July 16, 2012

Review: Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 60 V2.0


Over a year ago, Think Tank Photo sent me an Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 to use daily during my freelance assignments.  The Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 (UD60) is the second largest shoulder bag in the Urban Disguise line and the largest Think Tank Photo laptop-compatible shoulder bag.

Upon first packing, I immediately fell in love with the UD60.  Its build quality is top notch, it offers plenty of modular options, and it held my complete day's worth of gear for most editorial assignments.  Within the first few months of use, I thought the UD60 was the perfect shoulder bag for the professional photographer.

The Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 has more pockets, pouches, nooks and crannies than an English Muffin.  It starts with a huge and expandable main camera compartment capable of swallowing two pro sized bodies with half a dozen lenses or so, a separate padded laptop compartment capable of holding most 17" laptops, and two external mesh pouches for water bottles or other accessories.  There is a zippered pass-through on the rear of the bag to slide over the handle of your Airport Series roller or other regular suitcases.

Moving to the front of the bag, there is a massive front pocket which houses the pen and business card organizer, a few small pockets for laptop accessories, and a leash for your Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket CF and SD card holder (included).  Flip that front pocket up and there are a few more useful pockets, including the main compartment expansion zipper and a flat zippered pocket good for storing Pocket Wizard triggers, flashes, and cables.  Finally, there is a massive modular front pouch where you can store magazines and notebooks or two pro sized camera bodies without lenses.

The Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise line is hugely diverse and is sure to have one size which fits your needs:
Urban Disguise 35 V2.0 – 10.5"W x 13.5"H x 6"D, Holds most 13" laptops.
Urban Disguise 40 V2.0 – 14"W x 11"H x 5.5"D.
Urban Disguise 50 V2.0 – 15"W x 11"H x 7"D, Holds most 15" laptops.
Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 – 16.5"W x 12"H x 7"D, Holds most 17" laptops.
Urban Disguise 70 V2.0 – 15"W x 12.5"H x 7.5"D.


Continue after the break to read the full review:


About six months into ownership of the Think Tank Photo Urban Disguise 60 V2.0, my lust for the perfect bag was crippled while walking 500 feet from my car to a NCAA Division 1 women's volleyball game.  While lifting a fully loaded UD60 over my head, I turned a tight corner in the parking garage staircase three flights up.  A sharp jolt of pain filled my back and I nearly rolled down the remaining stairs.  My night was over.

I had a difficult time walking down the rest of the stairs, across the lawn to the gymnasium, around the court for coverage, and back up the three flights of stairs again.  I hurt my back walking to an assignment and couldn't perform when I needed to.  I made a mistake by overloading the UD60 and paid for it in physical pain.

At 23 years old with a beefy 6'7" and 235 pound frame, overloading the UD60 never crossed my mind.  I was carrying my basic indoor sports gear for a local newspaper, including:
Pocket Wizards for remote triggering
– Card reader

The same sharp jolt of pain returned a month later while loading a similarly packed bag into my car en route to another assignment.  At that time, I vowed to change my luggage system because I could not afford to be injured during an assignment.  At the end of the night, editors expect images not excuses.

The UD60 is a great bag.  It's large and holds everything I need it to, it's easy to work out of with the large main compartment zipper, it offers enough pockets to keep me organized and working efficiently. It even makes air travel easier and more comfortable due to its shape and roller handle pass-through.

Unfortunately though, after a year of ownership, the UD60 is not the bag for me.  I've proven to have a lack of self-control while packing the bag and have paid the price twice.  I've since moved to the Think Tank Photo Shapeshifter backpack, which holds the same amount of gear as the UD60 but splits the load on two shoulders instead of one.  If I can leave my laptop in the trunk, I take the Retrospective 30 and Artificial Intelligence 30 V3.0 instead.


The Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 is tall enough to fit a 70-200mm f/2.8 IS with the hood ready to shoot.

The Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 easily holds a Pro Sized body with a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS, both with hoods ready to shoot, in the main compartment.

The Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 holds up to a 17" laptop in a rear dedicated and padded compartment.

Top view of the Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 loaded with a Pro Sized body with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS, and a 15" MacBook Pro.

Think Tank Photo supplies beefy strap connectors with the entire line of Urban Disguise bags.  I have no worries about these handling the heavy loads the UD60 V2.0 can carry.

Lockable YKK zippers add a layer of protector to your laptop and items in the main compartment.  The zippers are smooth, sturdy, and easy to pull.

The supplied shoulder strap is thick and well padded.  Take note that the strap will take a few days to break-in and soften up.

The shoulder side of the supplied shoulder strap is rubberized and offers tons of grip while beating traffic across the intersection.

The entire Urban Disguise line offer beautiful leather handles, which are both comfortable and convenient.

Flip the front pouch of the Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 up to reveal a modular front pouch, a zippered pocket, and the main compartment expansion zipper.

The modular front pouch can hold magazines and notebooks or a Velcro divider can be raised to hold 2 Pro Sized bodies.  The Canon 7D with BG-E7 battery grip is seen in on section here.

While I do enjoy the Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 and can strongly recommend it and any other bag from the Urban Disguise line, do be careful with how you load it.  The bag gets heavy quick, which may do more harm than good.  If you only need to carry camera equipment, consider the Retrospective line of shoulder bags, which are much easier to work out of.  If you need to carry only a laptop and accessories, look into the Artificial Intelligence series of cases.  They are slim and hold more than enough for a mobile workstation.  Lastly, if you need to carry both at the same time, consider a Think Tank Photo backpack instead of a heavy shoulder bag.


Where to buy:

You can order your Urban Disguise 60 V2.0 shoulder bag directly from Think Tank Photo.  All orders over $50 receive a FREE gift.

B&H PhotoAdorama, and Amazon also carry Think Tank Photo products but you won't receive the free gift.


2 comments:

  1. Hey Stan,

    Thanks for the blog post, I feel your pain. I had a similar experience with a shoulder bag from another, undisclosed brand. Standing 6'5" tall, I too didn't consider the effects of over-weighting my bag. In my search for another bag that would expand the life expectancy of my back, I run into the Airport series from Think Tank Photo. Have you considered those?

    I settled for the Airport TakeOff because it's both a roller and a backpack. I use it as a roller 90% of the time, but can just whip out the backpack straps and throw it on my back for those times where rolling around isn't that easy. Ever since I took that bag out for a roll, I haven't looked back at the various shoulder/backpacks I have laying around at home.

    Greetings from Holland!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for joining the blog all the way from Holland!

      I also own the Think Tank Photo Airport International V2.0 roller, which is similar in size to your TakeOff but doesn't offer shoulder straps. While I do wish the International had shoulder straps to make carrying up and down stairs easier, I do LOVE that roller. Like you said, once the weight is off your body completely and rolling behind you, there's no better feeling.

      I only use my roller for assignments where I have a place to set up or if I need to carry all of my equipment. This includes sporting events, corporate or personal events, studio sessions, or location-based portraits.

      You can view the Think Tank Photo Airport International V2.0 Roller here – http://bit.ly/sO3Ans


      Cheers!

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