Think Tank Photo Bags; Designed By And For Photographers

When the founders of Think Tank Photo decided to enter the already-crowded gadget bag marketplace they began by studying how photographers behave. They asked professionals to demonstrate how they access their equipment under actual working conditions, including those tougher circumstances like bad weather, pushy crowds, and other real-world situations. Among other things they learned that for nearly all photographers the most important requirement is speed--the ability to access and deploy their equipment quickly. In their words, "so that the bag doesn't get in the way of getting the shot."

During the months that followed they gave prototypes of their products to hundreds of professional and advanced amateur photographers and asked for feedback. They listened carefully to the suggestions and did their best to reflect the photographers' ideas in their designs. The result: top-quality carrying solutions that are designed by and for photographers.

Think Tank Photo was founded by two professional photographers and two bag industry veterans. Doug Murdoch, president and designer, and designer Mike Sturm both have long experience creating innovative products. They joined forces with Deanne Fitzmaurice, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and Kurt Rogers, a Chronicle photographer who's been covering the world's top sporting events for the last 24 years. Their goal was to create a full line of highly functional and wildly adaptable bags and accessories that allow photographers to be ready "before the moment."

The product line includes cargo belts, waistpacks, full-size carryon bags, plus a wide range of modular accessories and straps. Every component feels extremely well made, and each has a definite "quality build" about it. They did not compromise on materials--for example, they use YKK zippers throughout. And the products are as comfortable as they are functional--an important consideration when you're spending the full day in the field.

Airport Addicted

If the thought of checking your camera gear at the gate turns you into a white-knuckle flyer, you'll appreciate the Airport Addicted backpack. It's built to last and designed to meet all applicable carryon size requirements. Depending on how you pack, it will hold two or three camera bodies and perhaps a half-dozen lenses, including long 300mm and 400mm teles, plus other miscellaneous gear. The 15" laptop case pulls out for quick inspection at the security gate and the shoulder straps tuck out of sight for easy stowage. Airport Addicted sells for $389 (street).