The Lens Holder that Hangs from Your Shoulder: the Lens Flipper
From the incredible capabilities of new sensors and processors to 4K video to light field imaging, I am understandably impressed and often mystified by the leaps made in digital camera technology. However, when a wonderfully uncomplicated product comes along, it is also worth a shout out. The Lens Flipper by GoWing is a dual-sided lens mount that hangs from a sturdy shoulder strap and serves as a convenient carrier for two lenses and, more so, a simple way to swap out lenses while shooting—without having to dig into your camera bag.
When I’m working press conferences or similar job, I usually carry two cameras, two zooms, and a prime, and would normally carry the idle lens in a belt pouch or even in a pocket. The situation was never ideal, as I would struggle to pull the lens out of the pouch with one hand, and the extra bulk around my waist was uncomfortable. So, when I first read about the Lens Flipper, I was eager to give it a try and, without a doubt, it performed just as promised and made switching lenses faster and virtually hassle free. This convenience factor got me to use the third lens more often, which resulted in better coverage.
As mentioned, the concept couldn’t be simpler. A free-spinning metal axle with lugs protrudes from each side of the Lens Flipper and your lenses mount on either end. Ideally, one lens occupies the lower mount, leaving the other free for the quick switch, but you could theoretically carry two lenses on one Flipper. To switch lenses with one lens attached, secure the lens you are taking from your camera to the vacant top mount of the Flipper, and remove the lens you plan to use from the bottom mount, or vice versa. Depending on the size of the lens you are using and your personal dexterity, this can be accomplished with one hand, but for speed and safety, the two-handed approach works better. If you have smaller lenses, you can spin the Flipper over to access a lens.
The dual mount and the flipping action are the conceptual grab of this product, but I also liked the way the lens hung comfortably at my hip, ready to be switched while still out of the way. Yes, lens-changing pouches also offer a good way to deal with lens swaps but, as mentioned, I prefer the way the lens hangs with no extra baggage or the concern of a lens falling out.
Of course, the main concern for any shooter has to be, do I trust this whimsically named item with my $2,000 lens? But during my month with a Nikon-mount Flipper, I have had no problems holding a 70-200mm f/2.8, and the GoWing specs claim that the Flipper can hold up to 200 lb. Indeed, I asked a colleague to pull on my lens as hard as he could while I held the strap and nothing budged. Concerns have also been raised about mount screws arriving loose, but I saw none of that.
I would have preferred an all-metal device, but the Lens Flipper, which is presently available for Nikon F, Canon EF, Sony E and Sony A mounts, has a central metal ring and metal mounts and the rest of the device is made from hard plastic which, of course, is lighter. There is also a plastic partition between the mounts that serves to protect the lens’s rear elements, much as a rear cap would. The lens-release buttons are smooth and responsive, but be careful you don’t press the wrong one if it’s holding a lens facing down!
While it does have red dots on the mount face, the one small improvement I would recommend the manufacturer consider would be to put a white dot on the outside of the Flipper to make it that much easier to align the mount when hurriedly attaching a lens. However, the Lens Flipper is a sturdy, simple solution to an age-old problem, and I’ll be using it regularly.