If you follow conventional wisdom, and the tried and true, you probably know that camera bags are designed for specific photographic shooting activities and subjects. Landscape photographer? Well, you need a backpack-style bag. Involved in street photography or you’re a photojournalist? Why, the shoulder bag of course, it has served us well for eons. Wildlife big-gunner? Uh, well, you don’t need a bag. It will cramp your style. Plus, it’s hard fitting a 600 mm lens in most bags.
Of course, as we conform dutifully to these conventions we usually become a little myopic, or we develop acute tunnel vision. Not that these standards are all wrong, they usually make sense for most of us, but it limits our thinking on how to solve a simple problem. And that problem is - how to carry our gear in a convenient, efficient, practical, and comfortable manner using a bag that meets the space requirements we need. I’m one that is certainly guilty of this kind of limited thinking. So much so, that my only previous experience using a shoulder bag was with my Dad’s old vinyl bag from the early 1960s. I used it back when I was in high school in the ‘70s. The thing was warped and shoddy. The shoulder strap was gone, and the zipper that opened the main compartment constantly stuck and jammed. So much for fond memories.
It sounds ridiculous, but that is all the experience I have ever had with shoulder bags. So, when Think Tank Photo sent me their updated Urban Disguise 50 Classic V3.0 to test and review, I was going into this with maybe a few preconceived ideas, but no real opinions set in concrete. I took it out on a short trip and I came back with a few surprises, realizations, and a whole new perspective on shoulder bags.
Think Tank Photo started back in January 2005 with a group of four individuals. Two are designers and two are photographers. Since the beginning, they have dedicated their efforts in producing a line of high quality products based on the “Think Tank” approach – which is creating new carrying solutions with an emphasis on invention targeted at achieving those solutions and translating them to excellent, functional designs. While the Urban Disguise collection of shoulder bags has been around since the start, the new V3.0 is a very nice Classic Edition commemorating their flagship shoulder bag. It features full-grain leather accents and panels to enhance the DWR (durable water-repellent) coated exterior fabric.
The Urban Disguise 50 is designed as an innovative interpretation of the old shoulder bag concept. To begin with, it doesn’t look like your typical camera bag, hence the name Urban Disguise. On the outside it looks like a top quality business portfolio/brief case. The bulk of the outer shell of the bag is made of ballistic nylon made water-resistant with a DWR coating. There is a leather panel on the top of the front flap and the handles and snap keeper are also of high-grade, full-grain leather. Additionally, the front flap is treated with leather piping around the edge. This leather treatment adds a lot to the quality feel and look of the bag. Compared to the standard V2.0 the Classic V3.0 really stands apart. On the Think Tank website the two models have a price difference of $60.00. If you want a bag that really takes it up another notch, then I definitely recommend the Classic V3.0. Overall, the design shows classic lines and function, and the form makes it easy to carry and access your gear.
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