If you want a camera bag that you’ll enjoy taking with you – in my opinion, get the ThinkTANK Photo Sling-O-Matic 20 bag!
This isn’t a typical review of the features of the Sling-O-Matic 20 as I’m writing this review from more of a usability standpoint.
Needless to say, once UPS delivered the bag, opening the box and looking it over I knew I had my day to day bag to carry my essential gear anyplace I go in my errand running, street shooting and more.
I’m a photographer, and although I own and love my ThinkTANK Multimedia Wired Up 20 bag for the multimedia storytelling assignments I shoot & produce, it’s not the best bag to just grab and take with me to go out and about.
I’ve used lots of bags in my career. I still have my original 20 year old Domke F2 camera bag that was my mainstay bag back in the day, but it was really designed for the days of shooting film, not digital cameras. The issues of dust getting onto the sensor as a result of the fabric is a major concern that film shooters didn’t have to consider back in the day. I also own a Tenba Photo backpack and although it’s great to carry the gear in, it’s a pain to shoot with and has now become more of a location bag I work out of by laying it on the ground.
What I shoot with
My kit consists of two Canon t2i DSLR’s with extended battery grips, three high speed Tokina Zoom lenses – an 11-16, 16-50 and 50-135 f/2.8 lenses. I also carry an LCDVF viewfinder magnifier for shooting HDSLR video and a Zoom H1 Audio recorder. That’s my day in and day out kit. Not only does all of this fit into the Sling-O-Matic 20 bag, it does so without feeling as though I’m cramming the gear into every nook and cranny in the bag. I can keep one body ready with the 50-135 f/2.8 lens attached with hood extended ready to go at a moments notice while walking the streets.
Using The Bag
ThinkTANK really out did themselves on the unique design of this bag. By utilizing a custom slider attachment point for the shoulder strap, switching back and forth between shoulders is a dream. Next, the ability to swing the bag around to the front and having quick access to my cameras and lenses was a mind blower after having worked out of traditional shoulder and fanny pack type bags throughout my career.
I actually WANT to carry my gear with me now instead of trying to convince myself to do so. I can access any part of my gear without having to fight the bag to get to a lens or second camera body. Using ThinkTANK’s Cable Management 20 pouch, I can keep a basic wired lav, spare camera and AA batteries and threaded cold shoe adapter to mount my audio recorder on camera with me at all times in one of the outside pouches. This kit can do 90% of any project I would shoot or be inspired to shoot at a moments notice – and it all fits perfectly inside the Sling-O-Matic 20.
Are there any negatives about the bag? My only minor complaint is the initial instructions of how to carry the bag along with the extra straps included was vague – I had to watch videos and read on their website how to use the extra straps even though there were instructions provided. This could have been explained more clearly. Other than that, I really can’t find any faults with the bag and I’ve shot with it on more than one occasion with it including the images below – the bag is a dream to work with on location.
As someone who’s either shooting a paid job, constantly searching for a visual moment or possible spur of the moment multimedia story to capture, having my gear along with me is a critical component in keeping my edge in this competitive field. In my opinion, if you had to have just one bag to begin shooting – and grow – with, I recommend the ThinkTANK Photo Sling-O-Matic series of bags for day to day shooting.
In my opinion, it’s really that good of a bag!
“Disclosure: ThinkTANK Photo sent me this bag for review and although they did so, my review is based upon my professional experience as a photographer and multimedia journalist.”