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Think Tank Photo unveils Retrospective 5 shoulder bag  
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Camera bag maker Think Tank Photo has unveiled the Retrospective 5, an addition to its classically-styled soft shoulder bag line that's aimed at rangefinder and 4/3s camera users but is equally useful for digital SLR shooters who desire a small, unobtrusive bag in which to tuck a flash, short lens and other accessories. We've been test driving the Retrospective 5 for about a week and it has instantly become a favourite, thanks primarily to its compactness, carrying comfort and, like the rest of the Retrospective line, its old-school appearance.

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5

The sixth bag in the Retrospective line is also the smallest overall. With shoulder bags, particularly if you value the long term health of your upper back, smallness is definitely a virtue, since it keeps you from overloading it and turning the bag into a shoulder-busting brute.

At 10"W x 8.5"H x 6"D / 25.5 x 21.5 x 15cm, the Retrospective 5 is noticeably shorter than the Retrospective 10, but is still able to comfortably hold a shoe mount flash, wide angle zoom, memory cards, rain cover, notebook, grey card, pens and one or two other small accessories such as an audio recorder or portable wireless router. Without having the gear overflow the bag and without the bag becoming the weight of an anvil.

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Small Wonder: Views of the Retrospective 5 with both Nikon and Canon gear in the main compartment and an iPad 2 in the front pocket (Apple's tablet sits a bit tall but is workable while the top flap still closes easily). The lower right photo shows the Retrospective 5's size in comparison to the Retrospective 10. Click photos to enlarge (Photos by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

I've personally toted gear around in the Retrospective 10 since last fall, and it's a nice bag. The Retrospective 5 has all the same fine attributes, including a thickly-cushioned shoulder pad, rearrangeable dividers, rigid base, Think Tank's Sound Silencer feature on the top flap that can eliminate velcro opening noise when necessary and, of course, the styling that's common to the Retrospective lens carrier and shoulder bag line.

But, the Retrospective 5's height and width is much closer to what I want in a shoulder bag; if I need to carry more than what a Retrospective 5 can hold, then for the sake of my aging frame it's best if I switch to a sling bag (they tend to distribute weight better than a shoulder bag, even though both have only a single strap) or backpack.

The photo below shows the sort of configuration Think Tank Photo envisions for the Retrospective 5.

4/3s-Friendly: A sample 4/3s camera configuration - all the gear shown will fit inside the Retrospective 5. Click to enlarge (Photo courtesy Think Tank Photo)

The Retrospective 5 in both black and Pinestone colours is available for pre-order now for US$129, direct from Think Tank Photo. It's to ship in early May.

More information is in the press release below.

Press Release

Think Tank Photo to Release New Bag for DSLR, Micro Four Thirds and Rangefinder Cameras

Santa Rosa, Calif. – Think Tank Photo announces that in May it will release the Retrospective® 5, a soft-sided shoulder bag designed for DSLR, Micro Four Thirds, and rangefinder camera equipment.  Like the other bags in Think Tank’s Retrospective series, the Retrospective 5 was created as an homage to classic photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank.

Designed for the professional photographer who wants to remain inconspicuous in any situation, its "old-school" look mixes with "new-school" features giving tribute to the days when bags were visually simple but highly functional.  It is available in two colors, black and Pinestone.

The Retrospective 5 easily accommodates a standard size DSLR and two lenses.  This shoulder bag's compact size also makes it convenient for carrying a Micro Four Thirds or rangefinder camera gear.  
The Micro Four Thirds system (MFT) is a standard created by Olympus and Panasonic for mirrorless interchangeable lens digital cameras and camcorders.  In one sample configuration, the Retrospective 5 can hold an Olympus PEN E-P2 camera body, a 17mm lens attached with the VF-1 optical viewfinder, a 14-42 mm lens, 40-150 mm lens, a FL-14 Flash, a SEMA-1 External microphone adapter set, a charger, cable and extra battery, and the VF-2 Electronic viewfinder.

Key features include:

•   Perfectly sized for DSLR, Micro Four Thirds, and rangefinder camera systems
•   Shoulder strap includes cushioned non-slip pad for long-term comfort
•   Sound Silencers eliminate hook-and-loop noise when opening bag
•   Zippered pockets and organizational pockets for accessories
•   Removable divider set for layout customization included
•   Convenient carrying handle for quick transport
•   Seam-sealed rain cover included
•   Business card window under the front flap for identification
•   Expandable front pocket fits a pro size DSLR body or accessories
•   High quality YKK zippers
•   Soft, flexible and lightweight

Product Specifications

Retrospective® 5
Interior Dimensions:   9.5" W x 7.8" H x 4.5" D (24 x 19.5 x 11.5 cm)
Exterior Dimensions:   10" W x 8.5" H x 6" D (25.5 x 21.5 x 15 cm)
Weight:   2.3 lbs (1 kg)
Price:  $129.75 (US)

About Think Tank Photo

Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, Think Tank Photo ( is a group of designers and professional photographers focused on studying how photographers work and developing inventive new carrying solutions that meet their needs. They are dedicated to using only the highest quality materials and design principles, and employing materials that are environmentally benign.

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