Pro Photo

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

Padded lens cases are ideal to protect a lens from the rigors of travel, and Think Tank Photo has a solution: the Lens Case Duo series, which has a zippered lid and side opening… to justify the name.

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

Available in sizes to fit lenses up to 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, the new Lens Case Duo takes the idea of protection a step beyond what regular pouches offer. Time to look at the different options available.

Some long lenses come with a protection case, while some of the smaller lenses include a pouch that offers some protection, and can be used inside rolling cases, backpacks or shoulder bags. When there is none, photographers looking for ways to protect their gear, either while in transit or when working, need to explore the alternatives available from companies as Think Tank Photo, that offers a wide selection of cases and pouches from both Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear collections.

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

A lens protection case or a pouch are, many times, chosen for their ability to be used in two different ways: as a protective cover when transporting the lens, and as part of a modular system which offers quick access in a bag or on a belt. Money wise, it makes sense to look for a solution that can be used both ways, and Think Tank Photo has some options available which also reveal how these accessories have evolved in recent years.

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

Skin 75, an expanding case

The Skin Series pouches are one solution to check if you’re concerned about the size of the pouch when using it on a modular belt. These pouches compress flat when empty, reducing a photographer’s profile when the lens is removed from the pouch.  Think Tank Photo states that “even when a lens is carried inside a Skin Series pouch, it sticks out a minimal amount from the body. Bulkier systems that use thick foam become a hindrance when navigating through crowds.”

Although it was not designed with transport in mind, the Skin Series can also be used to protect lenses while carrying them inside rolling cases, backpacks or shoulder bags. The fact that it folds flat when empty is an asset that should also be considered. It’s a bit like the unique Shape Shifter V2.0 backpack from Think Tank Photo, which expands and contracts to hold gripped camera bodies and a laptop.

The Skin pouches also incorporate a “Sound Silencer” feature for eliminating the ripping sound the hook-and-loop flap makes when it is opened. The Skin 75 Pop Down and Skin Changer 75 Pop Down have a “Pop Down” feature – a section of the bottom expands –  that fits a 70–200mm with its lens hood in position ready to shoot. Officially, the Skin 75 Pop Down V3.0 will take anything up to a 100-400mm lens, but some users claim they’ve managed to use the pouch with a Nikon 200-500mm!

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

Lens Changer 75 holds a Nikon 200-500mm

The next solution for both transport and use is represented by the Lens Changer series, included in the Modular Component System. These pouches can lock in place on a Think Tank Modular Belt or rotate loosely around the belt for ultimate versatility. The lightly padded pouches  fit small to large lenses — up to a 150–600mm f/5–6.3 officially, but also the Nikon 200-500mm, according to some users who opted for the Lens Changer 150 V3.0 version.

The smaller pouches in the series all have a wide-mouth opening for quick access, with a one-hand drawstring closure to secure your lenses. The Lens Changer 75 Pop Down V3.0 is similar, but it also offers the same Pop Down feature present in the Skin 75 Pop Down, meaning it can also take lenses as big as the Nikon 200-500mm. One characteristic of the Lens Changer 150 V3.0 is the way it opens: the pouch has a one-handed vertical zipper for quick access and easy retrieval, which makes it easy to get the lens both in and out of the case.

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

Lens Case Duo for street photography

Now, Think Tank Photo took the knowledge from all the previous versions and introduces the Lens Case Duo series, comprised of six quick-access, dual-opening padded lens cases with a zippered lid and side opening that is a unique feature compared to other lens cases. The “duo” term used is justified by this feature and the fact that the cases can be used for transport and also as a modular system for quick access, a feature appreciated by action and street photographers who need to change lenses rapidly.

With the Lens Case Duo, photographers can protect their delicate lenses when stored, while transporting them and also when using the lenses. These cases can then be converted into a modular system for quick access in a bag or on a belt.  A shoulder strap is included for the six sizes available: Lens Case Duo 5, Lens Case Duo 10, Lens Case Duo 15, and Lens Case Duo 20, Lens Case Duo 30, and Lens Case Duo 40.  Two exterior stretch pockets provide space for a lens cap or a cleaning cloth. Soft zipper protectors and a plush lining protect sensitive and expensive lenses from scratches.  All sizes come in black and green. The green colour is similar to some of the backpacks from the MindShift Gear family of products.

Lens Case Duo: a case for enhanced lens protection

From 18-55mm to 100-400mm

“The Lens Case Duo should be used by every photographer concerned about protecting their lenses, especially while in transit,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s President and lead designer.  “While our roller and backpack dividers provide ample protection, the Lens Case Duo provides just that extra protection layer that could help prevent damage in unforeseen circumstances.”

The smaller Lens Case Duo 5 holds a Canon/Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, Canon: 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6, Canon/Nikon 50mm f/1.4, Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6 AF-S, or Olympus: 12-40mm f/2.8, 40-150mm f/4-5.6. The larger Lens Case Duo 40 holds a Canon/Nikon/Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, Canon/Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, or Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6. With prices starting at $20.75 for the Lens Case Duo 5, with a price of $32.75 for the Lens Case Duo 40, there is no reason to not protect your lenses.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…