[Editor’s Note: The folks over at LensFlipper ( http://www.lensflipper.com , @LensFlipper on Twitter) offered to send us a review unit of their new product. This is Ben’s take on using the equipment – Keith]
The LensFlipper is a solution to a problem you probably didn’t know you had. While roaming around Disney, or on a vacation to a national park, it can be very difficult to find a convenient place to swap the lens on our cameras. The LensFlipper, in instances like this, operates as a third and fourth hand, holding your on-deck lens for you while offering you a spot to place the lens coming off your camera.
[Editor’s Note: I would have killed for something like this when I was shooting High School Football games since I don’t have a second body to keep a second lens on. – Keith.]
How does it do such sorcery? Well, the LensFlipper is essentially two Nikon lens-mounts (or Sony or Canon), and sandwiched between them is a pair of pivot points on opposing sides of the device. It looks a bit like a teleconverter from the outside, albeit one with a shoulder strap. The idea in using the LensFlipper is that it is already holding one lens for you, and you can attach the lens coming off your camera to the other side, flip it over, and detach the other lens so you can mount it on your camera. Because the LensFlipper holds onto your lenses like your camera does, there’s no need to fiddle with any rear lens caps. Additionally, since it is based on the same collar technology that holds a lens onto your camera body, the lenses lock into place with a satisfying click, and require a button to be held down before they can be removed. Finally, there is a rubber “body-cap” that fits over the unused spot on the LensFlipper (once you remove one lens, there’s an open spot; this is not a device that allows you to carry two lenses around without a camera bag) to prevent dust from getting inside, and thereby on the inside of your lens when you store it on the LensFlipper.
I specifically went into EPCOT one day with a minimum of gear to test out the LensFlipper. This deviated from how I normally visit the Disney Parks, but I’ll get into that later. I carried my Nikon D610 with my Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 attached, and locked my Irix 15mm f/2.4 to the LensFlipper, and headed in for a day with Flower and Garden. One major benefit to my change of gear is that I did not have to go through bag check; I was able to jump in a shorter “No Bag” line. Throughout the day, I can honestly say that the LensFlipper worked as advertised. It was very easy for me to swap back and forth between my 28-70mm and my 15mm lenses. I never had to crouch down on the ground or rest lenses on top of trash cans. I never had to dig through a bag for a lens or a back-lens-cap so I could switch lenses. It was all very convenient, and I barely noticed the small cloth strap bandoleering from my right shoulder to my left hip, the opposite of how I carry my Nikon on it’s BlackRapid Sport strap.
I really only have two complaints about the LensFlipper, as it is incredibly good at what it does. First, because it is only supported by a shoulder strap, one needs to be careful when leaning forward to take a picture. In EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival’s Butterfly Gardens, I wanted to get closer to a butterfly than my 28-70mm lens allowed, and when I leaned in to take the shot, my 15mm lens came swinging forward wildly, bouncing off the fencing. No damage was done, thankfully, but I was a lot more careful with the LensFlipper after that. My second, and biggest, complaint is that it’s on a shoulder strap. I do not often carry only one lens with me when I go anywhere with photography in mind. I usually carry some sort of bag, which allows me to carry an extra battery, an air-puffer, my remote-shutter release, a lens-pen, a MagicBand (to sync on ride photos to my Disney account; I wear a watch on my left arm and a FitBit on my right, leaving my wrists quite cluttered), and other accessories. It’s annoying enough having my BlackRapid strap caught under a backpack or messenger bag strap; having the LensFlipper under there would just add to the tangle and chaos. I would really like a solution so I could attach the LensFlipper to my bag, and am thinking of rigging up something to do just that on my own.
To conclude, the LensFlipper is very good at what it advertises itself as doing. It just so happens that I don’t operate in a manner that’s very conducive to keeping the LensFlipper on me full time, at least in it’s current form. If you don’t head into the parks with a huge bag all the time, then this is the solution that lets you easily take a second lens with you.
[Editor’s Note. Thanks again to the team at LensFlipper for sending us this review unit. They make models for Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony A, Sony E, Pentax K, and Micro 4/3rds. They also make a Clip that looks like it would be perfect for people like Ben and myself that head into the park with a monster bag of gear into the park.]