Think Tank Photo Vision 13 Messenger Bag Review
Think Tank have a level of heritage and experience that shines through in their latest range of products – the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 messenger among them.
The Vision 13 has an incredibly stylish design and would fit into a premium product category.
The bag is manufactured from beautiful looking and durable material and has the feel of a daily work or tech messenger. I love this about the design as it doesn’t immediately scream “camera bag”.
This is a bag that has a well thought out storage system to accommodate larger gear as well as all your camera accessories and sundry bits and pieces.
If you’re a fan of camera messenger bags and want to find one that accommodates your daily carry needs as well as your kit, this just might be the one.
Let’s dive into the full review.
Think Tank Photo Vision 13 Specs
- Tripod carry straps
- Water-resistant base
- YKK RC Fuse zippers
- 500D 2-tone polytech weave
- Expandable water bottle pocket
- Exterior Dimensions: 15.7” W x 10.2” H x 6.3” D (40 x 26 x 16 cm)
- Interior Dimensions: 13” W x 9.1” H x 4.9” D (33 x 23 x 12.5 cm)
- 13″ Laptop Compartment: 12.6” W x 9.1” H x 0.9” D (32 x 23 x 2.2 cm)
- 10″ Tablet Compartment: 11.4” W x 7.9” H x 0.5” D (29 x 20 x 1 cm)
- Phone: 5.9” W x 7.5” H (15 x 19 cm)
- Weight: 2.3 lbs. (1.0 kg)
Build & Appearance
As mentioned earlier, the Think Tank Photo Vision looks amazingly stylish, especially in the graphite colour. It would suit the look of a corporate professional or that of a casual tech artist.
Fortunately, it doesn’t call attention to itself as a camera bag and this is especially important if you choose to travel with your expensive gear.
The exterior shell of the bag is made from a polytech weave with carefully planned folds, seams and stitching.
As a result, the bag is light in weight yet has a very durable feel to its construction.
Appropriately sized zippers and toughened plastic buckles also ensure that your gear will remain where it belongs. That said, it’s a little disappointing to see that a more weather-sealed style of zipper was not employed to further ensure gear protection.
The main shell of the bag appears to have some form of a padded inner layer that allows the bag to maintain its overall shape even when empty. Also, the top carry handle is supported by a firm bar sewn into the top flap.
Thanks to a toughened base made from a waterproof material, you can comfortably set the Vision 13 down without fear it’s going to soak up moisture.
Speaking of which, the Vision 13 has a water-repellent coating to aid in weatherproofing – however, it also comes with a rain cover.
For me, the days of rain covers should be coming to an end as materials and high tech coatings are at a point where bags can be weatherproofed.
Overall, the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 has the look of a boxy messenger bag with a single wide shoulder strap and a thickly padded shoulder pad.
The rear of the bag is very minimal, although it does feature a broad and narrow pocket suited to carrying documents or easy access items.
Also attached to the back of the bag is a broad nylon strap to be used as a luggage passthrough. This is a thoughtful feature in a bag of this nature as it can easily be used as a travel photography bag.
The adjustable shoulder strap is securely anchored to each side of the bag with metal D-rings.
One side of the bag has no features other than this fixture while the other side has an expandable drink bottle holder. This pocket is secured flat against the bag with velcro and can be expanded to three different sizes thanks to additional velcro straps.
The main access to the Vision 13 is via a large flap that begins at the top rear of the bag.
It features a padded and well-secured carry handle and travels all the way down to the front of the bag. It’s secured to the front base of the bag via a large toughened plastic buckle.
The front of this flap features a very small Think Tank rubberised badge to identify its maker.
Directly underneath the top of the flap, there is a second flap that you can zip around the entire top of the large opening. This way you can fully enclose the main compartment and not just rely on the main flap to hold your gear in.
This main flap also connects to the secondary flap via velcro so that when you pull back the main flap, the unzipped second flap will lift out of the way.
On the underside of the main flap, there is also a secret pocket for carrying thin items such as a passport.
Also under the main flap, the whole front of the bag has a zipper that runs up both sides and across the front. This is the access for the stationary and tech pockets which we will cover in more detail later.
As mentioned, the base of the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 is made from a toughened, water-resistant material.
On the four base corners of the bag are loops for attaching the adjustable carry straps. These are perfect if you wish to secure a large jacket or tripod to the base of the bag.
As we’ve already mentioned, the main compartment of the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 is large and deep and will hold a significant amount of gear.
Also, the interior of this compartment and the front tech compartment are lined with a much softer material than the outer shell.
This bag will comfortably hold a 13″ laptop along the back wall of the main compartment with a padded wall to protect it and hold it snug.
The Vision 13 comes with two large dividers that are as tall as the bag and would be perfect for holding a long zoom in place. It also features one medium and two smaller dividers for further flexibility of your space and how your gear is supported.
At the front of the bag is the large zippered compartment for holding all your tech and bits and pieces. It also features a wide deep pocket for storing up to a 10″ tablet.
Be sure to check the dimensions listed above to ensure your brand will actually fit.
The front storage area is divided several times starting with a single narrow pocket at the back. This is then divided into two pockets and then divided further into smaller pockets and pen holders.
Finally, the front flap of this area is gusseted with expanding walls so in itself is a rather large pocket.
This front area is perfect for carrying your phone, spare batteries, power bank, filters, cleaning gear and hard drives.
One design change I would like to see is more small pockets dedicated to camera batteries and memory cards.
As mentioned, this bag is made for much bigger cameras and lenses than my usual Fujifilm kit. But you’ll get the idea of how it all works with the Vision 13.
Here’s what I was able to fit:
- Think Tank rain cover
- Cura cleaning kit
- Stainless steel water bottle
- Memory card storage
- Micro torch
- Fujifilm X-T3
- Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2
- Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2
- Fujifilm XF 16mm f/2.8
- 2 spare batteries
- MacBook Pro 13″
- Cygnet power bank
- iPhone X
- 2 pens
Ease of Use/Comfort
When carrying the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 loaded with gear it’s very comfortable thanks to its wide shoulder pad dispersing the load.
Alternatively, if you want to carry the bag by the handle fitted to the top of the bag, this is also comfortable and well supported. Obviously the more you load into this bag the heavier it’s going to get and the faster you’ll become fatigued.
When empty, this bag is incredibly light at 2.3 lbs. (1.0 kg). Further to this, it retains its shape when empty or only loaded up with a small amount of gear.
All of the pockets are easily accessible and the two main zippered pockets glide open and closed smoothly.
One complaint is that the top main pocket can only be zipped closed from one end to the other. I would rather have two zips that could meet halfway so that the opening and closing experience is not so drawn out.
While the front flap is quite large it doesn’t get in the way, and thanks to the way it attaches to the main compartment zippered flap, accessing your gear is even easier.
When using the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 I feel like my gear is well secured and not rattling around. Further to this, the gear is protected from the elements.
Value for Money
One thing to keep in mind with the Think Tank Photo Vision 13 is that it’s a premium product from a brand that makes exceptional camera bags.
It’s considered a premium bag for the quality of materials and the obvious attention to detail in the manufacturing process. It’s also a premium product as it’s designed to securely and safely carry a large amount of your most expensive camera gear.
At around US$400, that’s great value for money when you consider that you’re investing in the longevity of your camera kit.
What’s more, this is the kind of bag that will last for years if looked after well. Being able to purchase once and purchase right is something that many of us struggle to do.
I’m confident that you will buy right the first time with the Vision 13.
Think Tank Photo Vision 13 Review | Conclusion
The Think Tank Photo Vision 13 is a stylish and well-made bag. With this bag on your shoulder, there’s a good chance you’ll be the best-looking photographer at the event.
More than that, you’ll know that your gear is secure and protected thanks to the bag’s thoughtful interior design.
You can comfortably load up this bag with all of your mega glass lenses, camera body, laptop, tripod, water bottle and all the tech you need for the day.
Alternatively, you could travel with a light kit and use this as your main travel bag with some everyday carry items.
Either way, the bag has a huge amount of flexibility and clever little details that allow you to stow away your most important kit.
For my Fujifilm kit, I find that the bag is just too big for me as I only use small primes. However, if you’re sporting a Sony, Canon or Nikon kit with a couple of larger lenses then this is the bag for you.
My only complaint with this bag is the need to pack a separate rain cover rather than utilising higher-tech materials with proven weather resistance even in downpours. It’s time for bag designers to makes this leap and put the old technology to rest.
Overall though, the Photo Vision 13 is an incredible camera bag and scores high across every element of the review process.
- Gorgeous design and look
- Great build quality
- Highly functional and flexible
- Holds a lot of gear
- Use of rain cover to achieve weatherproofing
- Non-weather-sealed zips
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.