If you are a photographer, regardless if you are a travel, landscape, or wedding photographer, I’m sure you have wanted or needed to change your lens as you shoot. If you don’t have a flat surface such as a table or if you’re in a rush, this can be difficult and time-consuming.
For a long time, like most photographers, I carried the most easily accessible camera bag or lens bag I could find. Whenever I needed to switch to a new lens, I rummage through my bag to get my lens and store my old one. Even with some of the most accessible bags, this process it cumbersome.
After doing some research, I have found better alternatives to carrying your lenses. Below I have reviewed what is, in my opinion, the three best ways to carry your lenses as you shoot.
These accessories will change the way you shoot. Using these accessories, you can easily switch from one lens to another without having to open your bag. Just reach down with one hand and you’re ready to start shooting again.
Capture Lens – Peak Design 9/10
- Smooth and easy to use.
- The swivel feature allows you to rotate between lens mounts easily.
- Three anchor points for ultra comfort when using a strap.
- Compatible with Capture clip and other Peak Design accessories.
- Made of mostly nylon and little aluminum/metal for additional durability.
- The lens does rattle a bit when locked in place.
- Strap not included.
- Bulky if not using with capture clip.
The Peak Design capture lens kit is the best accessory you can use to carry and switch between your lenses easily. If you use other peak design products such as the peak design strap, a peak design bag, or the peak design clip, then the capture lens is a perfect choice.
The lens kit is compatible with Nikon, Sony, and Canon lens mounts. The lens kit is compatible with only one lens mount at the time, so when you make your purchase, you will select the lens mount configuration you want.
There are two purchasing options for the lens kit
- Lens Kit (Only) – $50
- Capture Lens – Includes Lens Kit and Capture Clip ($80)
If you want to use your lens kit with a strap, you will need to purchase it separately.
The Lens Kit
The design of the lens kit is quite simple and ingenious. It has a lens mount on either side that acts just like the mount on your camera.
The lens kit is made of glass-reinforced nylon with aluminum reinforcement lens mounts. I would say that there is minimal aluminum other than on the face of the mount while the rest is nylon.
The mechanics of the tripod kit are good but not great. The lens mount has markers so you can align and lock your lens in place.
When you insert the lens into the mount, the button will be pushed down. Once the lens is locked in place, the red release button will click and be fully extended outwards.
There are two main issues I noticed when using the lens kit.
1. There is a small amount of rattle when the lens is locked in place, though it is not enough to cause much concern.
2. I have noticed that it is possible to insert the lens incorrectly without it locking in place. Although this is a rarity and quite difficult, it can happen, so always make sure your lens is secure before you move on.
Overall, the release button is bright red, making it easy to find, and it also works well. Pressing it is smooth but not too easy to where you could press it accidentally. Even if you press the button accidentally, it is unlikely that your lens will come out since you need to rotate it while holding the button down.
One of my favorite features of the lens kit is the swivel feature. The swivel feature is mainly useful if you will be using the lens kit with the capture clip.
The swivel allows you to quickly access both mounts with a simple pull and twist of the lens kit. This is great when you are swapping lenses on the go.
You can remove the lens on your camera, and lock it into the empty mount on your lens kit. Then swivel the lens kit 180 degrees, unmount the lens and attach it to your camera.
If you are not going to purchase the lens kit without the capture clip, you will need to buy the peak design camera strap separately. This will allow you to take advantage of the three anchor points.
I highly recommend you purchase the lens kit with the capture clip. Using these two together allows you to take advantage of all benefits the lens kit has to offer.
The capture clip can connect to your belt, backpack, or any strap. The capture clip comes with a mount where you can attach the lens kit and use it without a camera strap.
This clip is well made and has a great design, although made of primarily the nylon, the front of the base,
and screws that hold it in place are all made of metal.
They have addressed this issue with the latest version that is set to release. The newest capture clip has the same design, except it will be entirely metal.
The clip is designed very well. It includes two metal clamping bolts to secure the clip to your desired surface. A metal plate to attach the lens kit. This has three interlocking sides, to easily slide the lens kit and lock it in place. A plate lock that allows you to lock in the lens kit it place to prevent any movement.
Lens Flipper – Go Wing – 7.5/10
- Better build, the entire lens mount is made of metal
- The lens release button is a more secure
- Includes a strap
- Compatible with more camera/lenses
- Small and compact compared to peak design.
- Limited strap anchor points
- Less versatility than peak design
- Hard to rotate when hooked onto a camera strap
The Go Wing is the second-best option for carrying your lens as you travel. The design and concept are very similar to the peak design capture lens. There are a few distinct differences in the build of the Go Wing.
First, the Go Wing, although mostly plastic, the mount itself is made entirely of metal.
Also, there is a circular metal ring and bar that goes around the entire frame. The metal bar is where you hook a camera strap to which does provide some security that it will be held in place properly.
The lens release button is a bit smaller and harder to push than peak design, but it does give me peace of mind that it can’t be pressed accidentally.
It only includes two locations for a strap attachment, which can be quite limiting compared to the peak designs. Also, the rings themselves are a bit awkward and hard to use. One benefit is that they can rotate, which allows your strap to rotate when switching between lenses.
The strap is very basic and not very secure. To secure the strap to the lens flipper, a simple plastic cover is placed over the ends of the strap.
Go wing does offer a better strap that is sold separately, which is more secure and has more practical functions. In my opinion, this strap should be included with the lens flipper and not the generic strap.
One major benefit over Peak Design is that it is compatible with many more lens mounts. While Peak design is compatible with the three main camera manufacturers: Nikon, Sony, and Cannon. Lens flipper also covers Fuji, Micro four-thirds, Pentax, and Leica.
Overall the go wing still works great if you need to hold an extra lens or switch lenses while you are shooting. Although it is not as versatile as the Peak Design, it is a great compact design that works well, and I would highly recommend it.
Pro Speed Belt and Lens Changer – Think Tank 6/10
- Ability to carry more two lenses.
- It allows you to attach other camera gear as well.
- Very secure, the belt has a great locking system and lens changer bags have a double locking system onto the belt.
- Several purchasing options for the belt system based on your needs.
- Expensive, purchasing attachments adds up very quickly.
- Bulky, not as easy to pack compared to the Lens Flipper and Lens Kit.
- Heavy and hard to move when carrying multiple lenses.
- Difficult to access lenses quickly with one hand.
The Pro Speed belt and lens changer is a more traditional way of holding your lens while you shoot. It is a simple belt system where you can attach securely attach lens covers for easy access while you shoot.
There are two main components to this item: the Speed Belt and the lens changer bags.
There are three purchasing options for the Speed belt.
The basic option is the Skin Belt System; this is the lightest and most compact option.
The belt I purchased is the Pro Speed Belt, which has additional padding and support for your back.
The final purchasing option is the Steroid Speed Belt, which offers the additional padding and a double belt system with three rings for added support that can be distributed over your shoulders.
The Pro Speed Belt is made of excellent quality material, and it is easy to tell that it will not rip or break very easily. Although the buckles are made of plastic, which can be prone to wear and tear, it does keep the overall belt very light.
The belt itself only weighs about 9 oz, which is not extremely heavy but a bit more than the other options on this list.
Overall when putting on the belt, it is easy to adjust but also lock in place to prevent it from moving. The padding feels great, and I didn’t have any issues with comfort even when the lenses were on.
It is equipped with fabric locking loops where you can attach the lens changer and any other equipment. This makes it easy to customize and select exactly where you want to place your attachments.
Overall the belt system is comfortable and secure even with multiple lenses, but it is a bit bulky to wear and store.
Another issue I have is that it is not very conspicuous compared to the other options. If you are at an event, it is evident that you are a photographer and you’ll be spotted from about a mile away.
Lens Changer Bags
There are many purchasing options for the lens changer bags. They are measured in terms of their volume, with larger numbers representing larger bags and vice versa.
I purchase the 50 and 75 lens changer bags. These are on the larger side, with the 75 being able to fit larger zoom lenses such as the 70-200. The 50 is a bit smaller, and it fits medium-sized lenses very easily.
The lens changers have two main opening styles: a velcro flap system and a tie and pull system.
Both options are very secure and safe. I would not expect my bag to open unintentionally or someone be able to open the holder without me noticing.
While it is safe and secure, it is challenging to change between lenses with one hand. Using the lens change bags is definitely more cumbersome than the other options on this list.
Overall the bags themselves are made exceptionally well; the velcro and zippers are high quality. But they are a bit on the bulky side. I imagine that even the smallest bag, which is the 15, is a bit large.
Finally, the locking system of the lens changer bags is very secure. They use a double locking system.
The first is a silicone strap that goes through the loop of the belt. This helps keep the lens changer in place and from moving around too much.
The second locking system is the velcro strap which goes over the entire belt itself. This secures your system to the belt and ensures it will not move or fall while you shoot.
I can say this system works very well. To test, I jumped up and down, pulled on the bags, and it did not budge at all. There may be issues in the future once the velcro begins to wear down. It may become less secure and more difficult to attach larger lenses to the belt.
Overall the Think Tank Belt System and lens changer is exceptionally high quality and secure. There is no question that your lens will be safe and at your hip as you shoot.
Unfortunately, it is not as smooth and easy to access your lenses as some of the other tools. Also, the overall build is a bit bulky and a bit excessive for me.
To hold to lenses, it will cost between $100 and $120 compared to the $80 of the other two products. While it is more expensive to hold two lenses, if you want to hold additional lenses or gear, you can save more money in the long run.
I think if you need to carry lots of gear and have it accessible at your hip, then the Pro Belt system is a great choice. Although, a bit difficult to access your lenses it does offer a secure and safe option to keep your lenses.
On the other hand, if you only need to carry one or two lenses on your shoot there are cheaper and more efficient alternatives.