If you like to be able to switch lenses fast while on the go, then I think you’ll really want to take a look at the Lens Exchange bags from Lowepro. And if you tend to use shorter lenses while–for example–wandering around city streets or other interesting locations, I’m happy to report there is a new version of the Lens Exchange bag aimed at smaller lenses.
First, a brief aside to define what a “Lens Exchange” bag is. Quite simply, this is a lens case from Lowepro that holds one lens when closed, but two lenses when opened. And while it is opened, it is able to hold those two lenses securely, so you don’t have to worry about a lens falling out. This provides an excellent solution for changing lenses on the go.
The new addition to the Lens Exchange lineup is called the Lens Exchange 100 AW. This is the “little brother” to the Lens Exchange 200 AW bag I’ve previously reported on. Both bags enable you to very easily swap lenses on your camera without fear of dropping a lens, and without the need to sprout a third hand.
I recently had the opportunity to put this new smaller Lens Exchange bag to the test while exploring Pore? and surrounding areas on the peninsula of Istria in Croatia. What a joy!
I really appreciate being able to travel light whenever possible. On many trips I end up walking around with a small backpack, carrying my laptop, camera, lenses, and various accessories. That isn’t exactly what I would call “traveling heavy”, but it is so nice being able to travel truly light.
With the Lens Exchange 100 AW bag I’m able to walk with only my camera in my hands. The bag mounts securely to a belt, keeping both hands available for your camera. There is also a shoulder strap included, but from my perspective the best approach is to mount the bag on your belt for maximum flexibility.
So, here’s how I recommend working with the Lens Exchange 100 AW. First off, as I’ve already mentioned, I suggest attaching it to your belt. This is accomplished by a very sturdy strap that attaches with durable hook-and-loop fabric, ensuring a secure fit.
I then recommend keeping the larger of the two lenses you’ll be working with in the inner compartment. So, if you’re going to venture out with your longer lens attached to the camera, put the shorter lens in the outer pouch of the Lens Exchange bag. And if you’ll be using the shorter lens initially, put the longer lens in the inside pouch of the bag. Zip the bag shut, and you’re ready to head out.
When you want to switch lenses, simply hold your camera in one hand, and grab the over-sized zipper handle with your free hand. Pull away from your body and down, and the bag unzips. You can then remove the lens from your camera and place it into the available slot in the Lens Exchange bag. Then take out the “other” lens, remove the rear lens cap (which can be placed temporarily in the pouch you removed the lens from) and attach the lens to the camera (using both hands!).
You can then place the rear lens cap on the lens that you’ve placed into the Lens Exchange bag, and then with one hand grab the zipper handle and pull it upward and inward to close the bag.
Done! And whenever you want to switch lenses again, you can simply repeat the process of swapping lenses.
But wait, there’s more! You also have two side pouches on the Lens Exchange 100 AW, which is great for storing a few extra digital media cards and a spare battery, as well as a map of the place you’re exploring if you’re not already familiar. There’s also a cleverly stored all weather (thus the “AW” designation) cover. If rain is threatening, you can simply remove this cover from the slot on the inside wall of the bag and wrap it around the bag to keep the bag and its contents dry.
My experience convinced me that Lowepro must have been thinking of me when they designed this bag, because it is absolutely perfect for my favorite “walkabout” pair of lenses. Those are the Canon 24-105mm and the Canon 10-22mm, paired with my Canon EOS 7D, and with this collection of gear I found swapping lenses an absolute breeze.
I was also impressed with the durable construction of this great little bag. The zipper handle is sturdy and feels very comfortable in the hand, the zippers operate smoothly, the belt-mounting strap is incredibly sturdy, and overall the bag instills confidence.
In short, if your photography finds you utilizing a couple of shorter lenses (up to around 100mm, depending on your specific lens dimensions) and the notion of being able to switch between two lenses quickly and with confidence, I highly recommend taking a look at the Lowepro Lens Exchange 100 AW. You can get more details here: