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Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L Backpack – Evaluation


Manfrotto PRO Light Flexloader L Backpack - Review

The Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L is among the largest carry-on digicam backpacks accessible available on the market. On this evaluate, we’ll check out the bag’s construct high quality, options, and the way a lot gear it will probably maintain. In case you’re in search of the most effective options cash can purchase, let’s take a better take a look at the Flexloader L!

Disclaimer: Let me first say that I’m not a Manfrotto Ambassador. Like each different article on CineD, Manfrotto, or another model, didn’t pay me to write down this text. Nevertheless, the corporate despatched me the product to evaluate without spending a dime. This evaluate is my unbiased opinion, as Manfrotto didn’t modify, affect, or give enter in regards to the article or video earlier than its publication.

The limitless quest

Relating to storing, transporting, or flying with movie tools, I feel the artistic world is split into two classes: those that don’t care and those that are obsessively in search of a fair higher resolution. For sure, I fall within the second class.

I’ve used baggage, circumstances, rolling baggage, and fly circumstances from numerous sorts and many alternative manufacturers. The hunt to search out the proper storage/carrying resolution that mixes construct high quality, storage capability, complete package deal weight, and performance is limitless.

Nevertheless, for the previous 4 years, I lastly discovered some options that work for me. I bought and used Manfrotto rolling baggage – together with the Professional Curler Bag 70 and Reloader Air-55 Professional – and so they’ve been actual workhorses. They’ve been a pleasure to make use of and what carries all my digicam tools 99% of the time. The Home windows vs. macOS debate is as large because the backpack vs. rolling case one, however each options have execs and cons.

Additionally, the (now discontinued) Manfrotto PRO Gentle 3N1-36 PL has been a part of my package for some years now. It’s been a pleasure to journey with, however I now retired it as my “wi-fi video system bag,” which is a bit overkill, as this backpack can carry a ton of kit.

As I largely shoot as a one-man-band filmmaker, I’ve been making an attempt to create one rolling bag and one backpack capturing package that matches every part I would like for all primary capturing situations and speaking heads: two cameras, lenses, two digicam tripods, some LED lights, mild stands, and so forth.

In October 2021, Manfrotto launched a new PRO Gentle digicam baggage lineup for photographers and filmmakers. So I used to be very wanting to strive the Manfrotto PRO Flexloader L backpack for numerous causes. First, it is among the largest carry-on camera-specific baggage available on the market. Additionally, it’s Manfrotto’s second technology of PRO Gentle backpacks. So did the corporate enhance what was already a wonderful lineup of merchandise? Let’s discover out!

Picture credit score: CineD

Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L specs

As I discussed, the PRO Gentle Flexloader L is a hefty bag that measures 36 x 35 x 56cm/14.1 x 13.7 x 22in for an empty weight of 3kg/6.6lbs. As with each digicam bag, the inner dimensions are barely smaller at 26 x 15 x 47cm/10.2 x 5.9 x 18.5in.

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In line with Manfrotto, the Flexloader L can take as much as eight lenses, a DSLR/DSLR with grip or Cinema Digicam, a 16-inch laptop computer (27 x 2.5 x 46 cm/10.63 x 0.98 x 18.11in), a gimbal, a tripod, and extra. So you bought it; this backpack can take loads of stuff. That additionally means carrying loads of weight in your shoulders, however we’ll discuss that intimately later.

Picture credit score: CineD

Construct high quality and design

The Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L’s design is sober; it’s mild black with a few “Manfrotto signature purple” touches right here and there.

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The bag is made out of nylon and artificial material. The ripstop nylon material incorporates a cross sample throughout it. This sort of material is used to make army garments, so I’ve little or no doubt about its high quality or longevity. All in all, it’s a matter of style, however it’s a nice-looking bag that appears skilled with out screaming “there’s loads of digicam tools inside,” which I at all times like.

Picture credit score: CineD

You’ll be able to instantly really feel that it’s a well-made product out of the field. The supplies look dense, the stitchings of the bag are good, the stitching thread is thick.

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Additionally, Manfrotto put two thick rubber reinforcements/locking holes on the entrance and one on all sides to create a tuck-away strap system.

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You’ll be able to set the 2 included straps onto the 4 entrance holes of those rubber elements to connect additional tools/tripod to the bag.

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The 2 included straps are produced from nylon and metallic and are high-quality; you’ll be able to simply belief them to carry a little bit of weight.

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In line with Manfrotto, the materials are water repellant. Additionally, there’s a built-in fold-out rain protector situated on the entrance of the bag. I didn’t stress-test the water resistance, however I by no means had points with Manfrotto merchandise in wet situations previously, so this one ought to be no completely different.

Nevertheless, I discovered that the Flexloader L shortly caught mud and marks throughout my checks. I’ve not been very variety with it and shot in some industrial factories that aren’t the cleanest environments out right here. Again on the workplace, a fast wipe with a moist sponge and the backpack appeared model new once more – because it cleans simply – however it’s one thing to note.

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Zippers, locks, and safety

The Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L zippers are amongst the perfect I’ve ever seen, interval. These are YKK zippers, that are a number of the world’s finest zippers you may get.

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Additionally, there are rubber pull straps on the finish of some zippers that open “secondary” compartments.

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Manfrotto put some thick and fairly lengthy metallic pull straps on the finish of the primary compartment and gimbal zippers, so it’s straightforward to open/shut the most-used bag’s pockets.

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Moreover, these high-quality metallic zippers pull straps are usually not right here for the flex.

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Certainly, the Flexloader L comes with a built-in TSA lock that means that you can securely shut your bag once you’re commuting, for instance.

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Open the lock, put the primary compartment’s zippers via it, lock it, and you’ll ensure that no person will be capable of open your backpack.

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I like which you can nonetheless put the TSA lock in its pocket even when your bag is secured. You most likely don’t wish to catch pointless consideration by strolling across the metropolis with a lock hanging on the surface of your bag.

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The lock buckles have a distinct design from the “conventional” ones you’ll find in all places, which often break shortly. These Manfrotto lock buckles are clean, and it appears such as you solely have to get the middle half inside for it to interact. It’s onerous to explain, however an image is value a thousand phrases.

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Handles, shoulder straps and padding

To seize the bag, there are three handles: one on the highest and one on all sides. Though all of the handles really feel sturdy, they will take loads of weight. If I’m being choosy, I might’ve appreciated to see a fourth grip on the backside.

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Speaking in regards to the backside of the Flexloader L, there are two rugged bumpers underneath the dense nylon cowl. These bumpers will assist scale back impacts once you put your bag on the bottom.

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In line with Manfrotto, these “SAS-TEC” structural reinforcements characteristic unique viscoelastic reminiscence foam for multi-impact endurance. Sadly, I didn’t open the bag with a knife to confirm, however the backside bumpers did effectively throughout my testing.

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It’s time to speak about my favourite a part of the Flexloader L: the straps and again padding. The again padding is out of this world, and even with a fully-loaded bag that’s near 20kg, you’ll not really feel it in your again, particularly your decrease again. It has a agency – but so snug – padding with a mesh design and air tunnels, so that you don’t sweat.

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I requested some colleagues and associates to strive carrying the Flexloader L, and everyone was impressed by the quantity of help and luxury this backpack offers you. I feel it’s a must to strive it out for your self to expertise how a bag ought to really feel in your shoulders.

Subsequent are the shoulder straps that do have two changes settings. The primary one, like each backpack, is the size of every strap.

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On the prime of the Flexloader L’s shoulder straps, the second adjustment is the “help,” or how far you need the straps to be from the precise bag.

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Additionally, the straps characteristic an adjustable torso top harness system.

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Final however not least, the waist belt is contained in the built-in pocket once you obtain the bag. That is useful in case you, like me, hardly ever use them. One factor I hate is to have a waist belt I don’t use swinging round. Additionally, the waist belt incorporates a small mesh pocket with a zipper.

You bought it; when carrying the Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L, you’ve gotten selections, and it will probably relaxation in your shoulders for hours. The Manfrotto crew put loads of effort into making a snug bag. Being cozy is essential because the Flexloader L can shortly turn into heavy contemplating what number of compartments and the way a lot stuff you’ll be able to put in it.

Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L pockets and compartments

The Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L is a reasonably easy digicam bag with 4 important pockets and compartments:

  • On the entrance of the bag, there’s a small accent pocket. This may be useful to hold some small gadgets, batteries, snacks, papers, and so on.
  • Additionally, on the entrance, you’ll discover the 2 zippers to totally open the primary compartment.
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  • A laptop computer pocket on the again can simply match a 16-inch MacBook Professional or an iPad, for instance.
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  • And an expandable gimbal pocket that opens in two steps: first, unlock the zippers throughout the bag. Then, prolong your bag to disclose the full-size gimbal pocket. This pocket is initially designed to suit a Manfrotto gimbal, like their 300XM modular gimbal.
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I did a fast check with a DJI Ronin RSC2 that hardly suits inside this pocket.

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You will get the gimbal contained in the bag; it really works. Nevertheless, I’m not a large fan of placing some stress on a motorized gimbal that may take some strain from my again.

And that’s it. It’s not an overly-complicated bag with tons of zippers and pockets all over. As a substitute, Manfrotto determined to maintain issues easy, and it simply works completely.

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Tripod attachments

There are a number of methods to connect tripods or mild stands to the Flexloader.

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First, there are two small expendable pouches, one on all sides. I’ve points with this sort of tripod pockets more often than not, as they’re small. To offer you an concept, they barely match a Peak Design Journey Tripod, some of the compact digicam tripods you may get.

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However, you’ll be able to put small LED lights – I put two Nanlite PavoTube 6C in a single pocket with ease – or a compact slider, for instance; it really works.

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In case you have an expert video tripod with a fluid head or mild stands, you’ve gotten another choice on either side of the Flexloader L.

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Contained in the small pockets with tripod logos, you’ll discover straps that connect to their respective rubber hooks.

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Final however not least, on the entrance of the bag, contained in the rain cowl pocket, you’ll discover two nylon loops. Utilizing the 2 entrance straps and these two nylon loops, you’ll be able to connect a heavy digicam tripod to the bag. I attempted with my Sachtler Velocity Lock CF HD set of tripod legs: it really works. However, you’ll must deal with all that additional tripod weight in your again, the unbalance, and the Flexloader L will flip over once you put it on the bottom. Additionally, it’s not very sensible to entry the bag’s digicam compartment.

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Inside design

When you totally open the 2 important zippers, you entry the 26.5L inside to retailer your digicam tools. The very first thing you’ll discover is that the bag flap opens completely. Some prefer it, whereas others desire latches to stop the flap from touching the bottom; it’s a matter of style.

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The highest flap options three meshed pockets: two small ones (12.5 x 11cm/4,92 x 4,33in) on the prime and a big one on the backside (23 x 17cm/9 x 6,7in).

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Solely the massive pocket is closed by a zipper. The 2 small ones characteristic smooth material wings to sort of shut them, however tiny gadgets might ultimately fall out of the pockets as they aren’t bodily closed.

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Inside the primary compartment, you’ll discover two central dividers that measure the Flexloader L’s inside size. The Flexloader L additionally comes with eight small dividers.

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There’s additionally a pleasant little pouch contained in the bag, which is round 23 x 15 x 5cm/9 x 5,9 x 2in.

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You should use this pouch to retailer small gadgets, filters, reminiscence playing cards, cables, and so forth.

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The construct high quality of this pouch is gorgeous and a very good addition to the worldwide package deal.

Dividers

The dividers characteristic Manfrotto’s M-GUARD know-how to guard your tools. M-GUARD dividers are manufactured from high-density EVA foam and are “50% slimmer with 50% higher shock absorption” in comparison with earlier Manfrotto dividers.

I cannot affirm that these new dividers do higher at absorbing shocks.

The brand new M-GUARD dividers are on the left, in comparison with the Curler Bag-70 dividers on the appropriate. Picture credit score: CineD

Nevertheless, I can be certain that these 15mm thick M-GUARD dividers are a lot slimmer than their predecessor.

Briefly, these new dividers take much less house inside your bag, so you’ve gotten extra room to retailer digicam tools.

Nevertheless, I discovered the small dividers not excessive sufficient. When you’ve gotten small gadgets (batteries or reminiscence playing cards, for instance) in a tiny house separated by a partition, they have an inclination to maneuver round in your bag, get out of their devoted house, and find yourself hitting different gadgets contained in the bag.

All the numerous tools in your bag gained’t transfer. There are not any points with lenses, cameras, LED lights, and so forth. However watch out with the tiny bits.

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Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L carrying capability

I attempted the Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L in two main configurations: a “conventional” digicam bag and a multipurpose backpack.

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In a digicam bag configuration, I used to be in a position to match:

  • One small cinema digicam with a cage (Canon EOS C70)
  • A mirrorless digicam
  • Three “normal-sized” lenses and a giant zoom lens (Canon EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS)
  • The pouch that comes with the bag
  • Batteries, reminiscence playing cards, and a ballhead

Are you able to get extra digicam stuff inside? For certain, however that’s already a good quantity of substances to hold in your again.

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To me, the Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L shines as a multipurpose backpack. To offer you an concept, I used to be in a position to match:

  • One Aputure 200D LED mild with all of the cables
  • A mirrorless digicam
  • 4 “normal-sized” lenses
  • Two SWIT compact V-Mount batteries (PB-M98S and PB-M45S)
  • The pouch that comes with the bag

Additionally, don’t neglect which you can put a lightweight stand, a digicam tripod, and two small LED tubes on the edges/entrance of the bag, in addition to your gimbal and laptop computer on the again. It signifies that a complete capturing package can match inside/exterior the Flexloader L.

That’s fairly a hefty quantity of weight to hold all day lengthy, however you’ll be able to shortly transfer across the metropolis (and stairs!) with just one bag.

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In case you take away the pouch that comes with the bag, you’ll be able to put a monitor – on this image, the PortKeys PT5 that I reviewed right here – and a few SSD onerous drives.

Closing ideas

As you’ll be able to inform, there are 1,000,000 methods to place the dividers and reconfigure the Flexloader L to suit your gear and desires. It’s a really versatile bag that may carry loads of gear whereas nonetheless being carry-on sized so you’ll be able to convey it with you on a aircraft.

I like the brand new dividers that don’t make you lose a ton of house contained in the bag. Whenever you’re packing your digicam tools for a visit, you wish to pack as a lot stuff as doable inside your carry-on backpack.

Additionally, I can’t say sufficient how snug the Flexloader L is in your shoulders and again. It is a essential a part of a backpack that may get as heavy as it will probably get as soon as totally loaded.

So is the Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L the proper bag? There are solely only a few minor issues that, to me, could possibly be improved:

  • the peak of the small dividers could possibly be increased so small objects doesn’t transfer contained in the bag.
  • the small entrance pocket might characteristic the identical metallic zippers pull straps as the primary compartments ones, so you’ll be able to shut it with the TSA lock.
  • including a deal with on the backside of the bag.

As you’ll be able to inform, these are minor points and never a dealbreaker. Manfrotto did an amazing job at enhancing their digicam bag lineup and so they’ll have a tough time competing with themselves for the following technology.

Final however not least, the bag comes with a 5-year guarantee. You’ll have to register and activate your guarantee on Manfrotto’s web site. The corporate’s customer support is unimaginable, and you’ll belief their guarantee. To offer you an concept, one in every of my Manfrotto Reloader Air-55 Professional zippers died two years in the past. I despatched it again, and so they shortly despatched me a model new curler bag freed from cost to exchange it. That sort of service what professionals are in search of.

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Value and availability

The Manfrotto PRO Gentle Flexloader L is offered now for $329.99/€227.35. It may possibly look like a reasonably excessive price ticket, however the value/characteristic ratio is unimaginable and also you’ll most likely have a tough time discovering a extra reasonably priced resolution that gives you higher construct high quality, versatility, and reliability.

For extra data, please go to Manfrotto’s web site right here.

What do you concentrate on the Flexloader L? Do you employ a backpack or curler bag to hold your gear? Would you want us to evaluate extra digicam baggage? Don’t hesitate to tell us within the feedback down under!



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