ThinkTank Speed Racer v2.0 Review
If you’ve read any of the gear reviews on this site, or the old site nicksemradphotography.com, you’ve probably noticed we’ve reviewed a few pieces of ThinkTank photo gear. Well, that’s because we like them, a lot. ThinkTank isn’t just another photo bag company that churns out mediocre merchandise that compares to everything else. They produce top notch, extremely high quality stuff to spend your hard earned dollars on; and these bags are well worth your hard earned dollars.
In the past, for covering concerts and festivals for nicksemradphotography and illuminoise, we’ve used the ThinkTank Urban Disguise 50 v2.o shoulder bag and the StreetWalker HardDrive backpack and have had great experiences with them both. The Urban Disguise was a great way to carry around 1-2 bodies with maybe 2 lenses, an iPad or laptop, and a few other trinkets in the front pocket. The StreetWalker HardDrive was amazing for photo shoots and larger festivals and can fit a ton of lenses, 2-3 bodies, and laptop. For the most part though, we’ve used the Urban Disguise for its portability and durability (it has stood up against beer, rain, snow, and a few other crazy things).
After trying a few ThinkTank bags and a few other not so good bags I finally found one that fits my style of covering concerts and festivals. The ThinkTank Speed Racer v2.0. After trying this bag out for 2 months I would have to say I am extremely surprised at how good this thing is for concerts and other press functionality. Given it is a ThinkTank bag obviously I am going to love it since ThinkTank bags have always been fantastic to me, but this one really exceeded my expectations.
First off, if you’ve ever had an Urban Disguise or StreetWalker, you’ll know the materials that they’re made out of are very heavy duty. Same with the Speed Racer, except different materials. I feel like every time ThinkTank wants to make a new bag they all gather around a table with some awesome materials to build bags out of and pick the coolest ones and see how badass they can make a camera bag. What I’m getting to is this bag’s build quality is unsurpassed and you really don’t have to worry about it falling apart. Zippers, Velcro, clips, and pull ties are all solid and aren’t going anywhere. There’s really nothing to worry about in terms of “breaking” this bag.
On to the good stuff… As you’ve probably guessed, I use this bag a lot for concerts and festivals for illuminoise.com. After all, we are a music photography website. A normal day for this bag would include a few lenses, cleaning stuff, outboard flash, charger, and Que microphone. It also has a pocket on the frontside of the bag which provides a good amount of storage for phone, wallet, business cards, credentials, pens, etc. Lots of room in there.
The main pocket is rather spacious and easy to remove and put your gear away when you’re done using it. This is a press bag of sorts so it is built for speed…hence SpeedRacer. The main pouch will accomodate a full size body like a D3s with 24-70 (hood out) and a 70-200 (hood in), so you don’t have to worry about breaking down your gear to get it back in your camera bag. I don’t think you could fit two full size bodies in here though. I only have one so I can’t try, but you’ll definitely be able to fit two D700′s or 5DMKIII’s in there.
Either side of this bag features two compression cord pockets for extra stuff like water bottles and maybe a small lens if you’ve run out of room on the inside. They’re not that big but you can fit a few things in there. I personally keep the rain cover in one of these and a water bottle in the other.
Next to the pockets on the side is where you’ll find zippers on either side. This is where the belt feature of the SpeedRacer is stored. I really like this feature because it basically takes two of ThinkTank’s best products and fuses them into one. A belt system and nicely sized bag. Now you can buy attachments from their belt system line and attach them to the belt on your SpeedRacer. This makes it even faster for you to change lenses or bodies if you have external belt attachments for the belt part of the bag. The buckles are pretty heavy duty, and it is quite comfortable with the shoulder strap supporting most of the bag weight. Very cool and and awesome feature of this already great bag.
There is one thing this bag can’t do though. It can’t store a laptop or iPad which might be good or bad for some people. Personally I don’t need my iPad or laptop in the photo pit with me so it doesn’t bother me that there’s no room for one in the SpeedRacer, but some people want everything in a bag like this, especially for the money they’re going to spend. If you need that functionality go with the Urban Disguise line by ThinkTank.
Since I’ve given up the functionality of carrying around an iPad or laptop, I now use a Maxpedition Falcon II as a second bag for big festivals for water, laptop, iPad, hard drives, and other extras that I need to get me through the day…or multiweekend festival. Another versatile and heavy duty bag that you might want to check out for other non-photo storage solutions.
I could talk for days about this bag and how good it is and how it helps me do my job more efficiently, but the best thing for you to do is to try it yourself. Or you could leave a question in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer. I now use this bag on a daily basis and it has really impressed me for the 2 months that I’ve had it.
This is definitely a grade A bag for the photo professional. If you want one, pick it up here!