Photographer Daniel Smith over at Digital Photography School has found his go-to camera bag.
It’s the Think Tank Photo Airport Roller Derby. You can find it on Amazon for about $390 so it’s not one of the cheapest bags out there. But the quality and the versatility of this bag are so excellent that I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll never have to buy another camera bag again. Below there is a video where you can see exactly what the bag looks like (inside and out) but first, let’s see what Daniel Smith has to say about it.
I have been using this bag almost everyday for the last eight weeks. It has been dragged through mud, wet grass, over gravel, been pulled in and out of my car, and been shoved around on public transport. Through all of this, not once have I had any issues with any of the wheels (they just keep going, no matter what!), and most importantly, my equipment has come out of it completely unharmed.
The telescopic handle feels more sturdy than the one on my other roller, and is easily pulled up and down for use. Most bags’ weakness appears first with the zippers; especially if you’re packing a lot of kit into the bag. However, the zippers used on this bag are no different to that of any other ThinkTank product. The zippers are easily opened and closed no matter how much equipment is packed in. In fact, I’ve yet to see any of the zippers across all my bags (yes, I have a few!) even begin to show any sign of strain.
What really helps the wheels is that there are actually eight wheels in total; two wheels on each castor. This helps spread the weight of the bag and its contents out more effectively, thereby reducing the strain on each individual wheel.
This has now become my go-to bag for day-to-day use. It’s smaller than my other roller bag, which makes it easier for fitting in to cars, on trains, etc., and is also easier to fit under a table in a media room. The four castor design makes it easier to put the bag under a table, and take it out again; without having to move myself about to maneuver it. I can just simply push it under, or grab it out.
In this bag I can fit:
- Two EOS 1-D series cameras
- A 400mm f/2.8 lens
- A 70-200 f/2.8 lens
- A 16-35 f/2.8 lens
- A 1.4x Teleconverter
- Two 600-EX RT Canon Speedlites
- Other little bits and pieces
Who is this bag for:
This bag is ideal for people who want a bag that they don’t have to carry around. The wheels make transporting equipment so much easier. It’s particularly ideal for travel on public transport, as its compact design will easily fit in the luggage area of many trains, or next to you on the seat.
Empty, the bag is quite light for a roller bag, weighing in at 5kg (11 pounds). Its compact design makes it easier to store when you’re in transit and at home, and the wheels make it a lot easier to move around. A well thought out design makes the most of its compact size to fit a generous amount of kit inside.
I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a con; rather just something to be aware of, but the 4-wheel design can mean the bag can tend to roll away if it’s left on a slope, so be careful of this! When using a large lens (such as a 400mm f/2.8 or 600mm f/4, etc.) with the hood on, you are no longer able to put a laptop in the laptop compartment in the front of the bag.
Source: Digital Photography School