Think Tank Retrospective 30 V2

Internal design

As with most messenger bags, the main compartment is, at its core, one big volume. Thanks to the wide opening, accessing camera gear is easy.

At the back of the main compartment is a thin sleeve, closed by a small tab in the center. On the Retrospective 30 V2, this sleeve can hold a tablet of a laptop no larger than 15 inches. Smaller versions of the Retrospective will have different limits.

To the front is a thin and deep pocket, again retained by a small velcro tab. Here the flexible nature of the bag is most obvious, as this pocket's shape will be influenced by the load around or inside it. It can expand outwards a bit, but mostly inwards, taking up space for the camera.

The main volume is large and wide with version 30. This is the widest of the Retrospective, meant to carry two camera bodies with ease. The picture above shows that, even with a K-1 and K-3 (both with lenses mounted), there is more than enough space left for a DA* 60-250mm lens, a flash or smaller lens, and a few odds and ends.

The bag is deep enough to carry a long lens mounted. The picture above shows a K-3 with 60-250mm mounted (right), and a K-1 with a 16-85mm lens mounted (left). Mounting a 70-200mm F2.8 would make the combo too tall (the Retrospective 20 would be a better choice for this) but such a lens could be carried unmounted without trouble.

The dividers are interesting. They are thinner than what Think Tank uses in other messenger bags (such as the Signature), and closer to what is found in bags from their Mindshift Gear division. They are thin, stiff and made of smooth fabric. They should offer sufficient protection in most cases, especially if well positioned to prevent objects from moving.

As is usual Think Tank The bag is provided with a large number of dividers. This is to be commended. It includes two tall straight dividers, slightly wider than the bag in its usual shape, allowing them to bend a bit and curve around round objects. Two other tall dividers have a folding top section. This sounds like a good idea, however since the folding sections are held in place with velcro, they cannot be reconfigured one-handed.

The manufacturer also includes extra, shorter dividers for even more configuration possibilities.

One sad element is that the dividers cannot be attached to one another, as the fabric does not attach to velcro. While the Retrospective 30 is intended to carry large cameras, there are times when smaller divisions would be desirable, for instance to carry primes. In that case, the best solution is to create layers, or shelves, by placing small dividers sideways. This does not allow particularly quick access, but allows the user to benefit from the large volume.

The bottom padding of the bag can be removed is desired, as it is made of several dividers.

Verdict

The interior of the Retrospective 30 V2 does not reinvent the wheel. This version of the bag is roomy and can accept large cameras and lenses. The bag is built around the idea of carrying two cameras and a few accessories, and it certainly succeeds.

Our only gripe is with the limited possibilities for internal configurations. The dividers cannot attach to one another, offering fewer options for creating subdivisions.

Still, the Retrospective 30 does what it's supposed to do, and does it well. It is a good solution to carry large cameras and lenses, as well as several accessories.


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