Case Logic's Reflexion bag offers ample storage for a full-size DSLR and an iPad.
Many bags designed for DSLR cameras often have a primary focus on storage space as opposed to cosmetic appeal. Case Logic's Reflexion DSLR + iPad Medium Cross-Body Bag breaks this mold by offering a sleek, modern design while maintaining ample storage capacity.
With an $89.99 price-point, this bag will not fit all consumers' budgets although it is geared at the style-conscious photographer for use with work or travel. Our review sample was provided by Case Logic in the anthracite color variant. Rest assured, no outside influences or bias have had any effect on the outcome of this review
Design & Build Quality
Prior to receiving the sample, I was skeptical about the Reflexion's high price-point although this became quickly justified after I held the bag for the first time. Case Logic's level of craftsmanship when it comes to this bag is astoundingly high in all aspects. Examining each design element, I am unable to find a single component that is not made from quality build materials going from the zippers all the way to the interior lining.
The exterior anthracite fabric is cross threaded with high precision to achieve a clean, uniform result that adds to the visual appeal. I think the Reflexion Series (especially in anthracite) is one of the most cosmetically pleasing DSLR bags on the market, it caught my eye the instant that I walked into the Case Logic booth while at CES 2015.
From a design standpoint, Case Logic managed to pack a wide assortment of storage compartments in a sleek and reasonably sized bag. On each side, there are flexible mesh pockets for storing drinks, umbrellas, or other various items.
The front harnesses a button down flap that has its own zippered pocket while hiding a larger compartment underneath it. Similar to their Kontrast Action Cam Case, the bottom is coated with a rugged and water resistant material that has a textured grip to keep the bag from sliding around.
Above this flap, there is a simple compartment with an over-sized zipper for easy access. The largest storage space is found on the top of the Reflexion right behind the built-in carry handle. This element also utilizes an over-sized zipper and internally houses the deepest compartment with a tablet sleeve, removable DSLR storage pod, and a narrow pocket (built into the liner) for storing small valuables.
Compared to the competition on the market, the Reflexion does not boast any particularly advanced features although it is marketed as more of an everyday kind of bag compared to that of a more specialized product. For such a small form-factor, the Reflexion provides exceptional storage potential though it is relatively limited in comparison to some of its larger, more-expensive competitors.
The biggest selling point for the photography crowd is the ability to store a DSLR or mirrorless camera as well as two additional lenses or other accessories. Case Logic achieved this by way of a removable pod with velcro adjustable walls. Should you not need to carry camera gear on a temporary or permanent basis, just remove the pod and you've got plenty of room in the main compartment for things like textbooks or other essentials.
The internal sleeve will support most tablets and even some of the smaller-sized Ultrabooks currently on the market. I would have loved to have been able to store my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro as I take that on the go with me more than my iPad, but this medium-sized model can't support this (no larger Reflexion model is announced yet). Without a chance to test it out myself, I'd guess the 11-inch Macbook Air might work although it'd surely be a snug fit.
Since receiving the bag, I've used it on a few short trips and have been satisfied in regards to its comfortable, portability, and appeal factor. The cross-body design mimics that of typical “messenger” style bags and keeps the weight of the bag evenly distributed throughout your body. I also like how it keeps your gear close to your body, away from thieves or accidental damage.
In particular, I liked the fact that you can remove the internal DSLR pod system to make room for miscellaneous items. I went on a weekend trip and packed this bag with some clothes instead of my usual backpack as I preferred the look and convenient design.
During my recent review of Panasonic's HC-X1000, I used this case to store the relatively bulky camcorder as it fit perfectly with the DSLR pod component removed.
Needless to say, I got some confused looks from bystanders at the Snocross event when I pulled a professional-style camcorder out of what appeared to be a simple messenger bag on the outside. At this time, I was shooting in near sub-zero temperatures in snowy, wet conditions yet the bag held up great with the weather conditions and kept the contents inside warm and dry at all times.
I would have preferred a larger version of the Reflexion series that could hold a 15″ laptop. The “medium” size is the largest they sell in this particular series as of now so we'll have to wait and see if Case Logic releases a bigger version in the future.
In regards to storage capacity, I was able to fit quite a bit in the bag while still having some extra room for other various small accessories if need be:
Case Logic's Reflexion DSLR + iPad Medium Cross-Body Bag offers excellent storage potential while maintaining an attractive and compact form-factor. It lacks any real competitive advantages in regards to its feature-set though it makes up it in overall cosmetic appeal and comfort. At an $89.99 price-point, the Reflexion may not be suitable for everyone's needs or budget. I quickly justified the steep price-point when I saw the high craftsmanship and premium build-quality in person. If you are looking for a walk-around, cross-shoulder bag that is well-built, stylish, and capable of holding a small to moderate amount of DSLR gear then this is likely the right choice for your needs.
Alternate Recommendations (Ordered By Price)
- Lowepro Event Messenger 150
- Kattee Canvas Cow Leather DSLR SLR Vintage Camera Shoulder Messenger Bag
- Case Logic FLXM-101 Reflexion DSLR with iPad Small Cross Body Bag
- Thule 2014/15 Covert DSLR Messenger Bag
- Tenba 638-381 DNA 15 Messenger Bag