You’ve spent a small fortune on your camera lenses, it would be daft not to protect them as much as possible. That’s especially so for the more adventurous photographer where a standard camera bag just doesn’t cut it and your pack is likely to be involved in numerous scrapes during the day. Lens pouches provide an extra element of protection if you’re carrying your lens in your pack or lid pocket (still a risky business) and a belt and braces option if you’re packing them into a pack insert inside your bag.
These Neoprene pouches from budget Amazon brand XCSource might seem too cheap at first, coming in at around £3 a pouch, but after testing them extensively for the last six months they’ve proven themselves to be quite a capable bit of kit. That is, providing that your lenses fit!
The four pouches are roughly the following sizes, and the closest lens in the Mud and Routes kit cupboard is noted next to it.
Small – 80x85mm – This has been useful for the Canon 40mm pancake lens, but if anything is to large for the job and would easily fit two in there.
Medium – 97x120mm –Fits the Opteka Fisheye comfortably, just about large enough for the Tokina 11-16mm if you remove the lens hood. We’ve managed to get it in with the hood, but was difficult to remove afterwards. The prime Samyang 14mm lens has a non-removable hood and squeezes into this pouch with a bit of effort. That’s unfortunate, as it’s the one I’m most likely to swap with the Canon 24-105mm below and would rather be able to use the same pouch for both. While the Large is technically larger, I just can’t get it to fit!
XL – 95mmx230mm – This one’s been mainly used to house the Gorillapod, but you could get a longer zoom in here perhaps but you’re limited by the narrowness of the pouch.
There’s also a clip for attaching the pouch safely, though we can’t see how you could do this safely on a rucksack strap for instance. Though for attaching to the key ring attachment you often get in lid pockets, it prevents your lens from rolling out. There’s also a belt loop, but this is only large enough to be practical on the larger pouches and non-existent on the two smaller ones. Again, we wouldn’t’ use the pouches like that as they just don’t offer enough protection.
The main problem with the pouches is that they’re just not wide enough for chunky lenses with the hood connected. You need to store those elsewhere, which may be inconvenient but not a good enough reason to mark these down.
If you’re looking for some secondary lens protection for inside your camera bag, you can’t really go wrong at this price. We will be looking for a larger and tougher pouch that’ll fit both the Canon 24-105 and the Samyang 14mm for tougher trips, but for less demanding trips the pouches fit well into the pack insert and are still as good as new after six month’s extensive use.