So, after recently buying a second lens to go with my AWESOME second-hand Canon EOS 300, I felt that I needed a proper camera bag to go with it. As some of you might know, I do commercial work for my school, and each time I do I usually get paid enough to buy a new piece of gear, which is how I managed to fork out for this definitely not inexpensive camera bag. But it also got me thinking.
I am planning to do some more work for them soon, I will probably be able to afford another lens soon. Therefore, I should buy a bag that has enough space for any sensible future purchases. I also wanted to get a good quality, reliable and trusted make.
So that pointed me to a Lowepro, and the best size for me would be the 200 or the 202 depending on the series. Then, I decided that there were three different models that I would consider - the Fastpack, the Slingshot and the Flipside.
So I went into my local branch of Jessops to compare them, only to be greeted by a rather patronizing member of staff. So I ignored them, because I seemed to know more then they did, and looked for the bags. There were several drawbacks that I noticed about the other two bags - the Fastpack seemed to have very little space for a camera considering how big the bag actually was, and the Slingshot only had one strap. Not a good idea if I'm going to be carrying it around for several hours on the tube.
So I decided to buy a Flipside, but on looking at the prices in Jessops, immediately left and headed straight for Amazon, where I found, to my astonishment, that the Flipside 200 was more expensive than the 300. So I bought that one instead, and it arrived two days later.
So now I have explained my choice of bag, I will get round to the review.
As I said before, Lowepro is known for it's reliability and durability, and this is no exception. Just from the look of it, I can tell that it;s not going to fall to pieces any time soon, in comparison to one of Jessops' own brand products, which felt like it might disintegrate without too much difficulty.
The Flipside is unique among bags as it opens from the side that faces your back. This has three main advantages - firstly it is far more secure in crowded places as it is impossible for anything to be surreptitiously lifted from your bag, a real plus if you're carrying gear worth four figures. The second advantage is that with most camera bags, in order to extract your gear you have to put the bag on the ground with the side that usually touches your back on the ground, meaning that when you put it back on again, any dirt that was on the ground goes straight onto your clothes. Thirdly, with the waist strap, it is now possible to get to your gear without actually taking the bag off. All you have to do is take off the arm straps and swivel the bag round to your front, so you can use your bag a little like a table. This may be hard to imagine this - so here is a photo.
This bag is a bit like a Tardis, in that despite being very compact and slim on the outside, it has a vast, cavernous space inside. There should be plenty of space for my current and future camera gear, including two bodies:
Canon EOS 300 Film SLR
Canon EF 28-90mm Kit Lens
SIgma 70-300mm 'Consumer-Grade' Lens
Gorillapod SLR Zoom
Velbon CX4780 Video Tripod (more about that later)
Future) Canon EOS 600D
Future) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 (otherwise known as the fantastic plastic)
Future) RØDE Videomic
Here's a picture (from DigitalCameraReview) of the interior with gear pretty similar to my own:
As you can see, there's plenty of room for around five lenses, let alone three. You can also see that there is a massive pouch at the top for random accessories like a Lenspen or some filters, which can be removed if you wish, allowing for a super-long lens to be attached to the camera.
On a final note, there are some little pockets on the outside for storing items such as memory cards and perhaps the odd instruction manual or two.
All in all, a very trusty bag. I would highly recommend it. You may be paying a lot, but I strongly advise you to not take the cheap way out and buy a crappy own-brand from a shop. Lowepro FTW.
Alex, Signing off.