Think Tank Shape Shifter, Video Review

In GEAR, Video podcast by David20 Comments – Think Tank Photo Shape Shifter Bag Reviewed.

I can’t tell you how painful this video technology is for me. I did this yesterday and between the chainsaw guys outside my window, my cats getting in the way, and the pain inflicted by iMovie, it’s a wonder I didn’t end up on a rooftop with a rifle, let alone actually finishing this and posting it.

It’s on Vimeo at the suggestion of my savvy wife and some of you. This should work. No doubt there are all kinds of subtle crappy problems with audio, etc. I’ll learn. Lemme know if you have problems.

Update: Once you’ve seen mine, take a look at Matt Brandon’s addendum / smart-ass response to it, if only to get a glimpse of the kind of sarcasm I have to deal with on our Lumen Dei tours.


  1. Video is the only way to review a camera bag. That 10 minutes explained more then any amount of photos or text could have.

    Love the cat. A nice personal touch.

  2. David, Thanks for the great review.
    I was looking at this bag (online) and also the streetwalker harddrive. I know they are (totally) different beasts, but in the end which one is easier to use actually? The ShapeShifter seems (at least on video) bigger then I thought, or is it about the same size as the Harddrive?
    I have already too many TT bags actually ;-(

    Thanks again for all your great posts!

  3. Author

    Jo. First things first, lets never ever say “I already have too many” when it comes to bags. I thought I’d taught you better than that. 🙂

    The two bags are very different. Without dragging them out and checking – it’s 5am, my wife is still asleep and wouldn’t love that – I can’t tell you which is bigger but go to and check the specs. As for easier to use – probably the Streetwalker. It’s more solid and more flexible in terms of how you configure it and use it. For the use I described in the video, it’s the Shape Shifter for me, but if I were looking for a more every-day haul my gear, access it for easy shooting, I’d pick the Streetwalker bags.

    Hope this helps.

  4. I’d worry about the length of the Shape Shifter if trying to use it as my personal item. I was just on a Northwest flight for which the maximum length for one’s personal item is 15″. (These days I always check baggage allowances.) The Shape Shifter is 20″ long. I’m not sure how one would hide those 5″, and I guarantee that there’s a gate agent out there somewhere waiting to check. I’ve found it easier to hide excess weight than it is to hide excess dimensions.

  5. Author

    Jeffrey – I agree, it’s a risk either way, I’m just kind of trying to hedge my bets. End of day, there’s no good way of doing this except to go in under-weight and we all know how likely THAT is! 🙂

  6. That was a great, informative, and funny little review. Scripting the cat was genius. Other video (or posts) on traveling with gear would be great. I’m with Joe, I didn’t know before today that I needed a bag like this 🙂

  7. Great video! all reviews should be done on a video.. the bag seems great might be giving myself a gift this month 😉

  8. I have a very small, collapsable, portable luggage cart that I use with the Acceleration. My assumption is that it looks like less weight if it’s not on my back causing me to bend over in pain and pant for air. But you’re 100% right (or 110% for those confused by math), it’s a gamble either way.

    Just remember that items on your body don’t count. You can put 50 pounds of lead in your pockets, and that’s fine. So I always try to wear clothing with large pockets. None are going to hold a 70-200, but they’ll hold a 50, a pocket rocket, a strobe, etc. In my worse-case-scenario I deck myself out to look like a Christmas photo-gear tree. In fact, there might be an argument for a, gasp, photo vest in here somewhere.

  9. Great review and many thanks for it. As others have mentioned, it adds so much to see it on video and also it’s good to see & hear yourself there. A voice to go with the face & words makes a big difference as well.

  10. Nice Review David.

    I’ve been looking for a new bag to travel with and this one fits the bill.


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  12. That’s precisely how I describe my “fears” of flying and how I use my Stealth Backpack! One additional suggestion is to pack along a neoprene LensCoat TravelCoat to slip over a supertele for when you have to gate check the roller bag, but don’t want to let the lens out of your grasp. Could work for a strobe head, or whatever other fragile/expensive/heavy/essential items you’re bringing, too. It might technically become a third item but, if you pull it out on the jet bridge, you’re only stepping on the plane with two.

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