Think Tank Photo’s new Perception backpacks and Digital Holster 5 are for the mirrorless photographer on the go

by Felix Esser

posted Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:06 PM EST


At Photo Plus Expo 2014 in New York City, Think Tank Photo has announced a new backpack series that is aimed at users of mirrorless cameras. It's called the Perception series, and ThinkTank touts it as its smallest and lightest backpack series. Coming in three sizes and two colors, the Perception backpacks offer space for a mirrorless camera setup plus accessories and daily essentials.

What all three models have in common, despite the obvious similarities in name and design, are features such as a a padded harness, a tripod carrying solution, a small top pocket for sunglasses or a smartphone, removable pockets on the inside for your accessories or daily essentials, as well as a raincover. As for materials, the Perception backpacks are all made of durable, water-repellent fabric on the outside and sport extensive padding and soft pouches with adjustable dividers on the inside.

The smallest of the bunch is the Perception Tablet and, as its name gives away, fits a small tablet such as an iPad mini in addition to your photo gear. In terms of space, the Perception Tablet acommodates a mirrorless camera as big as something like the Fujifilm X-T1 with two lenses, or even a small DSLR such as a Canon Rebel T5i with kit zoom and an additional smaller lens.

If you need a little more space because you're regularly carrying your laptop, the Perception 15 lets you take along a 15" device on top of a larger camera setup. A Sony A7-series with two lenses or a small DSLR with up to three lenses will fit, according to Think Tank. The extra size also means a bit of extra weight, which adds up to 2.2 lbs for the Perception 15, compared to the Perception Tablet's 1.7 lbs.

Finally, there's the Perception Pro, which is the largest and heaviest of the trio. Weighing in at 2.9 lbs -- which still isn't a lot for a medium-sized backpack -- the Perception Pro offers space for a laptop and a tablet, as well as a substantial camera setup including one mirrorless or small DSLR body plus up to five lenses, depending on their size.

Think Tank Perception Pro Backpack interior

What makes the Think Tank Perception series backpacks stand out from the crowd is how they are designed on the inside. There are dedicated pouches for the individual parts of your photo setup all over the backpacks' inner backside, which means that they're not only safely stowed away as well as readily accessible from the top, but that there's also additional space on the inside for slim things such as a notebook or a jacket, or even a water bottle depending on your configuration (but there are also stretchy side pockets on the exerior for things like water bottles or umbrellas on the Pro model). On top of that, the inside of the front flap is also lined with pockets that keep small items such as keys, memory cards or batteries in place.

The Perception backpacks are labelled as "coming soon" on Think Tank's website. Once available, they'll retail for US$90 for the Perception Tablet, US$120 for the Perception 15 and US$150 for the Perception Pro, each in a choice of black and taupe colors.

If you find that the Perception backpacks are still too large for your needs, as you only always carry one camera and one lens at a time, you might want to take a look at the new Digital Holster 5 bag, their latest member to their holster-style camera bag  family. Designed for mirrorless systems, it takes one camera and one lens at a time, and can be worn over the shoulder, or around the hip when used with Think Tank's Speed Belt). Also "coming soon," the Digital Holster 5 will retail for US$40.