Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's In My Bag - Think Tank Retrospective 30 - The Whole Kit And Caboodle

Back in October of 2012, on a whim, I entered the Al's Think Tank Photo Pirate's Booty Halloween Contest with my self-portrait image and I was lucky enough to win - See Story Here.

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 30 Bag and Costa Del Mar Sunglasses

Shown above with the Think Tank included rain cover.

The Costa Del Mar Wingman 580 sunglasses are a very nice, quality, stylish, polarized pair of sunglasses and they come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects. If you want quality sunglasses that have a modern, hip, yet classic style, check them out at costadelmar.com 

The prizes also included a couple from Enlight Photo Products. The Frio coldshoe is a universal flash mount adapter that allows one to mount a flash onto a tripod or light stand.

The Enlight IOShutter cable is another prize and one that I find very useful. Combined with their free iOS application, it allows me to use my iPad or my iTouch as a remote shutter including timer, bulb long exposure, time lapse intervalometer, sound activated, and ShakeToTake modes. Shown below is the IOShutter cable connecting the iPad to the camera.
Enlight IOShutter cable

Enlight IOShutter and iOS application

My favorite prize of the bunch is the Think TankRetrospective 30 camera bag. 
Think Tank is a premier photography bag company and also makes versions 
of the bag that are smaller (Retrospective 5,7,10, and 20)  and larger 
(Retrospective 40 and 50) but for my size frame, the 30 is a perfect size. 

I have many camera bags in my collection and each one plays a different role 
depending on what and where I will be photographing. Most of them I've purchased 
for very specialized uses such as day hikes in the wild, on-location portrait shoots, 
studio use, travel, event photography,  macro and nature photography, landscape photography, etc. The Think Tank Retrospective 30 bag turned out to be a perfect 
fit for the unknown scenario. Sometimes I'm not sure what I will need on a shoot so
 I bring along a variety of items. In the past I would bring several different bags of items
 to a shoot and I was lacking a bag that could accomodate practically everthing but the kitchen sink. I needed something that could fit the whole Kit And Caboodle yet still be comfortable and non-obstrusive to carry. The Think Tank Retrospective 30 fits the bill perfectly and I now affectionally call it; "The Kit And Caboodle Bag". 

I've always felt that Think Tank photography bags are the "cream of the crop" but since their cost was typically higher than many of their competitors, I opted for lower-priced bags. Now that I've been able to own and use a Think Tank bag, I've realized that their features and quality provide me a value that far exceeds their cost. Since the contest, I have purchased additional Think Tank products to replace some of my other "kits". 
I will post about those in future updates to this blog.

Think Tank Retrospective 30 And Essentials

As I've mentioned, this is the bag I take with me when I'm not sure what I will need. From the picture above, you will notice that I also take a couple of other items that I consider essential. These include:

If I think that I will need a larger tripod or monopod, I will bring either an Oben or Manfrotto monopod and/or a Manfrotto or ReallyRightStuff tripod.

As you can see in the photo, the Retrospective 30 bag is filled to the brim but there is actually still room inside one of the many compartments, nooks, and crannies along with a back pocket that can fit an iPad or iPad mini. Now let's get to actually exposing the wonders of the Retrospective 30 and see what I put in it.

A wonderful little ThinkTank accessory is the Cable Management 20 bag (shown in the above photo at the top of the bag) containing my rechargeable batteries and several battery chargers. Here is a top view of the filled Retrospective 30 bag without the battery/charger bag:

Kit And Caboodle Inside Top View

It may not look like there is much in the bag (looks can be deceiving) so here is a view with everything taken out of the bag. 

Full Kit And Caboodle Contents

Surprising, isn't it?

  • Spudz 18% Gray Microfiber cloth
  • Inova Flashlight
  • Think Tank Pixel Rocket Memory Card Wallet
  • Litemaster Pro L-478DR Light Meter
  • Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 Zoom Lens
  • Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 Wide Angle Zoom Lens
  • Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 Zoom Lens
  • Nikkor 50mm f1.8 Lens
  • LensBaby Spark Lens
  • Nikon D7000 Camera and MB-D11 Battery Grip 
  • Nikon  EN-EL15 Batteries (2)
  • Zeikos LCD Viewing Hood
  • Nikon SB-800 Flash and accessories
  • Think Tank Cable Management 20 bag filled with chargers, cables, and batteries
  • ThePOD Yellow Camera Bean Bag
  • Fader MkII ND filter
  • Heliopan Polarizer filter
  • Cokin P-Series ND Grad Filter
  • 72mm - 77mm Step Up Ring
  • BetterBeamer Flash X-Tender
  • Photoflex 12" White/Gold LiteDisc Reflector
  • Gary Fong Puffer On-camera Flash Diffuser
  • Sandisk and Transcend Class10 SDHC Memory Cards (several 4,8,16,32GB)
  • Think Tank Retrospective 30 Rain Cover (not shown)

Carrying a filled Retrospective 30 camera bag was suprisingly comfortable and not too heavy if you carry it messenger style with the bag across your body from the right shoulder with the bag resting on the left hip. I think the comfort can be attributed to the soft, thick, padded shoulder strap and also to the soft canvas fabric of the bag that conforms across my left hip. I also like the look and style of the bag and the feel of the material. The bag is designed and constructed with a myriad of pockets and compartments inside that sometimes plays on my memory to rediscover where I stuffed something.

I sincerely want to thank Al Diaz, ThinkTank Photo, Costa Del Mar, and Enlight Photo for the contest and prizes.

Let me know in the comments if you like this write up on my gear and wish to see the other "kits" of camera bags that I use for specific purposes.