Mindshift is an entirely new company formed from within the design studios of Think Tank Photo that will concentrate on the outdoor photography market. It will be run as a separate company but with all the same focus on design and high quality that we have come to expect from Think Tank. Products will be manufactured alongside the existing Think Tank ones and the design of the Rotation 180 Professional was done in house by Think Tank’s own designers.
At PhotoPlus Expo they unveiled the first of their bags, the Rotation 180 Professional, which will begin shipping next March. What they showed me on the show floor is certainly one of the most innovative photography packs I have ever seen and even this far out from production this seems to be an incredibly strong product that bodes extremely well for the future. In the world of of sports photography, Think Tank’s products quickly became the standard. Every time I walk into a media room the floors are literally lined with their roller bags, it’s not uncommon to see 30 or 40 in one room so it will be very interesting to see the development of Mindshift in this market in the coming years.
Some of you might remember the Think Tank Rotation 360 from 4 or so years back and this bag take a little of that thinking and transforms it into a much friendlier form factor with much better useable space. The top part of the pack can be used either as storage for all your non-photographic outdoor gear such as extra layers and food, or with the addition of the optional insert becomes expanded camera storage. This area is accessible either via the main hatch on the back panel, or by opening the top of the bag where it’s possible to fit a pro body with 70-200 attached facing down for quick and easy access.
The rest of the storage rotates out from the bottom of the pack once you have unfastened the magnetic clip. This is best demonstrated in the video below so please take a quick peek!
The magnet is extremely strong and the operation of the slide out mechanism is slick and smooth. For situations where the ground might be wet, muddy or snowy you can now access your gear without dirtying the bag. The slide-out portion of the pack is large enough to hold a pro body and 70-200 attached plus one or two more lenses depending on their size. There is a separate rain cover hidden inside as well as numerous other organization pockets. Of course this whole section can also be removed entirely and used as a belt pack during a climbing mission, or sling a shoulder strap on it and you have a quickly converted shoulder bag. An included rain cover for the bag still allows you to access the slide out portion of the bag as well.
As I mentioned, the camera insert for the top compartment is an optional accessory and there will be other accessories available as well. One of them is shown here on top of the bag in the form of a more traditional top pocket section similar to those found on most hiking packs. This accessory securely clips onto the bag in 5 different points and adds some nice extra storage on top of the bag.
On one side of the pack there is a full length water bladder holder as well as a mesh pocket whilst the other side has a smaller half sized pocket. In short, you won’t be short of pockets and places to store things with this pack!
The back panel and shoulder straps are sturdy and offer the right balance between comfort and bulk and the back incorporates some pretty think ventilated padding, which also follows through to the hip belt. Back panel opening like this is the best method in my opinion since you can lay the bag on its front on the ground. If the opening is on the front then the back lays on the ground and requires a bit more thought to keep the dirt off you on a muddy or wet day.
Finally (I think? I might have forgotten something as there is so much to say) there is an expandable pocket on the front of the back for storing your extra clothing layers. It is big enough for a rain jacket, rain pants, hat and gloves and possibly even more, it really is pretty roomy.
This first bag, the Rotation 180 Professional, should be available in March (EDIT: Is now available here) and of course it will be just the beginning. They’ve been on the Think Tank booth all week here at PhotoPlus taking feedback from photographers and so far people, myself included, like what they see. I have a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot more about this new company on this site in the future.