Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up 10 Multimedia SLR Bag Review

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, July 2010
Manufactured by: Think Tank Photo
Requires: The need for a do-it-all carry solution for multimedia DSLR gear and audio recordeing equipment
MSRP: US$139.99

Bookmark and Share


What's a camera bag if it's not versatile? Well it's nothing at all, these days, because fewer photographers than ever are carrying around digital SLR cameras which only take pictures. That's right — it's best to keep in mind that the majority of new digital SLR bodies hitting the shelves now and for the past year include a high-definition video mode. The Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up series of waist belt/shoulder bags address the growing need for a top quality bag designed to accommodate all of the gear needed by photographers and videographers using the new breed of Multimedia Digital SLR (DSLR) cameras.

If you thought that any old bag would do, and then purchased a traditional bag for, say, your Canon 5D MKII or your Nikon D3S and proceeded to immerse yourself in both professional quality photography and video, there's likely no doubt that the shortcomings of the traditional bag were quickly revealed. For the uninitiated, a multimedia DSLR cannot readily be used instead of a camcorder. For one thing, the audio subsystems in multimedia DSLR cameras, while acceptable, pick up everything from focus and zoom noise to handling sounds. So you need a place to store an external mic, cable, mini pre-amp, mixer/recorder and headphones. As well, what with autofocus being unavailable in multimedia DSLR setups, you also need someplace to store focus pulling equipment, tape and a markers for setting focus points, and other accessories not normally needed when doing still photography only. Those are the needs which the Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up series of bags is designed to serve.



I've been using the Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up 10 for about three months. I used it very heavily for the first month—almost every day—and it seemed to me that every time I picked it up I discovered a new slot, pocket, cable hole, clip, hook and so on. I'm exaggerating—slightly. The rectangular bag features an integrated waist belt with loops and slots to which Think Tank modular bags, accessory waist system components and holsters can be attached. The waist belt is broadly adjustable, but the wide and padded rear slot can be used with your own belt as well. D-rings abound, as do cable holes and slots, making it possible to easily keep cables and connections from tangling and from getting in the way of fast access to various compartments. The external headphone hook is made of very tough, flexible Delrin and can be used to carry headphones and coiled mic/headphone/audio cable as well.

The main compartment is just big enough to stow a full size multimedia DSLR with mid-range zoom attached, one or two additional small lenses and hoods. There's also room for a large mic and cable. Think Tank supplies the usual bundle of velcro-edged divider panels with which you can customize the interior configuration of the main compartment.

The front accessory compartments carry memory cards, filters, cleaning accessories, small mic and small flash, or the usual small accessories and your portable recorder. The front pocket hinges outward and stops at about a 35 degree angle so you can see and operate a recorder. The expansion side pockets are large enough to hold various models of professional portable recorders such as the Edirol F1 or R-09HR and the Sony PCM-M10 or PCMD50, although portable recorders are best situated in the wide, hinged and zippered front pocket section designed for the purpose.

Two shoulder straps are provided for shooters carrying heavier gear. Use the shoulder straps, attached to two pair of waist belt and top rear bag d-rings to relieve the stress of extra weight. Both shoulder straps have sewn-in accessory loops. One of the straps has a large mic-loop which can be used to stow almost any size of stick mic while changing locations or changing positions.

Real Use

The Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up 10 is primarily a waist belt system and its design really shines when used that way. The gape created when the bag is unzipped and being carried by a single shoulder strap is too large and, depending on how active you are an any given moment, anything that's top heavy and standing in the bag is in danger of toppling out. Use the integrated waist belt—that's the basis of the carry design and it works extremely well. The overall design tends to force disorganized shooters into being more organized, because once you begin using the cable management features you'll never go back to just tossing cable and connectors around and spending more time untangling cable than using cable. If you prefer a shoulder carry and or need additional weight support with heavy gear, use the supplied pair of Think Tank shoulder straps in a crossing configuration attached to the d-rings on the bag and waist belt.

My headphones are now off my arm—that is, when they're not in use I no longer have to store my headphones on my arm or around my neck while shifting locations in the field. I used to walk way too far with headphones either dropped around my neck or over my arm. The headphone hook makes a great place to hang headphones momentarily or for long periods. The hooks slips and locks onto the integrated waist belt and can be positioned anywhere along the left or right side of the belt.

I've always got extra cable hanging in loops and festoons. No more with this bag. Make a couple of (or a few or ten or whatever) loops, squeeze together, then stuff the result into any one of several elastic storage bands sewn to the outside of the bag. Pay out more cable simply by pulling a loop or two out of the storage band.

Weather resistance is good, but the Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up 10 is supplied with an elasticized, rip-stop nylon, waterproof rain cover for a reason. Use it. The bag's basic weather resistance is excellent—on the order of about 45-60 minutes of resistance to light drizzle before any penetration—but expensive photo/video and audio gear is far too valuable to leave to chance. As usual, Think Tank seems to be exerting very good quality control at its manufacturing locations, so despite being caught in a couple of nasty late spring and early summer downpours, the bag remained tight and dry. When you first receive a Multimedia Wired Up bag, you'll find the rain cover stowed in the main compartment. We found that the best place to stow it while the bag is in use is actually in the velcro storage slot which runs the length and width of the outside bottom of the bag, a location which also adds some bottom padding.

Think Tank seems to be consistently refining and re-thinking the way in which it uses padding. All of the Multimedia Wired Up series are great examples of a bag design which feels relatively lightly padded, but which is in fact quite well padded. Keep in mind that extra-heavy materials and extra thick padding add weight and provide diminishing benefits in terms of protection vs. usability. At 38 ounces/1100 grams as tested and used for several months, the bag's overall weight was inconsequential and never failed to fully protect gear that was properly stowed.

A neighbor of mine—an avid bird watcher—asked about the Multimedia Wired Up bags during the test and review period. Turns out he was interested in not only watching and photographing rare birds, but also recording their songs. I loaned the bag to him for a week and for obvious reasons had a hard time getting it back. He liked it despite the fact it couldn't hold his Nikkor 200-400 f.4 VR zoom lens (which he simply carried in a Think Tank Lens Changer 300, which although not quite tall enough for the lens, made an ideal off-camera walkabout carry).

Value: Quality and Usability vs. Cost

Think Tank is maintaining quality standards and refining its designs. Usability is excellent and the Multimedia Wired Up 10 is versatile enough for any kind of still, video or combined shooting. It's not a bag series which directly caters to wildlife photographers carrying big, heavy, fast lenses. It's good for everything else though. The cost is well in line with competing bags at this high level of material and workmanship. We think the Multimedia Wired Up 10 offers very good value.

Cons: The elasticized side pockets are well made and moderately useful, but we prefer the versatility and greater security of zipped/hinged pockets similar to the terrific, hinged front pocket. There's no really sensible way to use the bag with a single shoulder strap; it's possible but makes the bag less practical, the main problem being the location of the attachments for a single strap. Think Tank supplies two shoulder straps, not one, because they're catering to active shooters who need cross shoulder support for additional weight. For waist belt carry only in our opinion.

Pros: Ideal design for multimedia DSLR users looking for a fully integrated, all-in-one carry. All features are well-designed and stand up to repeated, heavy use. The plastic headphone hook is made out of some sort of very tough-yet-flexible material which initially seems like it might snap, but which turns out to be near-indestructible. Think Tank's attention to high standards of manufacturing is in evidence with clean finishing, evenly sewn zippers, excellent and consistent materials quality, combined with a balanced, well thought out bag design clearly influenced by actual field use. The bag effectively disappears while in use—it just never gets in the way. The Think Tank Multimedia Wired Up 10 is the best choice we've seen so far for anyone actively working with a multimedia DSLR camera. Highly recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



© Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | hot news | about us | search | store | subscribe


The latest in tech news and information Find a product review on KSN Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe