Item Reviewed: Think Tank Skin Chimp Cage
Purchased two of these when the Skin series was launched, for use on my Pro Speed Belt. These both replaced two Lowepro Sliplock Case 60 AW pouches that I had. The Skin Chimp Cage is an unpadded, thin, unobtrusive, black synthetic pouch wide enough to hold a Pro Body (or body with battery grip). It will also hold two reasonable-sized lenses, or a flash, or lots of accessories.
It features a front zippered pocket on the top of its flap, a velcro closure flap (the velcro can be pulled back and fastened to "silence" the flap. More on that later), its main compartment (which can be divided using provided dividers) and a small velcro-closure pocket on the outside of the front of the main compartment.
Freebies (Items that came together with it)
It comes with three thin dividers, IIRC. Good enough to separate the space if you want to use it to hold two lenses or just divide it for other stuff. It also comes with the usual seam-sealed raincoat (which I've removed; don't use it at all).
The build quality is excellent. Well put together, with no fraying threads. Nothing much to be said.
The interior is not padded. It features velcro on the front and back surface (of the inside) so you can put in dividers to divide the space. I personally use one divider so I can fit two lenses. The size of the pouch is generous. It will fit a 24-70 f/2.8 or 70-200 f/2.8 (without hoods), but rarely will you put both in the same pouch; it is very heavy, and makes the whole belt lopsided, but I digress.
The inside of the flap has a silencer feature. This allows you to pull back the velcro on the bottom of the flap, so that it no longer fastens to the velcro found on the pouch itself when you close the flap. This means that whenever you open or close the pouch, the annoyingly loud velcro rip is no longer heard. Very handy.
The pouch can also be "popped-down" which allows you to expand the bottom of the pouch to fit more stuff. With the popped down configuration, I've been able to fit in a 70-200 f/2.8 with hood attached (not reversed). Do note that the popped down portion does not have velcro on the insides, so you cannot fit dividers down the bottom area of the pouch. A minor annoyance, but that has resulted in me not popping down most of the time.
Nothing much to say. Synthetic material feels thin but well-made, and it doesn't feel like the sort that attracts a lot of dust.
I generally use the Skin Chimp Cage in two configurations: as an insert for casual carrying out of the camera in a non-camera bag, and as part of a modulus pouch system on my Pro Speed Belt.
First, the casual use: I generally bring out my 1DMkII with just a 35mm f/2 (very short lens), and this will fit into the pouch with the lens still attached. There is enough depth to place my Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card wallet below the camera, and enough space to the side to fit in a spare 1D battery. I do have to be very careful with my bag though, as I cannot allow bumps or anything; the pouch is unpadded after all.
Lately I remedied this problem by taking a divider from another bag and placing it in the front velcro-closure pocket to provide some frontal protection for the lens.
Secondly, for use with the belt system: I generally divide it into two parts, and these will take a multitude of lenses, depending on what I take with me on a shoot. Most commonly loaded will be the 16-35mm f/2.8L and the 85mm f/1.8, with the 24-70mm f/2.8 on the camera. The advantages about such a big pouch being used as a lens case is that you save on getting one lens case for each lens, and you have enough room to switch around on lenses within the pouch without worrying that one pouch is too small for this lens, while the other is too large and so forth.
The Skin Chimp Cage is a highly versatile modulus accessory, and will definitely find much use to anyone using a belt system. Highly recommended, especially for its alternative uses (such as a dual lens case).