Peak Design Lens Kit & Straps review
A while back I did a blog post called "What's in my camera bag?". Shortly afterwards I actually purchased some additional gear for my bag. The idea was to streamline what I carry and to make moving around quicker and easier.
So after trying out a few different camera bag options I decided to try Peak Design's Lens Kit & Straps. I feel like I have road tested these for long enough to give my final thoughts.
Beforehand I used to carry both camera bodies on me with a lens attached to each one. In nearly all cases I would just use one of the cameras (the 5d MKIII) and switch lenses whenever I needed.
It worked for the most part but I wasn't happy with the idea of carrying my backup camera when I wasn't really using it. It's extra weight, it could get damaged and changing lens always had an element of risk to it as I could drop something.
I tried some shoulder bags with the idea of being able to allow for quick and safe changing of lenses but ultimately it felt more cumbersome that just carrying two cameras.
So I looked into Peak Design's Lens Kit. At first glance it looks like my current set up, but without the addition camera. Instead of a camera being used to carry my second lens, this little kit carries the lens.
The design itself it quite ingenious and extremely straight forward to use. The unit itself allows for two lenses to be mounted at the same time. The idea is that you leave one mount free (although if you choose you can use the unit to carry two lenses all the time). When you need to switch lens you first take off the lens from the camera and mount it to the free slot (the top mount). You then flip the unit so the lens you just attached is now at the bottom and the lens you want is at the top. Take the top lens off and attach it to your camera. At no time are you holding two lenses trying to juggle them around which is how I have previously been doing it. It's very quick and it's very safe.
I've used this now on a lot of weddings and find it super comfortable and reliable. I can change lens quicker that I previously could, it's more comfortable and easier to manage with less risk of it swinging around and hitting something.
I still bring my camera bag with everything I could need, but this is all I need to walk around with. A camera in my hand, additional lens on my shoulder and extra battery & memory card in my pocket.
As well as buying the Lens Kit I also decided to upgrade my camera straps. Now I'm a firm believer that in most cases the straps that come with cameras are awful. Especially considering how much money you might spend on the camera. In fact my main camera's strap would always come undone, which is extremely dangerous.
So I bought a thick blue strap called "Slide Summit Edition Tallac". It's a little wider than my Canon strap. The other one was a thin black strap called "Slidelite" which is a little thinner than my Canon Strap.
I originally was going to use the "Slide" with my camera and the "Slidelite" with the lens kit. But after trying them out I thought it was best reversed.
The "Slide" is advertised as a strap for bigger cameras while the "Slidelite" is meant to be for mirrorless sized cameras. But the reality is that both are comfortable for either. However the main difference comes in their flexibility and additional padding.
The "Slide" has additional padding around the shoulder area. This is great and makes it extremely comfortable over long periods of time. But the extra padding causes it to be less flexible. The "Slidelite" on the other hand is still very comfortable, even more than the standard Canon strap despite not being as wide. But it's also very flexible.
For me I always have my camera in my hand with the strap wrapped around my hand in case I drop it. I only use the strap when changing lens or helping someone out, while I have the lens kit over my shoulder and across my body all the time. I never take it off. So it just makes sense to use the thicker less flexible strap on the lens kit and the smaller more flexible strap on my camera.
Like the name suggests the straps slide freely with your clothes which is very nice. They also have a quick release function to allow for quick adjustments of the length. Not only that but the straps can be detached from the camera within seconds, allowing them to be swapped or taken off completely.
They do have some minor issues that for me are not a problem, but I thought it is best to mention them.
The quick release function (which is great) has a tendency to loosen if too much weight or pressure is put on the strap. For example if I was to lean on my camera while it is on my shoulder the extra weight would cause the strap to lengthen. The other issue is to do with the extra friction coating they put on the outer layer of the strap. The idea is that if you want the strap to have more friction you can just flip it over. But the difference in friction is so small that it has no practical use for it.
For me accessories are just a tool to make your life a little easier. But in this case I actually feel like the Lens Kit & Straps are a worthwhile investment. All in all I am extremely happy with these camera bag additions and I use them every time I grab my camera.
If you predominantly switch between two lenses (or three small lenses) I would highly recommend the lens kit. As for the straps, that depends on what you need. If you want a general strap that is comfortable and easy to manage then the "Slidelite" is the one for you. If you tend to carry your camera on your shoulder or neck for long periods of time, or just are looking for something amazingly comfortable then the "Slide" is an extremely good option.