First Blood: Think Tank Belly Dancer Harness Breakage

Note on Think Tank Photo in 2023: I’ve now used their kit for almost 15 years and it’s totally fantastic.

Their harness systems have been much updated since I bought mine, the current version is the Pixel Racing Harness and the only reason I don’t have one is that my original harness is still going! The harness and belt are now separate items, the entire thing is fully modular, but I think I prefer my existing, reliable setup!

UPDATE: Dan the Man from Think Tank instantly returned my email to apologize and mention the lifetime warranty. And they’ll FedEx me a replacement - now this is why you choose decent companies to give your money too. More info when the dust settles.

It’s not that serious, but kit failure is a major annoyance. This stuff is not cheap, is always touted as high quality, reliable, professional, lalala, so when it fails, both my judgement in buying the thing and the manufacturer’s inability to get something (usually basic) right, is called into question. Today, my Think Tank Photo harness strap broke, or more accurately, the stitching failed on the part where the adjustable front strap loops around the belt, allowing the harness on one side to fall loose, and for the weight to be transferred to the right side. I’ve been happy with the kit so far, although the harness did seem a little under-engineered to me. I’m used to my climbing gear, straps, karabiners and loops, which are all stitched to withstand huge forces and save lives of dumb climbers who go places they shouldn’t be. I don’t really expect that from my camera gear, but if I saw it, I’d be impressed enough to show my mates. Single stitching on load-bearing points is bad design, and I’ll be letting them know that - they’re a good company and I’m 100% sure they’ll sort this stuff out in the future. But right now, I need to get my arse to a tailor with a decent sewing machine to get this put back together. And I’m going to look at getting the other side reinforced. In the meantime, I’ve tied a knot in the strap. Works perfectly, comes loose occasionally :) Ah, if only Billingham could be persuaded to broaden their product range. No offence to South-East Asian manufacturing, but it’s not up to Billingham standards. What’s the old adage? Good/Fast/Cheap: Pick Two. One of these days, I’m going to convert some climbing gear into camera gear…

Think Tank Skin Notes

The modular Think Tank Skin set Goodbye camera bags, hello Think Tank. My new skin set is being used in anger, with a holster bolted onto it for holding the camera (Note to Think Tank: might be good to suggest one with the set).

“I can wear the kit all day without any stress, although the recent weight-training regime helps more.”

I picked up a “Belly Dancer Harness” along with a holster big enough to hold a 5D or D300, plus the bits that come in the standard set. The harness is obviously more fiddly than a belt, but the extra support is worth it - I can wear the kit all day without any stress, although the recent weight-training regime helps more! The harness means that only three to four skin pouches can be worn at a time, unless you feel like bolting things on higher up the chest. It works, but is a little restricting and stuff might fall out. Different accessories required. On location, one bag full of strobes and cables, a few stands and this harness is all we needed to set up and shoot. I still have to work out the best way to juggle lenses when changing, but it’ll soon start falling into place.