Think Tank Retrospective 30 V2
Think Tank didn't take too many risks when they created the version 2 of their popular Retrospective line of bags.
The new version is lighter, includes a zippered cover for the main compartment, and several other improvements, while keeping the original Retrospective's DNA. The company also removed the black and blue options for colors, keeping only the pinestone coloring.
The Retrospective 30 V2 that we tested is a large bag, intended to carry a few large cameras and lenses. Other versions can carry smaller loads.
Many elements set the Retrospective apart from other bags on the market. The first and most obvious is the cotton canvas used on the bag's exterior. Rugged, weather-resistant and with a timeless look, it is immediately noticeable. Second is the soft, flexible shape which is a departure from the rigid structure generally found on camera bags. The external water bottle pouch, Velcro silencers, large front pockets, superb shoulder strap and removable hand strap are other distinctive elements.
The Retrospective 30 V2 also includes most of what one would expect from a messenger bag : luggage passthrough, rain cover, laptop/tablet sleeve, zippered front compartment, back pocket.
Everything is not perfect, of course. A few design choices could have been done differently. For instance, the flaps closing the two front pockets prevent access to the zippered pocket underneath. The use of cotton means the bottom is not reinforced and could eventually get damaged from abrasion on rough surfaces. The dividers do not attach to one another, limiting the possible configurations, especially with small lenses. There is no provision to attach a camera clip or to carry a tripod.
No bag is perfect, the the limitations of the Retrospective come down to choices and preferences. The bag's many qualities make it obvious why a large number of photographers chose the Retrospective bags over time. With this upgrade, Think Tank succeeded in finding the right balance between keeping what's good and improving what can be.
- Large and capacious (Retrospective 30 V2)
- Water resistant fabrics
- Timeless design, interesting choice of canvas
- Possibly best-in-class shoulder strap
- Numerous pockets and pouches, most of which can serve many purposes
- Included rain cover
- Dividers cannot be attached to each other, limiting possible configurations
- Some pockets are hard to access
- Flexible shape not for everyone
Who is it for
The Retrospective line has many fans, for good reasons. The bags are moderately priced, full-featured, rugged and backed by a lifetime warranty.
There are five size options in the Retrospective line, catering to varied needs. The Retrospective 30 V2 is best suited for full frame photographers, or anyone carrying a kit made of several large items. It can also serve anyone who wants to carry non-photographic items next to a camera. The removable bottom padding can turn the bag into a regular messenger bag, or create one camera section and one regular section.
Pricing is fair. In the US, the Retrospective 30 V2 costs $199.75, placing it in the middle of the pack regarding pricing. On other markets the price can vary considerably depending on the currency.
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