Think Tank Retrospective 5 Review

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Another great review from Seattle based food photographer and blogger Paula Thomas, this time on the ThinkTank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag.

Paula writes:  Until I purchased the Olympus OM-D, I’ve pretty much always used backpacks to carry my gear around in. The thought of carrying the weight of a large DSLR and heavy lenses on one shoulder didn’t seem comfortable and I always wanted to have the weight distributed with a backpack. Backpacks aren’t very convenient for changing out lenses and it’s pretty obvious you’re carrying camera gear when you’re wearing one.

When I got the OM-D I decided I needed a smaller bag so I started looking at shoulder bags. I’d always heard good things about Think Tank bags and thought they were a little too pricey for me but I decided to check out what they had for small bags and came across the Retrospective 5. These bags run $140 which is still fairly expensive for a small bag but it’s made of quality material that should last a long time. Everything I used to carry in my purse I now carry in this bag every day, including my OM-D, 45mm and 20mm pancake.

This bag has more pockets than you can imagine. I counted 12 pockets and pouches in addition to the main compartment.

  • Zippered pocket on the back side of the bag that I use for holding my keys and id badge.
  • 2 Small pockets on the left and right exterior of the bag hold my LED flashlight and pocket knife
  • Front pocket with velcro strap is where I keep my iphone and ear buds
  • Another zippered pocket on the back of the inside is where I keep my cash and checkbook.
  • 2 flexible nylon pouches on the left and right side of the interior.  I just use these for extra batteries and memory cards
  • 2 pockets on the front inside just behind the velcro strapped pocket . I keep a pen, lens cloth and pocket tool kit in those
  • 2 small pockets are inside one of the front pockets that fit credit cards perfectly so I keep credit cards in one and grocery/store club cards in the other
  • On the cover there is a small pocket with a translucent plastic window that is perfect for business cards

In addition to having lots of pockets, it has a few other great features that I love:

  • It has both a long shoulder strap and a small hand strap. You don’t have to have both on all the time because they are both removable.  I use the shoulder strap more but I still keep the hand strap on too.
  • I really dislike velcro.  I would prefer bags that close using magnets.  This bag has a unique velcro silencing feature that allows you to choose wether you want to use the velcro or not.  I always have it set to silent.  I did a demonstration on how to use this feature in my video below.
  • The shoulder strap is very comfortable.  It has a cushioned shoulder that has little rubber pads that help it stay on your shoulder.

I also use this bag on photostrolls and shoots as a lens bag while my camera is strapped to me with the Black Rapid RS-W.  I can fit 4 micro four thirds lenses in the bag but typically carry these lenses with one of them being on the camera and the other 3 in the bag (45mm, 75-300mm, 12-50mm, and 20mm pancake). (Read review on

The ThinkTank Retrospective 5 Shoulder Bag comes in 3 different color options (Pinestone, Blue Slate or Black) – Check it out on Amazon.


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