Considering the Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II Camera Backpack

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Dec 13, 2008
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Alexandria, Va
As the title suggests, I am thinking of getting the Lowepro Flipside 500 AW II Camera Backpack.
I use a D7100 with an array of lenses: 35mm, 90mm, 18-400mm, and 200-500mm.
Has anyone used this pack, and fit the 200-500 mounted to a body inside? The company-stock photos show a body mounted to a Canon 400 (I think) fit snuggly inside. But how snuggly?
The 500 backpack looks king of huge on the model:
3B34DF32-A048-4160-AA9E-6E9CEDD0523B.jpeg
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I’ve also read some of the reviews for the 400, and they say you can just squeeze the 200-500 mounted on a D500 body into the bag. The model photo of the 400 looks a bit more proportional...
AB1C99DA-A2FF-470F-B660-B863CC628BCF.jpeg
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I also considered the Rugged 600 but I think it’s way too huge for my 200-500. I know someone who has it using a D4 and 500mm f4...but that lens is 5” longer than mine collapsed at 200. I think the Rugged bag would be overkill for me...

Any Suggestions?
 
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I have the Flipside 400AW which I bought 4 years ago. I can easily fit my D750 with the 200-500mm attached. There is over an inch of extra space. I am quite pleased with it and it is pretty comfortable. I use it when flying, road trips, cycling and hiking. I used it during a trip to the Glacier National Park where on one day we hiked for over 8 hours and the backpack was comfortable the whole time.
 
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I have the 500 and it fits a 500mm f4 w/body attached. Snug but it fits. Way more than needed for 200-500 w/body. There aren't a lot of additional pockets for misc items. It's tall and relatively narrow.
 
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I have the Flipside 500AW and the 400AW. Both are very good bags and comfortable to wear and I have taken them both on overseas trips. I have used the 500 with my D850, Tamron 15-30 f2.8, Nikon 24-70 f2.8E VR, 80-400 4.5-5.6, laptop and othe bibs and bobs. I used the 400 with less gear, can't remember eactly what though. I generally went with the 500AW overseas as it just had more room for other things than the 400.

However, I now have the Mind Shift Backlight 26lt which is the best bag I have ever used, and I have a cupboard full of them! What I like about the Mind Shift bag is that it is more expandible in the back pockets, whereas the Flipsides are a little limited in the rear pocket area and attaching other things like tripods etc. You just have more room to store things like jackets, cleaning gear etc in the rear pockets. Not only that, but the side pockets are better designed and can hold more. When not needing the back pockets etc, it is more compact than the 500AW, but will accommodate more when required. Also, the big advantage of the Flipside and Backlight type bag is that they can swivel around your hips to the front and open towards you so you can access your gear without removing the backpack. Also, if you put it on the ground to access your gear, the side that goes on the ground isn't the side that goes against your back thus if the ground is wet or muddy, you don't get that on your back. However, the only trouble with the Flipside is that when opened on your hips in front of you the bag can droop and sag and is at risk of gear falling out and you generally need to support the bag with your knee, or on a table or a wall etc. The Mind Shift, on the other hand, is much more secure and self supporting as it has an extra rib that rounds around the bag opening that helps support it when opened in front of you whilst against you hip, it never droops like the Flipsides can. You pay a little more for the Mind Shift, but it is well worth it IMO. They have 4 sizes in the Backlight Series, an 18lt, a 26lt a 36lt and a 45lt.

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/pages/mindshift-gear

My Mind Shift Backlight 26lt packed with gear, although now it is the 14-24 f2.8S of the 14-30 f4S and fits on it's side where the 14-30 and 24 f1.8S are in the photo. I also have the 70-200 f2.8S instead of the 70-200 f2.8E FL VR, but that fits in the same spot anyway. Depending on what I am shooting, I may take the 50 f1.8S and 85 f1.8S out and put in the Z1.4x and Z2x TC as well as the 100mm square 4 slot filter pouch for the NiSi filter holder that goes in the back pocket.

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Butlerkid

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I have the Flipside 500AW and the 400AW. Both are very good bags and comfortable to wear and I have taken them both on overseas trips. I have used the 500 with my D850, Tamron 15-30 f2.8, Nikon 24-70 f2.8E VR, 80-400 4.5-5.6, laptop and othe bibs and bobs. I used the 400 with less gear, can't remember eactly what though. I generally went with the 500AW overseas as it just had more room for other things than the 400.

However, I now have the Mind Shift Backlight 26lt which is the best bag I have ever used, and I have a cupboard full of them! What I like about the Mind Shift bag is that it is more expandible in the back pockets, whereas the Flipsides are a little limited in the rear pocket area and attaching other things like tripods etc. You just have more room to store things like jackets, cleaning gear etc in the rear pockets. Not only that, but the side pockets are better designed and can hold more. When not needing the back pockets etc, it is more compact than the 500AW, but will accommodate more when required. Also, the big advantage of the Flipside and Backlight type bag is that they can swivel around your hips to the front and open towards you so you can access your gear without removing the backpack. Also, if you put it on the ground to access your gear, the side that goes on the ground isn't the side that goes against your back thus if the ground is wet or muddy, you don't get that on your back. However, the only trouble with the Flipside is that when opened on your hips in front of you the bag can droop and sag and is at risk of gear falling out and you generally need to support the bag with your knee, or on a table or a wall etc. The Mind Shift, on the other hand, is much more secure and self supporting as it has an extra rib that rounds around the bag opening that helps support it when opened in front of you whilst against you hip, it never droops like the Flipsides can. You pay a little more for the Mind Shift, but it is well worth it IMO. They have 4 sizes in the Backlight Series, an 18lt, a 26lt a 36lt and a 45lt.

https://www.thinktankphoto.com/pages/mindshift-gear

My Mind Shift Backlight 26lt packed with gear, although now it is the 14-24 f2.8S of the 14-30 f4S and fits on it's side where the 14-30 and 24 f1.8S are in the photo. I also have the 70-200 f2.8S instead of the 70-200 f2.8E FL VR, but that fits in the same spot anyway. Depending on what I am shooting, I may take the 50 f1.8S and 85 f1.8S out and put in the Z1.4x and Z2x TC as well as the 100mm square 4 slot filter pouch for the NiSi filter holder that goes in the back pocket.

View attachment 1676815
Great information, Lance. The interior of the Backlight bag looks very similar to the ThinkTank Acceleration, Airport and Glass Taxi bags, which I have. Excellent quality. The feature of being able to keep straps and back of the bag clean sounds really useful.
 
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Winter Haven, florida
Like most of us, I have a closet full of bags from over the years.
One thing to remember as you look at bags is travel restrictions. I want a bag that can fit under the seat of a plane- remember when we used to fly?
That is actually the first thing I look at- size and travel limitations.
Presently using a mind shift Firstlight 20L- great bag. I actually have 2 of them. One set up for long glass and one set up for shorter primes- wildlife vs landscape bags.
Enjoy the journey. There is no perfect bag- or we all wouldn't have stacks of them.
gary
 
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I have the Flipside 400 and it fits a D850 body with 300mm f4 AFS and 1.4x converter with 2" to spare. That should be enough for a body with the 200-500. The Flipside 500 should be more than big enough.
 

Butlerkid

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Like most of us, I have a closet full of bags from over the years.
One thing to remember as you look at bags is travel restrictions. I want a bag that can fit under the seat of a plane- remember when we used to fly?
That is actually the first thing I look at- size and travel limitations.
Presently using a mind shift Firstlight 20L- great bag. I actually have 2 of them. One set up for long glass and one set up for shorter primes- wildlife vs landscape bags.
Enjoy the journey. There is no perfect bag- or we all wouldn't have stacks of them.
gary
Agree! My ThinkTank Commuter will go under the seat in front of me. And it handles as much as I can lift! LOL! My TT Accelerator goes in the overhead, but I've found that I can get by even traveling to Africa with my 600mm with the Commuter bag by putting a body and lens in my computer bag.
 
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Johns Creek, Ga
Also have the think tank Mindshift 26L. Love the bag and very comfortable. Beside the camera gear compartment have in the front pocket carried a Ipad pro in protective sleeve, 13" mackbook pro , Wacom Intous Medium in padded case and then another padded case with couple Samsung T5 ssd drives, Xqd card reader, assorted cables, OCW Hub and power brick. Although it get fairly heavy it is still comfortable.
 
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Please note- I am an old fart and it gets harder to carry heavy bags. I have the 20L mind shift. Any larger and it would not fit under the airlines seat- at least not easily. I would also not want to carry anything heavier. When I travel, the heavy big stuff is packed in a pelican case that goes in the overhead. With 2 bags I can have all my stuff available on a trip- but only carry what I will need for that day.
gary
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
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Thank you for all your input. So now I have to decide on the Lowepro 40, Mindshift 26L or 20L....$100 difference...
The differense between the two mindhsift bags are internally:
Mindshift 18L = 24 x 42.5 x 14 cm
Mindshift 26L = 26 x 49 x 15 cm

From my photo, you can see that the width of the bag at 26cm allows for 3 lenses across easily. The 18L is 2cm narrower and 6.5cm shorter than the 26L. The 200-500 (110mm x 270mm) mounted to the D7100 (total about say 320mm?) will easily fit lengthways down either bag leaving about 100mm either at the top or bottom of the bag's length - you could fit a lens in that area. Looking at my bag, which is thr 26L, if you decide to go with the 18L it seems to me that you could fit the D7100 with the 200-500 mounted to the side where I have my 500 PF due to the fact that the camera is narrower on the side opposite the grip. Then, you would have a row of pockets set up like I do for your 35mm, 90mm, 18-400mm. The Tamron(?) 18-400 is 125mm high, meaning it should fit vertically in one of the divided sections like I have above - the bag is 140mm high internally. The Tamron(?) 90mm is 120mm high.
 
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Alexandria, Va
The differense between the two mindhsift bags are internally:
Mindshift 18L = 24 x 42.5 x 14 cm
Mindshift 26L = 26 x 49 x 15 cm

From my photo, you can see that the width of the bag at 26cm allows for 3 lenses across easily. The 18L is 2cm narrower and 6.5cm shorter than the 26L. The 200-500 (110mm x 270mm) mounted to the D7100 (total about say 320mm?) will easily fit lengthways down either bag leaving about 100mm either at the top or bottom of the bag's length - you could fit a lens in that area. Looking at my bag, which is thr 26L, if you decide to go with the 18L it seems to me that you could fit the D7100 with the 200-500 mounted to the side where I have my 500 PF due to the fact that the camera is narrower on the side opposite the grip. Then, you would have a row of pockets set up like I do for your 35mm, 90mm, 18-400mm. The Tamron(?) 18-400 is 125mm high, meaning it should fit vertically in one of the divided sections like I have above - the bag is 140mm high internally. The Tamron(?) 90mm is 120mm high.
Wow...that’s a lot more information than I was expecting, you sure did the math on that!!!
I think I will go with the 26L in Green - I hike a lot and I prefer brighter colors than Black...
even if I don’t carry all my gear at once, the 26 will leave room for an extra fleece or rain jacket, granola and bear spray...for when I might need it...
 
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Wow...that’s a lot more information than I was expecting, you sure did the math on that!!!
I think I will go with the 26L in Green - I hike a lot and I prefer brighter colors than Black...
even if I don’t carry all my gear at once, the 26 will leave room for an extra fleece or rain jacket, granola and bear spray...for when I might need it...
That was my thinking. The bag weights are not that much different, but if you need to extra room you've got it. Better to have it and not always need it than to not have it and need it. 😊
 

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