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Gifts for Photographers: The Think Tank Modular Component System

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Think Tank uses a marketing tag-line proposing that it is “the choice of working professionals.” Candidly I think that statement is too limited. I don’t think it matters if you’re a working professional or an enthusiastic hobbyist, Think Tank makes a product that is right for you.

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The manner in which you carry your camera equipment is determined by your proposed use for that equipment. You can carry your equipment in roller bags if you have a lot of it and you’re transporting over long distances; if you’re travelling and spending a lot of time outside then a backpack or sling might be best choice; but if you’re working an event and need mobility and ready access to your lenses to change the shot you should consider a belt system.

Many event or wedding photographers choose a belt system as it’s the best possible solution for needing ready access to protected camera equipment while on the move.

At the heart of any belt modular component system is the belt itself. Recognising that “one size does not fit all” Think Tank offers three different belt styles that come in as many as four different sizes. There is a belt for you and your needs.

I tested the Pro Speed Belt which is the medium weight belt produced by Think Tank. The two other belts are the Thin Skin (lightweight) and Steroid Speed Belt (heavy duty).

A belt is just a belt, right? In this instance? Not at all! The Think Tank belt provides the best combination of comfort and utility you can imagine.

The Pro Speed belt was perfectly suited for my needs. The belt is narrow which means it didn’t hinder movement while it was being worn.

Although it is narrow the belt didn’t cut into me anywhere as it is extremely well padded and flexible. Two qualities that I found ensured my comfort.

The rock lobster belt clip is large, sturdy, and very secure providing the wearer with the confidence that the belt and any attached pouches are going to stay put.

The belt strap is easily adjusted for length and once adjusted was stable. Some reviewers have suggested the belt strap loosened under the weight of several fully-loaded pouches but that was not my experience.

The true utility of a camera belt is determined by the components that the user puts on it. Think Tank offers more than a dozen different lens, flash or camera body pouches in its modular component line. You can do some research about which pouches best suit your needs and buy each pouch individually or you can get the Modular Component Set which comprises of four pieces:

• A Lens Changer 50 to accommodate wide-angle lenses
• An LC 75 Pop Down for a 70-200mm 2.8 lens
• A Speed Changer, a gadget bag that accommodates a pro-sized body and sundry items
• Strobe Stuff for one pro-sized flash

While these may not satisfy all your needs the Modular Component Set V2.0 will serve as a useful starting point and buying it as a set provides a 20% discount over the purchase price if purchased separately.

The two lens pouches are sufficiently large to comfortably accommodate lenses with their hoods attached either in shooting or stored position.

Both have an elasticated drawstring top that tightens over the top of the lens easily but can subsequently be a little “fiddly” to loosen to get the lens out; a minor issue.

All the pouches have some padding but these are not travel pouches so the belt and the components should not be expected to protect equipment from all manner of travelling obstacles, they are working pouches that will protect from minor bumps as you push your way through the crowd to get the shot.

The lens pouches also have a padded tongue sewn into the top of the pouch to cover the lens’ glass should you choose not to put a cap on the lens.

All the Think Tank pouches and accessory holders have a zippered bottom pocket that stores a seam sealed rain cover for when the weather turns. Alternatively it can be used to store other small accessories.

On the outside of all the pouches is an outer stretch fabric pocket that can store small accessories or lens caps when not in use.

These pouches and belts are feature-rich and all of them add to the utility of the belt. It’s obvious Think Tank has put considerable work into the design and it shows in this product.

The pouches all protect any carried accessories, lens, flash, extra bodies and do so in comfort but one of the most useful attributes of this system is the ability to move the components around the belts length should you want to rotate them on the belt itself.

Each pouch has a stiff white plastic tongue that extends vertically down the back of each pouch inside the Velcro attaching band. That plastic tongue can be threaded through a corresponding loop on the belt that then locks the component in that location.

If however you want more flexibility then don’t hook the plastic tongue through the loop on the belt. The pouch is still, (by way of the 1 ½ inch Velcro attaching band), securely attached to the belt but you can move the pouch around the belt moving it to the front when you need to change a lens or get some batteries and then move it to your side or back when its not in use.

It’s the simple things that provide the greatest satisfaction and this is a very simple design characteristic that you will quickly come to appreciate as you move from one shot to the next.

I have tested other belt systems but have found them to be not a feature-rich or as functional as the Think Tank system. Its’ ease of use, quality of materials and construction set the Think Tank product head and shoulders above its competitors. If you move around for a photo-shoot, at a corporate function, a sporting event or a wedding this product is exactly what you need to maintain your mobility and take your camera equipment with you.

If you are interested in purchasing this system and do so using the link provided below you will receive a free gift: http://www.thinktankphoto.com/affiliates.aspx?code=AP-866

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