A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had received a new SpiderPro Large Lens Pouch for testing. I am a huge fan of the Spider Holster system and use it often when I know I am going to need more than one camera or free hands in between shooting. The Large Lens Pouch was developed as a system for toting around a 70-200 f/2.8 lens. I didn’t take a 70-200 with me but I thought it looked like it would be a good fit for my Sony 70-400mm and I was right.
So the way the pouch works is that there are two velcro locking flaps on the back that let you open the belt loop and attach the pouch to your SpiderPro belt but really any heavier-duty belt will work. There is a large, T-shaped flap that goes down the length of the back and then another smaller flap that locks over the top to keep it securely on the belt. You can also see that there is a nice rain flap near the top that can quickly be pulled over the top of the lens if needed or removed completely if you don’t need it.
To put your lens in the pouch, you just pull the front zipper down and slide the lens into the pouch. It’s made deep enough so that you can actually leave your lens shade attached and in the ready-to-shade position. There is also a little velcro keeper strap that can attach to your lens cap via the included adhesive-backed velcro patch. It’s a little thing but when you need to change lenses, it’s really nice to just reach down, twist off the lens cap, and let it fall to the side instead of having to try and hold it in your hand or put it in a pocket.
There are some other nice little features of this pouch, like the small loop handles on each side that let you grab on to the pouch to help pull the zipper up or down, or the included SpiderMonkey clip that lets you attach accessories to the side of the pouch.
As I said, I used the pouch to carry my 70-400 lens, which is fairly large and pretty darned heavy. I used my SpiderPro belt to attach it to and let it hang off of my left side. The lens was very easy to put into the pouch once it was attached and removing it was just as easy. After pulling the zipper down, I simply removed the lens cap and pulled it out of the pouch, all with one hand. It still requires a bit of coordination to remove the lens from the camera and hold it while pulling out the larger lens. I found that it was much easier to leave the camera attached to the Spider Holster or hanging with the lens strap and then negotiate the lens switch. I think a great solution to this would be to have a second, smaller pouch to dump the first lens in and then quickly pull out the large lens.
I loved the way that the lens felt while hanging by my side. The weight was evenly distributed and never felt like a burden. Of course this is probably in large part to the very awesome SpiderPro belt. The only problem I had with the pouch was its desire to wander from my side around to the front of the belt as I was hiking. I’m not sure how to solve this problem but it wasn’t really that hard to slide it back to the side and didn’t happen all that much.
The Spider Large Lens Pouch will cost you $75 and is available from the SpiderPro website, B&H Photo, and assorted photo retailers. So who is this pouch for? Well, if you find that you do most of your shooting with two lenses and one of them is a larger 70-200mm, this might be the solution for you. I enjoyed having the lens at my side and ready to use and found that the more that I switched lenses, the easier it became. I can definitely see this becoming a staple in my sports shooting loadout. If you like having your gear with you but don’t like carrying a camera bag around, you should definitely look into a belt system like the SpiderHolster and the Spider Large Lens Pouch. It’s a liberating experience.