ThinkTank Speed Freak V2.0 Camera Bag Review
The ThinkTank Speed Freak V2.0 is a convertible camera bag that easily transforms from a shoulder-bag to a belt-pack. Just as its name suggests, the Speed Freak V2.0 is designed for speed. This bag opens away from the photographer to give unobstructed access to equipment which can include one professional DSLR without grip and 2 to 3 large zoom lenses.
The Speed Freak V2.0 measures 12.5" x 10.5" x 8.5" on the outside, making it qualify as a personal item on most popular airlines. The main compartment measures 10.3 x 8.8 x 5.5" and comes with movable padded dividers to protect cameras and lenses from each other. There is a soft padded strap for using the bag as a shoulder bag and a retractable belt for using the bag as a belt-pack. The belt has a rail compatible with ThinkTank's Modular, Skin and Multimedia components for added capacity.
As both a shoulder bag and a belt-pack this bag covers has the advantages of both types of camera bags. Regardless of which way it is worn, the Speed Freak V2.0 always keeps equipment quickly accessible and within view. As a shoulder bag, it offers freedom of movement and, as a belt-pack, it offers stability and a more even distribution of weight.
Extra protection is provided by a removable rain-cover. This cover protects the bag from rain and snow, while helping against dust and sand too. ThinkTank stands behind the durability of its products with a No Rhetoric Warranty to the original owner of the camera bag as long as the product is used.
The ThinkTank Speed Freak V2.0 is immediately available from Amazon.
Just like a Sling, this convertible camera bag attempts to bridge two well-liked types of bags. The difference is, instead of offering a compromise between the two, this particular model exhibits the advantages of both depending on how it is worn. Actually, the Speed Freak V2.0 can be treated entirely as a shoulder-bag or as a belt-pack and still holds its own well.
The most important speed aspect of the Speed Freak is its lid which opens away from the photographer and therefore avoids interfering while changing lenses, batteries, memory, etc. This is a critical detail which most shoulder bags do not get. Secondly, there is a zippered opening right in the middle of the lid. This gives access to the main compartment with simple and smooth movement. Depending on the size of your camera, this may be relatively easy or not.
This camera bag is mostly made of durable ballistic nylon. The quality feels top-notch while remaining relatively light. All seems are sturdy and well-sawn. As usual ThinkTank uses unpainted metal zippers for extra durability. Additional protection is provided by a removable seem-sealed rain-cover to reduce infiltration of rain, snow and dust.
The interior compartment is large enough for a professional DSLR with a medium zoom lens attached and 2 extra lenses. Given the dimensions of the bag, this is slightly inefficient unless plenty of smaller accessories fill the gaps around the lenses. It turns out this space is considerably more efficient for an SLD system. It can accommodate one larger Micro Four-Thirds camera and 5-6 lenses or two compact SLDs with 4 lenses since they can be placed two-by-two on each side of the cameras.
With the bag as a belt-pack, an outside pocket made of breathable material provides padding between the bag and photographer. A mesh-pocket on each side covers the special compartment which hides the retractable belt. In order to fold into its compartments, ThinkTank had to make the belt softer and less padded than typical belt-packs. They made the belt tall enough to prevent slipping. In order to keep the belt from loosening, there are metal stoppers near each half of the buckle. These stoppers are excellent and do not budge even with a firm pull.
With the belt tightened and stoppers in place, this bag snuggles the body thanks to its bean-like shape. It stays level and offsets the photographer's center of gravity as little as possible. Still, it can carry a hefty load which may not feel entirely comfortable. Luckily, the bag's shoulder-strap can be used in addition to the belt for better weight distribution.
Like any belt-pack, the Speed Freak hinders certain movements, like crouching and sitting. On the other hand, staying tight against the body helps during activities by not dangling. The great thing is that it behaves exactly the opposite way when used as a shoulder-bag. The provides should-strap is well-padded with a light foam. It is rather flexible with anti-slip rubber tracks on one side.
Overall, the ThinkTank Speed Freak V2.0 is a sturdy bag that lives up to its promise. It acts like a great belt-pack and an equally nice shoulder-bag with an easy transition between these two types. Like bags of either type, this one provides excellent and speedy access to its content thanks an upper-flap with double opening mechanism. The construction is more light-weight than other ThinkTank products, yet everything feels sturdy and extremely well made.
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