ThinkTank Retrospective 5 shoulder bag

I love my DSLR. A Canon 7D, it's big, heavy, solid and dependable. I'll happily carry it and several kilos of glass and metal around in a backpack while searching for that elusive perfect landscape shot. However when it comes to holidays, when the order of the day is capturing memories rather than attempted masterpieces, a heavy DSLR and multiple lenses in a big backpack is overkill and after a couple of hours with that lot in a shoulder bag you'll be wishing you'd left some of it at home. So with all that in mind I recently invested in a decent compact camera in the shape of a Canon G1-X, a camera without all the weight and paraphernalia of a DSLR but hopefully without compromising image quality... from now on, I'll be travelling light!

I'll admit it, I have a weakness for camera bags, the more pockets and cool innovations the better, so the arrival of a new camera was all the excuse I needed to add a new bag to my collection. I already own a Think Tank Retrospective 30 shoulder bag, which i the largest of the series, and love it so it didn't take long to decide that the Retrospective 5, which is at the other end of the scale would be ideal for my new lightweight lifestyle.

Go to your favourite search engine and you'll find there are already a million reviews of Think Tank Retrospective bags online and the world really doesn't need me going over all the features again that you can already find far better pictures and descriptions of on the Think Tank website. Instead I'm just going to focus on what actually fits into it.

Think Tank retrospective 5 (above) and 30 (below)

Think Tank retrospective 5 (above) and 30 (below)

Ok so let's start with a quick size comparison, as you can see above the retro 5 is considerably smaller than the 30, I can fit the 5 inside the 30 along with a lens and 2 DSLR bodies! Exactly what I was looking for... the retro 30 will expand to fit pretty much any combination of my gear I'm likely to need, or feeling strong enough to carry but the retro 5 is small enough to make me carry only what I'm going to need.

The first task for new bag and camera will be a week in Morocco, a holiday rather than a photography trip... in fact it's part one of our honeymoon so photography is definitely secondary if married life is something I want to enjoy! I'll be leaving my Canon 7D at home so the G1-X will be my only camera and this little bag will be taking care of airport carry on duties and days out and about... will they be up to the task?

Wandering around the hot, busy streets of Marrakech the last thing I want is a big heavy bag and the retro 5 is definitely not that sp we've already ticked that of the list, secondly I'd rather it didn't shout 'I'm a camera bag' and the styling of the retro series is suitably discreet and old looking... so far, so good. 

Obviously being a compact camera (albeit a rather large one) there's plenty of room in the main compartment for the G1-X and a small flash while still leaving room for other non photographic essentials like water or suntan lotion. If you have a compact system camera that and a couple of lenses would easily fit along with your holiday bits and bobs.

The two zipped pockets (one on the back outside and one inside) are perfect for small guide books, passport, travel documents and in this case a Lee filter holder. Inside there is a small pocket at each end, on the retro 30 these are the right size for a large speedlight but are too small on the retro 5, hopefully the Canon 270 EX that I haven't bought yet will fit in one of them and as you can see an iPhone/iPod and headphones fits nicely in the other one.

The large pocket at the front is the perfect size for the Lee filter 10 filter wallet. Now while I intend to take these to Morocco, just in case the opportunity for a bit of creative photography arises you understand, I won't be carrying them around everywhere with me but there's a reason for these photos. Before buying the retro 5 I looked everywhere trying to find out whether this would fit but with no luck so just in case anybody else is wondering, here's the verdict... it does, perfectly.

Ok, so that's me packed ready to go, putting aside my fear of not having every bit of camera gear I own with me 'just in case', I'm actually quite excited at the prospect of travelling light, thinking about the shots I'm taking rather than the gear I'm using... hopefully I haven't forgotten anything.

Once I'd got the bag organised how I want it for my travels, I couldn't resist seeing what else would fit and it seems the retro 5 is a bit of a tardis! My favourite combination is this lightweight set up for landscapes in the pictures below. Add a carbon tripod and it's perfect for a wander with the camera.

Here's what comfortably fits in a bag not much bigger than a large bag of crisps...

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS (attached)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6
  • Lee filter wallet (containing Big stopper, 0.9 pro glass ND and hard ND grad set)
  • Lee filter holder
  • Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket
  • Spare battery
  • Cable shutter release
  • Small torch
  • Lee cleaning cloth