Think Tank Photo Shape Shifter®
This is the review I thought I’d never write. The reason why is because when I first got this bag I was very unimpressed with it. So much so that it sat in my closet for 6 months before I finally decided to try it out. I had already planned to give it away after my review was done as I simply had no desire to own this bag.
That was then, and this is now.
For my recent trip to Texas I found myself needing a backpack that could hold my 17” MacBook Pro plus some other things, but only a limited amount of camera gear (rare for me) as shown below:
- Canon 1D Mark IV (body only – no lens attached)
- Canon 580 EX II Flash
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
- Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens
Now I had a wide variety of chargers, cables, doodads (i.e., Hoodman Loupe, Pixel Rocket, Purosol lens cleaner, etc…), etc… as well as Speedliter's Handbook (which I’ll be reviewing soon) and some magazines.All of which packed this bag to maximum capacity making me and my bad back very thankful for its chest and waist straps to help distribute the load.
Despite its size with all of my crap in it, I was able to easily fit this big bag under my Alaska Airlines coach seat and still squeeze my size 13 shoes and 6’1” frame into my seat without spilling over into another seat or the aisle. This gave me the freedom to extract phones, laptops, books, chargers, etc… out during the flight for myself and my family of 5.
This is probably the worst of my videos because after two hours of fighting with video software on the Mac and PC, I finally gave up and just tossed the thing on YouTube as is. I didn’t have the time tonight to do a second cut, so it’s pretty raw footage – with flaws and all. However, this is a bag where a video is a must as you have to see live footage on how the interior works as photos are useless.
If you want to carry a big laptop in your backpack and you like lots of pockets, then this is your bag! It’s very comfortable to wear even under heavy loads (and I know – I had it maxed out for a week of travel) and the usefulness of the many pockets are the best I’ve seen on a Think Tank Photo bag. Laptop users will love it!
The only thing I can knock this bag for is the lack of configuration options in the center due to its design. Personally I just don’t get that part of this bag. Perhaps readers will enlighten me, but I don’t see the value of collapsing the center – it’s then not even as useful as a normal backpack – it’s just an overweight and thick laptop bag. Personally, I’d rather see this bag design with a traditional TTP center with configurable dividers. Perhaps the Streetwalker HardDrive (see my review of the Streetwalker Pro) is supposed to fulfill this need, but that’s only useful if you have a 15” laptop. I’ve always carried 17” laptops for as long as they are available, so my message to Think Tank Photo designers is to consider some hybrid of this bag design with the center portion replaced with the configuration design of the Streetwalker series – to me that’d be the perfect back pack! It’s even better if it can be done in a way where the dividers aren’t so tall that I can stuff my bag under the seat on a plane as I could do with this one.
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Other Think Tank Photo Bag Reviews
Considering other Think Tank Photo bags? Then take a few moments to check out these other reviews found on this blog:
- ThinkTankPhoto Airport Acceleration, Artificial Intelligence 17, Camera Straps & Support Straps
- Think Tank Photo Airport AirStream™ Rolling Camera Bag
- Think Tank Photo Airport Security v2.0
- Think Tank Photo Digital Holster
- Think Thank Photo Hydrophobia 70-200 Camera Rain Cover
- Think Tank Photo Logistics Manager
- Think Tank Photo Retrospective 20
- Think Tank Photo Sling-O-Matic
- ThinkTankPhoto Streetwalker Pro vs Glass Taxi
- Think Tank Photo Modular Components
- Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise Series
I was provided a free bag for testing for the purpose of this review. If you purchase TTP bags using links on this blog I will get a small commission, so I appreciate your support by using the links here!