Until I purchased the Olympus OM-D, I’ve pretty much always used backpacks to carry my gear around in. The thought of carrying the weight of a large DSLR and heavy lenses on one shoulder didn’t seem comfortable and I always wanted to have the weight distributed with a backpack. Backpacks aren’t very convenient for changing out lenses and it’s pretty obvious you’re carrying camera gear when you’re wearing one.
When I got the OM-D I decided I needed a smaller bag so I started looking at shoulder bags. I’d always heard good things about Think Tank bags and thought they were a little too pricey for me but I decided to check out what they had for small bags and came across the Retrospective 5. These bags run $140 which is still fairly expensive for a small bag but it’s made of quality material that should last a long time. Everything I used to carry in my purse I now carry in this bag every day, including my OM-D, 45mm and 20mm pancake.
This bag has more pockets than you can imagine. I counted 12 pockets and pouches in addition to the main compartment.
- Zippered pocket on the back side of the bag that I use for holding my keys and id badge.
- 2 Small pockets on the left and right exterior of the bag hold my LED flashlight and pocket knife
- Front pocket with velcro strap is where I keep my iphone and ear buds
- Another zippered pocket on the back of the inside is where I keep my cash and checkbook.
- 2 flexible nylon pouches on the left and right side of the interior. I just use these for extra batteries and memory cards
- 2 pockets on the front inside just behind the velcro strapped pocket . I keep a pen, lens cloth and pocket tool kit in those
- 2 small pockets are inside one of the front pockets that fit credit cards perfectly so I keep credit cards in one and grocery/store club cards in the other
- On the cover there is a small pocket with a translucent plastic window that is perfect for business cards
In addition to having lots of pockets, it has a few other great features that I love:
- It has both a long shoulder strap and a small hand strap. You don’t have to have both on all the time because they are both removable. I use the shoulder strap more but I still keep the hand strap on too.
- I really dislike velcro. I would prefer bags that close using magnets. This bag has a unique velcro silencing feature that allows you to choose wether you want to use the velcro or not. I always have it set to silent. I did a demonstration on how to use this feature in my video below.
- The shoulder strap is very comfortable. It has a cushioned shoulder that has little rubber pads that help it stay on your shoulder.
I also use this bag on photostrolls and shoots as a lens bag while my camera is strapped to me with the Black Rapid RS-W. I can fit 4 micro four thirds lenses in the bag but typically carry these lenses with one of them being on the camera and the other 3 in the bag (45mm, 75-300mm, 12-50mm, and 20mm pancake).
There are 3 different color options (Pinestone, Blue Slate or Black) and you can purchase the bag from any of the big camera retailers, including Amazon.
Editors note: When you purchase directly through Think Tank Photo using this link or the ad on the sidebar Think Tank gives you free goodies with every purchase and you help support the costs of Small Camera Big Picture.