Think Tank Modular Components and Pro Speed Belt Review

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There are two kinds of reviews. There are first impressions, “fresh-out-of-the-box” reviews, and there are those (usually more useful) that come later, after the reviewer has had a chance to really put the product through its paces. Considering that I’ve been using the Think Tank Pro Speed Belt and Modular Components for almost ten years, I’d say that this review falls squarely within the second category.

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The Think Tank Pro Speed Belt, combined with elements of the Modular Component System makes carrying and accessing your gear while on location easier and more convenient.

If you’ve been doing this long enough, you know that the right bag for getting you TO the gig is not always the right bag for getting you THROUGH the gig. You event photographers know what I mean. Whether it’s sports, concerts, weddings, or general location shooting, chances are good that at some point your bag has frustrated the hell out of you. Big and bulky may be great for safe transit, but you need lean and convenient once you’re inside the stadium, arena, or church.

My favorite solution to the problem is the Think Tank Pro Speed Belt with the Modular Component System. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Batman and have a utility belt of your very own, now’s your chance. Think Tank offers a wide selection of components for the belt, ranging from lens pouches and accessory bags, to a holder for your water bottle. The modular components have more padding and removable inserts than the skin set, but both have their pros and cons (e.g., heavier and more protection vs. lighter and less protection).

Note: I should note that in the almost ten years since I started using this system, Think Tank has introduced Version 2, slightly updating each of the components. The pieces you see in the photos are from Version 1, but all are available in the newer models.

This review covers only the six modular components I actually own. I’ve never used all six at once. Just like I have different camera bags for different types of assignments, I can tailor the belt and its components in the same way. All have the high-quality construction I’ve come to expect from Think Tank, from the water-resistant materials and stitching, to the durable zippers and padded inserts. All components have their own removable rain covers, and are designed to either rotate freely around the bag (perfect for redistributing the weight when necessary), or be “locked” in place via the loops on the belt.

The Belt

Made of nylon webbing, three-ply bonded nylon thread, and high-density closed cell foam, the belt is comfortable, durable, and comes in four sizes.

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Modular components can either rotate freely around the belt, or be “locked” in place using the loops around the padded section.

Speed Changer

The Speed Changer is an incredibly versatile bag, and is my favorite belt component. It’s a bit deceptive-looking, actually capable of holding quite a bit more than it would seem from a quick glance at the outside. This is where I usually pack extra memory cards and batteries, as well as my cell phone, business cards, notebook, pens, lens cloth, energy bar, and more. Removing the padded insert allows enough space for a pro-sized DSLR body without a lens attached and a few small accessories. This is also a great belt pouch for assistants, who are often in charge of keeping spare batteries and accessories close at hand.

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The Speed Changer is a multi-use pouch that can hold a wide array of necessary accessories.

Lightning Fast (Strobe Stuff in V2)

The Lightning Fast is a pouch designed to hold a standard speedlight (Nikon SB900, Canon 600EX) with the included diffuser attached.

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The Lightning Fast (Strobe Stuff) holds a professional speedlight with diffuser attached, and has a pocket for extra batteries.

Lens Changer 50

The Lens Changer 50 is designed around wide-angle lenses like the 16-35mm f/2.8 or 17-40mm f/2.8. It’s a great pouch for carrying the lens with either caps and hood in their closed and reversed positions, or with the lens hood in its shoot-ready position.  As shown in the photo, I also occasionally use the LC50 for my 70-200mm f/2.8. It doesn’t fit completely–especially not with the hood in a shoot-ready position–but it still works well when I’m trying to travel light.

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The LC50 is designed for wide-angle lenses, but can securely hold a 70-200mm as well.

Lens Changer 35

The LC35 is almost identical to the LC50, and holds my 24-70mm f/2.8 with the lens hood in its shoot-ready position.

Lens Changer 75 Pop Down

The LC75 is the one lens pouch in the line that is expandable. In its shorter size, it holds the 70-200mm f/2.8 with the hood reversed. By unzipping the bottom, the pouch expands to accommodate the lens with the hood in its shoot-ready position.

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The LC75 Pop Down (worn in the middle in this photo), is expandable, able to hold the 70-200mm lens with the hood in the shoot-ready position. The Lens Drop (to the left of the LC75) is a versatile pouch with many uses.

Lens Drop

Don’t let the name worry you. The Lens Drop is a very secure and versatile pouch. Designed primarily for standard zooms and small primes, I’ve used it for every thing from lenses to small water bottles. Most of the time, though, I keep it empty. It gives me a place to put the lens that just came off the camera until I get the new lens on the camera. Without an empty pouch on the belt, I’d have to stop and find someplace to put the lens down until I had a free pouch for it. Keeping an empty pouch available lets me change lenses while I’m on the move. The Lens Drop is pictured above, directly to the left of the LC75 Pop Down.

Also Available But Not Pictured

  • Lens Changer 15 – Great for small primes, teleconverters, and most kit lenses with hood in shooting position.
  • Lens Changer 25 – Holds a regular zoom like the 24-70mm with hood reversed.
  • R U Hot? – Holds a large water bottle (Not included).
  • Stuff It & Little Stuff It – Perfect for small accessories and personal items.
  • Digital Holsters – Available in five sizes, the holsters carry bodies with lenses attached.

My favorite configuration of the bag is the Speed Changer for accessories and the Lightning Fast (Strobe Stuff in V2.0) for my speedlight. I’ll also add on the appropriate lens pouch for whatever back-up I’m carrying. If a traditional shoulder bag or backpack is giving you fits once you get to the shoot, consider the Think Tank Modular Components and Pro Speed Belt for a more convenient and even distribution of the weight around your waist, and for keeping everything at your fingertips.

Just like Batman.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Think Tank Modular Components and Pro Speed Belt
Author Rating
5

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Jeff Guyer

is a commercial/portrait photographer based in Atlanta, GA. Still an avid street photographer and film shooter, Jeff also launched a kids photography class called: Digital Photo Challenges.

  • Gallopingphotog

    Love my Think Tank set. When I travel, I pack bodies, lenses, etc. into the modules for extra protection inside my main bag. Then customize the belt for what I am doing daily. Great for hiking — much easier to balance than a single bag. Also don’t have to worry about setting a bag down. I like your idea of having the Lens Drop available and will definitely be checking out adding this to my stuff.

  • Richard Taylor

    I have been using the Think Tank Modular set for about 6 years now, mostly when shooting motor racing. I don’t use the lens changers as I normally shoot with two bodies (one of the components on my belt is a holster). The only thing is that when the belt is loaded up you may want to use a Think Tank Harness to help distribute the weight. You can also attach Lowepro lens cases and these make great insulated frozen water bottle holders when shooting on those very hot days. There is no problem in wearing a media vest over the harness.

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    Thanks for the tips, Richard!

  • Daniel Bird

    I use most of the same components you do and think they’re great products, totally functional and well-built. I think the cutesy names are sometimes over the top.

  • John Klare Jr

    I have a couple systems and have had the TT for the past 3 … without question the best I have. Most of the time I shoot with just the belt but if I have to load up I throw on the shoulder straps and I am in business. All attachments are well designed and all are totally functional. I would recommend it to anyone!

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    Thanks for the packing tip. 🙂

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    Thanks for the input, Daniel.

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    Thanks for weighing in, John.

  • Brenda Sison

    Thanks for this review. I had been thinking of getting the think tank line!
    Brenda Sison
    http://www.sisonphoto.com

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    You’re welcome, Brenda. Let us know how it works out.

  • Brenda Sison

    Will do!

  • Hey Daniel, Thankks for the feedback – noted!

  • Life Camera Creation

    Great post going to try this out thanks so much! http://www.lifecameracreation.com

  • Jeffrey Guyer

    Glad to help! Let me know how it works out.

  • Life Camera Creation

    Ok I just ordered the Modular skin set as well thought I would be able to use this with my wife…

  • alok kuamr

    hey friends please see the
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  • Carson

    May I know what is the different bewteen the Pro Speed Belt V1.0 and V2.0??

  • Richard Taylor

    I also use a Think Tank Harness as it helps a lot when distributing the load when the belt is loaded up.

  • marinsd

    I have a really bad back so am trying to get away from backpacks or slingbags and these belts look intriguing. I spoke with the always helpful guys at Think Tank and they suggested also adding either the pixel racing harness or Keep it up shoulder harness. I’m not looking to carry a lot of gear – just mirrorless camera, plus an extra lens and water bottle. If anyone has experience with these belts, would you still recommend the added shoulder support or will the belt work well without one of them? Thx.

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