Think Tank Photo SubUrban Disguise 30 Review – by Neville Black

Neville Black
 
Neville Black is an award winning wedding and portrait photographer living on Vancouver Island in the Pacific North West. A photographer who believes the more risk one takes and the more uncomfortable they feel, the more potential is given to produce a great photograph.
 

I recently got my hands on the new Think Tank SubUrban Disguise 30 and had a chance to take it out for a few test spins. I’m a huge fan of Think Tank’s original Urban Disguise series, particularly the 40 and 70 models. In fact, the Urban Disguise 40 has always been my favorite bag that I’ve owned. Sadly, I traded it in and have regretted it ever since.

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

Think Tank Photo recently released a new line of shoulder bags, the SubUrban Disguise series. The SubUrban 30 is a strong and rugged shoulder bag, as most products are from Think Tank. Quality design, great zippers, strength and overall very pleasing aesthetics. I was looking for a bag that I could use for my day shoots such as an engagement or environmental portrait session. Something that could carry my basic needs and not drag me down. I chose the 30 because it could handle a few lenses, a DSLR body and an iPad. Having the iPad section is great because now I can carry all my client info, documents and portfolio along with me to photo shoots and client meetings also.

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

The SubUrban has a similar design as the original Urban Disguises but feels a lot different, at least to me and that’s where my first issue comes in. It feels a little too stiff at times and it doesn’t hug my body as much as the other shoulder bags I’ve had in the past did, even without an iPad in the back. I always have the bag resting on my back when it’s not in use but if I crouch down/bend over to shoot, the bag easily slides to my front and bumps my arm if there is a lot of weight inside. This happens with most bags but I just found it happening more with the SubUrban 30.

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

That being said, the reason it’s stiff is because the bag is very well protected and small. You could probably drop the bag down stairs and have your gear in one piece by the time you recovered it. Don’t try it though! I could be very wrong and that would be a sad day for you. What I’m saying is, it just feels very well protected.

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

My second issue is the new top zipper to access the bag. Unlike the Urban bags, the SubUrban opens with a flip top lid which isn’t the easiest way to access my gear. It seems like a great idea but truthfully, it’s made it a slight hassle when getting gear out. It doesn’t feel as protected as the old zipper down the top/middle and I often find myself wondering if something has fallen out.

Attached to the top lid is the front flap which holds the default organizer for personal items and accessories such as pens, booklets and keys etc.

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

Under the flap on the front of the bag you have the large pocket which can hold more accessories, even a full sized camera body (no lens attached).

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

So what can I fit into this bag? Well, surprisingly a lot. Here’s the list:

– Pro DSLR Body with 50mm f/1.4 lens attached
– 35mm f/1.4
– 200mm f/2.8 (hood reversed)
– Flash
– Pocket Wizard
– Canonet 35mm film camera
– iPad
– Light meter
– Lens cloth
– Pens/pencil
– Business cards
– Notebooks
– Keys
– Batteries
– Pixel Pocket Rocket for CF Cards
– Lens filter
– Water bottle
– Rain cover (included with bag)

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

What do I find myself typically fitting into the bag for my day shoots?

– Pro DSLR Body
– 35mm f/1.4
– 200mm f/2.8 (hood reversed)
– Flash
– Pocket Wizard
– Canonet 35mm film camera
– Light meter
– Lens cloth
– Pens/pencil
– Business cards
– Keys
– Batteries
– Pixel Pocket Rocket for CF Cards
– Water bottle
– Rain cover (included with bag)

Think Tank Suburban Disguise 30

This is about the most I would ever want to carry as it starts to get heavy and in the way while working. Take out most accessories, extras, one lens and you’re set to shoot lightweight all day. With the quality shoulder pads on the straps, you won’t even feel the bag on your shoulder even if you did have some weight inside.

Over all this bag is as always well designed by Think Tank and worth the investment if you’re looking for a small day bag. It’s not total love for me but I would still recommend it to those looking for a small and light, well padded bag that fits just the basics. If you’re looking for a softer feel from a Think Tank bag that’s not so padded, try the Think Tank Retrospective series.

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