Gear Talk
Comments 12

The Best Street (Casual) Photography Bag

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When it comes to street (casual) photography one thing is often over looked ― what bag do you have and use? There are a multitude of bags which I suppose are small and fit just about any cameras but I’m not here to talk about the normal bags, I’m here to talk about the “best street photography bag” in my humble opinion.

I’ve tried quite a few bags, too many to name, but let me tell that the Thinktank Photo Retrospective 5 has stolen my heart and the hearts of my two primary photographic tools ― the Ricoh GR and the Pentax K5 IIs. Its like this: you know how you fall in love with a certain comforter and that’s what you like to sleep in all time. Well, its like that for the GR/K5IIs and the Retrospective 5. I can’t think of any other bag that has all the features that one needs to have while on the field photographing.

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to trust my photography gear to just any manufacturer with the promise that things will be ok, know what I mean ie. crappy cushioning and cheap matierals. Luckily, my K5IIs is weatherproof and can withstand just about any inclement kind of weather condition but my Ricoh GR is not weatherproof (perhaps for the next iteration Ricoh and while you’re at it put an integrated OVF) so when its not out doing its job, I need to feel that its well protected from the elements. South Florida is hot as hell and when I out and about, I sweat like a champ, the humidity is just horrid as well, in short, its kind of a nightmare photographing down here. Don’t let me scare you in coming, its a jam packed city with lots to see and do. Back to the Restrospective.

Let’s fast forward to the Retrospective 5 and my favorite features.

  • The silencer flap design – so nice to have this.
  • The ruggedness – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • The fact that it doesn’t look like a camera bag alert people – again so key, I just hate looking like a paparrazi.
  • Perfect compartments and easily re-organized – just the right amount of space folks.
  • Great cushioning all around – this part is huge, feel comfortable putting your expensive gear in the bag, no doubt, seal of approval.

And as an added bonus, it looks damn cool on my shoulder as I walk around and do my photography. Overall, the Thinktank Retrospective series is a awesome. I don’t have a bigger bag but I know they come in different sizes with the “5” being the smallest one but there is a 7, 10, 20, 30, 40, and whopping 50 in their lineup. If time permits I hope to check out the 30 or the 40, one bag to fit all my gear when I travel, that would be kind of cool. Leave the Retrospective 5 in the suitcase (empty) and when I arrive at my hotel just carry what I need.

All photographs by Jorge Ledesma


  1. Streetshooter says

    I don’t like camera bags. That’s why I have ammased such a collection. So at M43 a side banner was put up to list the Retrospective 5. I worked as an admin and was offered a discount but still I did not order.
    A year and a half brings us to right now. I ordered the bag based on your excitement and expect it next week.
    So Jorge, expect a bill from me as I hate camera bags but this one is entirely your fault.

    • Well look at here Don how about them apples ah. Good for you, trust me the Retro 5 and your NEX kit will love you for it, hey, I’m warning you the Retrospective series is a highly addictive I just got the Retro 30 and I’ll be doing a comparative review and how it fits into my current kit its a great addition to my bag arsenal.

  2. tommclaughlan40 says

    I bought the Retro 7 recently and love it. Very comfy and – the big winner for me – it takes my 5d Mark III plus a 70-200 f2.8 with room for one other medium size lens and even a nifty fifty if needs be. I’ve been looking for a bag with this capability for yonks. Only one negative – there aren’t any ‘feet’ on the base. A brass stud in each corner would be the perfect addition.

    • Thanks for chiming in Tom. The Retro 7 is another winner and one I may have to get as well. You see the thing is that photography bags are like female bags for women, you simply can’t just have one, now can you :). There are a bunch of different situations which require different carrying requirements. Cheers.

  3. Ilkka says

    Looks a bit like a knock-off of Domke 5XB. Great bag that would be even greater if it had the silenced flap you mention.

  4. Thanks a lot for your review! I have to consider this bag. Would be nice for my X-Pro1 or Leica Digilux 2 with Ricoh GR.

    • Glad it was useful and my answer is 100% for sure. In mine, I could put a Pentax K5 IIS with the FA 31mm 1.8, the GR, and another Pentax lens, all very comfortably and I have not even begun to mention the pockets. For street photography, in my humble opinion its the best and it will last a lifetime. Another thing worth mentioning is they have a life time warranty. I rather have good quality anything that’s going to last and not skimp out, I’ve been burnt before with cheaper alternatives on all sort of photography, and guess what, I’ve had to buy again. I’ve heard this before: by cheap, and buy again. For me its about peace of mind and knowing something will last.

      Stay tuned because I’m going to review a few camera trigger for off camera flash and the choices will surprise many. Cheers.

  5. Got to agree about the retrospective series. I use the 5 if I need a small bag. And also have a 7 when I need 2 cameras and my iPad.

    • Nice I’m heading in that route as well. I don’t have a tablet yet but I’m looking into that to host my galleries. I love that they’re so versatile. Cheers!

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