Think Tank Unveils New Sling Bag; Celebrates 5th Anniversary
SEPTEMBER 09, 2010
California-based bag manufacturer Think Tank made two announcements
yesterday: a new sling-style bag called the Sling-O-Matic; and that
the company is celebrating its 5th Year Anniversary.
According to Think Tank, its new sling bags "can be easily switched
back and forth to either shoulder." To get more details and to see
a video of the Sling-O-Matic series in action, click here.
More info on these two announcements can also be found in the two
press releases below.
Think Tank Photo’s New Sling-O-Matic Series
The First Sling Bags with Easily Reversible Shoulder
SANTA ROSA, CALIF – Think Tank Photo today announced that in
October it will release the Sling-O-Matic, the photo industry’s
first sling bag that can be easily switched back and forth to
either shoulder. The Sling-O-Matic’s adjustable, fully padded
shoulder strap “automatically” slides along a set of rails to
change which shoulder the bag can be worn on.
This innovation is the solution to the problem inherent with sling
bags: they are designed to be to worn over one shoulder only.
With one smooth motion, the Sling-O-Matic can be quickly switched
to the opposite shoulder without losing the characteristics that
have made sling bags popular among photographers.
The Sling-O-Matic series offers three unique bags to choose from,
depending on the photo gear a photographer needs to carry.
The Sling-O-Matic 10 can carry a pro-size DSLR and three to four
lenses, including a 70-200 f2.8. The Sling-O-Matic 20 and
Sling-O-Matic 30 can each carry a pro-size DSLR and four to six
lenses, including a 70-200 f2.8. The Sling-O-Matic 30 also
features a separate laptop compartment for carrying a 15.4”
• Industry’s first sling bag that can be easily switched back
and forth to either shoulder.
• Each bag fits a DSLR with up to a 70-200 f2.8 lens with
lens hood in position.
• All bags are flexible to fit most pro size DSLRs with a
• Discreetly stylized to avoid obviously appearing like a
• Long side pocket for carrying a tripod, large water bottle,
or other accessories.
• Large handles on three sides.
• Wide zippered pockets on front, back, and side.
• Business card pocket for identification.
• Removable/adjustable straps and waist belt for additional
• Small storage pocket for storing removable straps.
• Fully padded compartments for protection.
• Seam-sealed rain cover included.
“However flawed their basic design, sling bags have long been a
favorite among photographers, especially those who like carrying
their gear on their shoulders,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo
president and lead designer. “With the Sling-O-Matic we
solved one of their biggest problems, which is that carrying heavy
equipment solely on one shoulder can cause pain. Within just
a few seconds, photographers can quickly switch the load – and the
weight – from one shoulder to the other.”
A Think Tank for Camera Bags
Think Tank Photo Celebrates 5th Year Anniversary
SANTA ROSA, CALIF. U.S.A – One most often associates think
tanks with groups of analysts pondering such heady issues as energy
policy and global peace. But a think tank dedicated solely to
camera bags? This didn’t stop designer Doug Murdoch from
doing just that five years ago when he launched Think Tank Photo
Think Tank Photo’s roots are those of a classic American
start-up. Like Hewlett-Packard and Apple, Think Tank Photo
literally began in Murdoch’s poorly lit garage in Northern
California. There, surrounded by bolts of fabric, sewing machines,
and a cutting table, he created a revolutionary vision for the
camera bag business.
Like a classic think tank, Murdoch founded his company on the
principle that its output—the camera bags –should be the result of
soliciting input from hundreds of professional photographers and
having his team of world-class designers mull, sift, argue,
prototype, and refine different designs.
“As someone who had made a good living designing bags for numerous
brands, I could have comfortably continued doing that work,” said
Murdoch. “But I knew there was a very big opportunity—a new
business model—that had the potential to revolutionize our
For years, Murdoch and his former colleague, Mike Sturm, had the
opportunity to design products for the photo industry and observe
how other camera bag companies determined what to
create. They concluded that camera bag requirements specific
to professional photographers were not really being met.
“This was wrong,” said Murdoch, “and an opportunity.”
As lower prices were becoming such a dominant force in camera bags,
he realized that there was a niche available at the high end for
tailored, well constructed bags. What the company might lose
in volume, it could make up in superior design and quality that
justified higher prices. Thus, the underlying business model
for Think Tank Photo was born.
While Murdoch and Sturm teased apart the industry and probed for
the hidden opportunity, their thoughts kept going back to two
photojournalists from their past who had wanted to provide input
into their designs: Pulitzer-prize winner Deanne Fitzmaurice
and Kurt Rogers. With over 50 years of combined front-line
photojournalism experience—from wars to weddings, from sports to
politics—Fitzmaurice and Rogers had seen and photographed it
They all wanted Think Tank to be an actual think tank, a place
where the very best photojournalists and other professional
photographers would have a powerful voice in designs, policies, and
how the company grew.
Their newly released Sling-O-Matic shoulder bag is a classic
example of how the company’s “think tank” solved a basic problem
that had been plaguing the industry. Sling bags, which are
shoulder bags that until now could be worn over only one shoulder,
“That is exactly the problem we solved with our new Sling-O-Matic™
sling bag,” said Murdoch. “Professional lenses and bodies are
really, really heavy. A full day in the field with a
traditional sling bag slung over one shoulder invites exhaustion
and muscle and ligament damage.”
Think Tank Photo’s Sling-O-Matic is the photo industry’s first
sling bag that can be easily switched back and forth to be worn on
either shoulder. With one smooth motion, the Sling-O-Matic can be
quickly switched to the opposite shoulder without losing the
characteristics that have made sling bags popular among
In only five years Murdoch and his colleagues have been able to
grow Think Tank Photo into a major force in the global photography
“Our goal now is make our gear available to every serious
photographer in the world,” said Murdoch. “We work with
retailers and distributors in all corners of the world and invite
others to represent us in their countries.
“Starting Think Tank was a tremendous personal risk. But,
based on my relationship with photographers I knew that if we truly
listened to their needs and created products that reflected those
needs, that they would support us in kind. By staying true to
our vision and mission, our dream of being an innovation-driven and
customer-focused company has come true.”