ThinkTank’s Vision 15 camera bag is one in a line of stylish camera and computer shoulder bags built for photographers who want a functional bag that looks good walking down the street. It’s designed for someone who wants easy access to their gear and isn’t looking for a backpack.
The Vision 15 has a host of features that I enjoyed while testing. These include:
Fits a DSLR mounted on a long lens
I love my 28-300mm L lens (the same size as a 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-400mm L lens) and this bag does a grand job of storing it while attached. ThinkTank, in their literature, mentions leaving the camera unattached, but I found the combination just barely fits, with easy, quick access.
Great organization for extras
Inside the spacious main compartment is space enough for a few lenses and speedlights. There are both vertical and horizontal padded dividers to protect your shorter lens stacked one on the other.
All the dividers have velcro on each side, so they can be attached to either long side of the bag or to other dividers. I usually travel with a long lens attached and a wide angle lens stored. This means I have room for: smaller Sony RX-100 V, waterproof cover (included with bag), battery pack for phone and tablet, glasses case, power brick for laptop and DJI Osmo Pocket. And there is still more room in there.
It can handle a portable office
If your bag is not just for your camera, but for all the other items you want with you on a shoot or day out of the office, this bag can carry most of it.
The Vision 15 can manage a 15″ laptop and a 10″ tablet. The laptop sleeve is padded on the back and bottom while the tablet slot is found on the zippered front pocket.
That front pocket has a host of other slots to hold pens, business cards, large phones, cables, and keys (with a tether and clip so that don’t get lost). And it still has ample pocket space for books, batteries, chargers and all the other little things that join you on the road.
An added bit of security to the main compartment
While the generous top flap of the bag keeps the elements at bay, a secondary zippered flap will help keep prying hands away. The flap has velcro to help hold it in place, meaning it will open when the main flap opens and close when it closes. Or zip up the inner flap for an added sense of security. It can also be tucked under the main flap to keep it out of the way for quicker access.
Expandable bottle holder
This little design aesthetic impressed me when I wasn’t expecting it to. Velcro keeps the bottle holder closed when not in use, reducing the chance that it will get caught on something. Plus it looks more stylish this way.
But when you need to hold your coffee or water bottle, just expand the pocket to one of two sizes for a (nearly) custom fit.
Tough, coated bottom
While the bag’s fabric is stylish and does a good job of resisting stains and water, the bottom is made of beefed-up waterproof tarpaulin. This tough option makes for easy clean up when the bag is placed in anything but the most pristine locations. A quick wipe with a damp cloth keeps it clean and your contents dry.
Front and back book/papers pockets
On the back of the bag is a large pocket for books or notebooks. This is a great spot to place quick-at-hand items, and I use it for my calendar and main notebook.
On the front of the bag is a smaller pocket. While you could fit a book in there, it presses against the organizer pocket behind it. While is looks good in photos, it’s not useful for thick items.
Generously padded shoulder strap and carry handle
The bag comes with two main modes of transport: a padded shoulder strap and a carry handle on top. The padding on the shoulder strap is generous and the strap itself has a wide range of adjustment for a variety of torsos. However, the top carry handle only works when you remember to clip the top flap shut. Still, it is a secure way to get the bag in and out of your car for a quick grab.
It fits easily under a seat on a plane
I’ve tested the bag under economy coach seats on 737s and smaller planes with ease. There is ample room and the bag doesn’t scratch along the underside of the seat.
Not so artful tripod holder
On a bag like this, the tripod attachment goes in the only location it can; on the bottom. ThinkTank uses their attachment straps (which can be removed when not in use, as shown above) to allow for a variety of tripod sizes. There’s really no other place for a tripod to go and the clips do an adequate job.
Roller Bag Passthrough
For those who love their roller bags for airports, the back of the Vision 15 has a slot for your roller bag handle to pass through.
While this bag has a lot going for it, I find the pockets get full fast. Even just throwing a Mindshift card wallet into the front pocket will expand it enough to press on the other pockets. Toss in a charger and Miops cable release as pictured above and you quickly start puffing the bag up, unlike a backpack-style bag.
Don’t expect to comfortably carry a full-size tripod on the bottom of this bag. The length would make things unwieldy. Also, with the tripod attached, you suddenly don’t have an easy way to set down the bag.
I tested the bag in use on my job for a month, which included travel on four different flights up an down the West Coast. Its smaller form factor (compared to my normal backpack) is welcome as it packs into my car trunk easily and was effortless to remove, thanks to its clean lines and lack of straps like a backpack.
Opening and accessing contents is straightforward and I left the velcro attachment connected on the inside lid most of the time. Yet, when I had to set the bag down a couple of times in less than ideal situations, that inner zipper was nice to employ. I never did use the rain cover but I am glad they shipped the bag with a black cover to keep it stylish.
The ThinkTank Vision 15 is a very useful shoulder bag. While it can’t quite hold all I like to carry (no space for a drone), it holds all you need on a day-to-day basis when away from the office all day. It easily holds a long lens as well as battery packs, chargers, cards, tablet and laptop. It can easily handle four lenses and a flash, while the padded shoulder strap makes carrying that load bearable.
While the Vision 15 is sized for a 15″ laptop, they have two other, smaller sizes (which cut out the space for a tablet) that might fit your particular setup better.