Friday, November 19, 2010

REVIEW: Think Tank Photo Sling-O-Matic

See Special Offer at the end of this article

From left to right - Sling-O-Matic 10, 30 & 20

A month or so ago I was surprised when I got box from Think Tank Photo with the new Sling-O-Matic 10 bag as I hadn’t heard anything about it yet. Personally I hate sling bags because I have an injured left shoulder from a bad car accident and a bad back, so when I saw the bag I wasn’t very excited. However the first thing I noticed about this bag is that it has an unconventional around the body strap rather than a simple single shoulder strap which made it a lot more comfortable than other sling bags that I have tried.

My current bag for this class of small compact bags is the ever popular Glass Taxi, although I find myself favoring the larger Streetwalker Pro more these days. However, I had this bag so I decided to give it a try for a bit and see what I think.

Overview Photos

Sling-O-Matic 20 is deep enough for a long lens, but not the 10

The shot above is of a Sling-O-Matic 20 so a long lens can be accomidated, but refer to my video below to see how the 10 won’t work that way. You can put the 70-200mm on with the hood in the extended position inside of the Sling-O-Matic 10 without any problem (although facing the other way is usually best). There was still enough room for a 580EX II flash behind it as well.

Not shown below is the rain cover which comes with all Think Tank Photo bags, although I’ve yet to experience a rain hard enough to require it.

Sling-O-Matic 10 is long enough for the
5D Mark II & 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
with the hood in position

Below you can see a shot of me wearing the bag (although it was empty so it didn’t hang straight like it normally would). You can see how it fits in the center of the back and the weight is nicely distributed between the left shoulder and the right waist area for the most comfortable fit I’ve experienced from a sling bag.

Notice the how the bag
comes around my left shoulder
and right part of my waist
to distribute the weight

Video Overview

Here’s another one of my crappy late night videos where you need to turn your volume ALL the way up to hear what I’m saying, but you’ll get an idea of what this bag is really like:

As you can see from the video, it is pretty well made and has a lot of storage space despite its small size.


As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I’m not a fan of sling bags. However they seem to be popular so I write my conclusion for those considering a new sling bag – not my personal opinion of sling bags in general.

Construction-wise this is the best built sling bag I’ve seen to date. In fact, it’s built more solid than even some other TTP bags I’ve seen so that’s saying a lot about the quality. I also feel that the over the head shoulder strap design is good as it helps to distribute the weight over the entire body but at the expense of traditional shoulder & sling bag on/off speed.

I felt the Sling-O-Matic 10 was too small for my needs, but it is suitable for those carrying small or kit lenses. If I were to care for this type of bag I’d get the larger Sling-O-Matic 20 which I think would more comfortably hold a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm and  hood in the on position. To me that is what I’d want from a sling. I’m not sure if the Sling-O-Matic 30 makes sense as I wouldn’t want a backpack size sling – I'd rather just go straight to the more practical StreetWalker HardDrive if carrying a laptop was important to me.

My wife who is very fashion conscious loves this bag and will be using it now that I’m done with it, so I think that is enough data for me to classify it as not being a ugly geeky bag!

So in summary I have to say that if you are in the market for a sling bag then this is an excellent choice, but I’m not a sling bag guy so I’ll stick with my other bags.

Special Offer

Visit the special ThinkTankPhoto page on this blog to see the special offer program available for this bag when you purchase using links from this blog.


ThinkTankPhoto sent me a free Sling-O-Matic 10 bag for review and I may get a commission if you take advantage of the special offer.

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Aaron said...

It looks pretty good actually, doesn't it. I like the idea of being able to wear it like a rucksack - it feels much more secure. I don't like walking round the city with my camera in a shoulder bag as i feel like it shouts out 'mug me!'

Anonymous said...

Nice review.

Does the Sling-o-matic 10 have enough room to fit an iPad (I'd carry a D700 and 3 or 4 bigger primes)? said...

Thanks Anonymous.

The 10 is pretty small so no that definitely would not fit.

The 30 is the only one designed to handle a laptop, so while the 20 might be physically large enough - I'm not sure where you'd actually put it to keep it safe.

You might find the Urban Disguise 40 to be a better solution for what you are looking for. Check out my review at