Ironically, I'm sitting here on the warm beach in Kauai while I write about a photo shoot I did in the snow covered foothills of Smith Rock, back in Oregon just a few days ago. I do love the snow, but I gotta say, the warm sand between my toes feels pretty good.
For wedding and event photographers, the LensFlipper is a flippin' great idea. I mentioned it in my post-PPE goodies article a little while ago and have since acquired one for some hands-on testing. I initially thought it would be ideal primarily for event photographers, but realized it will be equally as handy for travel and documentary work as well.
The LensFlipper is a simple device that hangs ready at your side via a slim strap. It is a double-sided lens mount, serving as a place to securely attach and hold one or two lenses while you access another. Many times at a wedding or when out wandering aimlessly with my 70-200mm, I've struggled to find a safe place to put the beast while I grab a wide angle. I don't want to put it in the bag yet, because I'll probably need it again in a minute. I don't want to lay it on a table or the ground as it could roll or walk away. Where's my faithful assistant!
With a LensFlipper, you remove your big lens, attach it to the lens mount, then release the other lens (which you've strategically mounted already to the other side) and pop it on the camera. When you want the big'un back, just swap again. It's fast and easy. The middle of the LensFlipper is solid, so no dust creeps in while the lens is hanging. The lens always hangs safely face down, due to the rotating mounting points on the side.
I tested the device on a recent family portrait session, where I typically work between two main lenses – a tele and a wide. With my two primary lenses at the ready, I can follow my family around without having to keep my bag so close at my side in case I need the other lens. Oh sure, I could put on my lens pouch tool belt, but I don't really like using that on simple family sessions. It is bulky and It makes me look like a geek. I also don't use a pouch big enough for the 70-200mm as they are just huge and annoying. The LensFlipper was a great solution. I found myself swapping lenses more frequently (because it was so handy), allowing for more variety in my shots.
The device is well made and attaches smoothly to the lens in the same way your lens attaches to the camera body. There is a little button you have to depress to unlock and rotate it for release. There is a little red dot, like on your camera body, to align the mark on your lens with. I would have prefered to have a larger, more obvious dot as sometimes it took me a few seconds longer to locate the dot for proper alignment. Once I became more familiar with its location, however, lens changes were swift.
The only downside for me was that I was shooting in the snow and crouching down a lot. When I did, the front of my lens would touch the snow and I'd get snow on the glass, for that "snowflake lens" filter effect that I didn't ask for. I realized after the fact that I could have shortened up the strap a bit to keep the lens higher, but if you do spend a lot of time squatting or laying on the ground, be aware of what your lens glass is kissing.
The nice thing about the LensFlipper is that it works well and is small and light enough to just wear all the time when you're out shooting. You can use it when you need it to safely and quickly store that lens you really shouldn't be leaving on the table. Ask me how many times I've done that and wandered off!
A LensFlipper was provided to me for my review and honest feedback. You can find out more about them at GoWing or buy one at B&H.