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From messenger bags to suitcases, camera bags today come in just about every shape and form. After spending years tinkering mainly with backpacks and belt packs, I decided to try out a relatively new type of camera bag: the Think Tank TurnStyle sling bag. With its unique body-conforming design, and the rugged durability that comes with all Think Tank products, the TurnStyle has quickly become my new favorite camera bag. Here’s why:
First off, it’s important to know that the TurnStyle bag comes in two colors (charcoal or slate blue) and three sizes. TurnStyle 5 is the smallest, meant to haul compact mirrorless camera systems, while TurnStyle 20 is the largest, capable of carrying a standard DSLR with a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, plus another lens. Right in the middle of these two bags is the one I opted for: the TurnStyle 10, which could purportedly hold a standard DSLR with a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached. This is where I had a bit of a gripe with the bag off the bat.
While the TurnStyle 10 is definitely a roomy bag, it couldn’t exactly hold my Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached. The camera with lens does fit into the bag, but it won’t even come close to zipping up. (Note: I figured out I can make it fit if I take out all the dividers).
What does fit, albeit on the snug side, is my Canon 6D with the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens attached; in this setup, there are two more lens compartments open that can hold small or medium-sized lenses or a Canon Speedlite. In the above photo, the configuration shows a Canon 6D with 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens attached, a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, and a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.
What definitely will not fit in this bag is a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, unless it’s the only thing the bag is carrying. This makes the TurnStyle 10 a perfect travel photography camera bag, assuming you’re carrying a smaller DSLR body, and relatively few accessories. If you intend to carry a heavy-duty DSLR kit, the TurnStyle 20 will be a more accommodating size.
By far the best part of the TurnStyle bag series is its body-conforming design. Initially, the idea of the bag only having one strap may make it seem like you’ll end up carrying too much weight on one side of your body, but that is far from the case. The thickly padded single shoulder strap does indeed contour your body nicely, making even the heaviest gear bag feel relatively lightweight. This overall design makes the TurnStyle bag by far the most ergonomic camera bag I’ve ever used.
Another positive design feature is the ability to easily rotate the bag from your back to your chest, for quick access to your gear without having to take the bag off. You could even adjust the strap’s length, and turn the bag into a belt pack for better accessibility.
Similar to all other Think Tank products, the exterior components of the TurnStyle are highly durable and visually appealing. The bag’s exterior is made of rip-stop polyester with a water-repellant coating, and all zippers are abrasion-resistant. That is the say, this bag holds up even when you expose it to the elements, making it perfect for taking on your next photo safari vacation.
The TurnStyle’s main compartment for holding your camera gear, comes with removable foam dividers so that you can customize the interior padding, based on what you’re carrying. There is also has a padded back pocket for holding a tablet or paperwork, and a larger zippered pocket on the front of the bag for holding essentials such as your wallet, cell phone, memory cards, etc. Finally, there is the signature component that accompanies all Think Tank bags: a dedicated rain cover that shields your bag from the elements.
So is the Think Tank TurnStyle bag right for you? Honestly, it comes down to how much gear you want to carry with you. While you could combine this bag with a waist pack or shoulder bag to hold more gear, you experience the full benefits of the TurnStyle bag when carrying minimal gear. In this sense, it’s best suited for travel or street photographers, shooting with mirrorless or smaller DSLR cameras. If you plan to carry a longer telephoto lens, you’re probably better off with either the larger TurnStyle bag, or a different style altogether.
Have you tried out a sling-style camera bag? What were your thoughts on it? Do you have another favorite bag? Please share in the comments below.