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Potential ThinkTank Users' Discussion


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sehsuan

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#1
I'm creating this thread for the benefit of potential adopters of the ThinkTank system with some usage feedback that I've had over the last few months of using it. Hope the guys find it useful!



1. Is it weatherproof?
Sure is. All the external pouches feature a seam-sealed raincover. In short, water will not be able to find its way into your gear. I got drenched without shelter at an event back in March this year, and absolutely nothing - not even my namecards - was wet. However, I was shivering to get dry after that :bsmilie:

2. The price is so high! Are you joking about it?
I also find the pricing high, but for the feasibility in usage as well as the functionality it provides me compared to my earlier system, the price is well worth it. Put it this way - the larger amount of money spent will be well utilized - compared to if you bought or kept another system and kept on buying and selling repeatedly, trying to find the perfect setup. :bsmilie:

3. What items should I get?
The ultimate minimum that you should need to get would be the
1. Pixel Pocket Rocket (stores up to 10 CF card sized memory cards)
2. Pro Modulus belt (the foundation of it all!)
3. Speed Changer (hold it all pouch, I use it to hold my 3 pieces of Canon NP-E2 batteries)
4. Lightning Fast (holds your flash)
5. R U Thirsty? (holds a 1-liter Nalgene bottle perfectly)
6. Whip It Out (holds a 70-200/2.8 or 100-400 WITHOUT tripod collar)
7. Lens Changer (available as the 15, 25, 35, 50, 75 and 80 for different lens sizes). I've compiled all the sizes etc in that XLS file I did when I bought my set. Who's hosting it, anyone?

4. Which items are directly "competing" with each other?
The Pro Modulus belt and the Steriod belt. The Pro Modulus belt works fine by itself, the Steriod belt may be overkill. Furthermore, from photos online, the Pro Modulus belt allows you the flexibilty to turn the entire array of pouches you have on your waist all around you any time, while the Steriod belt would need you to use a Pixel Racing Harness, which does not allow you to rotate the belt items around.

5. It's so troublesome to figure out the sizes etc! Can you help us?
Well, I prepared an Excel spreadsheet with all the product details, Ken has offered to host it up. Download the spreadsheet file here.

6. Are there any distributors for ThinkTank in Singapore? Can you order it in for us?
To date, there are no distributors for ThinkTank in Singapore. Doug did ask me to show his items to local camera shops, but so far I don't know who from Cathay to show it to. Can't imagine any other shops who'd carry this, but then again if Cathay carried this, some range from Lowepro can go meet their maker already. Interested agents for ThinkTank, you can meet me up, I'll show you my kit. Or better still, let's go shooting together. That way, you can observe how good (or bad) the gear really is in practical situations. As for ordering, I would suggest a few people consolidating in a mass order style, so that you guys can ask for it to be given a bulk order discount. Whatever the case, you'll find Doug a very pleasant person to work with.

7. Can we have some brochures from ThinkTank?
I'm in the process of ordering some over from ThinkTank direct. Will let you guys know when I get them. :)

8. What are your favourite components for the ThinkTank modular system?
Whip It Out - because I haven't been able to change to my 70-200 with such a peace of mind, knowing that it wouldn't drop to the ground via butter fingers.
Speed Changer - can hold my stationery, extra cards (in the Pixel Pocket Rocket), spare NP-E2's, one or two small primes
Pixel Pocket Rocket - makes CF cards VERY accessible and fast to get to. Simple IS good!

9. Any special notes about using ThinkTank components?
Yes! Whip It Out and Lens Changer 75 are different in the sense that in order to use the Whip It Out, you MUST remove the tripod collar. For the LC75, you can leave the tripod collar on the lens (be it a 70-200/2.8 or 100-400). This may be a point of concern because some people, myself included, liked to use the tripod collar as an alternate way to hold up the camera with the long lens attached. But it is easier for me now that I'm used to it, to grab my 1D + 70-200 without the tripod collar, around the lens mount. This feels a LOT safer, believe it or not.

10. Does the ThinkTank Modulus set replace my camerabag (shoulderbag/backpack/roller)?
NO! But it does effectively lighten up the load you have to carry with shoulderbags, which I still need to use to move more gear around, especially for location based shoots. But for events, the mobility of the ThinkTank can't be beat. Comparing against backpacks, a modular belt system allows you to change lens etc at a speed that can't be beat. But both the shoulder bag and backpack are often used by photographers to carry their equipment PLUS the ThinkTank system to a location, then all the gear taken out and fixed up, leaving an empty carrying shell in the car or a secure location, while the photographer is free to roam. Think of the NFL, or Olympic shooters.

11. Any more URLs showing people's customized ThinkTank setups?
Here's some URLs, though you need to look if people are using it. Those on the TT website are obviously using them, though not all Sportsshooters are using them.
http://www.sportsshooter.com/funpix_index.html
http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_Modulus_Others.php
http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_Mod_ProMod_Configs.php
http://www.thinktankphoto.com/share.php

12. Where is it made? Is it made in the USA?
No, it is not made in USA. It's made in one of the Asian countries. I won't tell you where it's made, use the system instead and realize its potential and handling capabilities first, then ask yourself if it's worth the price. I'd wager to say you'd find it worth every cent.

13. Are there any components that you don't recommend to buy?
Yes. The Pixel Racing Harness. I've only used it once, and I didn't like it because it didn't allow me to rotate the items on the belt on my waistline. But I had to use it that once because I was RUNNING crosscountry with my camera kit with me - it was a means to prevent the entire belt from dropping. So, in a way, yes, it's necessary. But for shooting operations where you have to walk fast, brisk etc, anything BUT run, yes, it's VERY secure. The belt feels a WHOLE WORLD different from Lowepro's Deluxe S&F belt.

14. How is customer service? They're based in USA, we're here in Singapore WITHOUT an agent!
I can't say enough that the direct email support ThinkTank provides is really the best I have had. Of course, some people will tell you they had something similar with Kinesis, but hey, it really depends on which group you're picking to buy. Usually emails are replied within a 36 hour period from the main Designer/President himself, what can I say?

15. Are ThinkTank components and Lowepro S&F components crosscompatible? Especially those Lowepro modular kits I have right now.
From my usage experience, you can safely use your Lowepro S&F Sliplock components on the ThinkTank, but you can't use the ThinkTank Modulus gear/pouches on Lowepro Sliplock loops. Why? This is because ThinkTank pouches have velcro tabs that are almost the full width of the individual pouch to ensure it has a very stable attachment so it wouldn't shake like crazy, while all Lowepro Sliplock loops are all the same width regardless of pouch size/volume. If you have Lowepro, you'll know what I mean. In the meanwhile, you can use all your existing Lowepro Sliplock accessories on the Pro Modulus belt because they attach over the ENTIRE belt, which is the proper way that ThinkTank products are used. However, you can't lock it in place, that's all.

16. What's the main draw about ThinkTank's Modulus system?
The ability to rotate the pouches on the waistline while having things in them. This is one serious flaw in the Lowepro S&F product line that has been solved, thanks to ThinkTank. By carrying the load on the hips via the belt, you also manage to unload your neck (Optech strap or not, it's a BAD idea) from a heavy weight.
 

sehsuan

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#2
17. How much is shipping?
Oh, that you MUST ask Doug, not me. He ships direct from Santa Rosa, California, and will be able to advise you on Priority or Regular Air Mail charges.

18. Do you have to pay customs?
Yes. Actually I paid about S$50 for the customs fees.

19. Are you earning money out of this?
Nope. I wish I was though. I'm just glad to come across this brand myself. Just sharing in the name of Clubsnap. People who want to donate to me, I wouldn't want to turn away though... :bsmilie:

I know there will be tons more questions, if you have any more that I haven't answered, just post it up below and I'll try to answer to my best ability.
 

Sep 28, 2003
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Bukit Panjang
#3
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


BAGUS!

What i had been looking for! Thank you!

P.S. I'll be 1st in line to get the brochure okie? heh heh .....
 

sehsuan

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#5
Ok, just a note. From my only one-time doing wedding OJT, I'd say, carry a light shoulder bag with a spare body with lens attached, while carrying spare batteries and the flash with you, and one spare wide/prime on you. Reason why: when you have to get up and down the car repeatedly, the entire belt system will slow you down. This is not a design problem with ThinkTank, but rather a limitation of ANY belt system.
 

V

vince123123

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#8
I am using the Lowepro system and have a large number of hte items. Form what I see, if you're saying that you attach the lowepro items over the entire belt. If I attach it over the entire of my lowepro belt, can't I also achieve the same rotational effect that you are talking about?

I would think that its actaully better to have the items locked in place though. I was looking through the thinktank site for a page which shows how their components attach onto the belt - am still trying to find - would be grateful if you could show a link :)

Thanks!

sehsuan said:
15. Are ThinkTank components and Lowepro S&F components crosscompatible? Especially those Lowepro modular kits I have right now.
From my usage experience, you can safely use your Lowepro S&F Sliplock components on the ThinkTank, but you can't use the ThinkTank Modulus gear/pouches on Lowepro Sliplock loops. Why? This is because ThinkTank pouches have velcro tabs that are almost the full width of the individual pouch to ensure it has a very stable attachment so it wouldn't shake like crazy, while all Lowepro Sliplock loops are all the same width regardless of pouch size/volume. If you have Lowepro, you'll know what I mean. In the meanwhile, you can use all your existing Lowepro Sliplock accessories on the Pro Modulus belt because they attach over the ENTIRE belt, which is the proper way that ThinkTank products are used. However, you can't lock it in place, that's all.

16. What's the main draw about ThinkTank's Modulus system?
The ability to rotate the pouches on the waistline while having things in them. This is one serious flaw in the Lowepro S&F product line that has been solved, thanks to ThinkTank. By carrying the load on the hips via the belt, you also manage to unload your neck (Optech strap or not, it's a BAD idea) from a heavy weight.
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#9
Okay nevermind I found it on the page. From what I see, the lowepro system seems to be able to the same thing? Either you insert the tab into the loops or just loop it over the whole lowepro belt?

Edit: Also, it looks like we can loop the whole tab for the think tank pouches over the whole lowepro belt? Sure, there's no way to lock it, but it will still rotate around?

Hope you can help as I'm a strong user of belt systems.
 

sehsuan

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#10
vince123123 said:
I am using the Lowepro system and have a large number of hte items. Form what I see, if you're saying that you attach the lowepro items over the entire belt. If I attach it over the entire of my lowepro belt, can't I also achieve the same rotational effect that you are talking about?
You're right to say that you can achieve the rotational feature with Lowepro, but ONLY if you're using the Basic Waistbelt and NOT the Deluxe Waistbelt (which I had). Why? This is because the Deluxe Waistbelt has this extra thick section meant for the back. You will not be able to rotate the entire belt across the hips, which means also, together with the fastening in the Lowepro Sliplock system, your pouches will stay where-ever you put them in the first place, and you'd have to reposition them manually all over again just to relief your back/hip weight loading. ThinkTank does not have such a problem because the belt is of uniform width throughout, except the Steriod belt (which I don't suggest buying). With the basic waistbelt from Lowepro, you can achieve the rotational feature that ThinkTank has - but at a "cost" of some form. The width of the tongue that holds the pouch over the belt for Lowepro pouches, are all uniform about 2 inches wide, but ThinkTank pouches are almost the entire width of each pouch, giving it a very secure "non-rocking" positioning on the belt.

Vince, you mean this page regarding Rotate or Lock?

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/feature_popup.php?ftr=RotateLock

Hope this helps.
 

sehsuan

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#13
Oh, a personal note. I've had the Lowepro Deluxe waistbelt before, and the buckle system didn't feel secure. Which means, if I just jump, the entire thing will loosen. In fact, I don't need to do it. The weight of my gear WILL loosen the straps! Yikes!

As for ThinkTank, the security of having just an extra TriGlide buckle on both sides, allows the belt to stay exactly as wide as you set it. At a price of course - the speed of adjustment. But for the peace of mind... I think it's well worth it. :)
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#14
Thanks for the advice.

Yes I'm comparing the light belt vs the think tank pro speed belt - both seem to work the same way.

For my user needs, I prefer the items to stay fixed - it would also mean that all my lowepro pouches will be useless with the think tank system :(. shucks.

I like the harnass system though - lowe pro's harnass can't work with the light belt properly, only the deluxe belt.

sehsuan said:
You're right to say that you can achieve the rotational feature with Lowepro, but ONLY if you're using the Basic Waistbelt and NOT the Deluxe Waistbelt (which I had). Why? This is because the Deluxe Waistbelt has this extra thick section meant for the back. You will not be able to rotate the entire belt across the hips, which means also, together with the fastening in the Lowepro Sliplock system, your pouches will stay where-ever you put them in the first place, and you'd have to reposition them manually all over again just to relief your back/hip weight loading. ThinkTank does not have such a problem because the belt is of uniform width throughout, except the Steriod belt (which I don't suggest buying). With the basic waistbelt from Lowepro, you can achieve the rotational feature that ThinkTank has - but at a "cost" of some form. The width of the tongue that holds the pouch over the belt for Lowepro pouches, are all uniform about 2 inches wide, but ThinkTank pouches are almost the entire width of each pouch, giving it a very secure "non-rocking" positioning on the belt.

Vince, you mean this page regarding Rotate or Lock?

http://www.thinktankphoto.com/feature_popup.php?ftr=RotateLock

Hope this helps.
 

sehsuan

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#15
Vince, if your usage patterns dictate that everything should be fixed in place, it may lead to discomfort over a longer period of time. The TT system that I regularly use consists of the

Whip It Out
Lens Changer 50, occasionally with Lens Changer 15 for my 85/1.8 as well
Speed Changer (w/ Pixel Pocket Rocket inside)
R U Thirsty
Lightning Fast

I make it a point to have an empty pouch so that I can put away the lens that I'm changing out away with ASAP.

By the way, the Excel spreadsheet with all the information has been linked up from the first post. Check out point #5.
 

szekiat

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Jan 19, 2002
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#16
i think you forgot to mention their most famous product SS, the airport addicted bag is probably the only case that will fit all your eqpt and then some and still qualify as a hand luggage. Certainly useful for guys that need to travel with their 300/400mm lenses!
 

V

vince123123

Guest
#17
Hmm well I guess its user preference, I dont quite like things sliding or moving around.

That said, I've examined the TT system again - it looks like to switch from fixed to sliding is not that easy, you have to like take out the whole thing and put in the tab or take out the tab etc. Its not that easy to do in the field right?

Same for the lowepro system anyway, also have to take out and put in.

I would agree that the variable width of the attachment tab for the TT system may be better as its more stable compared to the lowepro's fixed tab size.
 

#18
sehsuan said:
Oh, a personal note. I've had the Lowepro Deluxe waistbelt before, and the buckle system didn't feel secure. Which means, if I just jump, the entire thing will loosen. In fact, I don't need to do it. The weight of my gear WILL loosen the straps! Yikes!

As for ThinkTank, the security of having just an extra TriGlide buckle on both sides, allows the belt to stay exactly as wide as you set it. At a price of course - the speed of adjustment. But for the peace of mind... I think it's well worth it. :)
Agree with you on this point. I have to tighten my waistbelt every now and then..
 

sehsuan

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#19
Szekiat, you are funny leh. How many people have a 400/2.8 here? :bsmilie:

But hey, the level of detail in design they have for their many items, really is the shining part about them. Nothing comes close... yet. ;)
 

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