Review: ThinkTank Digital Holster™ 50 V2.0

Full Disclosure: I recently signed up for, and became a member of, the ThinkTank Photo affiliate program.  The current plan for the program is to use any funds generated to help with future Photowalk's put on by myself and Joe Sterne.  As part of this affiliate program, and in conjunction with our upcoming November Photowalk, ThinkTank Photo was kind enough to send me a Digital Holster 50 V2.0 for review.  I did not pay for this bag, nor was there any agreement or exchange made as a result of receiving this bag, other than the kindness of ThinkTank Photo.  What follows is my review of the bag.

I've had the Digital Holster 50 for about 2 weeks now, and have had a chance to play with, and use, this bag at a couple of events.  My initial thoughts on using this bag were a bit "meh" at first, as I couldn't see myself ever strapping a bag to my belt and using a holster-style bag out in the wild.  I was a backpack or shoulder-sling carrier for life, and had not yet considered the modular system presented by ThinkTank as an option.  Too many pieces to carry around and keep organized.

All of that changed, however, when I finally got to strap on this bag and take it for a spin.  My main usage came during the 2011 National Apple Harvest Festival, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania Apple Country, where I covered a small event for The Old Colony Company.  Knowing that I would be walking around quite a bit, and that the weather was going to be abnormally warm for a early-October day, I decided that it would be a great time to keep some of the pressure off of my shoulders, and use the Digital Holster to carry my Canon 1D mk ii with my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L mkii lens.  With an expandable bottom, the Digital Holster fit my body/lens combo perfectly!  I strapped my Canon 7D w/24-70L over my shoulder and was ready to go out into the festival and shoot.  

What followed was an extremely comfortable shoot over the course of roughly three hours that allowed me to take some great shots, some of which can be seen here.

 

What I liked about the bag: 

  • Despite my initial fears of the bag tugging my pants down during a shoot, the belt loop strap is actually quite comfortable, and even with the bohemoth I had holstered in this bag for most of the day, my pants stay firmly at my waistline
  • This bag is really comfortable to wear.  Weather you've got it attached to your belt, attached to something like this, or even using the included shoulder strap, the bag never felt uncomfortable even after 3 hours of use.
  • This bag has plenty of storage and protection for your gear.  Even with the combo that I had holstered, I still felt like my camera and lens were safe and protected and that I had plenty of room for accessories and business cards

 

What I didn't like about the bag:

It's tough to come up with things that I didn't like about this bag, but I can certainly think of a few improvements that might be made.

  • This bag could really benefit from some sort of velcro piece to keep the "lid" from flapping around when it's open.  For the most part, my walk was gentle and slow, so I never worried about keeping the bag open.  Occasionally, the lid would flap back closed and I would have to swing everything open again.
  • As nice as it was to have the extra flap in the bag to protect the back of your camera, I often times found myself tucking that into the bag because it really just got in the way
  • Not having a belt included made it so that I always had to wear a belt when using this bag.  That's not really a con, because I rarely shoot without pants, but you can see where that might get tough at time

 

 

Overall:

I really like this bag, and I think I'm starting to turn the corner on modular equipment.  I can definitely see an advantage to having this over something like the Retro 20 (which I also own) when you're in need of free range of motion.  It makes sense that the "Old West" gunslingers used holster to be quick on the draw, and that thought-process can apply to today's "On-the-go" photographer.  I've grown to love using this bag over the past few weeks and I'm really sad that I have to give it away, but I can certainly see another one of these making its way into my gear garage one day.  As with just about every other ThinkTank product that I own, this one really knocks it out of the park and was created with the Photographer in mind!

My Recommendation? If you've got any sort of set-up in the 70-200mm range, buy one of these right now.

Specs (from the website):

The Digital Holster 50 V2.0 is designed for pro size DSLRs such as the Nikon D3 series or the Canon 1D and 1Ds series. This is the only top loading bag for a pro size DSLR that can carry a 70-200 f2.8 with the lens hood either reversed or in position, ready to shoot. An industry first!

Top Features:

  • “Pop Down” increases bag height for a lens hood or a telephoto lens
  • Lens hood can remain attached, REVERSED or IN POSITION
  • Side attachment rail for connecting a small ModularSkin, orMultimedia component to holster
  • Contemporary design and form fitting shape for digital SLRs
  • Attaches to all Think Tank belts and Think Tank bags with Modular Rails
  • Removable shoulder strap included


Gear Profile:

  • COMPATIBLE LENSES - POP DOWN RETRACTED: 24-70 f2.8 with hood EXTENDED (Canon or Nikon); 70-200 f2.8 with hood REVERSED (Canon or Nikon); 300 f4 with the hood REVERSED (Canon or Nikon)
  • COMPATIBLE LENSES - POP DOWN EXTENDED 70-200 f2.8 with hood EXTENDED (Canon or Nikon); 300 f4 with the hood EXTENDED (Canon or Nikon)


Technical Specifications:

  • ID: 7.25” W x 7.25” H x 11.25–14.25” D (18.4 x 18.4 x 28.6–36.2 cm)
    ED: 8” W x 8” H x 13–16” D (20.3 x 20.3 x 33–44.6 cm)
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
  • Lifetime Warranty

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