ThinkTank Retrospective 10 Review

There were not many things I missed after moving from Nikon to Fuji. I missed my TTL Flashes, I missed my 1000+ shot battery life, and I missed my Think Tank Retrospective 20. I sold the retrospective 20 when I sold my D750.

Fortunately I had my Retrospective 5 and let’s be honest, whilst the retrospective 20 was great for my full frame DSLR and a couple of full frame lenses, it’s simply too big for a mirrorless beauty like the XT-2.

The fact that I loved my Retrospective 5 and 20 should give you an indication of what I think about this bag already. It’s the same bag, but bigger than the 5 and smaller than the 20. Same construction, same material, same incredible quality.

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The challenge with camera bags is they scream “camera bag”. It’s like almost every manufacturer has taken exactly the same designs and replicated it. The may have some different colours, but all the shoulder bags look pretty similar and all the backpacks look similar. The only difference is the dividers.

There are a few brands that do a good job of breaking the mould and trying something different and ThinkTank has done that with the retrospective.

Construction

The construction on the Retrospective Bags is top notch. If you go far the Retrospective, I’d highly recommend you look at the pinestone option. The type of canvass material used on the pipestone seems is different and much better quality than the black. The stitching and overall quality of the bag is impeccable. The velcro straps have silencing options so if you’re in a church or somewhere that demands silence. Ive had issues with the Velcro going on my Retrospective laptop bag but never had issues with my camera bag. Not sure if this is because the velcro doesn’t work for everyday use, or whether the camera bag has different velcro, but it seemed to be a problem on one and not the other.

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Features

The Retrospective 10 won’t disappoint in the features and functionality department. Unlike some of the more utilitarian type of bags, the Retrospective is adorned with every conceivable option and feature whilst still maintaining the good looks.

For the main flap, you’ll find silencing flaps for the velcro so you don’t have to worry about the velcro sound everytime you open your bag. This gives you the comfort of knowing you have the velcro when you need it (like on a plane) but the ability to disconnect it when it isn’t needed.

Whilst I have no doubt the bag would handle heavy rain, you do have a rain cover which will ensure that none of your gear will get wet in even the heaviest storm.

Inside the bag, you have small side pockets on either end of the bag, outside of the main bag section you have a large pocket that would fit a pro DSLR without lens attached or a couple of flashes, inside the main section you have another pocket split into multiple sections where you can store batteries, memory cards or any other small odds and ends, on the back of the bag their is an iPad pocket and another large pocket on the inside of the bag…the list goes on. It’s like watching the extras list from movie. They have even included strong loops which you can attach lens bags or any heavy objects on the outside of the bag, and we’re not talking lightweight loops. You could attach a car to these things.

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Storage

As mentioned in the features section, there is no shortage of storing.

I went for the 10 over the 7 because it fits a X-T2 with 50-140 attached slightly better than the 7. The 7 would fit, but it extends a little beyond the padding, but realistically, there are only marginal differences between the two bags.

Inside the bag, I can comfortable fit:

– X-T2 with Battery Grip and 50-140 attached

– 16-55 f/2.8

– 90 f/2

– 23 f/2

– 35 f/2

– Flash and Trigger

– Heaps of small items like spare batteries, memory card pouch, filters etc

– My sunglasses case, wallet, keys etc

And that’s without taking advantage of the extra loops.

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Comfort

When it comes to comfort and the strap on the Retrospective, ThinkTank didn’t cut costs. There are not many better straps on the market when it comes to padding and comfort. The Retrospective strap is heavily padded and ThinkTank have also been smart enough to include great little rubber strips to ensure the strap doesn’t slide down your shoulder.

Fully loaded with my mirrorless gear, I can do a couple of hours comfortably, but it’s not going to offer the same level of comfort as a backpack simply because your load is on a single side. If I was planning to walk around for a whole day with all my gear, I’d probably go the path of my Lowepro backpack. For a couple of hours, or events where I can rest my bag, the ThinkTank is still my first choice. I.e. I’ll pick my ThinkTank Retrospective every time unless I know I’m carrying all my gear and it’s going to be a long day of carrying everything.

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Conclusion

The Retrospective 10 is really as close to perfect as it gets and there aren’t many bags in the same class.

It has looks, quality, reasonable pricing and functionality so it’s hard to find anything to fault on it. They offer every conceivable size, so even if the size is an issue, you simply pick another model and you’re good to go.

I’d like to see a leather bag, but with other established brands like Ona around, I don’t think it’s a big priority for them. They do something with a leather flap, but I’m not personally a big fan of the half leather look although I know others do like it.

Well done ThinkTank.

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