Freelance Photographer
Durham, UK

Another Camera Bag

I know, I probably have a problem.  Well, probably several, but one that’s relevant to this blog.  I’ve got another camera bag.  I’ll explain more inside…

When I bought my 70-200 lens I realised that none of my existing bags was designed to take the camera body with the new lens attached – I could fudge it, but it wouldn’t have been properly supported or protected.  I also discovered that the Nova 5 was the only bag that I could fit all of my kit in and that was becoming too heavy to carry any real distance as a shoulder bag.

I decided I needed a camera rucksack.  I looked into a slingshot-style shoulder bag – the idea of immediate access was attractive, but in most cases I would still be carrying most of the load on one shoulder.  Some have dual straps but the fixings turned out to be more complex than I’d like in practice, too faffy for me.  And then I came across the Lowepro Flipside 400 AW:

Lowepro Flipside 400AW

Lowepro Flipside 400AW

I’ve been using it for several months now and this is what I’ve found so far that’s been important to me.

Pros

  • I can carry all my kit in a single bag.  The main compartment is even big enough to carry my 5DmkII with 1.4x extender and 70-200mm f4 with lens hood in place and still have space for enough of my other gear.
  • I can access my gear on the move without removing the bag completely from my back (see the video on the Lowepro website for how this works in practice).
  • When you do remove the bag to access the camera compartment, the front goes on the ground and the harness side stays clean so you aren’t putting a dirty surface back on afterwards.
  • The zipped compartment is more secure for the main camera kit than traditional styles as the zip access is on the harness side, next to your back.
  • With two shoulder straps and a waist belt, the weight distribution is comfortable.
  • It’s got an all-weather cover which can be used to protect your kit (provided you don’t have a tripod strapped to the bag).

Cons

  • The tripod attachment is not designed for a large tripod like my Manfrotto 055B.  It is possible to strap a large tripod across the top, but you would have to be careful about hitting people with it because it would end up sticking out sideways at head height.
  • Space for additional kit in the front compartment is limited; if you’re wanting gear and food for a full day’s fellwalking, this probably isn’t the right bag.
  • Access to the bottom corners of the main compartment is a bit restricted, although I don’t think this is too bad – it seems to bother some people more than it does me.

Choices, Choices

Overall, I’ve found this bag great value for money and now I can choose the right bag for the occasion.

I’ll use my Flipside most of the time but especially when I’m mainly working on my long lens or want to carry most of my kit.  I’ll use my Street & Field sack when I need more room for walking kit or carrying my main tripod.  As the rucksacks both have attachment loops, I can adjust them by adding pouches & lens cases if my needs change.  I’ll still use my Toploader pouch when my main goal is a fell walk.  And finally, I’ve got my Nova 5 to fall back on when I’m not walking long distances and want easy access to my gear.

So hopefully I now have a bag for every occasion.  For now…

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 16th, 2012 at 7:00 am and is filed under Photo equipment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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