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matthew
04-19-2008, 03:51 PM
___Description

Think Tanks's Glass Taxi is a backpack designed to hold a camera and long lens, with room for a small number of extras. Think Tank makes plenty of cases and packs that can carry entire systems and all of their little bits, but this backpack is unique in its mission to carry less very well.

___Specifications

Full details are available on Think Tank's (http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_GlssTxi.php) own website. In practical terms, the bag is long enough to hold an E-3 with the 35-100 attached with the hood extended. The remaining space at the side is able to hold a 7-14 and a 50-200 with the 1.4TC attached when its hood is reversed; alternatively the E-510 will fit in place of the 7-14 (or similar lens) even when it's mounted to the 50-200+1.4TC.

___Comments

Build quality is very good, easily matching or beating the construction of my various cases from Domke, Petrol, Manfrotto, and Crumpler. The self-locking zippers are a brilliant design feature, and they and all of the metal load-bearing hardware have a dulled finish that's understated and will wear well. The included tripod straps have a velcro section that mates with hidden velcro underneath the side lash points, holding the straps securely in place even when the snaps are undone. Think Tank also includes far more dividers than are shown in the photographs on their web page; there's certainly enough to use this backpack to carry a complete system of small lenses and accessories if you choose to.

My typical load for this backpack is over 10KG of camera, lenses, and tripod, but it carries it well. It doesn't counteract the effects of gravity, but during a six-hour shooting hike the pack never became an issue. Its long and narrow profile doesn't interfere with movement, it's easy to move through crowds or hand-carry on public transit, and it sits upright when it's put down.

I may have my bag under-loaded. Because it's designed to hold very large lenses, it's boxy and deep. This means that there's a lot of movement when a tripod is attached to the side of the bag. I've solved this by adding one of the monopod straps (which don't have the snap buckles of the tripod straps) to the carrying handle at the top of the bag.

Unlike some other 'all weather' bags, there's no storage pouch or place for the included rain cover. I carry mine underneath the 50-200, but wouldn't bother to bring it if the forecast is clear. (It doesn't cover the tripod.)

The only real flaw in the design of the pack comes in an unexpected way: insufficient velcro. Think Tank makes extensive and intelligent use of this material everywhere except for the small mesh accessories pocket on the inside of the lid/front panel. This is the only place to hold small items -- large ones won't fit in the flat pocket -- such as spare batteries or cards. However, when the bag is laid flat and the lid is completely opened to remove a secondary lens, the opening of this pouch is upside-down. There's only one small patch of velcro to secure this pocket, leaving plenty of room for the contents to slide out. I've solved this problem by keeping a second bag inside this pocket to hold my small items, but there's simply not enough room to spare for this to be an effective long-term option. Given the thoughtful design of the rest of the bag I have to assume that there's a good reason for this deficiency, but I don't see what it might be.

______Pros - list your positive conclusions

- does exactly what it's meant to do.
- incredibly well designed and built.
- dedicated camera bag: a unique and flexible way to carry long lenses.

______Cons - list your negative conclusions

- dedicated camera bag: carries very little other 'stuff'.
- interior mesh pocket does not close securely.

wayne
07-09-2008, 10:06 PM
I have the same bag and find the quality to be superior to the mass market brands. My equipment is arranged much like yours except I have the dividers configured for the 50-200 SWD with hood extended on the left (and a small partition space just above the lens which fits a Gepe CF card case). On the right, I have my E-3 with the 12-60 SWD and a divider to support the lens hood (again, extended). A second divider is placed so I can store a mounted 50-200 with hood extended when I flip up the first divider. In the lowest partition on the right I can put either another lens (70-300 or one of the macros) and/or the EC-14. In the next partition, I can keep the rain cover or a pair of reading glasses plus a couple of CP filters. The mesh pocket holds my lens tissue, notepad, pen, microfiber cloth (for the LCD) and a lens pen.

Downsides: not enough pockets, the side pockets, although adequate for a tripod or monopod (which I put on the right side like you have), are not large enough for a water bottle, and lastly, there should be an external zippered pocket for the rain cover.

Wayne