I’ve had a few bags in my time, but I never expected to utter the words “i love my camera bag”. It just doesn’t seem right does it. When Think Tank Photo sent me this bag I originally thought it would just be a large bag that has rollers and you can turn it into a backpack. I certainly didn’t expect to be raving about a camera bag to everyone I know. Even those who aren’t into photography have been given a complete run down.
Usually when you get a bag, well at least the ones i’ve gotten in the past, they are fairly customisable but there never seems to be a picture or manual on a kind of default setup that you can use. I know the thinking behind it is that photographers would like to setup a bag how they want which is all well and good and sometimes very easy when only faced with 2-3 compartments. The Airport Takeoff however is completely customisable. When I say completely I mean you can remove all of the separators and have a empty bag to start to customise and build up your configuration. Thank God the Think Tank Photo guys a) have the compartments setup in a kind of standard two body, lots other stuff configuration when you get it and b) they provide a huge life size double sided poster/image of a canon/nikon setup . This is the first time i’ve seen that and I think it’s a great idea for those that want to know how to get the most packing space when you have things like big lenses or you want too keep your lens on your body.
Now before I get into all the storage spaces I want to tell you about the Airport Takeoff. First up it is the right size for international carry on. Thats a plus cause there is nothing worse then checking your gear in. I’ve never had anything lost but you get a kind of uneasy feeling. So thats all gone, you do have to remember that most airlines have a max weight of about 7 kg. The bag has rollers so you can drag it around the airport while you are waiting for your connecting flight, but the really cool thing about it is, unzip the back zipper and there you have a fully functional backpack. When I saw this on the website I thought it is probably fairly uncomfortable and just more of an unusable gimmick. I was wrong!! I’ve had the bag full of gear including light stands on the side and have been able to easily trek on the grass in the searing heat in the middle of the day, and it was really comfortable. The backpack straps are nice and thick much like the ones you find on a decent hiking pack, it even comes with the metal eye loops to attach your SIGG drink bottle using one of those climbing clips.
Storage, theres a lot so here goes
Ok, where can I start… I’ve already mentioned that the internal main compartment is completely customisable and from the gear I’ve been able to fit in you should be able to find a configuration that will work for you. Looking at the suggested gear layouts that Think Tank Photo provide with the bag (love this, it’s simple but very helpful). The Nikon layout holds 2 bodies a 200-400, 70-200 and a 17-55 (attached to a body) along with a speedlight and a few other gadgets, the Canon on the other hand has two bodies with a 50mm and a 16-35mm attached to them along with a 70-200 a lensbaby and 1 more Canon lens, it also includes 2 speedlights and various other gadgets. So as you can see it can hold a lot of gear and that is just two configurations. That 200-400 Nikon lens is huge!
On the inside of the main compartment lid there are two large zip pockets for storing whatever you like. I’ve manage to fill them up with lens cleaning gear, spare batteries and a few cables.
Getting around to the outside of the bag and you have the front pocket. This can hold a laptop easily and couple that with the inbuilt combination lock which is attached, will make sure your laptop doesn’t go missing. Think Tank Photo recommend a simple Artificial Intelligences 15 or 17 laptop slip. There is also two zip pockets on the outside.
One thing I didn’t know about until it arrived was the ability to attach a tripod or monopod to the side. I’ve used it to carry my tripod and more recently a light stand and umbrella to a shoot. Another nifty feature is the supplied weather proofing “raincoat”. To be honest this is something that I never thought about, I know a lot of my smaller bags have it and I’ve used it on occasion but when I found the “raincoat” for the Airport Takeoff I thought to myself this is a bag that has been properly thought out. Great job Think Tank Photo.
The Cons…. are there any?
Nothing can be perfect can it? Well I think that Think Tank Photo Airport Takeoff is probably as close to perfection as a bag can get. Really I’m struggling to come up with anything to write here. Ummmm ok one thing I’m not sure about yet is where to place my sd/cf cards. Is that a con? maybe, but having a look on the Think Tank Photo website I’ve noticed a range of camera bag accessories one of them being a product called a Pixel Pocket Rocket, which stores all your cards, so that really isn’t an issue.
Let’s finish up with quality
Everything about the Think Tank Photo Airport Takeoff bag screams high quality. From the zippers, to the padding, to the extendable rolling arm, you just know it’s not going to break! ThinkTank Photo don’t think it is either, that’s why they offer a Lifetime Guarantee, there’s some piece of mind for you.
I can’t recommend this bag enough. It’s not until you have gone to your first shoot with only this one bag and with everything you need inside it or attached to the side, that you appreciate the pure genius of the Think Tank Photo Airport Takeoff. I’ve used it on two shoots now and can’t wait to test it on an overseas shoot. Travelling with camera gear is always a difficult task. You’ll see a few videos and pics of me and the bag popping up in the next few weeks once I get through all the footage and images.
If you want to take my advice and get yourself a Think Tank Photo Airport Takeoff bag then the Think Tank Photo website has a store locator that will help find your closest dealer or go to my friends at Camera Electronic, I saw the Airport Takeoff in there the other day. If you get yourself the Airport Takeoff or already have one shoot me a pic or a tweet and let me know what you think.