Think Tank PressPass Camera Bags – All Sizes Reviewed and Compared

The Think Tank PressPass Series consists of three bags: One sling bag and two convertible bags that switch quickly from crossbody bag to belt pack or shoulder bag. The three bags share many features, so a group test with detailed comparisons seemed logical and valuable for those considering one of the three options.

In this review of the Think Tank Press Pass 10, PressPass 20, and PressPass Sling, we will examine the features of all three bags and how much gear can be fitted in each model. By the end of the review, it will be clear whether one of the Think Tank PressPass bags is right for you. Hint: This bag isn’t just for photojournalists! Read on to find out why.

The PressPass is available in three variations, all of which were tested for this review.

Disclosure: Think Tank provided the PressPass bags for testing and review. No money changed hands, and they were not allowed to preview the content before it was published.

A Brief History Lesson

I have been using Think Tank’s belt packs for over 15 years. This is an old Change Up.

Think Tank Photo was founded in 2005, and its roots are in creating camera bags and accessories for photojournalists and sports photographers. Over the years, I have seen the company’s catalog expand and evolve to serve a broader market. These days, there are camera bags for every conceivable user. While Think Tank has always maintained a strong lineup of its well-known Modular Components, loved by their original core audience, one sub-section of camera-carrying equipment that fell by the wayside was the belt pack.

Think Tank’s original belt pack lineup consisted of the Speed Demon, the Speed Freak, and the Speed Racer, all of which survived in the catalog long enough to evolve V2.0 versions before being replaced by the lighter-weight Think Tank Change Up and the Change Up V2. When the Change Up V2 was discontinued, I was disappointed. Since then, I have been nursing a now nearly 10-year-old bag, assuming that well-designed belt packs must have fallen out of favor with photographers and that we’d never see anything like it again. I’m glad I was wrong! With the new PressPass series, Think Tank has returned to its roots. With that said, let’s dig into the three new models.

Think Tank PressPass Specifications

think tank PressPass camera bags

PressPass 10

  • External Dimensions: 12” W x 4.25” D x 6.5” H (30.5 x 10.5 x 16.5cm)
  • Internal Dimensions (with Insert): 11.5” W x 4” D x 6.25” H (29.25 x 9.75 x 15.5cm)
  • Weight (with padded insert): 1 lb. 8 oz (680g)
  • Weight (without padded insert): 1 lb. 4oz (566g)
  • Price: $129.75

PressPass 20

  • External Dimensions: 13” W x 4.75” D x 9” H (32.75 x 11.75 x 21.5 cm)
  • Internal Dimensions (with Insert): 12.4” W x 4.4” D x 8.75” H (31.5 x 11 x 20.5 cm)
  • Weight (with padded insert): 1 lb. 11 oz (765g)
  • Weight (without padded insert): 1 lb. 7 oz (652g)
  • Price: $139.75

PressPass Sling

  • External Dimensions: 15.25” W x 4.5 D x 7.4” H (38.75 x 11.5 x 18.75 cm)
  • Internal Dimensions (with Insert): 14.4” W x 4.25” D x 7.25” H (36.5 x 10.75 x 18.5 cm)
  • Weight: 1 lb. 7 oz (652g)
  • Weight (without padded insert): 15oz (425g)
  • Price: $119.75

Think Tank PressPass Design and Features

Camera Access

Ease of camera or lens access is a significant strength of the PressPass Series bags. The main compartment uses a large gauge YKK zipper that runs up the sides and across the top of the bag in a broad U-shape. The interior sides of the bag are slightly gusseted, allowing the bag to open wide once unzipped. Further, this wide-mouth opening allows the zippered flaps to be folded back and left open. This can be useful when you use the bag as a lens changer and want to store it on the floor or the seat next to you in your shooting position.

Front Zippered Pocket

A wide zipper gives you access to a large front pocket. There are no internal dividers or organization within the pocket. This is one big pocket, with a bit of pleating in the front panel to help expand its volume when used with bulkier items. This pocket has plenty of room for larger pro-sized camera batteries, battery organizers, gloves, a small pair of binoculars, or a tabletop tripod.

Rear Zippered Pocket

A rear zippered pocket has almost the same volume as the front zippered pocket, but its location makes it better suited to soft or flat items. Hard-edged bulky items will fit but can feel uncomfortable when the bag is worn as a belt pack. This pocket is best used with notebooks, field guides, press accreditation, or your phone. I don’t have an iPad Mini, but judging by the specifications, it looks like a small tablet of that size would also be a good fit in any of the PressPass sizes.

Internal Slip Pocket

Inside the bag is a large slip pocket that closes with a small hook-and-loop bar in the centre. On one side of that pocket is a small red nylon loop designed as a secure place to clip one of Think Tank’s fantastic memory card holders. Since this pocket is accessed only once the main zipper has been opened, I found it most useful as storage for lens caps and filters alongside the aforementioned card holder.

Plenty of dividers are included.

Removable Padded Insert

The original Think Tank Change Up bag had a removable padded insert, and I was thrilled to see this feature return in the new PressPass series. I rarely used the padded insert in the original, preferring a softer, lighter-weight bag that conformed better to my body and looked a little less like a boxy camera bag. With the padded insert removed, you can still use all the same dividers to prevent your gear from bumping together. Importantly, even with the padded insert removed, the PressPass bags still have a thick layer of padding in the bag’s base. This prevents damage from over-enthusiastic bag placement on a hard floor.

With the padded insert removed, the bag can be easily compressed for travel packing.

Shoulder Strap

The shoulder strap for the PressPass 10 and 20.

The PressPass 10 and PressPass 20 come with a heavily padded, removable shoulder strap. You can leave it at home if you’re confident you only want to wear the bag as a belt pack. Think Tank thoughtfully provides four different attachment points for the strap at different orientations. If you want to use the bag as a standard shoulder bag, both ends are best attached to the top attachment points.

If you want to wear the bag as a crossbody sling, connect one end of the strap to a top attachment point and one end to one of the side attachment points. Experiment with both left and right sides to determine the most comfortable.

The PressPass Sling strap is not removable.
The PressPass Sling features a removable stabilizer strap that can be used around your waist to keep the bag in place.

Belt Pack Feature

The PressPass 10 and PrerssPass 20 feature a lightly padded waist belt that can be quickly stowed behind the bag’s padded back panel. The hip supports may be lightly padded for weight consideration, but they are broad enough to support the bag and transfer weight to your hips comfortably. The back of the bag features a padded mesh-like material for comfort and breathability.

Belt stowed away

Consider using the shoulder strap with the waist belt when the bags are heavily loaded, particularly with the larger PressPass 20. You can divide the bag’s load between your hips and your shoulder with careful adjustment.

Accessory Rails

Here, I combined PressPass 10 with a Think Tank Stuff It pouch.

The Think Tank PressPass 10 and PressPass 20 feature accessory rails on both sides of the hip belt. These rails are compatible with Think Tank’s Modular Components and Digital Holster series. The rails feature the same patented locking system found on Think Tank’s Pro Speed Belt and Skin Belt to prevent unwanted movement of the modular components or holsters.

Accessory locking system.

Adding a modular component or a holster to each side of the PressPass 10 or PressPass 20 will significantly increase the bag’s overall carrying capacity. Adding a Lens Change 75 or Skin 75 is potentially a good way to carry a longer telephoto zoom lens on the smaller PressPass 10.

Carry Handles

A simple nylon handle is sewn onto the top of each PressPass camera bag. From its unpadded design, the intention was not to use this as a long-distance carrying method. Instead, it is a convenient grab handle when moving the bag in and out of a vehicle or around your shooting position.

Rain Cover

Every PressPass camera bag has a custom rain cover that can be stored in a dedicated rain cover pocket on the bottom. I always appreciate that Think Tank includes rain covers, but in this case, I wish the storage pocket was in a different place. The resulting bulge makes the bags tip over on a flat surface. Some may wish to store the rain cover in the rear zippered pocket to solve this.

Packing the PressPass Bags- What Fits?

If the concept and features of the Think Tank PressPass series strike a chord with you, their camera gear capacity will likely inform your decision between the three models. With that in mind, let’s look at a few loadout options to help you envisage how you’d pack your gear and which model might be right for you.

PressPass 10

Let’s start by looking at what Think Tank Photo says will fit into the PressPass 10 bag. This will give us a good starting point; from there, we’ll load the bag up and see how well it all fits.

  • As a lens changer: 3-6 lenses, up to a 24-70mm f/2.8 unattached
  • Standard-size camera with up to a 24-70mm f/4 lens attached (vertically), plus 2-3 additional lenses
  • Standard-size camera with up to a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens attached (horizontally)

PressPass 20

A 70-200mm f/2.8 fits vertically in the PressPass 20.

As before, let’s start with what Think Tank Photo says will fit in the PressPass 20:

  • Standard-size camera with up to a 24-70mm f/2.8 attached with hood reversed (vertically), plus 2-4 additional lenses
  • Standard-size camera with up to a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached (horizontally)
  • As a lens changer: 3-6 lenses, most 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses unattached (vertically)
Canon RF 100-500 in the PressPass 20. The zipper closes, despite the lens being slightly taller than the padded insert.

PressPass Sling

And one last time, we will start with what Think Tank Photo says will fit in the PressPass Sling bag, and then we’ll look at real-world examples.

  • Standard-size camera with up to a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached (horizontally)
  • Standard-size camera with up to a 24-70 f/4 attached (vertically), plus 2-4 additional lenses
  • As a lens changer: 4-6 lenses, up to a 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 unattached

After testing with my lenses and a few others that I had access to, as well as gathering some data online, I can confirm that the following lenses will fit in the PressPass Sling:

  • Unmounted Sony 200-600mm G OSS
  • Unmounted Nikon Z 180-600mm VR
  • Mounted Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S
  • Mounted Nikon Z 400mm f/2.5 VR S
  • Mounted Canon RF 100-500mm L IS
  • Mounted Canon RF 100-400mm
  • Unmounted Canon RF 200-800mm IS
  • Unmounted Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS
  • Mounted Canon RF 24-105mm f/2.8 L IS
  • Mounted Sony 300mm f/2.8 GM OSS
  • Unmounted Sigma 150-600mm
  • Unmounted Tamron 150-600mm (all versions)
  • Any mounted 70-200mm f/2.8

What Doesn’t Fit?

Front to back: PressPass 10, Sling and 20.

None of the PressPass bags are designed to carry a gripped or pro-sized camera body with a lens attached. This is any mirrorless camera with a battery grip attached or a camera like the Nikon Z9 or Canon R3. Of course, these cameras still fit in the bags, but the lens must be removed first.

Whether this lack of bigger camera support is an issue will be for you to decide. There once was a day when almost all professional photographers were using what we call pro-sized camera bodies. These days, most photojournalists are using smaller Sony cameras, Canon R5 series, or Nikon Z8 series cameras. Smaller cameras have become more than powerful enough to be used professionally. For this reason, I understand why Think Tank has made this decision. Especially when considering that many will use these bags as lens changers while keeping the camera bodies over their shoulder anyway.

Stupid Question? Who Are the Think Tank PressPass Bags For?

Photojournalists

With the word “press” in the product name, you’d think this would be a one-and-done conversation. Still, having tried all three sizes of the PressPass bags with various load-outs, I can say it would be a mistake for the broader photography market to dismiss these bags as unsuitable for anyone but photojournalists.

Sports Photographers

Of course, Think Tank Photo’s return to its roots means these bags are perfect for fast and light photojournalistic work in the same scenarios that suit their well-known belt pouch system. It’s easy to extend this to sports photographers, too. With a super-telephoto lens on one camera and a 70-200mm on another, any PressPass bag is a great option to carry spare batteries, cards, a wide-angle zoom, teleconverters, snacks, and rain covers. Those who need to transmit images from the sidelines may need something larger and more laptop-friendly, but otherwise, the PressPass bags will likely find many fans on the sports field while the typical rolling bag remains locked up in the press room.

Wildlife Photographers

Who else can benefit from a camera bag like this? Those following my social media will know that I spend much of my shooting time working on wildlife photography these days. While larger backpacks are necessary for road/air/train travel with longer lenses for wildlife work, keeping things more straightforward in the field is often beneficial. To that end, I’m a big fan of carrying my camera on a Cotton Carrier G3 harness when working with lightweight telephoto lenses or simply hefting bigger lenses like a 600mm f/4 onto my shoulder on a monopod.

Much like shooting on the sidelines of a sporting event, a few essentials still need to come with me when I ditch the backpack for some wildlife photography. The ancillary packing list is essentially the same as a sports shooter, although I’d add binoculars, gloves, and a water bottle, along with my Garmin InReach and sometimes a local bird or mammal field guide.

I have used a now well-worn Think Tank Skin Set for this purpose, but moving forward, I’ll likely transition to the PressPass 10 or 20. There is little weight difference between either option and a Skin Set consisting of the Think Tank Skin Belt v3, Skin 50, and Skin Changer. If anything, the PressPass bags will be lighter if I remove the padded insert. The benefit of using the PressPass 10 or 20 instead is the option of using it in a shoulder bag configuration or as a sling, which you cannot comfortably do with a Skin Set on a Skin Belt.

Wedding Photographers

Wedding photographers will also find the PressPass bags to be good, smart-looking companions after reaching the wedding’s location. Many people already use the belt-based Think Tank modular systems as lens changers and accessory carriers while shooting weddings. Still, I’ll again draw attention to the PressPass bags’ added carrying method flexibility. The ability to quickly swap between a shoulder bag, a belt bag, and a crossbody sling bag allows you to adapt to changing locations, available shooting or maneuvering space, and weather conditions.

Travel Photographers

Finally, I’d also like to throw the PressPass bags’ hat in the ring for general-purpose secondary carry for pretty much any traveling photographer. While it usually makes sense to carry the bulk of your camera gear in a carry-on compliant backpack or rolling camera bag for the main leg of the journey, I often find myself wishing for a smaller, lighter companion for urban explorations, especially if I’m somewhere hot and don’t want to sweat all day with a backpack.

There is no shortage of excellent shoulder bags and camera slings on the market that would suit this need. However, I’d usually count them as too bulky or heavy to pack into my checked luggage for at-location use. I always try to travel with a single checked duffel as this reduces costs on airlines for which I do not carry status and also aids with terminal transitions while hauling my inevitably far overweight carry-on bag. For this reason, I often travel with an ultralight, compressible belt pack designed for hikers.

While a hiking-specific belt pack gets the job done, it doesn’t offer the gear dividers of a dedicated camera solution like the Think Tank PressPass. With the padded insert removed, the PressPass bags become compressible enough to squeeze into duffel bag pockets or pack flat beneath my clothing. In this configuration, they also weigh considerably less than any other camera sling or shoulder bag I have in my (rather large) collection.

Weighed on my scales without their padded inserts, we get PressPass 10: 1 lb. 4oz (566g) , PressPass 20: 1 lb. 7 oz (652g), and PressPass Sling: 15oz (425g). These weights include the padded shoulder straps and all dividers, so it is possible to get them even lower. Anyone looking for an ultralight shoulder bag or camera sling for travel use has just found the best option on the market.

Aerial Photographers

I have used the PressPass bag’s predecessor, the Think Tank Change Up v2, for many aerial photography missions, and I’m sure the same will be true for the PressPass 10 and 20 in the coming years. When shooting photos from the air, particularly from a helicopter with the doors off, all your gear must be close to hand and securely attached to you or the aircraft. After clocking up a fair few hours of commercial aerial photography over the years, I have concluded that a belt pack is the best tool for the job.

The PressPass 10 or 20 can be worn while sitting down, comfortably placing the bag’s contents close to hand, whether sitting on the floor of a helicopter dangling your legs over the side or sitting up front in a light aircraft with the windows open. Spare batteries, fresh memory cards, and additional lenses are stored right where you need them, minimizing the possibility of dangerously dropping something out of the aircraft, or nearly as bad, within the aircraft, which can lead to jammed flight controls.

Which Think Tank PressPass Bag Should You Choose?

PressPass Sling vs PressPass 10

Choosing between the PressPass 10 and 20 will come down to whether you need the added height to carry a lens like a Sony or Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 vertically. Canon users need not immediately go for the PressPass 20 as the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 is short enough to fit into the PressPass 10. However, they may still consider the larger 20 model for carrying the RF 100-400mm or RF 100-500mm lenses.

Sony users should note that the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM lens fits vertically into the PressPass 20 but not the PressPass 10. Nikon users should note that the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 fits vertically in the PressPass 20, as does the Z 400mm f/4.5 (just). The Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 also fits horizontally into the PressPass 10, meaning this bag could be used as a lightweight wildlife photography lens changer for someone switching between either a Z 100-400mm lens and the lightweight 600mm f/6.3 or a Z 70-200mm f2.8 and the 600mm.

think tank presspass bags opened
Think Tank PressPass Sling (left) and PressPass 10 (right).

The feature set of the PressPass 10 and 20 are identical. The weights are very similar, and the price difference is negligible. Hence, the need to carry one of those longer zoom lenses will more than likely make that choice. Things are less clear when considering the PressPass Sling, though. Again, you’ll need to opt for the PressPass 20 to carry a longer zoom lens vertically, but how do you choose between the PressPass 10 and the PressPass Sling?

The Sling is the cheaper option by $10, but you give up much of the carrying flexibility that excites me about the PressPass 10 or 20. The PressPass sling can’t be worn as a belt pack and doesn’t come with a removable shoulder strap. Moreover, the built-in sling strap doesn’t carry as well as a shoulder bag and lacks the attachment points for adding one or two of Think Tank’s optional modular components.

PressPass 10 (left) vs PressPass 20 (right).

Used as a lens changer, though, the PressPass Sling is slightly wider and will allow up to four shorter lenses to be carried in parallel, compared to three in the PressPass 10. It is also wide enough to be used as a lens changer with longer lenses, such as a 150-600mm, a Sony 200-600mm, or a Nikon Z 180-600mm. That extra internal length can also hold a horizontally carried, mounted 100-400mm, Canon RF 100-500mm, Canon RF 200-800mm, Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5, or Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 (I tested all these!). This opens up interesting possibilities for wildlife photographers needing a simple sling bag for fast and light missions.

Conclusion

Think Tank Photo has done a great job reviving some well-loved concepts from their old photojournalist-driven product catalog while updating them to suit modern styles and the more recent preferences of many to carry sling-style camera bags that offer incredibly easy access to camera gear. I became an instant fan and am happy to retire my tatty-looking 10-year-old Think Tank Change Up belt pack in favor of these even lighter, more versatile options.

Which one should you get? Well, hopefully, the details provided in this review can help you figure that out. I wouldn’t say one is better than another; they are simply designed for different payloads. Don’t make my initial mistake, though: When I first saw the news about these new PressPass bags, I wrote off the PressPass Sling option as slightly pointless. Why choose this option and give up many useful PressPass 10 and 20 features? I couldn’t figure this out until I got the bag in my hands and began to see what fitted into it.

The answer became evident once I tested it with the gear from my shelves. The added length of the PressPass Sling allows it to fit most telephoto zooms with a camera body attached and even some super-tele zooms like the Sony 200-600mm or Nikon 180-600mm. At the same time, that length would make the bag far too wide to wear as a belt pack or shoulder bag and couldn’t wrap around you if it carried a mounted telephoto lens. Dropping the belt pack and shoulder bag mode from this version saved weight and money, making this the lightest and cheapest of the three PressPass bags while maintaining the ability to carry the longest lenses.

Where to Buy (Free Gift)

US Customers who click this link get a free gift when they spend over $50 in the Think Tank/MindShift online store. For more details or if you have any issues, see this post.

As always, using our links for your purchases is appreciated. Of course, US readers should shop directly with Think Tank to take advantage of the gift you get when spending over $50. Canadian readers should shop with B&H Photo as they offer free shipping and the option to pre-pay the tax and duties. This results in a better final price than buying from Think Tank distributors in Canada.

Photo of author
Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

Featured Posts

You may like

3 thoughts on “Think Tank PressPass Camera Bags – All Sizes Reviewed and Compared”

  1. I think, seeing the pictures of z7 + zoom tele attached, that a Z8 won’t fit in the press pass sling. Or am I wrong?

    I found the Z8 to be complicated to transport, as the dimensions are exactly the same of my d850. Z6 and z7 are mirrorless in the fact regarding dimensions, z8 is to be treated as a dslr.

    Bernardo

    Reply
  2. Will the Press pass 20 hold a Sony A7RV attached with 24-70 2.8 GMII, along with a Sony 70-200mm 2.8 GM II and a Sony 50mm GM 1.4 lens ?

    Reply
  3. Have you made transition to these bags? Which one did you get 10 or 20? I can see this bag be really useful for my macro photography session. I am thinking to buy this in the near future

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published or shared. Comments that use abusive langugage, fake email addresses and fake names will be marked as spam. Please note that if you include a link in your comment, it will need to be moderated before it appears on the site. Required fields are marked*

By submitting a comment this form also collects your name, email and IP address so that we can prevent spam. For more info check our privacy policy.