Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lowepro Flipside 400AW review

Me and Flipside 400AW, photo credit: Khuram Naseer

After lots of wait and searching i ended up buying Flipside 400 AW from trusted Lowepro, sells new for around 140$, paid 100$ to an ebay seller for new, arrived in a week in very nice packing.

This is largest camera backpack in Flipside product range and only one that includes AW cover. Unique thing about this series is that they open from back of backpack, and allow you to change lenses without taking entire camera bag off which works amazingly well in field. I wish all backpacks were designed like that.

What it holds for me 

  • Canon 7D+17-40L+ 83ej hood attached, 100mm Macro, Flash 580ex2, 50mm 1.8 + free room for more stuff 
  • Tripod holder holds Feisol 3401 and Cullman 30nm Ballhead less than 2kg kit. 
  • Extra T shirt, filter, wireless triggers, battery and other accessories in outer compartment 
The Real Test Short after this bag arrived i went on trip to north of Pakistan (see link) from dusty to lush green rainy areas, Jeep travels on bumpy paths but this camera bag kept my all gear secure. I attached lots of stuff to this bag on this trip. As said very comfortable to change lenses without taking camera bag off, keeps harness clean when you have to take backpack off and work on ground. Thanks to its looks, back entry and small depth helps a lot in a crowded place.

The Good 
  • Durable outer material 
  • Comfortable, breathable on back 
  • Don't look like a Camera bag 
  • Secure back entry mechanism 
  • Flipside works perfectly well, can do everything without taking it off! 
  • Sliplock attachments are provided two on bag and 6 on waist belt. 
  • Nice padding and dividers, and 3 memory card holders inside bag
  • All weather cover 
The Bad 
  • I wish tripod holder mechanism was little better, but it perfectly works if top straps are used to secure the Tripod but you lose carrying light jacket flexibility. 
  • I hope Zippers were little more durable, like the ones found in some other series of Lowepro bags. 
  • Chest strap is little flimsy but works. 
And The Ugly No Metal D rings, big setback for me, i wanted to attach my DSLR to D rings when working to keep my neck comfortable. Wish it had a cover to protect harness and buckle when tucked away. No small pouch which comes with Lowepros.

Overall i am very happy with this bag and my companion for travel photography around Pakistan, few nits in "The Bad" part are really not deal breaker, I wish for improvements like metal D rings in upcoming models of Flipside.
PS: In above photo i attached sleeping mattress on top of rain coat and used shoelace tied with tripod head and bag's hand carrying holder to keep it secure and minimize movements as provided straps were attached to the rain coat. I had to attach so much stuff in emergency i don't think so i am going to use camera backpack like that frequently! 

Islamabad, Pakistan

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