Retrofitting the Think Tank Retrospective 30

Since I am both a photographer and a videographer, I use different camera bag setups depending on the occasion and the gear that I need to bring. 

The Think Tank Retrospective 30 which I've reviewed before on this blog, is one of my favorite camera bags. While I mainly use this bag for photography, I recently came across a way to make it more suitable to carry a loadout for a small video camera, particularly a Canon XA10.

By itself, the The Retrospective 30 is a very soft and malleable bag.  Even the dividers that come with it are thin and flexible. While that works for carrying camera lenses, the XA10 with its attached handle and shotgun microphone needs a little more padding and protection.

Like many photographers, I have several camera bags and cases that I've collected over the years. One of the advantages of this (or disadvantages, if you ask my wife), is that they come with lots of extra dividers that wind up sitting in your closet. 

Among my other camera cases is a Think Tank Airport Security 2.0 roller bag. When I bought this case, it came with an extra set of semi-rigid dividers.

I came across them this evening when my wife ordered me to clean up the mess while reorganizing the workroom, and it dawned on me that I might be able to use these semi rigid dividers to retrofit the Retrospective 30 into a video camera bag.

First I took out all the soft dividers from the bag. I attached a few of them to the bottom of the bag to make a more padded base.

I then took several long and short semi-rigid dividers from the roller bag and lined the interiors of the Retrospective 30 with them.  I doubled up on some of them to make the space more form-fitting to the XA10.

This added just a bit of sturdiness to the sides of the bag and made a space that perfectly fit the XA10 with the handle, shotgun microphone, and wide angle lens attached.

Wireless microphones and other accessories fit easily in the outer pockets.

I was also able to do the same with another bag I hadn't used in a while - the Think Tank Urban Disguise 50.  The Urban Disguise series is nice because the main compartment can be completely zipped up in a dusty environment.

It's a little more padded than the Retrospective 30 so I chose to just use 2 shorter dividers on both ends of the bag to reinforce the interior.

While these bags won't offer the same amount of protection as say, a Pelican 1510 case, they are much lighter and make for pretty nice and inconspicuous video camera bags.