Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 Camera Bag Video Review
Bags. You either love them or you hate them, and finding the right one can be a PAIN in the ass sometimes. I have gone through MANY bags and while I had one or two that I loved and that worked for a while, I always seem to find another that could be better for my needs. Being a passionate photographer is cool, but being a gearhead can sometimes be a curse 🙂 One cool thing that came from all of my bag hunting is this little bag from Think Tank Photo…the Retrospective 5.
It’s a small(ish) messenger style bag that comes in Black or Pinestone color, both of which look really nice. The bag has so many compartments for all of your gear and extras but at the same time, stays small and compact..and soft. I hate big stiff bags and this one is nice, soft ,and somewhat floppy. I love the big flap that folds over the front as well as the velcro silencers and all of the room. Think Tank really did their homework here as this bag has just about everything you will need for any small camera system like the Leica M, Olympus PEN or Fuji X100 and accessories.
I can easily fit an M9 with 50 Summilux attached along with a 50 Noctilux and 35 cron, a couple of batteries, some SD cards, and if I wanted to, my charger and cables. Lots of room, but the bag remains pretty small.
This is my new “around town” bag and I will keep my larger Artisan & Artist bag for traveling. At $129, you can’t go wrong. You can buy direct from Think Tank HERE as it’s always in stock.
I made a short video below so you can see the bag with all of its pockets and space. I used a GoPro HERO to record the video as I am experimenting with it right now and plan to use it for some upcoming technique videos. Enjoy!
Don’t buy this bag if you want to carry an iPad and a mirror-less system like NEX or A7 (plus a couple of lenses). It might work, if you don’t use any velcro tabs to compartmentalise the inside, but without the compartments everything will bang against each other and damage your goods. The zipped flap on the outside is too small for even an iPad mini, let alone an iPad.
This bag is manufactured to an extremely high standard. All the straps, flaps, bells and whistles are super. A lot of thought went into its design, but unfortunately no consideration for iPads. This limits the occasions when I would want to use it, therefore, it’s a thumbs down for me.
p.s. as an alternative, check out the Lowe Pro Event Messenger 150 in olive green. It’s not much to look at (no it’s really boring to look at), but it does the job amazingly well and the price…£35 at my local store! It’s only a bit bigger than the Retrospective 5, and is much smaller than the Retrospective 7. It is plenty configurable as it comes with 5 velcro tabs and the *entire* front and back of the inner compartment will take the velcro anyway you want. I have NO problems carrying an A7R with the following primes: 21mm, 28mm, 45mm, 90mm and 135. PLUS an iPad1.
I bought this bag for my Leica M-e system and have to say I am disappointed. The flap does not cover the ends of the bag so that there are small openings. Not only will dust get in but rain will also funnel in if you do not use the provided rain cover. The bag is hardly dust proof let alone rain proof.
I think i’m gonna pick one for my NEX-6 and my three prime lenses.
If someone knows the best price in Europe, please tell me 😛
Are you still using the A&A GCAM-7200, or have you found the TT Retrospective 5 a better “around town” camera bag? Am trying to decide between the two for an ultra compact bag for rangefinder use.
Great site, BTW!
I use a Fogg bag mainly, but my A&A for when I want to take more gear (the bigger one). I like the A&A bags for their black plain appearance. Same with the TT bag.
if you have to choose between thinktank retrospective 5 and crumpler 5mdh…which one would you choose ?
regards from switzerland
I had the TT5 pinestone. It is very well made bag and it looks good however I ended up selling it because it felt like I was walking around with a shoe box on my hip also it’s size made it look like a purse. You can fit an iPad but then it’s two cramped and you can’t have a lense on the SLR camera.
I ordered the Domke F-6 basde on a lot of good reviews but it’s too wide for my tastes but it will hold an iPad in the back and front pockets. I ordered a Domke F-803 hopefully I will like it.
Hi Steve. I recently got a Domke 803 waxwear which works quite nicely with my M8 & M9 with lenses attached, however, apart from the front pockets there is no room for any more lenses. With the TT R5, it looks like it would accomodate the same as the Domke but fit a couple of extra lenses. Is that right ?
Thank you for the review
I have to say I’m a huge Think Tank fan.
but for a bag this size I have to say I still love my Domke F3X more!
the best part of the F3x is that it can be folded into a big carry one and then serve as a man bag/camera bag once on location.
still can’t go wrong with either me thinks.
I agree with David and cidereye. P~L~E~E~Z Steve, no more head-cam reviews! I accept that my stomach is going to feel `wobbly` when at sea, but I draw the line at feeling seasick when I`m on my laptop!!! So Steve, no more headcam work on your, otherwise, excellent reviews 🙂
I bought this bag as soon as it was released and I love it except for one minor thing…
I ordered the Pinestone instead of the black, and I kind of regret it. All of the pics of the bag in Pinestone look more of a beige than a green, but when the bag arrived it is actually very green in colour…..more green then brown, if that makes sense.
Anyway, it’s a great bag, well made and reasonably small.
OMG, Steve ..get that video camera off your head! ..I couldn’t watch more than 30 seconds of this – I felt utterly sea-sick!
Please, -P-L-E-A-S-E- no more wobbly head-cams.
I agree David, I ate an ice cream before watching that video and now I feel really sick. lol – Urrrgggghhhh 🙁
I’ll consider the Think Thank 5 because it looks very nice for shorter trips.
For longer trips I got the Domke F-6 and like it a lot.
It has one main room with an insert with 4 small rooms. The insert takes up 2/3’rds of the main room, so the last part is about 1/3’rd and can be used for a well rolled thin rain jacket.
In the front the bag there is a small room with a zipper and the inside of the flap has a room with a zipper which can be used for passport, drivers license or notes.
It is perfect for a Fuji x100 or an Olympus PEN with extra lens, flash etc. plus a Canon s95 (I’m sure it would also fit an M9, M8 or an X1), sunglasses, wallet and phone. A 1/2 liter bottle with water also fits perfectly in one of the small rooms in the insert.
Doesn’t look as good as my Domke F-803 to be honest
Hi Steve, I’m looking at buying this bag.
Do you think this bag would fit both a Leica M8 and a Hasselblad Xpan at once?…
thanks for the review
I prefer Think Tanks bags.
They just work don’t they? You pay a premium price sure, but you buy it & only have to buy it once with Think Tank gear! 🙂
Just bought a Digital Holster 40 v2 for my Nikon F5 and although expensive it just plain works and oh so well, never had a case that makes carrying a Pro SLR such an easy task. I’m hooked now & won’t waste my time or money looking at other bag manufacturers end of.
Use a Barbour leather bag I picked up a year or so ago and it is pretty darn simple, fits plenty and I normally throw a jumper in and great for tucking around the camera if you have get rough, also good if the English Summer turns nasty a few hours from home. Of course I normally only carry one body and one lens so it is more for concealment than storage.
thanks for the info stephen! should have known that barbour made wax canvas/leather bags as well as jackets! duh?! thanks again!
I got an ol’ leather 1913-1983 leica camera bag…just about does the trick and no-one knows you have got anything expensive inside! needs a little modification for sd cards/batteries but in great condition….beautiful
Hi Steve, I bought the Retrospective 5 about a month ago in the pinestone finish for my X100. I love the size and find I take it everywhere with me. I can also just fit my iPad in it too.
Just 15 minutes ago – before coming to this page – I ordered this bag from the german Amazon.de 😉 I was just curious to see what people are saying about this particular bag model. Greetings from Helsinki.
Thanks for the review Steve. I bought this bag after reading William Palank’s review which he paired with a Crumpler Haven insert for use with my M9 with a lens attached and two extra lenses. http://blog.williampalankphoto.com/2011/07/08/padding-inserts/
I returned both and will be sticking with by A&A Oskar One day bag. Yes, the Retrospective 5 is smaller in terms of width but it’s *significantly* fatter or thicker than the A&A bag (at least when paired with the Haven insert).
Additionally the padding inserts in the R5 is more like an afterthought as compared to the A&A’s high quality insert.
Looks like an improved version of the Domke 5xb – great little bags both. The velcro silencers are nice on this.
Thanks for another great bag review. I bought the smaller Artisan & Artist bag based solely on your last bag review round, and I love it.