THE THINK TANK MODULUS BELT SYSTEM
A modular “utility belt” design is nothing new to the photo industry. Other manufacturers have been making them for years. Think Tank’s system is designed with the working pro photographer in mind; especially sports and action photographers. As I learned, a nature photographer can learn to love a modular system, too.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The core of the Modulus system is the Pro Speed Belt. This adjustable belt has a very large plastic buckle, similar to what you’d find on a waist harness of a good frame backpack. The padding is thick and comfortable. I never experienced any comfort issues, even when fully loaded. The interesting feature of the Pro Speed belt are the series of strong nylon loops on the outside face of the belt. These loops, as I will describe, allow components to be “locked” onto the belt.
I got the standard six-piece set (Modulus Speed Set), which included four accessory pouches, and a memory card wallet. All the Modulus components are constructed of very durable ballistic nylon, and the pouches all have a seam-sealed rain cover that can be deployed if the weather turns ugly. The rain covers are attached via a nylon leash so you don’t lose them in the heat of battle. Most of the components have elasticized mesh pockets on the outside of them, which are incredibly handy for holding lens and body caps.
Modulus components attach to the Speed Belt in either of two ways: freeform or locked. In the freeform configuration, you attach the component to the belt using the fat Velcro tab on the back of the pouch. The tabs are wide and very easy to use, and allow the photographer to place and remove the components on the belt in any order without “threading”. In the freeform configuration, you can rotate modules freely around the belt, including around the belt buckle. This is useful when you are changing your shooting position. For example, when I kneel down, having components on the front of the belt is uncomfortable. If I use the freeform configuration, I can rotate the components to the back of the belt to make my position comfortable again. On the other hand, I can also choose to lock the components onto the belt by using a small plastic tab built into the attachment flap. By threading the tab through one of the web loops on the belt, I can lock that component securely in place. The locked configuration is especially useful for the components that are placed nearest the belt buckle. Lock one component on and they will keep the other components from sliding off the belt when you are putting it on or taking it off.
The Lens Changer 25 and 50 modules are pouches for lenses, and the Speed Set includes two of them. The LC 25 holds compact zoom lenses (it devours a 24-85mm AFS Nikkor), and the LC 50 easily holds a 17-55 DX or 28-70 f/2.8 with hood reversed. You can also use the LC 50 to hold a super-wide lens, such as the 12-24DX or 17-35 AFS with hood in place. I also obtained a Lens Changer 75, which is large enough to hold my 70-200f /2.8 VR Nikkor lens with the hood reversed and foot attached.
The lens cases all have padded bottoms, but not so much padding on the sides. This allows the cases to be packed relatively flat when traveling. I also found it possible to nest the Lens Changers inside one another when packing them up. The Lens Changers all open and close via an elastic drawstring at the top of the pouch, making access very easy.
The Modulus Speed Set also includes a rectangular “Speed Changer”, which holds numerous accessories, and a “Lightning Fast” case for electronic speedlights. The Speed Changer has a removable foam padded insert (which also holds two CF cards), and several padded dividers. The dividers can be used with or without the insert. It also carries the “Pixel Pocket Rocket” on a leash, which is a wallet that will hold ten CF cards. I carried filters, my teleconverter, and my Rocket Blower bulb easily in the Speed Changer. I even used it to carry a 50mm lens. The Speed Changer also has slots for pens and pencils. It really holds a lot! The “Lightning Fast” component easily holds my SB-800 speedlight with the diffuser dome attached. This case also has a removable padded compartment. I usually didn’t need the padding when I was out in the field, but it provides some extra protection if you need it.
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