ThinkTankPhoto Airport Antidote

ThinkTankPhoto Airport Antidote

I really need to apologize Doug Murdoch and Brian Erwin at ThinkTankPhoto.  I was sent this bag by ThinkTankPhoto to review this bag years ago for www.fredmiranda.com, but right after they sent the bag to me, my mom went into the hospital for her heart surgery, and with her recovery, it took me a long time to write the initial review.  Then, to top it off, when I switched from PC to Mac, it got lost.  With the constant care of my mom, and life taking over, I never got around to rewriting the review, but while going through some old hard drives, working on reorganizing my photo library, I stumbled across the original review I had written.  So, after re-reading it, and having so much more experience with the bag, I added to it, and now, here is my long awaited review.  A copy has also been sent to Fred Miranda for addition to his review site.

 

Unfortunately, since I received the Airport Antidote, ThinkTankPhoto released a 2.0 version, and now has discontinued the bag.  But, if you can find this bag for sale anywhere, eBay, used through the Fred Miranda website, or on SportsShooter, grab it, if you like what you read in this review.

 

My initial thoughts when I unboxed the bag was that this bag was sturdy and heavy duty.  I am still using this bag 6 years later and it has held up.  I have been a bag-a-holic, trying bags from LowePro, Domke, Tamrac, and Kata.  I really liked the Kata bags,  but found they were just too small for all my gear.  So initially the size of the Airport Antidote was great.  It comes with the Artificial Intelligence 15 laptop case, which held my 14” HP laptop great.  However, the power adaptor for the laptop is too bulky to fit in the laptop bag and slide into the exterior pouch.  So it ends up taking up space inside the bag, which I do not like.  There is a zipper on the side of the exterior pouch so you can secure the laptop bag in as snug as a bug.  On the Artificial Intelligence bag is a little slip pocket and a zippered pocket, as well as a a little business card window.  Over the last couple years I switched over to Apple, and have used the laptop bag with both a 15” Macbook Pro and a 13” Macbook.  The nice thing is the Mac’s power adapter is smaller than the HP’s and takes up less room.  With the 15” Macbook Pro I still had to put the power adapter in the camera bag, but with the 13” Macbook I can squeeze the power adapter into the laptop bag, freeing up room in the camera bag.

 

Besides the business card holder on the laptop bag, there is one on the top of the Antidote, and right next to it is a small zippered pouch.  I typically carried my light meter in this pouch.  On three sides of the bag, there is a handle.  One on the top, one on the bottom, and one on one side.  This makes it easy to pick up out of the back of a car, truck, or grab it out of the overhead compartment on an airplane.  So one side has a handle, and on the other side there is a tripod/monopod carrier.  My tripod is monstrous so I did not even try to to put it on the bag.  However, I usually carry my monopod in this and it works very nice.  There is a little pocket at the bottom of the bag to slip a leg into, and then a nice strap to hold the pod nice and tight to the bag.

 

The shoulder straps are comfortable.  I would like a little more lower back padding, but overall, the bag is very comfortable when on.  There is a chest strap that I find most useful to use when I am carrying a second camera on my shoulder.  I run the chest strap through my camera strap so if the camera slips, it will not fall.  There are a couple pockets on the shoulder straps for an iPod or phone, but I do not like the placement of these pockets.  They seem too high on the shoulders.  Also, my iPhone 4s is a really night fit into the pocket.  There are also a couple rings that you can get a quick release camera strap to carry a camera across your chest.  This is a nice touch for hikers.

 

When you first open the bag you realize just how beefy the zippers are.  This is the first bag I have ever had that the zippers have lasted so long.  Typically, zippers start failing on me after 3 or 4 months (lots of use).  Well, 6 years later, the zippers are still working flawlessly.  Nice job.  The main double zippers can also be locked together with a standard luggage lock.  Very nice, and something I use all the time in media rooms all over the place.

 

Opening the bag all the way, there are plenty of dividers.  It is not a deep bag, so, a pro series camera or a prosumer camera with a battery grip fits, but, if you carry one of the ThinkTankPhoto belt systems, do not plan on using these in the bag to carry your gear in.  I also received a belt system, and I would love to be able to use a Speed Changer, Chimp Cage, and lens bags to hold my gear in the bag, but it gets way too tight.  Typically, I am able to carry the following in the bag.

 

2 Canon 1D series camera bodies, one attached to a 70-200 F2.8 lens, one with no lens.

The above mentioned 70-200 F2.8

a 300 F2.8

24-70 F2.8

85 F1.8

17-40 F4

580 EX II flash, ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket, light meter, computer and various cables.

 

There are two pockets on the lid of the bag.  I carry filters, extra AA batteries, manuals, lens cleaning supplies.

 

It is a snug fit.  I definitely could use a larger bag, but this bag is a work horse.  It has seen hundreds of baseball games and high school sporting events, been banged around in college and pro media rooms, even been seen (very small image) of my bag on ESPN court side at the Great Alaska Shootout.  I have used this bag as a pillow between games on tournament days, used it as a table to transmit photos from court side, and so much more.  I would really like a bag that would hold more gear for the times I am shooting a remote besides my two main cameras, for that extra body and a few pocket wizards, but since i have used this bag for 6 years, I really like it.

 

If you can find this bag, or the version 2.0, get it.  These are great bags.  I am excited to check out my next ThinkTankPhoto bag.  There are also some minor changes to the bag in version 2.0, like a redesigned laptop bag pocket, and a dedicated way to lock the bag up in a media room or in a unsecured area you might have to leave the bag.

 

Yes, there are drawbacks.  Lower back support could be better, cell phone pocket mainly useless for me, and a little tight for a lot of gear, but if you have 1 body and a 300 2.8, or two bodies and your largest lens is a 300 F4 or 400 F5.6, this lens is probably going to last you the rest of your life.

 

So far, my experience with the the ThinkTankPhoto products have been very good, and customer service has always been good.  A great company with great products.

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