I have been using the Think Tank Retrospective 7 in Blue Slate for several weeks now and have found it to be a great solution to a common problem faced by many photographers who like to carry their 70-200mm telephoto lens in a compact run-and-gun type bag. Event photographers, in particular, need to be able to have access to a telephoto lens in a lightweight, stylish bag that blends easily into any environment and allows them to traverse crowds quickly to capture those great shots. It’s always frustrating to miss a great moment simply because you did not carry the right gear.
The Retrospective 7 is the first shoulder bag I’ve come across that melds great styling with an enormous carrying capacity for the gear I use most. Despite a sleek, streamlined exterior (External Dimensions: 13.5” W x 9.5” H x 7” D (34.3 × 24.1 × 17.8 cm), the main center compartment holds my 5D Mark II with my 28-70mm f/2.8 L lens attached (Internal Dimensions: 12.5” W x 8.8” H x 5” D (31.8 × 22.4 × 12.7 cm). Being able to carry camera bodies pre-attached to the lens like this can prove a huge benefit, for it reduces the chance of damage from dust or moisture ingress when photographing in harsh weather conditions and environments. The Retrospective 7 adds further protection from the elements with a water-resistant fabric exterior and nylon rain covers.
The inner left compartment holds my 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS tele lens with hood, while my YN-565 Speedlight fits comfortably in the inner right compartment. Best of all, I at last have a bag with a space designed specifically to accommodate my electronic portfolio. The Retrospective 7 has a zippered compartment on the back that is well-padded and suited for either an 11″ MacBook Air or, in my case, an iPad. The front pocket is large enough to hold a pro camera body, but I choose instead to carry my Sekonic L358 lightmeter, two Pocket Wizards Plus III’s and my R4 camera strap by Black Rapid there. Each section of the bag is thoroughly cushioned and very quick to access, and I can be shooting within a few seconds of swinging the bag from my back and ripping open the tough Velcro cover. While my bag was Blue Slate, the Retrospective 7 is also available in equally tasteful yet understated Black and Pinestone colors.
This is, without a doubt, the best bag I have used for carrying my 70-200mm telephoto lenses in the field, and I would recommend it to any photographers who regularly carry this type of equipment and need to access it quickly. For the serious professional, this is an inconspicuous bag that keeps its best features on the inside, where you need them most.