Looking for a good camera bag sometimes isn't easy. I've had my Canon camera bag for like 2 years now and I'm in the hunt for something a bit smaller than my existing bag. Something more compact but still able to hold stuff that I really need in the field.
I was looking for something to hold one body with a telephoto lens, an extra lens, and a speedlite, with plenty of pockets to hold the basic photography necessities such as memory cards, and extra batteries. But it doesn't need to be a huge bag that I don't wanna bring when I just wanted to be light. The most important of all...I needed a bag that can hold a small/medium sized tripod with head installed.
After hours of looking online. I came across Lowepro's Flipside series of bags. The Flipside series are bags that have the main opening in the back of the wearer, as opposed to having the opening exposed on the other side, which is typical for most bags. So I looked at the 200, 300, and 400 series bags. For the Flipside bags, the larger the model number, the bigger the bag is. Two models caught my interest...the Flipside 200 and the Flipside 300.
The next day I went to a local camera shop near work to look at the Flipsides. I ended up buying the Flipside 200 and I tried it at home.
Sadly, the Flipside 200 is pretty narrow for me. I put inside my Canon 50d with a 70-200 L lens attached. The width of the bag caused the body to tilt as it is tight. Now add a lens on the side, which I did, and the bag has a bulge on the side which looks awkward. The lens that I put on the side was a 17-40mm zoom lens, and boy that lens with the hood attached is so wide. So I thought maybe this bag is way too small for me. This works well with bodies that aren't that wide...such as the rebel series bodies, and lenses that don't have wide diameters. So I went back to the store to exchange the bag for a Flipside 300 instead.
The Flipside 300 is slightly more expensive than the 200, and the extra price was worth it. I took it home and tried it out. This one looks better than the one I had before.
So I put inside the bag the same amount of stuff I put in the Flipside 200 the day before. A 50d with a 70-200 attached and a 17-40mm side by side fit perfectly even with the 2 lenses having big diameters. With the length of the 70-200, I have some room at the bottom to add an accessory, like a speedlite diffuser or a shutter release or some wireless triggers. With an medium sized lens, such as a 28-135mm, you can add an additional lens at the bottom of it, or a speedlite. On the side, you can either put another 2 lenses, or fit a lens lengthwise. The thin side panels opposite to the lens compartment can hold a charger, batteries, or something thin. I use mine to keep my camera charger in there.
The Flipside 300 is well padded. The panel dividers are also well padded and configurable. The sides of the dividers have velcro in them so you can customize the size of the dividers to what you want. The shoulder straps are well padded and pretty comfortable, so is the part that touches your back. It feels like the bag hugs you when you put it on.
On the side of the bag you'll find a compartment that can hold your memory cards...2 to be exact, with their protective cases on. The cf cards fit perfectly into these pockets. There's also a pen holder, and another pocket to hold whatever. I use the extra pocket to hold a usb cable, and my Ipad usb adapters and card reader. Opposite to this compartment is a stretchable pocket that can hold bottled water, or an umbrella.
The top inside part is a detachable pouch. You can detach this to have more room for your camera on top. I keep it in there and use it to hold filters and some other small stuff like phone chargers and lens and body caps.
The best part about this bag is the tripod holder. The holder at the bottom is foldable when you don't need it. You just slip one foot of your tripod in the pocket then lock the middle part of the tripod with the quick release strap in the middle of the bag. I have put a Manfrotto 190Xprob tripod in this bag and I never had problems with it wobbling around or getting loose, which was a big problem with my older bag.
I've tried this bag with 2 bodies and 2 lenses all inside. Although one body has to have its lens detached and stored on a different compartment. Basically, you can go light, or you can go heavy with this bag.
The Flipside 300 is a very good bag that can hold a lot. Though not too big in size, it's still capable of holding a lot of stuff that you might need in the field. It's best used for a one body, multiple lens setup than a multiple body/lens setup. If you need to bring more than one camera body and more than 2 lenses, you might want to go buy the Flipside 400 or 500, or something bigger. In my book, this bag is a winner.