That seems to be the motto among electronics manufacturers these days due to the growing popularity of mirrorless cameras and ultrathin tablet computing devices. Why lug around a bulky bag big enough for one of those clunky old DSLRs when your compact little camera will fit a sleek case half that size? And who better to “think small” than the dependable brain trust at Think Tank Photo?
With their new Perception Tablet backpack, Think Tank has created their smallest, lightest backpack yet (Exterior Dimensions: 10″ W x 16.3″ H x 5.9″ H or 25.5 x 41.5 x 15 cm; Weight: 1.7 lb.), tailored especially for mirrorless camera systems. It’s so compact, in fact, that casual observers will never suspect you’re carrying expensive camera equipment in such a modest bag–a definite advantage when you’re out on the streets in sketchy urban environments.
Despite its small size, the Perception Tablet holds enough gear to serve as a great daypack, accommodating a mirrorless camera body with lens, an extra lens, and an 11″ laptop or tablet in its padded interior compartments. A drawstring cinches the camera compartment closed for added protection. Two outer pockets and one interior pocket provide plenty of places to stow accessories, and the space below the camera compartment can hold clothing or other little necessities.
A tripod-carry on the front of the backpack allows easy access to the bag’s contents even when a tripod is attached, and a seam-sealed rain cover complements the backpack’s water-resistant fabric to guard your gear against inclement weather. The breathable padded shoulder straps and adjustable sternum strap makes the backpack a breeze to carry. I would have liked an external side holder for a water bottle, but I can hardly complain when Think Tank has crammed so many great features into such a small package.
I recently traveled with a couple of business associates to Indianapolis to shoot a promotional video for a client, and the Perception Tablet backpack permitted me to pack all the basics for a quick overnighter. Its durable construction enabled me to stuff the bag to maximum capacity without endangering any of my fragile valuables. For gear, I took along my Sony A7r with Leica 50 Summilux, a Sony 16-35 f/4 lens, two Sony batteries, a sound recorder and lav mic, a charger and cables for my iPhone and Anker battery pack, an SD card reader, a few SD cards, a pair of Phiaton PS 210 Bluetooth Earphones, and a 11” laptop with ac adapter.
I was also able to squeeze in all my personal items for the one-day trip: a Uniqlo down jacket, two shirts, a pair of shorts, boxers, a pair of socks, and my toothbrush and other toiletries. My traveling companions couldn’t believe I fit everything I needed for the trip in a bag that was half the size of the ones they carried. In fact, I had to add a Canon 85mm f/1.2 to my Perception Tablet backpack because their bags were already too full to slip in the extra lens!
Even packed to the gills, the Perception Tablet fit easily under the seat in front of me on my plane flights, so I didn’t need to fight the other passengers for space in the overhead bins. I appreciated the sleek, streamlined design, but those photographers who want to carry additional camera bodies, more lenses, or a larger laptop may prefer one of the two larger backpacks in this Think Tank series, the Perception 15 and the Perception Pro. For a travel-light day-tripper like me, however, the Think Tank Perception Tablet is a great pack to get you there-and-back!