In the not so distant past, video and stills photography used to be separate strands of the imaging world. There were videographers and there were photographers, there was very little crossover.
The advent of digital imaging has converged those technologies to a point where broadcast quality video can be created on cameras primarily designed for stills. The upshot of this is more and more photographers working in the video field using either DSLRs, Mirrorless Compact systems or even investing in pro-level camcorders.
Carrying this equipment, however, can be a problem. Dedicated camcorders can be quite large and cumbersome whilst stills cameras are often only efficient as video cameras when they have rigs and focus wheels bolted on. This is where the ThinkTank Workhorse comes in!
The problem with the latter is that most photographic camera bags have not been designed to hold a DSLR with a rig and rack focus attached. The photographer would need to assemble the rig on location, wasting valuable time.
To this end, Thinktank have bought out a range of video cases designed with the modern photographer in mind. They have sent us at Lightstalking the Video Workhorse 19 to take a look at.
Thinktank are a relative newcomer to the photographic world having been founded in 2005. They have gained an enviable reputation in that time for high-quality bags and cases that give excellent levels of protection to your valuable equipment. The Video Workhorse 19 certainly seems to fit into that philosophy.
The Exterior Of The Workhorse Video 19
The Workhorse Video 19 is the smallest in the Workhorse range but it is still quite a large bag. It is a shoulder type bag which on first impressions looks to be made like other similar bags, of canvas.
Picking it up, however, you soon realize that underneath the canvas exterior is a hardened shell that make the bag feel incredibly solid. There is a cost to that solidity though and that is weight. The bag with no equipment added weighs in at 2.6kg (5.8lbs) with all accessories and dividers added.
Despite being the smallest in the range, it is not particularly small either, it is designed to carry a pro level camcorder or DSLR/Mirrorless rig, the former meaning that the bag is quite wide at 58cm (22.8 inches). This is just slightly too big to be considered hand baggage for some airlines, a consideration for the travelling videographer.
Looking over the outside, the canvas exterior is of the highest quality with excellent stitching of the joins. As well as the main compartment there is a large front pocket with two large pouches, useful for filters. The zips that close all these are very high quality and look like they would take years of punishment.
On top of the back is a very solid handle. Perhaps too solidly padded for my liking although this will probably soften up with use. At either end of the bag below the strap loops are grab handles, useful for getting the bag out of a car etc. Underneath the bag two strong plastic runners protect the underneath from damage.
The Interior Of The Workhorse Video 19
Opening the bag reveals:
- A large card insert describing ways to utilize the space,
- A brief instruction manual,
- The shoulder strap itself,
- And a waterproof cover.
The interior is large and includes two compartments, the main camera compartment and a thin accessory compartment at the back. There are three thin dividers and two large foam pads for extra support. The dividers seem a little thin to me, not in keeping with the rest of the bag's protective quality, the foam pads however, seem to be better quality.
The combination of dividers and pads make it easy to configure the bag to a DSLR or Mirrorless with a rig, or to a pro camcorder with room for accessories for either.
The small rear compartment could hold a small tablet or external camera monitor but is not high enough to hold a 13” laptop. It is more designed for the plethora of cables that videographers need.
As mentioned the front has a large pocket with two pouches and on top underneath the handle is another smaller pocket, useful for spare batteries or mobile phone.
The Workhorse Video 19 In Use
The supplied strap is both strong and comfortable with plenty of adjustment and padding. As someone that shoots video on Mirrorless, the bag was perhaps a little too large for me, I could get two bodies, four lenses plus chargers and other accessories in with ample space left over.
If you were to carry a DSLR video system, this would use up more of the space (and be heavier). Weight and size might be an issue for run and gun style film-making but for more set up shoots, it would not be.
Despite its size, with my mirrorless system the bag was comfortable on the shoulder.
The Thinktank Video Workhorse 19 is undoubtedly an excellent way to carry your video equipment. Its configurability allows you to set it up for stills cameras with rigs, negating the need to set the rig up on location.
Alternatively, you can carry a traditional camcorder with all it’s associated accessories. Despite being the smallest bag in the range, I believe it is perhaps a little too big for today’s compact system video rigs such as the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony Alpha 7.
I think there may be a market for a smaller bag of similar build quality for such systems.
The build quality of the bag provides the assurance that your equipment is being well protected and that the bag will last for many years even in the toughest of environments.
Priced at an RRP of $229.75, the bag is not expensive compared to similar stills camera bags and given the price of the equipment that you will place inside it, it's a good investment.
If you shoot video more than just occasionally, I would recommend looking at the Thinktank Video Workhorse Series.
- What the Real World Experience of Shooting Video on a Stills Camera Taught Me by Jason Row
- Let’s Pack Our Bags: Packing and Travel Tips by Light Stalking Photographers by Sheen Watkins
- Pack Your Bags, We’re Going On A Photo Adventure by Tiffany Mueller