Think Tank Retrospective 5 or Tenba DNA 8

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by davidzvi, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Trying to decide between the Think Tank Retrospective 5 and the Tenba DNA 8 on a basis other than price.

    Repro Pluses:
    • More pockets / might be better for organization
    • A little bigger, but not too big
    • Style
    Cons:
    • Thinner padding
    • No clip, only velcro

    DNA Pluses:
    • More padding
    • More secure closure
    • Top zipper access to bag without opening flap
    • removable insert
    Cons:
    • Small front pockets
    • Fewer organization options
    • More tradition style

    The closure of the Retro and thinner padding are my main concerns. I had a Lowepro bag that had a clip closure and velcro but I did not clip it one time and picked it up be the back handle. Stuff dumped out, including a new Samsung 10.1 2014 tablet that ended up with a cracked screen. It wasn't a good day. I know part of the problem with that bag was the way the handle was attached. It was designed (or seemed to be) so that the bottom part of the bag pressed again you keeping he bag vertical. So it naturally tilted. It also was not proportionally tall, but long and wide, which I think did not help.

    I'm tempted to just get the Tenba, but everyone seems to be going crazy for the Retro 5 that it makes me think I should not be worried.

    Thoughts on one or the other?
     
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Oh, and if you like the Retro, which color? Is Pinestone Gray really green, gray, or tan? When you do a search you find pictures that look like all three.
     
  3. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I haven't seen the Tenba bag in real life, but actually own the ThinkTank (in black, though I think I'd go for the gray one next time) and really like it; it's my favourite dedicated camera bag (though I have to say that I use some generic camera pouch in my Timbuk2 messenger bag most of the time).

    The handle isn't connected to the flap, so no danger there. The velcro is also quite strong (at least for now) - though I'd not lift it up on the flap anyway. The only risk I really see is actually an advantage: The velcro can be covered up in order to make opening the bag noiseless.#

    I don't see any issue with the padding as long as you don't intend any real rough treatment of your gear and bag. I feel it's safe enough.

    The bag has turned out to be very versatile and practical. If I want or need to carry my E-M10 with all (five!) lenses and/or the flash, it's the best solution I have come across (and I actually own a whole boatload of bags ...).

    The tablet pocket won't accommodate a 10'' tablet - my Nexus 7 fits in nicely, however.

    I have actually seen an alternative, but it's quite expensive: The Billingham Hadley Digital (or Small if you need a little more space) is a bag that has it all and looks the part. But it's more than twice the price of the ThinkTank. Another alternative I didn't buy in the end was a CaseLogic Reflexion Small - very nice bag with tons of features and a removable pouch, but bigger than the ThinkTank and with a zipper (though cleverly made) instead of a flap, so deploy time is quite a bit slower ... In fact, why not go the route of messenger bag with dedicated pouch? You get tons of viable and versatile solutions that way ...

    M.
     
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  4. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    I've been looking at messengers and pouches, still looking.

    Billinghams are nice but if I'm going to sleep in the dog house I might as well get a Wotancraft Ryker. :wink:

    Have you seen the gray? The images around the web make me really question what color it really is.
     
  5. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Yes, I've seen the gray one. It's a nice subdued gray, quite stylish. I was after a black bag in the first place and didn't really take it into account. I might get the 7 at some point - in gray.

    M.
     
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  6. PhillyBill

    PhillyBill Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    Jan 5, 2012
    William Jordan
    I own the Retro 5 in black. Very well designed, so much so that your "cons" have not been a concern. As one person pointed out, the handle is on the edge, not the center, so you can't accidentally pull open the velcro closures and dump out the contents. The padding is also not a problem, as there are pockets on all sides of the bag, which when filled with memory cards, batteries, filters, bags, etc, create extra protection for the camera and lenses.

    It is the best designed bag I have ever owned.

    And, as an added bonus, I bought it for $20 new with tags and the rain cover, in a pawn shop!
     
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  7. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I just got the Tenba DNA 8 because I wanted something small for daily carry on a trip. I can easily fit an EM1 w/12-40 attached, 17 f1.8 w/hood, and 40-150 f3.5-5.6 IIR with hood reversed, plus the small hotshoe flash, extra batteries, filters, SD cards, camera wipes, etc. Pocket tripod or bigger flash can fit in the outside pockets. Like I said, it's quite small. I wanted the removable camera insert because I plan to transport my camera gear inside my backpack and squish the DNA 8 bag into the suitcase. The zippered opening on top on the Tenba bags for being able to grab the camera without opening the entire bag or exposing its contents is what sells me on Tenba bags. I also considered the Think Tank Citywalker 10, which has similar qualities except that it doesn't have a top zipper. If it had, I might have bought it instead. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
     
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  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Guess it would help to know what I plan on putting into it.

    E-M10 / gripped with Pan 14 and hood
    Sigma 30 & 60
    Body cap fish
    Olympus 12-50

    And sometimes anther zoom like the 40-150, this might be the hard one. Or at least be too much.

    That's actually why the removable insert was a plus for me as well. I have a larger messenger Domke that I use when traveling. Right now my Domke F-5XB, tablets (mine and my better half), phone chargers, + other electronics all fit in the larger Domke. The Retro and DNA 8 probably would as well. But the insert surely would.

    Have been able to directly compare the DNA and a Retrospective side by side?
     
  9. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Regular

    163
    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I'm holding out for the Retrospective 6 and the DNA 9.5. :)

    In the meantime, I just ordered a Think-Tank Turnstyle 10 at Boxing-Day prices. We'll see how that works compared to a Hubba-Hubba Hiney.

    Seriously, the Retrospectives and DNA's are great looking bags, but both lines seem almost over-padded to me.
     
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  10. JYPfoto

    JYPfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    268
    Aug 27, 2013
    The DNA 8 is a really small bag, I don't think you'll be able to fit your gear in that bag. I still have the bag and if you want I'll try it with my various lenses in my profile, but it fit my EOS M camera and extra lens and flash comfortably, but I don't know if you can fit all that. If they made a DNA a little bigger than the 8 but smaller than the 11 that would be a good compromise.
     
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  11. desmoface

    desmoface Mu-43 Regular

    171
    Jan 16, 2012
    That Tenba looks really nice - I looked long and hard for quite a while and settled on the retro 5 - it holds my em5, zuiko 25mm and the 12-50 kit lens, along with the charger & cable. Build quality is as good as it gets with the think tank. I suspect you would be happy with either bag.

    Steve
     
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  12. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I do not have a Retrospective to compare with, but the Retro doesn't have a removable insert or a top zipper, which led me to look elsewhere.
     
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  13. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    Hehehe... That's what I said to Peter Waisnor, who was kind enough to respond to my questions about the DNA bags - "a DNA between the 8 and the 11 would be perfect." :)

    They came out with the DNA 13 recently, which is larger than the DNA 11. I mulled over exchanging the DNA 8 for a DNA 11, but the 11 still seems a little too big for using on the trip I'm planning. I had earlier bought a BBP camera insert, which is quite a bit larger than the DNA 8's insert. The BBP will fit in my backpack, and as it turns out, the DNA 8 insert fits neatly inside the BBP insert. So, I can put both in my backpack and have enough room left over in the BBP to stuff the FL600 flash, pocket tripod, and an EM5 spare body, I think. When I'm out and about, I'll put just what I think I'll need in the DNA 8 and leave the rest behind in the hotel safe. I've found that 90% of my travel shots are made with something like the 12-40 (used a 12-50 earlier). I don't feel that having everything with me all the time is critical.

    I wouldn't say they were overpadded, unless you're comparing it to other bags that have almost no padding. :)

    I seriously considered the Turnstyle too, because I like sling bags. But, in trying to minimize my travel carries, I settled on taking one small roll-around suitcase and a backpack. A separate camera bag was too much, as I found on our trip to Japan about a year ago. Taking a backpack to function as a camera bag plus a carry-on cabin bag is too much and too big. I'd even considered a Mind Shift Rotation 180 Panorama backpack, which has a camera beltpack that is removable. As others have recommended on this site - I decided to have one solution for transport and another for every day carry.

    Anyway, that's what led me here. :)
     
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  14. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Peter over at Tenba is seems very very nice and real. Was surprised when I spoke with hime last year. I really didn't expect when I call ed to ask a question about something that's who I would be put through to, but I ended up having a nice 15-20 minute conversation with him.

    As for fitting the stuff in. The 30 and 60 should fit stacked on one side. They just fit stacked in the Domke and bothe of these are taller. I might get a set of generic caps and glue them together. That way the 14/30/60 would all just swap position. I figure the 9mm body caps fish would go on the end of the Tenba or in one of the side inside main compartments pockets on the Retro. That just leaves swapping the 12-50 and 40-150 in and out when I need to. Though I was hoping I could lay them down and stack then with a pad between.

    The Retro is over an inch taller, so I was thinking it should be fine. While the Tenba has the access through the top so there should be no worries there.

    Given that configuration what do you think?

    I seem the Retro would fit easier since it is a hair larger and is that a plus that the padding is thinner and takes up less room?
     
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  15. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    In my limited testing, I was able to put the 40-150 on one side of the insert, the 17mm f1.8 with attached hood and the OEM flash on the other side, and the EM1 with the 12-40 attached in the middle, lens down. That leaves the EM1 with my most often used walk around lens ready for quick access. There was a little room on the 17mm side for something small. I didn't try stuffing the front pockets or end pockets on the DNA 8.
     
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  16. aaronlongphoto

    aaronlongphoto Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Apr 2, 2013
    Louisville KY
    Aaron Long
    I own the retro 5 in pinestone and I love it, one of my favorite bags to date.
     
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  17. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    776
    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    Ditto here on the Think Tank 5 Pinestone. Great bag, lots of pockets, various sizes. Removable inserts. You can carry a lot of gear in one of those. The Velcro tabs can be adjusted so they hold really tight, or not so tight (not so loud).
     
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  18. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Well based on size, the DNA 8 being to small, I have a retrospective 5 pinestone in it's way. Thanks all.
     
  19. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Well the Retro 5 is here. Definitely greener than I thought it would be, but OK I guess. Less camera bag like at any rate.

    Plenty of room for everything I want to carry, might even be enough for another lens or two, we'll have to see. It is heavier than the Domke F-5XB I have. But loaded with everything its still lighter by a pound than my D800 + 70-200 + SB-910 that I carry on my shoulder for events so......

    Found a few simple solutions to some of the complaints I noticed on line, "Padding" and the "useless small outside end pockets". I killed two birds with one stone as it were. I just stuffed one each of the small dividers in each of the end pockets, put the pockets to use and increased the end padding. For the back I just stuck the rain cover in the back inside pocket spread out, adds a bit more there and stores it fine. I haven't decided if the bottom needs it but simple enough to add one of the many dividers I have laying around under the pad that's there.