Sunday, 9 August 2009

Lowepro Flipside 400 AW Camera Back Pack Review

It's a standing joke in my family that I own more camera bags than my wife and daughters have hand bags. So I went and purchased another!

I bought my Lowepro Flipside 400 AW Back Pack in December 2008 and have used it on two or three occasions since. The last time I used it was when I walked a few miles planning a landscape photography workshop I'll be running in the near future.

1. Tripod strap. 2. External accessory strap, one either side, ideal for outer wear etc. 3. SlipLock loop, one either side. 4. Mesh pocket with reinforced base. Will take 75 cl water bottle or 1lt Sigg bottle. 5. Tripod stirrup in concealed pocket secured by zipper. Why not just tuck the tripod stirrup inside and save time and money by not securing an item already stitched to the bag?

The back pack is typical of Lowepro, excellent construction with plenty of storage. In fact I managed to carry a Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Canon EOS 50D, 50 mm f1.4 lens, 100 – 400 L Series zoom, 24 – 105 mm L Series zoom, Sigma 15mm and a Lensbaby with room to spare. I do like the security this back pack affords as the opening is not in the conventional place, i.e. on the outside opposite the straps, but by your back inside the straps. If you're out and about in a city this means no one can access your precious gear by unzipping the bag. However, it does mean that it's a little tricker to extract gear, but to my mind a small price for the additional security.

Inside the bag there are the usual Lowepro Velcro secured dividers and inside the flap pockets for media cards and a large document pocket. Outside the bag there are SlipLock loops and snaplock fastening straps either side of the back pack and a comfortable carry handle on top. The large outside pocket is the full depth and width of the bag with ample pockets for pens and accessories etc and a key clip. Concealed near the base of the bag is a stirrup that can be extracted to assist with carrying a tripod or monopod. I did try and carry my Manfrotto 755 mf3 with the 468 head but this combination was too much for the small stirrup and the adjustable strap. The strap cannot be pulled tight enough for good stability, as Lowepro have not used a friction buckle but one that snaps onto the webbing strap.

Not the most stable tripod fixing!

After about a mile walking the tripod and head were rocking from side to side, so I resorted to carrying the tripod over my shoulder like one of Snow White's dwarfs on the way to work!

The padded waist belt and lumbar pad are very comfortable and the belt has Sliplock loops as do the shoulder straps. The shoulder straps are prevented from being pulled back over your shoulders by a thin sternum strap. Lowepro have modified/improved or changed how this strap is secured and when walking the strap rides up the straps from the wide bottom to narrow top and ends up throttling you – not good. And lastly, even though the padding is very comfortable but it does not allow your back to breath. Even on a cool day I end up soaked to the skin, so when I remove the back pack I begin to chill.

I do wonder if the ideal (well, for me) camera back pack does exist? My favourite and most comfortable walking day sack is a Deuter with an external frame which keeps the load away from my back, distributes the weight onto my hips and allows my back to breathe.

The front pocket of the Flipside 400 AW showing the orange hi-viz edging
- I wonder if they're trying to emulate Kata's Yellop interiors?

If anyone knows of a camera back pack with an external frame, which is lightweight with a decent capacity, please do let me know! I did own a Lowepro Nature Trekker, which had the capacity of a Mini Trekker AW, but because of all the additional protection weighs nearly as much as the gear inside.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I really appreciate the photo with the tripod on the bag. That gives me a nice idea how this bag will, or will not work for me.

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  2. i very happy with mine. for me, it's very stable tripod fixing...the jacket strap on top of the bag can be used to tighten the tripod :)

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  3. I enjoy reading your topic and i will this site again if i have time again.,If I will have time because this days I am so busy to many work done in this blog post.


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  4. I have just received the Flipside 400 as a replacement for my Lowepro Sligshot AW300 failed whilst abroad. The main clasp just gave way. My bag fell off my back and to the ground causing £670 damage to my lens. Fortuantley the D3 body was ok. So far so good. Carried it around yesterday and found it easy to use. Using it to carry a D3 with 80 400 and a D700 with 24 120.

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  5. I use flipside 300 with Benro tripod and 0,5kg ball head. There is no such problem, as you shown on the picture, but I place the tripod upside down. The plate of ball head is in the tripod pocket. As the heaviest part of the tripod is low, there is now such nasty suprises, as you show on the picture.

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  6. Alternatively, you could attach the tripod on top of the bag.

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