ago in getting it to fit in the overhead of a small plane. When fully loaded it also doesn’t easily go under the seat in front of you. My favourite and most used camera bag is the ThinkTank Retrospective 7. It can carry both of my Olympus E-M1 bodies, the Oly 50-200mm (without hood and tripod mount) and a bunch of other items I would want on the safari. However, the pouch on the rear of that bag is designed for iPads and isn’t big enough to fit my 13” laptop. Despite this I had pretty much decided that this was going to be my bag because I could always carry the laptop in its Thule case as a personal item and/or put it into that rear slip long side up. Then ThinkTank announced the Airport Advantage about 2 weeks prior to my departure. Just by looking at photos of it and watching the video on their website I knew that this would be the perfect case for me to take on safari this year. About a week or so later it arrived at my door via courier and boy was I happy to meet it! The Airport Advantage is a lot lighter and more importantly slighter in stature than the other ThinkTank Airport rollers, which means that when you look at it, it doesn’t attract any unwanted cabin crew attention. Yet this roller, in spite of this diminished appearance, possesses some sort of TARDIS-like magical power because it swallows up a lot of stuff, including some very large lenses which people coming on our safaris here in Southern African have been known to bring with them. Configuration Options Like all bags with padded dividers there are a lot of configuration options for the interior of this roller. You get a decent amount of dividers with the case too, as well as a raincoat (more about the raincoat later). The three-part telescopic handle only runs about halfway down the spine of the case so the bottom section has enough depth to accommodate the largest of DSLR’s, including gripped ones, with their big lenses attached. Typically on our safaris we find most of our guests bring two camera bodies, one main telephoto lens (the 200-400mm seems to be the most popular lens), a 70-200/2.8 and a wide angle like the 14-24/2.8, a flash, teleconverters and maybe one or two smaller lenses. So I took the opportunity on this most recent safari to see how this kind of kit would fit into the Airport Advantage. Below are some photos showing exactly how it handled a Nikon D4 with 200-400mm f/4 attached, as well as a D3s with the new 300mm f/4 PF with a 2x TC and the 70-200/2.8 on the side. I also put a Canon 7D Mk II with a 300mm f/2.8 and its hood un-reversed in there. You can see for yourself how easily it accommodates these large items and how much room is left over for other things. For my gear I had more than enough space to carry not only my 13” MacBook Pro (there’s a sleeve on the front for that), but 2 Olympus E-M1’s, the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Olympus 75/1.8, Sigma 19/2.8 & 60/2.8, 2x battery chargers, 2x external hard drives, lots of cables, a back-up card reader and a whole bunch of other items like extra batteries. I even had a dedicated space for my Peak Design Slide and Leash straps. It really is quite an incredible roller! With everything packed I weighed it on the bathroom scale and it came in at around 10kgs, which is still over the official carry-on limit, but the thing is because it’s so compact it doesn’t look like a heavy bag and nobody raised an eyebrow at all on my 2 domestic flights this time around. Features While it is a truly amazing roller, there are one or two things about the Advantage that I think could be improved on. Raincoat Firstly the raincoat, like all other bag raincoats I have ever tried to use in a hurry, simply eludes me. We were out on a game drive and it started to rain, so I tried to cover it up but nothing seemed to fit logically. Eventually I just gave up and left it lying on top of the case as we made our way back to the camp. They really ought to coat these cases in something more water resistant than nylon. Maybe a lining inside the nylon would be better? Pockets The other thing that I would like to have had is an external pocket to put my travel documents in. There is a zippered recess just underneath where you can put your business cards, but it isn’t deep enough to hold much more than a passport, and even that is a bit of a wiggle to get in on its own. I think that they could put a pouch on the flap of the laptop compartment which would then make this the absolute perfect safari travel roller. Unlike the other Airport rollers I have used where there is a stretchy sleeve on the front for putting your laptop in, only to have it fall out if you’re not careful, the Advantage has a proper sleeve with a velcro flap. The sleeve doesn’t have any padding though, so if you’re going to travel with your laptop in there it’s a good idea to have some extra protection for your hardware. I use the Thule semi-hard shell for my MacBook and it survived not only a couple of hours in the overhead bins of the planes I went on, but also 12 hours of road transit between Johannesburg and the Sabi Sands. I was careful to make sure that no other bags were placed on top of it though. Handles There are handles on three sides of the Advantage which makes hoisting it into overhead bins quite easy. I like the design of the handle on the bottom of the case which also doubles as its balancing feet. A nice touch. The other top quality finish is the telescopic handle. This feels very well made. I have wondered though why ThinkTank opted to use a dual shaft handle instead of a single one on this roller. I think it may have been a better design to use a single telescopic shaft that is housed on the outside of the back instead of two shafts that use up space on the inside of the case. Perhaps v2.0 will see some of these refinements? Tripod Attachment If you are travelling with a tripod it is possible to strap one onto the side of the Advantage and Think Tank supply removable straps for you to use with the loops on the bag. Personally I always put my tripod in my checked luggage so I doubt I would use this, unless I was using the roller on a local shoot and needed to take a tripod with. Lockable Unlike the big brother Airport Security, this roller doesn’t have a built-in TSA lock but it is possible to lock it from the zipper with your own luggage lock. I have a cheap combination lock which I have no doubt any thief could probably gnaw off in a matter of seconds, but I suppose it’s better than nothing if your bag might be unattended for a short while. Wheels The wheels are super smooth to run and I put those to the test properly when I had to literally sprint through OR Tambo airport to board my flight home on time. I think Wayde Van Niekerk better watch out - this old dude can shift his molecules quickly when he needs to! Conclusion In spite of my few little nitpicks and improvement suggestions, this is by far the most useful travelling case I have ever used for my camera gear. For people coming on our safaris it’s just about all you will need to bring out not only your essential camera gear but also a fair amount of accessories and of course your computer too. I highly recommend getting one to simplify your travels with cameras. If you would like to support Fotozones please use the link below to order your Airport Advantage. A percentage of each sale is paid to us in commission AND you will also get a free gift from ThinkTank when placing your order using this link. ORDER YOUR AIRPORT ADVANTAGE HERE View full article
  4. Dallas

    ▶︎ ThinkTank TurnStyle 10 V2.0

    ThinkTank recently released their new V2.0 TurnStyle bags and they kindly send me one for the purposes of this review. So, for the first time ever I have created a video review! Let me tell you upfront that this was no easy task. It took me the entire day and much of the evening to film and then edit into what I hope is a useful video for anybody thinking about buying this bag (not to mention the overnight upload to YouTube on a 512Kbps upload line!). Unfortunately I could only upload in 720p, so if you are watching on a high res monitor full screen is probably not a good idea. I used 2 cameras to make the video. The scenes of me were done using the Olympus E-M1 and the overhead demo was done using the Pen-F. The audio changed between them because the Pen-F doesn't have a mic input (I bought a Rode VideoMicro so that I can do more video for Fotozones). Anyway, hope you enjoy the video review format. It's a tad long, but hopefully useful. Please be constructive in the comments by letting me know what I can improve on for future videos (watch out for the bloopers at the end). Remember, you can support Fotozones by using this link to buy your TurnStyle bag directly from ThinkTank, who will also send you a nice little gift with it if you do. https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/turnstyle?rfsn=140410.92f763 Like this video? You can help incentivise me to make more content like this by supporting me via Patreon.
  5. ThinkTank recently released their new V2.0 TurnStyle bags and they kindly send me one for the purposes of this review. So, for the first time ever I have created a video review! Let me tell you upfront that this was no easy task. It took me the entire day and much of the evening to film and then edit into what I hope is a useful video for anybody thinking about buying this bag (not to mention the overnight upload to YouTube on a 512Kbps upload line!). Unfortunately I could only upload in 720p, so if you are watching on a high res monitor full screen is probably not a good idea. I used 2 cameras to make the video. The scenes of me were done using the Olympus E-M1 and the overhead demo was done using the Pen-F. The audio changed between them because the Pen-F doesn't have a mic input (I bought a Rode VideoMicro so that I can do more video for Fotozones). Anyway, hope you enjoy the video review format. It's a tad long, but hopefully useful. Please be constructive in the comments by letting me know what I can improve on for future videos (watch out for the bloopers at the end). Remember, you can support Fotozones by using this link to buy your TurnStyle bag directly from ThinkTank, who will also send you a nice little gift with it if you do. https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/turnstyle?rfsn=140410.92f763 Like this video? You can help incentivise me to make more content like this by supporting me via Patreon. View full article
  6. Dallas

    New ThinkTank Hard Cases

    Okay, so they're not actually ThinkTank hard cases, but are designed by ThinkTank and manufactured by SKB, who are well known for making cases for musical instruments and other things that touring artists need to take on their gruelling road tours. Our friends at ThinkTank also sell these new photography gear cases on behalf of SKB too, so you can choose from any of 10 different new hard cases on their site (link at the end of this post), get your usual free US shipping and free gift from ThinkTank. Plus you will be helping Fotozones as we get credited with a little commission for every sale coming through those links. You don't pay any more by using that link than if you bought it without using the link. Hard cases are the safest places to store valuable equipment in. I have had a few of them over the years and there is still one sitting on a shelf in my studio from my days of big glass and heavy bodies. Unfortunately I don't use it anymore because it has the dreaded picknpluck foam, which I loath and detest almost as much as I do arguing politics. What I really like about these new SKB cases is that ThinkTank have designed the interiors with adjustable padding and zippered compartments for the lids. Much better than foam for me. Yes, the competition from Storm and Pelican also offer these padded interiors, but here where I live the padding is so expensive that it has all but made my case useless because there is no ways I will ever buy replacement foam for it. Looking at the range from SKB you will see that they have a variety of cases suitable for both mirrorless and DSLR users. They range in price from $109.99 to $329.99, which compares favourably with the competitors. Some of them have wheels too and they all apparently meet carry-on dimensions (not so sure about the weight though). If you do decide to get one, please let us know how you get along with it. USE THIS LINK TO PURCHASE
  7. Dallas

    New ThinkTank Bags

    I got word from our friends at ThinkTank yesterday of some new products they have added to their range. These look really cool! First up is an update to the popular StreetWalker backpack, which now has wheels and a telescopic handle for when you don't want to lug it on your back. That's pretty inventive because there are times when a roller doesn't work, but a backpack does, and vice versa. This looks to be a wonderful solution. Use the link below to order and you will get free shipping (USA only I think?) and a free gift with your order: https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/streetwalker-series?rfsn=140410.92f763 They have also updated the TurnStyle bags to V2.0. These look really interesting and I think I would like to try this out. Its a sling type bag that you can swivel around from your back to your front to gain access to your gear. That means you don't have to put the bag down or take it off your back to get your stuff. You can also use it to semi-stabilise your camera while out shooting. As with the above link, use this one below to get yours and enjoy the freebies. https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/turnstyle?rfsn=140410.92f763
  8. A few weeks after our Ultimate Big 5 Safari in August, I found myself packing to fly to Cape Town where we had a 32 day adventure lined up, namely the Namaqualand to Namibia Safari. This time there was a lot more to pack, so I decided to put the ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 to the task, seeing as I already knew it would fit on a smaller plane (one of our guests used it without drama on the flight from Kruger Airport to Jo'burg) and the plane to CT would certainly be a lot larger than that other one. I had planned to do a lot of landscape work on this trip so while I was going to bring along my Nikons and the Sigma 120-300/2.8, I also needed to find space for my entire mirrorless kit. Configuring the roller with the low divider set was challenging for the m43 stuff, mainly because the lenses are so much smaller and the dividers are designed for much bigger partitions. But I managed and here's a shot from my iPhone of everything that fit inside the Security V2.0 roller. Lot of stuff, huh? Here's a full list: Nikon D700 Nikon D3100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus 9-18mm Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Panasonic 14-45mm Panasonic 45-175mm Samyang 7.5mm fisheye Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens (review is in the works) Sigma 12-24mm f/4-5.6 13" MacBook Pro iPad Mini Back-up hard drive (WD 1TB) Lee Filters Seven5 system (to be reviewed soon!) Chargers In the pocket shown as empty here I later added my sunglasses cases. I had a pair of polarised driving glasses and a regular pair. So on the day of the flight I got to the airport (early as usual) and there was a very large queue of people waiting to check into the Kukula.com flights. I was somewhere near the front of the queue when I heard this announcement being made that went something along these lines: "Kulula.com advises all passengers travelling with them that hand luggage is restricted to one item only and that it may not exceed 7kgs. It will be weighed at the check-in counter and also again at the gate. If any hand luggage is found to be over the limit at the gate you will be sent back to the check-in counter and additional check-in charges will be incurred." Oh. What could I do? My carry on weighed close to 20kgs! Well, I could only do one thing: plead ignorance. I got to the counter, hoisted my big red suitcase onto the conveyor and would you believe it, the scale read 20.8kgs. The attendant looks at me and says I am over the 20kg limit and I will have to pay in R250 (about $25) for additional baggage. I look back at her and I smile. "That can't be possible. I weighed this suitcase at home and it was 19.5kgs. There must be something wrong with your scale. Can we try it on another scale?" Now at this point the queue had gotten longer and there were no additional free counters for us to check the weight at. She looked at me, half-smiled and said, "OK, I'll let you go through without extra charges, but next time you'll have to pay the R250..." Phew. All this timethe ThinkTank Security roller was parked right in front of the desk with my jacket over it. "What's that bag?" she asked, somehow managing to catch sight of it. I told her that it's just my camera bag. She handed me my boarding pass and ID and wished me a pleasant flight. At the gate I was looking for these hand luggage weight police but I saw no scales or scaffolding apparatus that could possibly be used to measure bags, so I relaxed a little and waited to be let on board. Fortunately the bag fit perfectly in the overhead stowage of the plane and I got to Cape Town without any further drama. Flying back from Cape Town to Durban my big red suitcase had somehow lost a bit of weight and only tipped the scales at 19.1kgs. No questions about anything else. Onboard I found myself sitting right at the back of a very full Boeing 737-800 which also had slightly different overhead bins to the plane I had flown down on, the kind that hang down and are then clipped up during the flight. I managed to get the roller into the one directly over my seat, but it was a bit of a struggle as somebody else had already put stuff in it (I wasn't the first to board because Cape Town airport has to buck convention and their gates are illogically designed when it comes to figuring out how to queue up). Just prior to touch down in Durban we hit a bit of turbulence and the overhead bin with my roller in it popped open. Thankfully nothing fell out and the passenger on the aisle was able to simply pop it closed by reaching up his arm. Phew, once again. OK, so about the case... the ThinkTank Airport Security rolling case is awesome. Compared to the ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 version it has a few additional features, such as a set of backpack straps that hide away in a compartment in the back. You can wear it on your back but don't expect it to be very comfortable when fully laden. I guess this feature is handy to have if you have to take the case across terrain that isn't exactly roller-friendly (like muddy patches, or grass, etc). Showing the straps that fold into a flap on the back There's an extra pocket that flips open on the side of the case and inside it there are some stretchy divisions that are handy to store things like keys, wallets, etc. It also has a buckle that you use to attach the tripod/monopod straps to secure such things to your case. It is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't use the instructions sheet, but once you know how it's a doddle. Side pocket with buckle for tripod attachment bits At the top of the case there is a place to put your business cards in. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep a good supply of these in all your camera bags. It's great that all the ThinkTank bags I have used have dedicated space for these to be easily accessible. I also used this roller on the ICANN47 meeting here in Durban and I was constantly dishing out cards to people throughout the conference. Just below the business card holder is another zippered pocket with enough room to store your plane tickets and passport which makes them very easy to get to. The rest of the case is very similar to the International, just a bit roomier. This case is ideal for photographers who need to carry big lenses like 400mm f/2.8's and while I don't have one to try, I reckon you might even get a 600mm f/4 into it too. As with the International I would strongly advise getting the low divider set so that you can store your laptop on the inside of the case while travelling. Speaking of the inside, once you have it open the lid has 4 zippered pockets that you can store things like memory cards, AA batteries, cleaning kits and whatever else you need to store that is slim line. ThinkTank have also very cleverly sewn in little stretchy pockets for the zip ends to slip snugly into. This ensures that they are not exposed to your gear where friction could cause unsightly abrasions. The reason why I decided to keep the larger version of the ThinkTank rollers and not the International is because of the additional room. When I was shooting the ICANN47 conference I had my Nikon and micro four thirds kit inside it, but what I did with the m43 kit is put the whole lot into my amazing little ThinkTank Retrospective 5 shoulder bag and then put that bag right into the roller. It was a perfect fit and it gave me the versatility I needed to be mobile as well as have as much gear as necessary securely placed nearby. Being able to lock the roller's lid zipper with the combination is probably the cleverest thing I have ever seen on any camera case. Love it. On the rolling side the wheels used on the Airport series of rollers are excellent. They roll super-smoothly and are practically silent. I believe they use the same wheels that you get on roller blades, but I'll need to confirm that. So, now that I have established that it is in fact possible to travel on most domestic flights between big cities in South Africa that are relevant to our safari operations, this roller will become my go-to companion on those trips. It will also be very useful for when I am covering conferences and other shoots that require a fair amount of gear to be brought along. The Airport Security V2.0 is pretty rugged. While we were in Namibia there were 3 of us using these cases and they all came through with flying colours. They kept the dust out (and boy, did we have a lot of dust!) plus they rolled everywhere. They are easy to load and unload into vehicles because of the extra handles on the top, bottom and side. Plus, all these ThinkTank rollers have a metal plate riveted onto the top rear section with your serial number printed onto it. You can register your case with them and if it is ever lost and then found by a good samaritan it can be returned to you. A ThinkTank dominated Land Rover Freelander in Damaraland, Namibia. Many thanks to ThinkTank for not only designing this awesome piece of kit storage, but also for sponsoring evaluation copies for me to review and put to the test in the harshest conditions (which is why the product shots shown here look a bit scruffy - they were taken after the case had travelled more than 10,000kms with me by road and air - I'll get around to cleaning it someday soon). If you're in the USA you can buy your ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 directly from the company, plus you will also get a free gift from them when you do so using this link!
  9. Admin

    New ThinkTank Bags

    Looking for a functional retro styled camera bag? The newly released Signature Series from Think Tank Photo is a modernized version of the classic shoulder bag. Hand sewn, advanced fabrics blend weather protection and durability with the classic feel of fine wool. Genuine leather detailing and metal hardware add character and stand up to the rigors of daily use. In addition, the zippered flap provides full closure and security to the main compartment, or tucks away when not in use. The Signature 10 fits a 10” tablet; the Signature 13 fits a 13” laptop. With our special relationship with Think Tank, by clicking on this URL you will be able to add free gear and receive free shipping on your orders of the Signature bags and all of their other gear. KEY FEATURES Dedicated laptop/tablet compartment: Signature 10 fits a 10” tablet; Signature 13 fits a 13” laptop Secure clasps on front flap with one-handed operation Dedicated phone pocket fits up to an iPhone 6s+ or S7 Edge Wide handle pass-through for attaching to rolling luggage Large front pocket for an extra strobe, rain cover or small book Long, cushioned neoprene shoulder pad positions easily when worn cross-body Zippered front pocket provides security for small items and includes a built-in organizer for pens and business cards Quilted velex dividers can be customized to fit gear Shorter dividers can be made into shelves to stack short lenses and primes Dividers and bottom foam can be removed for a completely collapsible bag Although the bag’s outer fabric is treated with water resistant coating, a seam-sealed rain cover is included for downpour conditions GEAR CAPACITY Signature 10 1 standard size DSLR with 3–4 prime lenses and accessories A complete Mirrorless camera system with 3–4 lenses and accessories 10” tablet fits inside a dedicated compartment Signature 13 1 standard-size DSLR with mid-range zoom attached plus 2–3 additional lenses 13” laptop fits inside a dedicated compartment MATERIALS Exterior: All fabric exterior treated with durable water resistant coating while fabric underside is coated with polyurethane for superior water resistance. The bag also has 240D wool-like 195G nylon/poly blend, full-grain leather, antique-plated metal hardware, highest quality YKK® RC-Fuse zippers, 550D polyspun, nylon seatbelt webbing, neoprene, 3-ply bonded nylon thread. Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon lining, polyurethane-backed quilted Velex liner and dividers, high-density closed-cell foam dividers, 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, nylon binding, 3-ply bonded nylon thread. PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS Signature 10 Internal Dimensions: 11.8” W x 7.8” H x 5.1” D (30 x 20 x 13 cm) Exterior Dimensions: 13” W x 9.1” H x 5.9” D (33 x 23 x 15 cm) Tablet Compartment: 11.4” W x 7.8” H x 0.8” D (29 x 20 x 2 cm) Weight: 2.8 lbs. (1.3 kg) Signature 13 Internal Dimensions: 13.3” W x 9.1” H x 5.1” D (34 x 23 x 13 cm) Exterior Dimensions: 14.6” W x 10.4” H x 6.3” D (37 x 26.5 x 16 cm) Laptop/Tablet Compartment: 13” W x 9.1” H x 1.2” D (33 x 23 x 3 cm) Weight: 3.1 lbs. (1.4 kg)
  10. ThinkTank are on a roll. Last week they updated their popular Airport Security and Airport International rollers, but now they have gone one better and introduced a new roller which I think might just be absolutely perfect for travelling with a small to medium kit. Here's the press release for the Airport Advantage: One of the truths of air travel with camera gear is that the maximum amount of gear photographers can carry is limited by the smallest plane on which they’ll be traveling. In response, Think Tank Photo has released the Airport Advantage rolling camera bag. Designed for traveling on commuter or regional jets, the bag’s customized interior holds the maximum amount of gear that will fit in overhead bins or under seats. In addition, its ultralight design lets photographers pack more gear while staying under airlines’ increasingly vigilant weight restrictions. “The Airport Advantage has all of the features and quality for which Think Tank’s larger rolling camera bags are renowned,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank’s CEO and lead designer. “With this, our smallest rolling camera bag, we help photographers solve one of their biggest headaches, which is how to keep their very expensive gear near them at all times on regional aircraft, as opposed to it being tossed into the hold.” ADDITIONAL FEATURES Meets U.S. and International airline carry on requirements Weighs only 5.9 lbs. (2.7 kg) Dedicated laptop pocket fits up to 15” laptops in a padded sleeve Custom designed retractable handle with inset channel on aluminum tubing for adds strength and durability Tripod mount and water bottle pocket on side (Additional straps included for larger tripods) YKK RC Fuse zippers, and closed-cell PU foam are the highest quality materials in the industry Fit two camera bodies with lenses attached Lockable zipper sliders (lock not included) Interior zippered pockets for batteries, CF cards, filters and accessories User replaceable retractable handle, wheels, wheel housings, and front foot Custom-designed, high-performance, 80 mm super quiet wheels with sealed bearings Seam-sealed rain cover included Grab handles on three sides for lifting bag into overhead bins Closed-cell foam dividers support heavy gear and maintain strength over time Business card holder on top for identification WHAT FITS Gripped DSLR with lens attached, one standard size DSLR with lens attached, plus three to four additional lenses, and 15” laptop Or, two gripped DSLRs with lenses detached plus three to four lenses Or, two Mirrorless bodies with lots of lenses MATERIALS Exterior: For superior water-resistance, all exterior fabric has a durable water repellent (DWR) coating, plus underside of fabric has a polyurethane coating. The Airport Advantage is also constructed with 420D velocity nylon, YKK® RC Fuse (abrasion-resistant) zippers, custom designed extra tall skid plates, high performance 80mm super quiet wheels with sealed bearings, rubberized laminate reinforcement, and 3-ply bonded nylon thread. Interior: 210D silver-toned nylon, polyurethane-backed Velex liner and dividers; closed-cell foam and reinforced PE board dividers; 2x polyurethane coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover; nylon binding; 3-ply bonded nylon thread. SPECIFICATIONS Interior Dimensions: 12” W x 18” H x 4.9 – 6.4” D (30.5 x 45.7 x 12.4–16.3 cm) Exterior Dimensions: 12.7” W x 19.5” H x 7.3” D (32.3 x 49.5 x 18.5 cm) Laptop Compartment: 11.6” x 16.4” x 2.9” (29.5 x 41.6 x 7.4 cm) Weight: 5.9 - 6.2 lbs. (2.7-2.8 kg) Some photos of the new roller: As always ThinkTank will also provide you with a free gift if you purchase using THIS LINK You will also be helping Fotozones by using the link as we get a small commission from them for sending your business their way.
  11. Dallas

    New ThinkTank Airport Rollers

    ThinkTank have just introduced the V3.0 versions of their popular Airport Security and Airport International rolling cases. They look pretty neat! I see a lot of improvements, especially where the handle is concerned and also the new integrated sleeve for your laptop and tablet is very nice. As always if you use our links below to purchase one of these you will receive a free gift and Fotozones will get a small commission. Buy the Airport Security V3.0 Buy the Airport International V3.0
  12. Dallas

    Review: ThinkTank Retrospective 7

    Everybody who has read my articles about our 2013 Namibia safari will have heard me waxing lyrical about the awesomeness of the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag that accompanied me throughout that trip and how I could carry my Olympus E-M5 and 6 lenses without any problems everywhere I went. It’s been a love affair from the first moment I first got it. However, as I have continued along with my transformation to the micro four thirds system I have acquired more kit and my little Retro5, as magical as it is, simply can’t swallow all the new bits that have come its way. A new love affair was on the cards. Most important to me in my search for a new bag and carrying solution was that I needed something that could take both my OM-D cameras with lenses attached to them, plus of course the grips I am using on those bodies. I do have a Lowepro Nova 200AW that I used once or twice when I was shooting Nikon, but that bag is not suitable for micro four thirds stuff. The compartments are too big for the lenses and it also makes me stick out like a … photographer carrying a lot of expensive equipment. Not my aim. I had a chat on Facebook with Simon Pollock who runs social media for ThinkTank and told him what I was looking for and what it would need to carry. He suggested the Retrospective 7, which is the same as the Retro 5, just a bit bigger. That was all I needed to hear. Nothing is cooler than the Retrospective series bags in my opinion, so if I could have the same degree of cool in a slightly bigger bag without giving away my photographer status I would be a happy Fonzie. So the Retro 7 is what I decided on and it has come to me all the way from California. Just as Simon suggested it is about perfect for what I need it to carry. It’s almost exactly the same design as the Retro 5, with the only real difference being that it has a zippered and padded sleeve in the back that can accommodate a full size iPad or an 11” MacBook Air. I have neither, so I dumped the raincoat in there for now and come safari time later this year will probably put my 13” MacBook Pro in there sideways (inside its protective Thule shell) for my flights. I don’t foresee a problem with this as my carry-on for the flight because I can take out the MBP when I put the bag in the overhead and then put it in the seat pocket in front of me to keep it safe - I will just have to remember to take it with me when I disembark! Of course being a micro four thirds user now means I will have no bag weight stress either, which has been the cause of much angst over the past few years whenever I have been on safari. The supplied dividers of the Retro 7 are the same as the Retro 5 - they divide the bag into three big sections with a few short and thin dividers you can optionally add in. Unfortunately those supplied dividers were inadequate for what I wanted to put into this bag, so I pilfered more of the stiffer dividers I had left over from my ThinkTank Airport Security roller and had my own way with the innards of the Retro 7. The roller dividers are just right for this bag and have allowed me to divide it up into 6 or 7 sections, depending on what I’m carrying with me. Here’s a look at the way I have configured it (empty). On the right hand side I have used a thinner divider that connects to a loose inner pouch and can easily shift its size to accommodate my biggest lens, the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 when I need to carry it, or become 2 smaller sections for my other stuff (flash units, more smaller lenses, etc). When I want to take a lot of stuff and 2 bodies it looks something like this before I put the cameras in. The two compartments in the middle are deep enough for two shorter m43 lenses to "bunk" together, so there's space for 4 of them there. In this shot above you’ll see how the E-M5 slots into the vacant spot together with the Olympus 7-14/4 (four thirds mount) or Olympus 12-40/2.8. The E-M1 will attach to the 50-200mm and everything fits perfectly. Unfortunately I had to use the E-M1 to take these photos so until I get a third body (heaven forbid!) you’ll have to use your imagination, or just take my word for it that it all fits well. I should mention that I have the hood and the tripod mount of the 50-200 still attached here, which brings me to some criticisms I have of the Retrospective 7. I don’t like those little bits of material that are sewn into the corners of the inside. They just get in my way when I'm removing things from that part of the bag. I am very tempted to take a box cutter to them. All that stops me is the fear that they may in some way be the glue that binds the whole bag together and butchering them could result in the entire thing coming apart at the seams. Unlikely, but for now I will endure their presence. I’d also really like the bag even more if ThinkTank could incorporate the raincoat into a bottom sleeve as this would not add much bulk and could free up useful space in the pouches. They could probably design a little pocket in the main flap for this. It would certainly make it easier to get to in a sudden downpour. The pockets on the external sides of the Retro 7 are useful to store slim articles but perhaps they could be a little looser so that you could put a water bottle in them? Apart from those minor criticisms I have no complaints about the Retro 7. Some cool features that are carried up from the Retro 5 are the business card sleeve on the inside of the main cover flap, plus you can also silence the velco on that flap using the ingenious ThinkTank fold-over bits. The same internal pockets that are on the Retro 5 can be found in the 7, so you can store memory cards, paper clips or any number of other things that you might need to carry with you while you're out shooting. I use the front pouch to carry my wallet and phone. I could also probably slip that third OM-D body in there should it ever come to that for me. On the whole it is a really nice solution for when I need to take along a bit more kit than I can get into the Retro 5. I’m looking forward to this being the only camera bag I take with me to Botswana and Sabi Sabi this year for our Photographers.travel group safaris. The above shows the Retro 5 in front of the 7 to give you an idea of the size difference. All I need now are some more rock n' roll badges to make it look even less like a camera bag. If you’d like to order a Retrospective 7 directly from ThinkTank please use this link and you will get a free gift with your order. They retail at $162.75 and are also available in black and blue slate.
  13. Everybody who has read my articles about our 2013 Namibia safari will have heard me waxing lyrical about the awesomeness of the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag that accompanied me throughout that trip and how I could carry my Olympus E-M5 and 6 lenses without any problems everywhere I went. It’s been a love affair from the first moment I first got it. However, as I have continued along with my transformation to the micro four thirds system I have acquired more kit and my little Retro5, as magical as it is, simply can’t swallow all the new bits that have come its way. A new love affair was on the cards. Most important to me in my search for a new bag and carrying solution was that I needed something that could take both my OM-D cameras with lenses attached to them, plus of course the grips I am using on those bodies. I do have a Lowepro Nova 200AW that I used once or twice when I was shooting Nikon, but that bag is not suitable for micro four thirds stuff. The compartments are too big for the lenses and it also makes me stick out like a … photographer carrying a lot of expensive equipment. Not my aim. I had a chat on Facebook with Simon Pollock who runs social media for ThinkTank and told him what I was looking for and what it would need to carry. He suggested the Retrospective 7, which is the same as the Retro 5, just a bit bigger. That was all I needed to hear. Nothing is cooler than the Retrospective series bags in my opinion, so if I could have the same degree of cool in a slightly bigger bag without giving away my photographer status I would be a happy Fonzie. So the Retro 7 is what I decided on and it has come to me all the way from California. Just as Simon suggested it is about perfect for what I need it to carry. It’s almost exactly the same design as the Retro 5, with the only real difference being that it has a zippered and padded sleeve in the back that can accommodate a full size iPad or an 11” MacBook Air. I have neither, so I dumped the raincoat in there for now and come safari time later this year will probably put my 13” MacBook Pro in there sideways (inside its protective Thule shell) for my flights. I don’t foresee a problem with this as my carry-on for the flight because I can take out the MBP when I put the bag in the overhead and then put it in the seat pocket in front of me to keep it safe - I will just have to remember to take it with me when I disembark! Of course being a micro four thirds user now means I will have no bag weight stress either, which has been the cause of much angst over the past few years whenever I have been on safari. The supplied dividers of the Retro 7 are the same as the Retro 5 - they divide the bag into three big sections with a few short and thin dividers you can optionally add in. Unfortunately those supplied dividers were inadequate for what I wanted to put into this bag, so I pilfered more of the stiffer dividers I had left over from my ThinkTank Airport Security roller and had my own way with the innards of the Retro 7. The roller dividers are just right for this bag and have allowed me to divide it up into 6 or 7 sections, depending on what I’m carrying with me. Here’s a look at the way I have configured it (empty). On the right hand side I have used a thinner divider that connects to a loose inner pouch and can easily shift its size to accommodate my biggest lens, the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 when I need to carry it, or become 2 smaller sections for my other stuff (flash units, more smaller lenses, etc). When I want to take a lot of stuff and 2 bodies it looks something like this before I put the cameras in. The two compartments in the middle are deep enough for two shorter m43 lenses to "bunk" together, so there's space for 4 of them there. In this shot above you’ll see how the E-M5 slots into the vacant spot together with the Olympus 7-14/4 (four thirds mount) or Olympus 12-40/2.8. The E-M1 will attach to the 50-200mm and everything fits perfectly. Unfortunately I had to use the E-M1 to take these photos so until I get a third body (heaven forbid!) you’ll have to use your imagination, or just take my word for it that it all fits well. I should mention that I have the hood and the tripod mount of the 50-200 still attached here, which brings me to some criticisms I have of the Retrospective 7. I don’t like those little bits of material that are sewn into the corners of the inside. They just get in my way when I'm removing things from that part of the bag. I am very tempted to take a box cutter to them. All that stops me is the fear that they may in some way be the glue that binds the whole bag together and butchering them could result in the entire thing coming apart at the seams. Unlikely, but for now I will endure their presence. I’d also really like the bag even more if ThinkTank could incorporate the raincoat into a bottom sleeve as this would not add much bulk and could free up useful space in the pouches. They could probably design a little pocket in the main flap for this. It would certainly make it easier to get to in a sudden downpour. The pockets on the external sides of the Retro 7 are useful to store slim articles but perhaps they could be a little looser so that you could put a water bottle in them? Apart from those minor criticisms I have no complaints about the Retro 7. Some cool features that are carried up from the Retro 5 are the business card sleeve on the inside of the main cover flap, plus you can also silence the velco on that flap using the ingenious ThinkTank fold-over bits. The same internal pockets that are on the Retro 5 can be found in the 7, so you can store memory cards, paper clips or any number of other things that you might need to carry with you while you're out shooting. I use the front pouch to carry my wallet and phone. I could also probably slip that third OM-D body in there should it ever come to that for me. On the whole it is a really nice solution for when I need to take along a bit more kit than I can get into the Retro 5. I’m looking forward to this being the only camera bag I take with me to Botswana and Sabi Sabi this year for our Photographers.travel group safaris. The above shows the Retro 5 in front of the 7 to give you an idea of the size difference. All I need now are some more rock n' roll badges to make it look even less like a camera bag. If you’d like to order a Retrospective 7 directly from ThinkTank please use this link and you will get a free gift with your order. They retail at $162.75 and are also available in black and blue slate. View full article
  14. A growing micro four thirds system has meant that I needed to get a bigger bag. This is the chosen one. Read why.Everybody who has read my articles about our 2013 Namibia safari will have heard me waxing lyrical about the awesomeness of the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 bag that accompanied me throughout that trip and how I could carry my Olympus E-M5 and 6 lenses without any problems everywhere I went. It’s been a love affair from the first moment I first got it. However, as I have continued along with my transformation to the micro four thirds system I have acquired more kit and my little Retro5, as magical as it is, simply can’t swallow all the new bits that have come its way. A new love affair was on the cards. Most important to me in my search for a new bag and carrying solution was that I needed something that could take both my OM-D cameras with lenses attached to them, plus of course the grips I am using on those bodies. I do have a Lowepro Nova 200AW that I used once or twice when I was shooting Nikon, but that bag is not suitable for micro four thirds stuff. The compartments are too big for the lenses and it also makes me stick out like a … photographer carrying a lot of expensive equipment. Not my aim. I had a chat on Facebook with Simon Pollock who runs social media for ThinkTank and told him what I was looking for and what it would need to carry. He suggested the Retrospective 7, which is the same as the Retro 5, just a bit bigger. That was all I needed to hear. Nothing is cooler than the Retrospective series bags in my opinion, so if I could have the same degree of cool in a slightly bigger bag without giving away my photographer status I would be a happy Fonzie. So the Retro 7 is what I decided on and it has come to me all the way from California. Just as Simon suggested it is about perfect for what I need it to carry. It’s almost exactly the same design as the Retro 5, with the only real difference being that it has a zippered and padded sleeve in the back that can accommodate a full size iPad or an 11” MacBook Air. I have neither, so I dumped the raincoat in there for now and come safari time later this year will probably put my 13” MacBook Pro in there sideways (inside its protective Thule shell) for my flights. I don’t foresee a problem with this as my carry-on for the flight because I can take out the MBP when I put the bag in the overhead and then put it in the seat pocket in front of me to keep it safe - I will just have to remember to take it with me when I disembark! Of course being a micro four thirds user now means I will have no bag weight stress either, which has been the cause of much angst over the past few years whenever I have been on safari. The supplied dividers of the Retro 7 are the same as the Retro 5 - they divide the bag into three big sections with a few short and thin dividers you can optionally add in. Unfortunately those supplied dividers were inadequate for what I wanted to put into this bag, so I pilfered more of the stiffer dividers I had left over from my ThinkTank Airport Security roller and had my own way with the innards of the Retro 7. The roller dividers are just right for this bag and have allowed me to divide it up into 6 or 7 sections, depending on what I’m carrying with me. Here’s a look at the way I have configured it (empty). On the right hand side I have used a thinner divider that connects to a loose inner pouch and can easily shift its size to accommodate my biggest lens, the Olympus 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 when I need to carry it, or become 2 smaller sections for my other stuff (flash units, more smaller lenses, etc). When I want to take a lot of stuff and 2 bodies it looks something like this before I put the cameras in. The two compartments in the middle are deep enough for two shorter m43 lenses to "bunk" together, so there's space for 4 of them there. In this shot above you’ll see how the E-M5 slots into the vacant spot together with the Olympus 7-14/4 (four thirds mount) or Olympus 12-40/2.8. The E-M1 will attach to the 50-200mm and everything fits perfectly. Unfortunately I had to use the E-M1 to take these photos so until I get a third body (heaven forbid!) you’ll have to use your imagination, or just take my word for it that it all fits well. I should mention that I have the hood and the tripod mount of the 50-200 still attached here, which brings me to some criticisms I have of the Retrospective 7. I don’t like those little bits of material that are sewn into the corners of the inside. They just get in my way when I'm removing things from that part of the bag. I am very tempted to take a box cutter to them. All that stops me is the fear that they may in some way be the glue that binds the whole bag together and butchering them could result in the entire thing coming apart at the seams. Unlikely, but for now I will endure their presence. I’d also really like the bag even more if ThinkTank could incorporate the raincoat into a bottom sleeve as this would not add much bulk and could free up useful space in the pouches. They could probably design a little pocket in the main flap for this. It would certainly make it easier to get to in a sudden downpour. The pockets on the external sides of the Retro 7 are useful to store slim articles but perhaps they could be a little looser so that you could put a water bottle in them? Apart from those minor criticisms I have no complaints about the Retro 7. Some cool features that are carried up from the Retro 5 are the business card sleeve on the inside of the main cover flap, plus you can also silence the velco on that flap using the ingenious ThinkTank fold-over bits. The same internal pockets that are on the Retro 5 can be found in the 7, so you can store memory cards, paper clips or any number of other things that you might need to carry with you while you're out shooting. I use the front pouch to carry my wallet and phone. I could also probably slip that third OM-D body in there should it ever come to that for me. On the whole it is a really nice solution for when I need to take along a bit more kit than I can get into the Retro 5. I’m looking forward to this being the only camera bag I take with me to Botswana and Sabi Sabi this year for our Photographers.travel group safaris. The above shows the Retro 5 in front of the 7 to give you an idea of the size difference. All I need now are some more rock n' roll badges to make it look even less like a camera bag. If you’d like to order a Retrospective 7 directly from ThinkTank please use this link and you will get a free gift with your order. They retail at $162.75 and are also available in black and blue slate. Click here to view the article
  15. Dallas

    ThinkTank special offer

    Our friends at Think Tank Photo just announced a limited special offer. Between now and February 6, 2014, when you purchase a Retrospective® Laptop Case or a Retrospective® Camera/Laptop Bag you will receive for free your choice of a PowerHouse Air or a PowerHouse Pro clear organizer. These customizable clear cases fit power adapters, plus AC cable, pens, small cables, USB drives and other small items. Easily configure the dividers to suit your needs and stay organized. Secure each item in its own dedicated space for easy access. Keep chargers organized with divided space for the power adapter and the cable inside a clear zippered pocket. Zippered organizer pockets on the back of the case hold small adapters and cables. You can claim this free gift when you make your purchase using this link.
  16. Dallas

    ThinkTank Free Gifts

    I would like to let USA readers know that I have joined the ThinkTank affiliate program for Fotozones.com, but there is a benefit to this program that I'd like to share with Nikongear.com members too. The benefit of this relationship to readers is that if you use my affiliate code AP-897 when arriving at this page and you purchase something for $50 or more directly from ThinkTank, they will include a free gift with your order. Important: you have to land on that page and use the code to get the gift, or alternatively if you see the ThinkTank banner in the footer of Nikongear.com you can click that and the code will automatically be entered for you and you will receive your choice of free gifts (I don't know what they are, but I'm sure they are cool).
  17. Dallas

    A Faithful Companion

    A good companion is one who agrees with everything you say, never gets under your skin and is always dependable. My ThinkTank Retrospective 5 is that kind of companion. This unimposing little bag was constantly by my side during my travels through South Africa’s Western Cape province and Namaqualand, Namibia and then Botswana this year. We drove over 8,000kms together and we never had a fight. Inside TTR5 I had my entire micro four thirds kit (E-M5 plus 6 lenses), plus somehow it also found space for the LEE Filters Seven5 System when I was using that, or my wallet and cellphone when the filters were in my other ThinkTank solution (the Airport Security V2.0). And I could clip my 2-way radio onto one of those loops I couldn’t find a purpose for back when I first reviewed the bag. Neat trick, ThinkTank. Now that I have the E-M1 and 12-35/2.8 coming soon, I think I might need to look into the Retrospective 10 as a more practical solution for the growing mirrorless kit. Here’s a few images of the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 that I took while on this trip. I thought I had taken more but a month on the road tends to distort your memory. Hanging out in the Quiver Tree Forest in Namaqualand Dead set on Deadvlei, Namibia Chatting to the cousins in Damaraland Riverboat ridin' in the Caprivi strip Waiting by the Falls in Caprivi Taken to Lunch in Rundu
  18. A few weeks after our Ultimate Big 5 Safari in August, I found myself packing to fly to Cape Town where we had a 32 day adventure lined up, namely the Namaqualand to Namibia Safari. This time there was a lot more to pack, so I decided to put the ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 to the task, seeing as I already knew it would fit on a smaller plane (one of our guests used it without drama on the flight from Kruger Airport to Jo'burg) and the plane to CT would certainly be a lot larger than that other one. I had planned to do a lot of landscape work on this trip so while I was going to bring along my Nikons and the Sigma 120-300/2.8, I also needed to find space for my entire mirrorless kit. Configuring the roller with the low divider set was challenging for the m43 stuff, mainly because the lenses are so much smaller and the dividers are designed for much bigger partitions. But I managed and here's a shot from my iPhone of everything that fit inside the Security V2.0 roller. Lot of stuff, huh? Here's a full list: Nikon D700 Nikon D3100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus 9-18mm Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Panasonic 14-45mm Panasonic 45-175mm Samyang 7.5mm fisheye Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens (review is in the works) Sigma 12-24mm f/4-5.6 13" MacBook Pro iPad Mini Back-up hard drive (WD 1TB) Lee Filters Seven5 system (to be reviewed soon!) Chargers In the pocket shown as empty here I later added my sunglasses cases. I had a pair of polarised driving glasses and a regular pair. So on the day of the flight I got to the airport (early as usual) and there was a very large queue of people waiting to check into the Kukula.com flights. I was somewhere near the front of the queue when I heard this announcement being made that went something along these lines: "Kulula.com advises all passengers travelling with them that hand luggage is restricted to one item only and that it may not exceed 7kgs. It will be weighed at the check-in counter and also again at the gate. If any hand luggage is found to be over the limit at the gate you will be sent back to the check-in counter and additional check-in charges will be incurred." Oh. What could I do? My carry on weighed close to 20kgs! Well, I could only do one thing: plead ignorance. I got to the counter, hoisted my big red suitcase onto the conveyor and would you believe it, the scale read 20.8kgs. The attendant looks at me and says I am over the 20kg limit and I will have to pay in R250 (about $25) for additional baggage. I look back at her and I smile. "That can't be possible. I weighed this suitcase at home and it was 19.5kgs. There must be something wrong with your scale. Can we try it on another scale?" Now at this point the queue had gotten longer and there were no additional free counters for us to check the weight at. She looked at me, half-smiled and said, "OK, I'll let you go through without extra charges, but next time you'll have to pay the R250..." Phew. All this timethe ThinkTank Security roller was parked right in front of the desk with my jacket over it. "What's that bag?" she asked, somehow managing to catch sight of it. I told her that it's just my camera bag. She handed me my boarding pass and ID and wished me a pleasant flight. At the gate I was looking for these hand luggage weight police but I saw no scales or scaffolding apparatus that could possibly be used to measure bags, so I relaxed a little and waited to be let on board. Fortunately the bag fit perfectly in the overhead stowage of the plane and I got to Cape Town without any further drama. Flying back from Cape Town to Durban my big red suitcase had somehow lost a bit of weight and only tipped the scales at 19.1kgs. No questions about anything else. Onboard I found myself sitting right at the back of a very full Boeing 737-800 which also had slightly different overhead bins to the plane I had flown down on, the kind that hang down and are then clipped up during the flight. I managed to get the roller into the one directly over my seat, but it was a bit of a struggle as somebody else had already put stuff in it (I wasn't the first to board because Cape Town airport has to buck convention and their gates are illogically designed when it comes to figuring out how to queue up). Just prior to touch down in Durban we hit a bit of turbulence and the overhead bin with my roller in it popped open. Thankfully nothing fell out and the passenger on the aisle was able to simply pop it closed by reaching up his arm. Phew, once again. OK, so about the case... the ThinkTank Airport Security rolling case is awesome. Compared to the ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 version it has a few additional features, such as a set of backpack straps that hide away in a compartment in the back. You can wear it on your back but don't expect it to be very comfortable when fully laden. I guess this feature is handy to have if you have to take the case across terrain that isn't exactly roller-friendly (like muddy patches, or grass, etc). Showing the straps that fold into a flap on the back There's an extra pocket that flips open on the side of the case and inside it there are some stretchy divisions that are handy to store things like keys, wallets, etc. It also has a buckle that you use to attach the tripod/monopod straps to secure such things to your case. It is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't use the instructions sheet, but once you know how it's a doddle. Side pocket with buckle for tripod attachment bits At the top of the case there is a place to put your business cards in. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep a good supply of these in all your camera bags. It's great that all the ThinkTank bags I have used have dedicated space for these to be easily accessible. I also used this roller on the ICANN47 meeting here in Durban and I was constantly dishing out cards to people throughout the conference. Just below the business card holder is another zippered pocket with enough room to store your plane tickets and passport which makes them very easy to get to. The rest of the case is very similar to the International, just a bit roomier. This case is ideal for photographers who need to carry big lenses like 400mm f/2.8's and while I don't have one to try, I reckon you might even get a 600mm f/4 into it too. As with the International I would strongly advise getting the low divider set so that you can store your laptop on the inside of the case while travelling. Speaking of the inside, once you have it open the lid has 4 zippered pockets that you can store things like memory cards, AA batteries, cleaning kits and whatever else you need to store that is slim line. ThinkTank have also very cleverly sewn in little stretchy pockets for the zip ends to slip snugly into. This ensures that they are not exposed to your gear where friction could cause unsightly abrasions. The reason why I decided to keep the larger version of the ThinkTank rollers and not the International is because of the additional room. When I was shooting the ICANN47 conference I had my Nikon and micro four thirds kit inside it, but what I did with the m43 kit is put the whole lot into my amazing little ThinkTank Retrospective 5 shoulder bag and then put that bag right into the roller. It was a perfect fit and it gave me the versatility I needed to be mobile as well as have as much gear as necessary securely placed nearby. Being able to lock the roller's lid zipper with the combination is probably the cleverest thing I have ever seen on any camera case. Love it. On the rolling side the wheels used on the Airport series of rollers are excellent. They roll super-smoothly and are practically silent. I believe they use the same wheels that you get on roller blades, but I'll need to confirm that. So, now that I have established that it is in fact possible to travel on most domestic flights between big cities in South Africa that are relevant to our safari operations, this roller will become my go-to companion on those trips. It will also be very useful for when I am covering conferences and other shoots that require a fair amount of gear to be brought along. The Airport Security V2.0 is pretty rugged. While we were in Namibia there were 3 of us using these cases and they all came through with flying colours. They kept the dust out (and boy, did we have a lot of dust!) plus they rolled everywhere. They are easy to load and unload into vehicles because of the extra handles on the top, bottom and side. Plus, all these ThinkTank rollers have a metal plate riveted onto the top rear section with your serial number printed onto it. You can register your case with them and if it is ever lost and then found by a good samaritan it can be returned to you. A ThinkTank dominated Land Rover Freelander in Damaraland, Namibia. Many thanks to ThinkTank for not only designing this awesome piece of kit storage, but also for sponsoring evaluation copies for me to review and put to the test in the harshest conditions (which is why the product shots shown here look a bit scruffy - they were taken after the case had travelled more than 10,000kms with me by road and air - I'll get around to cleaning it someday soon). If you're in the USA you can buy your ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 directly from the company, plus you will also get a free gift from them when you do so using this link! View full article
  19. The biggest, most effective camera bag I have ever used came with me by air and road on our epic 2013 photo safari to South Africa's West Coast, Namibia and the Kavango region of Botswana. This is how it fared.A few weeks after our Ultimate Big 5 Safari in August, I found myself packing to fly to Cape Town where we had a 32 day adventure lined up, namely the Namaqualand to Namibia Safari. This time there was a lot more to pack, so I decided to put the ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 to the task, seeing as I already knew it would fit on a smaller plane (one of our guests used it without drama on the flight from Kruger Airport to Jo'burg) and the plane to CT would certainly be a lot larger than that other one. I had planned to do a lot of landscape work on this trip so while I was going to bring along my Nikons and the Sigma 120-300/2.8, I also needed to find space for my entire mirrorless kit. Configuring the roller with the low divider set was challenging for the m43 stuff, mainly because the lenses are so much smaller and the dividers are designed for much bigger partitions. But I managed and here's a shot from my iPhone of everything that fit inside the Security V2.0 roller. Lot of stuff, huh? Here's a full list: Nikon D700 Nikon D3100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus 9-18mm Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Panasonic 14-45mm Panasonic 45-175mm Samyang 7.5mm fisheye Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens (review is in the works) Sigma 12-24mm f/4-5.6 13" MacBook Pro iPad Mini Back-up hard drive (WD 1TB) Lee Filters Seven5 system (to be reviewed soon!) Chargers In the pocket shown as empty here I later added my sunglasses cases. I had a pair of polarised driving glasses and a regular pair. So on the day of the flight I got to the airport (early as usual) and there was a very large queue of people waiting to check into the Kukula.com flights. I was somewhere near the front of the queue when I heard this announcement being made that went something along these lines: "Kulula.com advises all passengers travelling with them that hand luggage is restricted to one item only and that it may not exceed 7kgs. It will be weighed at the check-in counter and also again at the gate. If any hand luggage is found to be over the limit at the gate you will be sent back to the check-in counter and additional check-in charges will be incurred." Oh crap. What could I do? My carry on weighed close to 20kgs! Well, I could only do one thing: plead ignorance. I got to the counter, hoisted my big red suitcase onto the conveyor and would you believe it, the scale read 20.8kgs. The attendant looks at me and says I am over the 20kg limit and I will have to pay in R250 (about $25) for additional baggage. I look back at her and I smile. "That can't be possible. I weighed this suitcase at home and it was 19.5kgs. There must be something wrong with your scale. Can we try it on another scale?" Now at this point the queue had gotten longer and there were no additional free counters for us to check the weight at. She looked at me, half-smiled and said, "OK, I'll let you go through without extra charges, but next time you'll have to pay the R250..." Phew. All this timethe ThinkTank Security roller was parked right in front of the desk with my jacket over it. "What's that bag?" she asked, somehow managing to catch sight of it. I told her that it's just my camera bag. She handed me my boarding pass and ID and wished me a pleasant flight. At the gate I was looking for these hand luggage weight police but I saw no scales or scaffolding apparatus that could possibly be used to measure bags, so I relaxed a little and waited to be let on board. Fortunately the bag fit perfectly in the overhead stowage of the plane and I got to Cape Town without any further drama. Flying back from Cape Town to Durban my big red suitcase had somehow lost a bit of weight and only tipped the scales at 19.1kgs. No questions about anything else. Onboard I found myself sitting right at the back of a very full Boeing 737-800 which also had slightly different overhead bins to the plane I had flown down on, the kind that hang down and are then clipped up during the flight. I managed to get the roller into the one directly over my seat, but it was a bit of a struggle as somebody else had already put stuff in it (I wasn't the first to board because Cape Town airport has to buck convention and their gates are illogically designed when it comes to figuring out how to queue up). Just prior to touch down in Durban we hit a bit of turbulence and the overhead bin with my roller in it popped open. Thankfully nothing fell out and the passenger on the aisle was able to simply pop it closed by reaching up his arm. Phew, once again. OK, so about the case... the ThinkTank Airport Security rolling case is awesome. Compared to the ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 version it has a few additional features, such as a set of backpack straps that hide away in a compartment in the back. You can wear it on your back but don't expect it to be very comfortable when fully laden. I guess this feature is handy to have if you have to take the case across terrain that isn't exactly roller-friendly (like muddy patches, or grass, etc). Showing the straps that fold into a flap on the back There's an extra pocket that flips open on the side of the case and inside it there are some stretchy divisions that are handy to store things like keys, wallets, etc. It also has a buckle that you use to attach the tripod/monopod straps to secure such things to your case. It is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't use the instructions sheet, but once you know how it's a doddle. Side pocket with buckle for tripod attachment bits At the top of the case there is a place to put your business cards in. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep a good supply of these in all your camera bags. It's great that all the ThinkTank bags I have used have dedicated space for these to be easily accessible. I also used this roller on the ICANN47 meeting here in Durban and I was constantly dishing out cards to people throughout the conference. Just below the business card holder is another zippered pocket with enough room to store your plane tickets and passport which makes them very easy to get to. Top and side The rest of the case is very similar to the International, just a bit roomier. This case is ideal for photographers who need to carry big lenses like 400mm f/2.8's and while I don't have one to try, I reckon you might even get a 600mm f/4 into it too. As with the International I would strongly advise getting the low divider set so that you can store your laptop on the inside of the case while travelling. Speaking of the inside, once you have it open the lid has 4 zippered pockets that you can store things like memory cards, AA batteries, cleaning kits and whatever else you need to store that is slim line. ThinkTank have also very cleverly sewn in little stretchy pockets for the zip ends to slip snugly into. This ensures that they are not exposed to your gear where friction could cause unsightly abrasions. Zipper protection sleeves TSA combination lock to secure the lid The reason why I decided to keep the larger version of the ThinkTank rollers and not the International is because of the additional room. When I was shooting the ICANN47 conference I had my Nikon and micro four thirds kit inside it, but what I did with the m43 kit is put the whole lot into my amazing little ThinkTank Retrospective 5 shoulder bag and then put that bag right into the roller. It was a perfect fit and it gave me the versatility I needed to be mobile as well as have as much gear as necessary securely placed nearby. Being able to lock the roller's lid zipper with the combination is probably the cleverest thing I have ever seen on any camera case. Love it. On the rolling side the wheels used on the Airport series of rollers are excellent. They roll super-smoothly and are practically silent. I believe they use the same wheels that you get on roller blades, but I'll need to confirm that. So, now that I have established that it is in fact possible to travel on most domestic flights between big cities in South Africa that are relevant to our safari operations, this roller will become my go-to companion on those trips. It will also be very useful for when I am covering conferences and other shoots that require a fair amount of gear to be brought along. The Airport Security V2.0 is pretty rugged. While we were in Namibia there were 3 of us using these cases and they all came through with flying colours. They kept the dust out (and boy, did we have a lot of dust!) plus they rolled everywhere. They are easy to load and unload into vehicles because of the extra handles on the top, bottom and side. Plus, all these ThinkTank rollers have a metal plate riveted onto the top rear section with your serial number printed onto it. You can register your case with them and if it is ever lost and then found by a good samaritan it can be returned to you. A ThinkTank dominated Land Rover Freelander in Damaraland, Namibia. Many thanks to ThinkTank for not only designing this awesome piece of kit storage, but also for sponsoring evaluation copies for me to review and put to the test in the harshest conditions (which is why the product shots shown here look a bit scruffy - they were taken after the case had travelled more than 10,000kms with me by road and air - I'll get around to cleaning it someday soon). If you're in the USA you can buy your ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 directly from the company, plus you will also get a free gift from them when you do so using this link! Click here to view the article
  20. As a photographer who organises wildlife safaris fairly often, the biggest elephant in the room I usually have to deal with is transporting my camera gear on airplanes between cities in South Africa. The issue is that if you are flying on a domestic airline within South Africa the rule for carry on luggage is that it can't exceed a certain dimension or weight. This happens to be either 7 or 8kgs, depending on which flavour airline you're on. Not a hell of a lot, is it? Put a couple of pro cameras with big lenses and a laptop into the mix and you'll be over the limit very quickly. The domestic airlines here also restrict you to one piece of checked luggage that cannot exceed 20kgs. On my last safari to Namibia I think my camera bag was pretty close to 20kgs on its own. I'll elaborate a bit more on what was in it later in this article. The volume side of the carry-on restrictions is not usually a problem, provided the bag you're using fits into the little aluminium scaffolding apparatus they use to determine maximum proportions at the check-in counter. Smaller planes don't always have overhead stowage so your bag has to fit under the seat in front of you which is not always a possibility, especially if it's a really small plane and also if you find yourself sitting next to an emergency exit. When you are at the check in counter at South African airports that are run by ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) you will also notice that there are signs behind the attendants clearly indicating that you are prohibited from checking in any valuable electronics, including cameras, computers, etc. So, it's a conundrum alright. How do you get yourself and your equipment from one city to the next without going through the stress of possibly being charged additional luggage fees for being overweight, or perhaps being forced to check your equipment in with your regular luggage and running the risk of it being stolen or damaged by the handlers? The answer is simple: you don't. The stress is just something you have to deal with. Fortunately there are a few strategies you can employ to minimise the issue. 1) You can wear your equipment using one of those photographer vests with numerous and large pockets. These work quite well, but you will attract the attention of airport security as well as raise the anxiety levels of nervous flyers who may mistake you for a terrorist. You're also not going to have the most comfortable flight if you're thinking of wearing it in your seat. 2) You can upgrade your ticket to Business Class which allows you more hand luggage, but this is not always available, especially not on regional routes. I haven't seen any business class on any flight to the Kruger Park. 3) You can choose the right bag, one that is unobtrusive, versatile and in the worst case scenario where you have to check it in, will provide your gear with adequate protection. You may also need to be a little devious in this regard. The ThinkTank Airport roller series are such bags (or cases if you're a stickler for details). On the two safaris I have led this year I evaluated two different types of Airport rollers, namely the Airport International V2.0 and the Airport Security V2.0. This article is about the smaller one, the Airport International V2.0 which I used on our Big 5 Safari. I will write a separate article about the Airport Security, which is the one I used on our Namibian safari shortly after the Big 5 trip. So, at the beginning of August this year we did our annual Ultimate Big 5 Safari to the Sabi Sands which is a private game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. I had to fly from Durban to Johannesburg and then once we had all our guests with us we flew from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). I decided to use the Airport International roller because the Security, while only slightly bigger than the International, does appear a lot bigger than it on the outside. When I first received the Security I thought there is no ways that thing is going to be allowed as a carry on - it looks more like a suitcase than anything else, so I got the International just to be safe. We normally fly on SAA to KMIA from Jo'burg and they use a 4 engine jet plane (can't remember the name, so I have a photo of it below this paragraph). This plane has adequate overhead stowage capacity, but sometimes they might change the plane depending on the number of passengers booked on the flight, so prudence is advisable when going to KMIA on SAA. For this trip I had to fly back to Durban on Kulula from Johannesburg and I hadn't flown with them before, so I had to be extra prudent in the light of not knowing how strict they were with hand luggage, or the type of plane they operated. Our guests shown leaving our SAA plane in 2010 I had managed to keep the weight of the Airport International V2.0 down to about 15kgs. Inside I had my Nikon D700 with MB-D10 grip, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 OS, a couple of teleconverters, a Nikon D3100, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, Samyang 7.5mm fisheye, Panasonic 14-45mm, 45-175mm and Olympus 9-18mm lenses, MacBook Pro 13", iPad Mini. A fair amount of kit for a week in the bush! I was also using the low dividers set for this case which is an absolute must in my opinion. This lets you put your laptop inside the case for extra protection. There is a sleeve on the outside of the roller you could put one into, but it's not advisable. When you open the lid of the roller the laptop will slide out of the sleeve. Trust me, I've done this - it's the making of a movie with a very sad ending. iPhone photo of the roller packed for Big 5 Safari - only the TC's were added to the empty space later. Getting to Jo'burg from Durban on SAA was easy. I have never been asked to weigh my carry-on luggage by SAA and this time was no different. I checked in my main suitcase and they didn't even ask about the ThinkTank roller which I had strategically positioned directly in front of the check in desk so that the attendant didn't really see it. I also draped my jacket over the top of it to camouflage its dimensions a little. No questions were asked. I went through security and on the other side I found the gate I needed to be at, making sure I was the first in line to board. This is important as it assures you of a space in the overhead bin - the last thing you want to have happen if you can't find any space in those overhead bins is for the flight attendants to have to place your bag for you, because the weight will be a major concern and then they will most likely gate check it if they haven't already compressed their vertebrae trying to hoist it somewhere themselves. Get on the plane first and secure a space in the overhead bin. Going back the other way from this year's Big 5 safari required me to make two flights; one from KMIA to Johannesburg, and then from Johannesburg back to Durban. In the past I have flown directly back to Durban from KMIA, but this is where I encountered the small plane problems that I knew I would not be able to take a big carry-on like the ThinkTank rollers onboard. On that flight there was no overhead bin and there was very little space under the seat, so I decided to fly back via Johannesburg this time. Longer and more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for the flights and get all my gear home safely than check it at the gate and possibly lose everything. One of our guests on this safari had brought his gear over from the US in the bigger ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 roller. While we were waiting to board the plane back to JHB from KMIA after the safari we were both approached by a ground personnel individual and asked to gate check the rollers as we walked out to the plane from the gate. She seemed a little unassertive, so we both refused, citing the contents as being too valuable to check. She relented easily enough and we boarded the aircraft with our rollers ahead of everyone else, found our seats, stowed them above us and sat down to enjoy the flight. I also had no problem getting the roller onboard the Kulula flight back to my home city, Durban. Job done. Thank you ThinkTank! If you're thinking about getting this case, I can highly recommend it. You'll fit a decent amount of kit into it and it has some pretty neat features, including a raincoat, lockable zippers, external pockets and also a system for attaching your monopod or tripod to the outside of it. There's also a combination lock you can use to secure your case to a pole or something immovable if you need to be away from it for a short while. I can see this coming in handy when shooting on location. The build quality is also top notch. If I can offer some criticism of the case it's that I found some of the dividers a little too stiff to configure nicely. I think if they could make them a bit more flexible it would be a whole lot more awesome as a solution for your camera travels. Also, the telescopic handle of this model seems very thin and flimsy compared to its bigger brother's handle. Speaking of handles, ThinkTank have placed one on three of the cases edges, which makes it very easy to hoist from any angle. That's clever design. The inside also zips out completely so you can wash it out thoroughly, especially if you're in the habit of dragging your roller into dusty locations, which we tend to do a lot on safari! My associate Pepe is now using this roller permanently and I have opted to use the larger one, the Airport Security V2.0 which I will discuss in my next article. For now I will leave you with some images of the animals we went to photograph.
  21. As a photographer who organises wildlife safaris fairly often, the biggest elephant in the room I usually have to deal with is transporting my camera gear on airplanes between cities in South Africa. The issue is that if you are flying on a domestic airline within South Africa the rule for carry on luggage is that it can't exceed a certain dimension or weight. This happens to be either 7 or 8kgs, depending on which flavour airline you're on. Not a hell of a lot, is it? Put a couple of pro cameras with big lenses and a laptop into the mix and you'll be over the limit very quickly. The domestic airlines here also restrict you to one piece of checked luggage that cannot exceed 20kgs. On my last safari to Namibia I think my camera bag was pretty close to 20kgs on its own. I'll elaborate a bit more on what was in it later in this article. The volume side of the carry-on restrictions is not usually a problem, provided the bag you're using fits into the little aluminium scaffolding apparatus they use to determine maximum proportions at the check-in counter. Smaller planes don't always have overhead stowage so your bag has to fit under the seat in front of you which is not always a possibility, especially if it's a really small plane and also if you find yourself sitting next to an emergency exit. When you are at the check in counter at South African airports that are run by ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) you will also notice that there are signs behind the attendants clearly indicating that you are prohibited from checking in any valuable electronics, including cameras, computers, etc. So, it's a conundrum alright. How do you get yourself and your equipment from one city to the next without going through the stress of possibly being charged additional luggage fees for being overweight, or perhaps being forced to check your equipment in with your regular luggage and running the risk of it being stolen or damaged by the handlers? The answer is simple: you don't. The stress is just something you have to deal with. Fortunately there are a few strategies you can employ to minimise the issue. 1) You can wear your equipment using one of those photographer vests with numerous and large pockets. These work quite well, but you will attract the attention of airport security as well as raise the anxiety levels of nervous flyers who may mistake you for a terrorist. You're also not going to have the most comfortable flight if you're thinking of wearing it in your seat. 2) You can upgrade your ticket to Business Class which allows you more hand luggage, but this is not always available, especially not on regional routes. I haven't seen any business class on any flight to the Kruger Park. 3) You can choose the right bag, one that is unobtrusive, versatile and in the worst case scenario where you have to check it in, will provide your gear with adequate protection. You may also need to be a little devious in this regard. The ThinkTank Airport roller series are such bags (or cases if you're a stickler for details). On the two safaris I have led this year I evaluated two different types of Airport rollers, namely the Airport International V2.0 and the Airport Security V2.0. This article is about the smaller one, the Airport International V2.0 which I used on our Big 5 Safari. I will write a separate article about the Airport Security, which is the one I used on our Namibian safari shortly after the Big 5 trip. So, at the beginning of August this year we did our annual Ultimate Big 5 Safari to the Sabi Sands which is a private game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. I had to fly from Durban to Johannesburg and then once we had all our guests with us we flew from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). I decided to use the Airport International roller because the Security, while only slightly bigger than the International, does appear a lot bigger than it on the outside. When I first received the Security I thought there is no ways that thing is going to be allowed as a carry on - it looks more like a suitcase than anything else, so I got the International just to be safe. We normally fly on SAA to KMIA from Jo'burg and they use a 4 engine jet plane (can't remember the name, so I have a photo of it below this paragraph). This plane has adequate overhead stowage capacity, but sometimes they might change the plane depending on the number of passengers booked on the flight, so prudence is advisable when going to KMIA on SAA. For this trip I had to fly back to Durban on Kulula from Johannesburg and I hadn't flown with them before, so I had to be extra prudent in the light of not knowing how strict they were with hand luggage, or the type of plane they operated. I had managed to keep the weight of the Airport International V2.0 down to about 15kgs. Inside I had my Nikon D700 with MB-D10 grip, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 OS, a couple of teleconverters, a Nikon D3100, Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 75mm f/1.8, Samyang 7.5mm fisheye, Panasonic 14-45mm, 45-175mm and Olympus 9-18mm lenses, MacBook Pro 13", iPad Mini. A fair amount of kit for a week in the bush! I was also using the low dividers set for this case which is an absolute must in my opinion. This lets you put your laptop inside the case for extra protection. There is a sleeve on the outside of the roller you could put one into, but it's not advisable. When you open the lid of the roller the laptop will slide out of the sleeve. Trust me, I've done this - it's the making of a movie with a very sad ending. Getting to Jo'burg from Durban on SAA was easy. I have never been asked to weigh my carry-on luggage by SAA and this time was no different. I checked in my main suitcase and they didn't even ask about the ThinkTank roller which I had strategically positioned directly in front of the check in desk so that the attendant didn't really see it. I also draped my jacket over the top of it to camouflage its dimensions a little. No questions were asked. I went through security and on the other side I found the gate I needed to be at, making sure I was the first in line to board. This is important as it assures you of a space in the overhead bin - the last thing you want to have happen if you can't find any space in those overhead bins is for the flight attendants to have to place your bag for you, because the weight will be a major concern and then they will most likely gate check it if they haven't already compressed their vertebrae trying to hoist it somewhere themselves. Get on the plane first and secure a space in the overhead bin. Going back the other way from this year's Big 5 safari required me to make two flights; one from KMIA to Johannesburg, and then from Johannesburg back to Durban. In the past I have flown directly back to Durban from KMIA, but this is where I encountered the small plane problems that I knew I would not be able to take a big carry-on like the ThinkTank rollers onboard. On that flight there was no overhead bin and there was very little space under the seat, so I decided to fly back via Johannesburg this time. Longer and more expensive, but I'd rather pay more for the flights and get all my gear home safely than check it at the gate and possibly lose everything. One of our guests on this safari had brought his gear over from the US in the bigger ThinkTank Airport Security V2.0 roller. While we were waiting to board the plane back to JHB from KMIA after the safari we were both approached by a ground personnel individual and asked to gate check the rollers as we walked out to the plane from the gate. She seemed a little unassertive, so we both refused, citing the contents as being too valuable to check. She relented easily enough and we boarded the aircraft with our rollers ahead of everyone else, found our seats, stowed them above us and sat down to enjoy the flight. I also had no problem getting the roller onboard the Kulula flight back to my home city, Durban. Job done. Thank you ThinkTank! If you're thinking about getting this case, I can highly recommend it. You'll fit a decent amount of kit into it and it has some pretty neat features, including a raincoat, lockable zippers, external pockets and also a system for attaching your monopod or tripod to the outside of it. There's also a combination lock you can use to secure your case to a pole or something immovable if you need to be away from it for a short while. I can see this coming in handy when shooting on location. The build quality is also top notch. If I can offer some criticism of the case it's that I found some of the dividers a little too stiff to configure nicely. I think if they could make them a bit more flexible it would be a whole lot more awesome as a solution for your camera travels. Also, the telescopic handle of this model seems very thin and flimsy compared to its bigger brother's handle. Speaking of handles, ThinkTank have placed one on three of the cases edges, which makes it very easy to hoist from any angle. That's clever design. The inside also zips out completely so you can wash it out thoroughly, especially if you're in the habit of dragging your roller into dusty locations, which we tend to do a lot on safari! My associate Pepe is now using this roller permanently and I have opted to use the larger one, the Airport Security V2.0 which I will discuss in my next article. If you are in the USA you can buy this bag directly from ThinkTank and get a free gift when you use this link. Note: unfortunately the images for this article were lost in a software upgrade. View full article
  22. Dallas

    Flying high in the friendly sky

    In exactly 1 weeks time I will be getting ready to board an aeroplane from my hometown to Johannesburg for the Ultimate Big 5 Safari. I don't like flying. They say you are more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than in an airplane, and while that may be statistically true, why do I feel so much safer in a car than I do in a plane? It's not so much that I am afraid of flying, it's more a case of not being in control of my own conveyance. In my car I can practise defensive driving (about the only skill I ever learned in the army) but in the air I'm at the mercy of whoever has the stick or yoke, or whatever its called. Who knows what state of mind they might be in at any given time? And if the cars engine fails I simply pull to the side of the road, get out and call the mechanic. Can't pull off to the side of the jet stream. One of the American staff of ICANN who I was sitting next to in the support office last week was telling one of the Australian staff about how much flying he had been doing in the past year. He'd actually lost track of the number of miles he'd covered and was saying that he probably spent more time in an airplane than he did in a bed. I guess it's funny how you can become accustomed to flying and completely get over the thrill of it when you're flying somewhere on business. I remember in my previous life as a banking analyst that I also flew a lot and it got to the point where I would specifically ask for an aisle seat near the front of the plane so that when they opened the doors I could get out faster. On many of those trips I didn't have any luggage as they would be purely for day meetings, so I'd fly to whatever city I was having a meeting in at the crack of dawn, then fly back later that same day. Almost like catching a bus to work. These days the only flying I do is for the safaris I'm organising for photographers. For the Big 5 Safari I fly up to Johannesburg, meet the participants at the airport or at the lodge, then a day later we fly off East to the Kruger Park airport and take a road transfer to the Sabi Sands where we spend the week following the antics of some rather large (and small) animals. After that it's the same route home. Since the first Big 5 Safari in 2010 the biggest stress hasn't been so much the flying, but the packing. Last year my main suitcase weighed in at 22kgs, which is 2kgs over the limit. I didn't have to pay in anything, but my main concern wasn't so much the weight of that case, it was the Lowepro Nova 200AW bag I had somehow packed all my other stuff into. That one weighed about 16kgs and the published allowance for hand luggage is half of that. Gulp. However, on none of the trips I have done so far have they ever asked to weigh my hand luggage. I suppose if it looks small enough they don't need to be too concerned as most regular people are not going to walk around with 16kgs on their shoulders. And if they ever did ask you to weigh your carry on you could always argue that you don't weigh as much as the guy chugging down a Coke and cramming in a donut at the other check-in counter. If it is found that you're overweight and you have to pay in a bit, that's OK too, just as long as they don't tell you that you have to check the bag. On all the previous trips I went on there are big signs at the check-in counters telling passengers NOT to check in any valuables, such as cameras, laptops, etc. It would be interesting to see them get around that one. The most important aspect of the hand luggage thing is whether or not it can fit in an overhead storage bin, or under the seat in front of you. On a smaller plane they might ask you to check it in on the apron, or sometimes the stewardess' will place it in one of the little compartments they have in the galley. That's happened to me on business trips before, but only when there was no space left in the overhead bins. Important to get onto the plane first to secure an overhead near your seat. On this trip I am going with a different case. I am using the ThinkTank Airport International V2.0 which is slightly smaller than the Airport Security roller I used on the ICANN job. I've already practise packed it with the stuff I am going to take with me, which includes the following: Nikon D700 Nikon D3100 Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS (hopefully getting the latest version in the next few days to evaluate) Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 OS (will use this on the D3100, but I might alternate them) Sigma 1.4 + 2.0 teleconverters (doubt I will use them, but taking them just in case) Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus 9-18mm Olympus 75mm f/1.8 ED Samyang 7.5mm fisheye Panasonic/Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit Olympus FL-600R flash MacBook Pro 13" It's a tight fit, but what I have done is remove the hood and tripod mount for the 120-300/2.8 and that frees up a lot of space in the roller. Those items fit into my regular suitcase and the hood's volume can be used up to store underwear or socks. I'm using the low divider set from ThinkTank that is specifically so that I can put my laptop inside the case, instead of in the external pocket on the lid. This gives it a lot more protection. I weighed the case without the laptop or TC's inside it and its sitting at 14kgs. Hmm... I use heavier kettle bells for training sometimes, so I reckon hoisting it onto the overhead should be a breeze. I'll be writing a full review on both the rollers when I get back from the second safari of the year, namely the Namaqualand to Namibia trip that happens towards the end of August. Of course that is all dependent on whether I get Denzel Washington flying my plane to Johannesburg or not...
  23. If you're like me, when you get into something you get in with both feet and get totally wet. It's been like that since I got my first mirrorless camera a couple of years ago, the original Olympus Pen E-P1. I now find myself on my 4th mirrorless body, the charming little Olympus OM-D E-M5 and it seems to want to surround itself with lots of shiny little attachable bits. I've now got 5 lenses (and a Nikon F mount adapter) for the micro four thirds system and still find myself looking at not only other lenses for the OM-D, but also other systems like the Fuji X-trans system as possible future companions. Some call it GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) while others, the learned kind who spend their days sitting around in leather chairs listening to the troubles of others, probably call it obsession, or psychosis, or something worse. Whatever you call it, when you get it you get it and unless its life threatening just go with it, man. So while I have all these little cameras and their offspring running my life, a rather serious problem presents itself. When I go out with the mirrorless system what bag do I carry it in to protect its whole family? Now this problem is even worse than deciding what cameras and lenses to buy in the first place, because nobody has found the perfect solution yet. All we photographers can do is continue to buy camera bags and hope that eventually we'll stumble upon one that is perfect for our needs. I can hear this little voice in my head saying "Good luck with that" as I type these words. With mirrorless camera systems the conundrum is that most camera bags have been designed for DSLR's and their chunky bits. The compartments are just too big for the smaller system lenses. They will flail about inside the average camera bag and that's never good. The alternative is to get a smaller bag. However until recently most smaller bags were just too small to accommodate a reasonably comprehensive mirrorless system with say, ahem... five lenses and maybe an extra body. Conundrums. This is what seems to drive the guys over at ThinkTank. Recently they introduced a new range of camera bags they're calling the Mirrorless Movers. There are 4 of them in total, each a different size, starting with the very small Mirrorless Mover 5 and going up to the Mirrorless Mover 30i, which is the one they very kindly sent me for this review. Those of you familiar with my posts here will recall that only a few weeks ago I obtained the ThinkTank Retrospective 5, which I absolutely adore. This has been as close as dammit to providing a good solution for my burgeoning m43 system while still retaining a good degree of cool, but since I got the Olympus 75/1.8 things have gotten a little tight in there. I can still fit the whole system in the bag, but the problem is accessibility. I have to lie the lenses down on their sides and in protective pouches on top of each other if I am going to fit the whole lot inside. It's workable, but a little impractical because the opening to the bag is designed to flap towards your body, so invariably I find that I have to lay it down somewhere and rummage through it if the lens I want is at the bottom. This isn't always possible depending on my location. So enter the Mirrorless Mover 30i. If you look at it, there doesn't appear to be a whole lot of external size difference to the Retrospective 5, but it adopts a slightly different approach to carrying around your mirrorless kit. The top flap is zippered and it flaps outwards from your body which means that accessibility is vastly improved if you don't want to lay the bag down to get something out of it. It also has more head room, so you can put longer things into it than is the case with the Retro5. I had absolutely no problem getting my entire kit into the bag with room for at least another couple of small lenses and probably an unmounted GF-1 too. There are some nice touches with this bag, but there are also some things that I think could be improved on. Let me elaborate. Good Features As with all the ThinkTank products build quality is superb. They use only the best materials and it shows. The bag looks smart. Inside the main section they have supplied three slightly U-shaped velcro padded dividers, one of which doubles as a little pouch that you can slip your smart phone into. That same divider also has sleeves for a couple of memory cards, which is a very good idea. I can't begin to tell you how often I have turned my camera bags inside out to try and find a memory card that I knew was hiding in a compartment there somewhere. Keeping them in the main part of the bag is an improvement. In addition to the sleeved internal divider for your iPhone (or equivalent), there is a sleeve in the bag into which you can put your full size iPad. Hence the "i" in the model number. I suppose this is pretty cool for those people who experience separation anxiety when it comes to being away from their iPads, but for me I only use my iPad at home and in bed, so I'll probably use this sleeve to put other slimline objects into. Come to think of it, there are probably more than a few people I know who would buy this bag specifically for their iPads (which they use as cameras) and then store other things where cameras and lenses would normally go. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see that happening. The 30i has a belt loop around the back which means that you could attach it to your person using a regular belt, or if you don't want your pants falling down, use one of ThinkTank's special purpose system belts. The shoulder strap has a padded section that slides along the strap so you can adjust its position for comfort. It also clips on and off really easily using high quality anodised metal clips - the kind that swivel so that you'll never have a tangled up strap. I like this feature a lot. Around each side of the bag you'll find little pockets. On the right side the pocket is made of a stretchy neoprene type fabric. You're able to squeeze something bigger in there and I have discovered that this is probably the best place to put my F-mount to m43 adapter (which would otherwise be taking up valuable space inside the bag's main compartment. The pocket on the other side of the 30i is not stretchy as it's made from the same material as the rest of the bag. It does have a bit of a fold in it for expansion, so it would probably be a good place to put smaller things in. The front of the bag has an external flap that covers a zippered flap in which you'll find the bag's raincoat and some space for other objects like keys, wallets, etc. This external flap has small circular magnets in it that secure it to the main body of the bag. This is where I think the design has gone a little bit wayward. I don't see the point in the flap. It doesn't serve any purpose other than to hold the ThinkTank logo. There isn't a pouch or slip place that you can store anything in it either, so to me its just a bit of a waste. Room For Improvement Functionally the bag works well, but in using it there are some areas that if improved on could make this an even better bag. Dividers As with the Retrospective 5 only the long parts of the interior have material that you can attach velcro to, which restricts the configuration options for the internal dividers. If there was soft velcro anchor material around the entire interior I could probably avoid using the lens pouches that I am using so that I can put two lenses in each compartment. It would also be better if the dividers themselves could anchor to one another as that would give you a lot more configuration options. A minor niggle, but hopefully the designers will think about doing that for the next incarnation. In fact, if they wanted to they could provide an insert for the whole inner of the bag that could be bought as an add-on to make the bag more functional in this way right now. Main Flap The main flap of the 30i opens outwardly, which is great, but while I was using it I thought of a way to make this work even better. What if they were to sew in a couple of loose pockets onto it that could serve as a lens changing zone? So the lens you're switching to gets held temporarily in position there and the one you're taking off goes into the neighbouring pocket. This would be especially helpful if you're toting a bag full of lenses and would help me a lot with my aforementioned problem of having to put bags down to change lenses. Zippers ThinkTank have made mention of the fact that they use YKK zippers on this range of bags, which is great, however the thing I love most about my Retro5 is it's lack of zippers. The zippers do make it a bit more clumsy to open and close your bag and almost always require the use of both hands, whereas a loose flap attached by velcro is easier to open. Conclusion The Mirrorless Mover 30i is a great little bag that provides you with enough room to carry a substantial mirrorless camera system. As can be seen from the images I have taken for this review, mine has the OM-D with the full HLD-6 grip, plus Olympus 75/1.8, Samyang 7.7mm fisheye, Panasonic 14-45mm, Panasonic 45-175mm and Panasonic Leica 45/2.8 Macro in it. I could probably also stash a large flash in there on top of the lenses. It also serves as a very significant home for my recently acquired Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, which is probably what it will end up becoming a permanent home for. If ThinkTank were to make this bag in the same material as the Retro5 and with the minor changes I mentioned, I think I would be in seventh heaven. On the whole though it's a great bag and I think many mirrorless shooters will be happy with it. All images © Dallas Dahms For those of you interested in the technical details of these product shots, I used my Olympus OM-D with the Panasonic/Leica 45mm f/2.8 Macro-Elmarit. Lighting was provided by two Nikon speedlights set to SU-4 mode and triggered with the clip on flash on the Olympus (set to 1/64 manual). Product supplied by ThinkTankPhoto. COMPETITION And now for some good news! ThinkTank have very kindly sponsored Fotozones.com with a brand new Mirrorless Mover 30i as a prize for a photographic challenge, so if you'd like to win one of these great bags valued at US$69.75 here's what you have to do: Create an image and post it as a reply to this review here on Fotozones, or on our Facebook pages for Fotozones.com or Photographers.travel. The theme for the challenge is... Think Mirrorless You can interpret this theme in anyway you want. The most original interpretation will be our winner, as chosen by Fotozones.com staff. Here are the rules and some guidelines on how to enter. 1. Register as a member of Fotozones. If you aren't already a member, sign up to register an account, or use your Facebook account to create a user account here. If you sign up from Facebook you will have to accept the Fotozones.com Facebook app so that we can access your details and automatically create the account. 2. Add the Annual Subscription using the coupon code "thinktank" when you sign up, or anytime after you sign up. This will give you a 100% discount off the annual subscription price for the first year. We don't automatically charge for renewals so if you don't want to renew at the end of your first year, that's cool, nothing will happen other than your account level will change back to normal. Using this subscription will give you the permission to add attachments to your posts, which is important if you want to enter this challenge, because if we can't see your image, well, you're not going to be in the running. Hotlinked images are allowed, but you need to make sure your host allows hotlinking to occur. 3. The competition will run until 30 June 2013, which gives you some time to get out there and think mirrorless. 4. The judges decision is final. Please don't challenge it. 5. The winner will need to provide us with a real name, delivery address and contact telephone number. ThinkTank will ship the prize directly to you from California so if you are not a resident of the United States you may have to pay taxes in your local country for the importing of the Mirrorless Mover 30i. By entering this competition you acknowledge that you are OK with that and that the costs of such taxes will be for your own account. 6. Only one entry per member is permitted. Please don't sign up multiple times as that may disqualify you from the competition. Oh yes, make sure you Like our Facebook page too for extra Brownie Points. (just kidding, this is not a condition of entry, but we would be very happy if you'd let more people know about us)
  24. One of the (many) things that irritates me is when you get invited to enter an online competition only to find out once you've gone through whatever hoops you're required to jump through to enter said competition, that only people from the USA or country X are eligible. Not cool. Not so with the latest competition that popped up on my radar today. Olympus and ThinkTank have teamed up to help launch a new range of ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover camera bags. The competition is open to every photographer world wide and the prize is a serious bit of swag. If you're the lucky person they chose at random, you will win the following: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ lens Olympus 12mm f/2 M.Zuiko ED lens Peak Design's Capture, Leash & Cuff Any ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover bag of your choice (there are 4 bags in the new range) That's a way cool prize! To stand a chance of winning all you have to do is head over here, scroll down some and click on the big red link to enter. Good luck!
  25. The ThinkTank Retrospective 5 is the ideal camera bag for carrying a small mirrorless kit and remaining non-conspicuous. I use mine all the time and highly recommend it if you're looking to go light and easy.Somebody somewhere recommended this bag to me as a good option for a small mirrorless system. Our local pro shop had one in stock and I mulled over it for days. Eventually the GAS was too much to bear and I went down there yesterday, credit card in tow. An hour or so later and my entire m43 system was snuggled up inside it. That's the OM-D E-M5, the Panasonic Lumix GF1, four lenses, the baby flash for the Oly, plus there's room for at least 1 more lens, or perhaps a proper Olympus flash should I ever need one. Or maybe another OM-D in the future. You never know. Dividing It Up The bag comes with a few thinnish nylon dividers in addition to the two main ones used to divide the main compartment into three main parts. The problem with these smaller dividers is that there isn't enough soft edge velcro on the inside of the bag for them to be used on every edge, specifically the edges on the short sides of the bag. There isn't anything there for them to connect onto, nor are the dividers themselves capable of attaching to each other. The bag I have been using prior to getting the Retrospective 5 does have dividers that can attach to each other, but they're red. The style police will have me shot if I put them inside the new bag. What the people at ThinkTank did instead of make the entire interior an attachable surface, was sew in a couple of smooth nylon pouches to either short side. These make some sense. I can get the lenses to fit snugly into them, but getting them out of there is a bit more difficult - I have to reach right inside the bag and push from underneath the pouch to pop the lens out. You can't simply put your fingers around the lens cap and pull it out. It's too snug. Also, the pouches don't have any padding, it's just straight nylon, so if it's resting up against something else in the bag there's a chance of impact wear. So, instead of using the pouches to hold the lenses, I folded them closed (there's actually a velcro tip you can do this with) and using the three original compartments, together with the pouches my lenses all originally came with, I got everything in. Fits good. I can get to things easily enough when I need to. I can also slide my iPad Mini into the front exterior pouch of the bag should I ever find myself needing to use it outside of the house. I'll probably just put my wallet and phone in there instead. Other Features The shoulder strap is length adjustable, but not removable. I found it quite comfortable. There is a removable soft handle if you'd prefer to carry the bag that way. In the inside rear of the bag there is a zippered pocket, plus another one on the inside front that has a velcro flap should you wish to keep it closed. This pocket has a variety of smaller sleeves for things like pens or memory cards. There are also a couple of slender pockets on either side of the exterior. I don't know what you could fit inside them, but they're there. Condoms maybe? Just above these slender external pouches are loops made of the same material as the main shoulder strap. At first I couldn't fathom why ThinkTank had added them there, but then I had a revelation: you can loop a leg of a small lightweight tripod in there and it will dangle safely from the bag without getting in your way (until you put the bag on the ground). The main flap has a novel little feature in the form of silence-able velcro strips that keep it closed. I'm assuming that if you are in a church shooting a wedding or a museum with a Librarian-like curator staring steely-eyed at you for even the slightest noise, you can avoid making any when opening the bag by enabling this feature. Just remember to put it into silent mode before you go inside. Other cool features include a removable rain jacket (this takes up quite a bit of space), and something I like a lot - a little window pouch to store some business cards in. I always carry a small number of business cards in every camera bag I own. Having them visible always means you don't have to go hunting for them. That's helpful. The Look This is a good looking bag. There's nothing to indicate that it's a camera bag when looking at it casually, although it's boxy shape might give it away as being more than just a regular messenger bag. There are (I think) three different colours available through the whole Retrospective range. I like this one a lot. Reminds me of a fisherman's bag I used to use in my rebellious days in high school when carrying large numbers of books was the opposite of cool. Bigger Cameras? Yeah, I can see that it will definitely hold my Nikon D700 without grip, plus a couple of shorter lenses, including the 24-70/2.8 and maybe a smaller flash like the SB-400. Conclusion It's not a cheap bag, runs close to $140, but I think that it's worth the asking money. I'm going to feel quite comfortable walking around outdoors with it. If you're looking for a shade of cool to accompany your lightweight camera gear, this is definitely worth a look. You can get it from Amazon.com and help to support fotozones.com using this link. It won't cost you anything more than the usual retail price - we get a referral commission from Amazon, OR, you can buy it directly from ThinkTank and also get a free gift from them when you do so using this link. Click here to view the article
×

Important Information

By visiting this website you are agreeing to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy & Guidelines.