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Old 12th January 2008, 4:26 PM   #1
TonyR Thread Starter
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Default My new camera bag

I've been doing a fair bit of travelling lately and haven't been too happy with my carry-on gear. I had a small camera bag, a Laptop bag and a carry-on bag, plus the camera which wouldn't actually fit into my small camera bag once the lenses were in there. What I wanted was to combine these all into one. Also, I didn't want the bag to look like a camera bag.

After much research, I decided on the Urban Disguise 60 camera/laptop bag from Think Tank Photo.

If you just want the final result, I'm very happy with the bag and would recommend it to anyone. For those who want the detail, read on.

There are no Australian distributors for this bag (or, indeed, any Think Tank products) so I e-mailed them asking for more info and they were extremely helpful. No matter how many questions I asked, they were unfailingly polite and friendly.

The biggest problem was with the ordering system. Firstly, it refused to accept my credit card since the billing address didn't match the address on file with the card company (I had to change the post code to NSW 2539). Then it gave me an error message saying that it had miscalculated the freight charges and I should phone their customer service number. This is a US toll-free number which doesn't work from my Australian phone!

Eventually I e-mailed them again and they phoned me, took my details over the phone and all was well.

So, a few days later, the bag arrived.

First impressions were very favourable. It looked solid, felt securely made with no dangling threads or other "unfinished" appearance. The zippers are smooth and feel solid. The two main zippers are padlockable.

In the package were the bag, a spare set of padded inserts/separators with Velcro ends, a few tags for attaching keys etc. to the inside of the bag, a very comfortable shoulder strap, a rainproof cover for the bag and a small package for holding 4 CF cards and 3 SD cards (my XD cards fit in the SD card slots just fine).

Starting from the back and working forward:

On the back is a slot for business cards or address details, plus an attachment for the handles of a rolling suitcase. This latter has a zip at the base and a Velcro tag at the top, so you can use it as an extra pocket. The zip is secured so you can't unzip it by mistake. There are also 4 "D" rings so you can attach a backpack adaptor.

Next is a zipped compartment big enough to hold A4 pages, intended for travel documents, but could easily accommodate an A4 pad for notes etc.

The Laptop compartment is next. This has a lockable zip, and a vertical divider. It is big enough to hold my laptop with the bag's shoulder strap below and the AC adaptor for the laptop on the other side of the divider. OK, I have a small laptop. This is supposed hold a 17" laptop, but I'm guessing there won't be a lot of extra room if yours is that big.

The main camera bag is in the middle. This has a lockable zip and is only accessible from the top. My first shot at this review had this as a disadvantage. However, my son has bought a more traditional "horizontal" bag, with one layer and all equipment visible once the lid is open. With his bag, he has to put it down somewhere to open it and swap lenses etc., then shut it to pick it up. My bag hangs from the shoulder strap and I can swap lenses while he is still finding a clean dry place to put his bag. I'm now considering this an advantage. Provided you put the stuff you are going to need on top and the stuff you are unlikely to need at the bottom, there isn't any real problem.

I've configured the camera part into 3 sections. One end section has the P&S Fuji S3000 on top with 2X and 0.5x adaptors for that camera hidden below. The other end section has the rainproof cover squished at the bottom and one DSLR lens on top. The middle section has my camera (lens down) with another lens below that, plus the Cable Management 10 (which I bought as an extra) fitting vertically and supporting the camera body. There is enough room for 1 more lens easily, two more if I find somewhere else to put the rainproof cover.

For comparison, these are 4/3 mount Olympus lenses, which are smaller than typical Canon or Nikon Lenses. My lenses fit horizontally into the bag. I suspect that other lenses might have to fit vertically.

Inside the camera section is a full height, full length, thin pocket for extra storage.

The front flap has a zipped compartment which has pockets for pens and pencils, plus an interior "secret" zipped compartment, plus a blue strap with a Velcro end for attaching keys or anything else you don't want to grovel around for.

The front flap has two Velcro tabs plus a fastener to hold it shut. Underneath are two pockets each big enough to hold an SLR body or a paperback book. One of these has the CF/SD card holder tagged inside.

Also, underneath is yet another zipped pocket. This has a compartment for CD's or DVD's plus one for batteries and other small stuff, plus an open area for even more storage.

Finally, there are expanding pockets on each end of the bag, big enough for a small water bottle or torch, plus "D" rings to attach the shoulder strap.

I have to say that this bag has more space, more pockets, compartments and general hidey-holes than I ever expected. In fact, I've just discovered yet another zipped pocket in the area under the front flap. Amazing!

Am I pleased with the bag? Absolutely! I really can't find anything to criticise.

If I have to be really picky, there is no tripod attachment. Mind you, given the desire to have it not look like a camera bag, a tripod on the outside would be a bit of a giveaway.

If you are looking for an all-in-one carry-on bag, give this a look. If you are looking for something else in the camera bag line, give Think Tank Photo a look. They have a wide range and, if the rest is as well built as my bag, I don't reckon you'd go far wrong.
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Old 12th January 2008, 4:38 PM   #2
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Looks like a good bag. Don't know if I would want to carry all my gear in it though, that much weight on a single shoulder strap would be a real PITA. I notice they sell a Shoulder Harness for it too, good thinking, but if you're going to use that you may be better off with a backpack

This is what I was considering from ThinkTank -> Click

Last edited by Nafe; 12th January 2008 at 4:44 PM.
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Old 12th January 2008, 5:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nafe View Post
Don't know if I would want to carry all my gear in it though, that much weight on a single shoulder strap would be a real PITA.
When I'm using it as a carry-on with the laptop and eveything else, it will be too heavy for the strap. As a camera bag, I'll just carry what I need at the time and it won't be too heavy.
Quote:
This is what I was considering from ThinkTank -> Click
That was my second choice (At least, one of the Airport Range - I can't remember which).

Someone has said privately that my post might be considered as spam because of the links to the vendors. If that is the case I do apologise, I didn't think of that when I wrote it.
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Old 12th January 2008, 5:39 PM   #4
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In this case, the vendor is the manufacturer though, so really they are manufacturer product links, no different to linking to Tamrac or Lowepro sites.....
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Old 12th January 2008, 7:43 PM   #5
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I can wholeheartedly recommend TTP - I have a couple of bags from them - the Airport Antidote backpact, Urban Disguise 30 and quite a number of components from their modulus belt system. All bags are brilliant quality and very solid. What I like is that they are not as heavily padded as some from lowepro or tamrac.. they offer Just Enough protection, and aren't bulky.
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Old 12th January 2008, 8:56 PM   #6
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Found it a little funny...
  • Do not look like camera bags.
    Professional looking.

Looks like a very expensive laptop bag the wouldn't attract laptop thieves
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Old 12th January 2008, 9:03 PM   #7
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Good to see other Thinktank users even though there is no distributor here in Oz.

I use a Thinktank 360.. just came back from a holiday using it... Will post a review soon.

Cheers
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Old 24th January 2008, 2:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speaker4TheDead View Post
Good to see other Thinktank users even though there is no distributor here in Oz.

I use a Thinktank 360.. just came back from a holiday using it... Will post a review soon.

Cheers
please do! the rotation 360 looks awesome for photographers on the run!
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Old 24th January 2008, 2:17 PM   #9
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i'm looking at a camera bag for lappy and camera but the main issues i can see with this is one shoulder is going to get very tired. personally i prefer a backpack style bag, down side on that thouhg is its harder to get stuff out.

i have not had experies with the "backpack adaptor" so dunno if that will be as comfortable as a noram backup
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Old 24th January 2008, 5:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebranded View Post
i'm looking at a camera bag for lappy and camera but the main issues i can see with this is one shoulder is going to get very tired. personally i prefer a backpack style bag, down side on that thouhg is its harder to get stuff out.
The shoulder strap is very comfortable.

When the bag is full (Laptop, 2 cameras and misc stuff) I tend to use the normal carry handles, just like a normal bag. When I'm shooting (just 2 cameras, plus lenses and spare batteries and misc small stuff) I always use the shoulder strap over my head and the bag in the small of my back. I've never had any trouble with that. When I want to swap lenses, I just swing the bag round to the front and hang it off the back of my neck.

I almost bought the backpack adaptor, but I really don't think I would ever use it. If you were into hiking, then it would be useful, but I'm too much of an unfit old fart to go on a serious bushwalk, so the over-the-shoulder technique is fine for me.
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Old 25th January 2008, 6:56 PM   #11
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what's a good price for this bag? 230?
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Old 25th January 2008, 7:07 PM   #12
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Another TTP fan here. I had Change Up and Digital Holster 40 arrive this week. Both are fantastic. I've had a Lightning Fast Flash pocket from a while and think it's great. I also have the Big Stick monopod bag.

TTP produce very well made gear.
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