Over the years of photographing professionally, I’ve slowly lost my habit of taking photos for fun. It’s terrible & something I actively remind myself to work on because it’s so important to staying connected to my work and remaining inspired. I know I’m not alone because I hear other pros lamenting the same sort of thing. “I’m on vacation! The last thing I want to do is work!” or “It’s just too much gear” or “It’s too conspicuous” or “I don’t want to haul all my gear”. I hear you and have caught myself saying the same things, too. But I have a solution.
Recently, ThinkTank was kind enough to hand over some bags to us here at Photofocus to check out. After looking through the options, I jumped on the TurnStyle 10. ThinkTank touts it as “designed for the urbanite photographers, it’s ideal for a casual day of shooting” which sounded like a possible solution to my “nopersonalphotoitis”. I knew I was headed out on a trip to Seattle for a wedding and thought it’d be the perfect thing to try out as I explored the city.
At first, the bag looked really small to me. I was skeptical that I’d fit much of anything in there. It came with two dividers set up to provide three compartments and thought to myself that I didn’t want to have to use the bag if it meant
everything had to be detached in it. However, I discovered that removing one of the panels allowed for a body to be placed on it’s side, with a lens attached and still left room for one more lens option. For me, I chose to stick the 24-105 (my solid, workhorse, all around lens) on my Mkiii and throw my 35mm in for when I was feeling the need for a prime. Voila! Perfect fit and perfectly usable! In addition to the body & 2 lenses, there’s a small pocket inside the main cavity that was useful to slip a sleeve of extra cards, a battery, and a lens cloth in.
The exterior of the bag offered some nice surprises. On the back (the side that would lay against your back) there was a small compartment that perfectly fits an iPad WITH a case on. I feel that’s super important to stress because many bags offer iPad and tablet compartments that fit only when the device is naked. Which
kinda stinks. ThinkTank was smart. On the front of the bag, there was another pocket that was easy enough to throw keys or a cell phone in, although when that was full, I’ll mention it was a bit of a tight squeeze. Reminding myself that this bag is for carrying light, I took a few extra keys off the ring and added a little extra wiggle room. I was also appreciative of the rain cover that was tucked a way in a “secret” underside compartment (which totally ended up being handy while caught in a thunderstorm on Mt. Rainier). With that all squared away I was ready to rock and roll on my Seattle expedition!
The bag is certainly comfortable to wear. The weight distribution of the load is great, and the cut of the shoulder strap is properly designed to not choke into the side of your neck or slide up your neck as you move around (more kudos to ThinkTank on that one, too). There’s a clip on the front shoulder to allow easy on & off, although, I found it easiest to just go over the head. Size wise it was nice to
have a bag that wasn’t conspicuous and was manageable in and out of the car, taxi, restaurants, and shops.
The bag was incredibly easy to swing under the arm to access the contents. I did attempt use it as a belt pack (a.k.a. fanny pack) style as ThinkTank shows as an option, however, I found it to be cumbersome in that manner. The sling back was definitely the way to go. The only negative usage I can comment on is that the bag sits from your left shoulder to right hip and doesn’t offer the opposite of sitting from your right shoulder to left hip. We all have our idiosyncrasies and one of mine is being more comfortable with things hanging across to the left, not the right. So obviously, this is not a “fault” with the bag, but it is noteworthy for those like me that it’ll take a bit of getting used to until it feels like second nature.
This bag is a winner. It’s a photographers best friend for a day pack and will most definitely facilitate an easy day (or short trip) of fun shooting. At about $85 retail, the price point is reasonable given the quality of construction & the gap it fills in so many photographers’ bag collections. If I were you, I’d go order one today!
Lisa is a D.C. based wedding & portrait photographer for SoftBox Media Photography and her new studio, for more!