Product Reivew: Think Tank Photo Modular Belt System
I am just like most photographers and as such I would be willing to buy a camera bag every month; financially this is not an option (or so my wife tells me). Still, I do have a good assortment but I always want more. Why? Well, every bag cannot be for every situation and like most things in photography there is a trade off. Sure, you could take all your gear on that mountain hike but then your pack would weigh 60 lbs (your back would not be happy). You could take a smaller pack leaving some gear behind. However, while hiking you might see that one small bird you have been looking to photograph for years only to realize you left the long lens back at the car. I think you can see where I am going.
I have found a solution (for now…lol). Some of you will not like this solution because of your vanity or sense of fashion. Personally, I gave up caring about that a long time ago. Now, functionality is a different story.
What I have found is the Modular System from Think Tank Photo. This system allows for you to put a belt on and attach different pouches that can be slid around out of the way with a push. Think Tank Photo designed this system with event photographers in mind. If you plan on adding a good amount of pouches to the belt you can get a harness that puts all the weight on your hips and shoulders. Recently I photographed a wedding and was on my feet for 6 hours with; Nikon D700, extra battery, SB-900 flash, 80-200mm f2.8, 70-300mm f3.5-5.6, 50mm f1.8, 24-85mm f2.8-4, 30 AA Batteries, 6 CF cards, Lens Pen, Sensor Pen, cleaning cloth, and finally, a power bar. There was not a single time all day that I notice the weight of the equipment. I even left two of the pouches at home. One of my favorite pouches was the Large Lens Drop-in which allowed me to quickly take the lens on the camera off, drop it in the bag, and then pull out another lens to attach. It was fast, easy, and I didn’t have to set a lens down anywhere.
So, what are the down sides? First, you look like a photographer. This is not an issue if you are photographing a wedding or a sporting event but if you are in the seedy part of town you might as well carry a sign that says “I have lots of expensive camera gear… ROB ME!” Second, you could slide the pouches around but at time this took a little effort. My guess is that after it wears a bit this will not be an issue. Finally, you may look a bit like a geek. For some of us that is not a big deal.
The Bottom Line: This is the best carry system that I have seen so far. If you are a vain individual you might stay away from this. On the other hand if you like to carry a good amount of gear comfortably with great functionality then this is the set up for you.