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Backer Capper allows for one-handed lens-swapping

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May 18, 2012

The Backer Capper (seen here mounted on a belt) is a product that's designed to make it ea...

The Backer Capper (seen here mounted on a belt) is a product that's designed to make it easier for photographers to change lenses when they can't put their camera down

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Have you ever tried changing lenses on a DSLR, in a situation where you had to keep hold of the camera the whole time? The problem is that it essentially requires three hands. You need two hands to twist off the old lens and put its rear protective cap on, and to un-rear-cap the new lens and twist it onto the camera – your non-existent third hand, meanwhile, is required to hold the camera body. Because photographers are in reality limited to two hands, they instead perform a sort of awkward juggling act, in which they risk dropping the camera or one of the lenses. The Backer Capper, however, is a product-in-development that’s designed to make the task considerably easier.

The Backer Capper system consists of replacement rear lens caps for the user’s existing lenses – each cap incorporating a strong Neodymium magnet – along with a magnet-equipped base that those caps can be pressed into. That base is strapped someplace where the user can easily get to it, such as on the shoulder strap of a camera bag or backpack, or on a belt.

The Backer Capper strap-mounted base, with one of its corresponding rear lens caps
The Backer Capper strap-mounted base, with one of its corresponding rear lens caps

When it’s time to change lenses, the photographer just uses one hand to twist the old lens off of the camera, and then onto its base-mounted rear cap. When the photographer then pulls out on the lens, the magnets release from one another and the base lets go of the cap, so the protected lens can be put away. With the new lens, the process is simply reversed – its rear cap is pressed into place on the base, and stays there when the lens is subsequently twisted off and put onto the camera.

Needless to say, you could also just let your camera hang from a neck strap while you change lenses. Not everyone likes using those straps, however.

The Backer Capper is the creation of San Jose-based company camarush, and is currently set up to work with most Nikon and Canon lenses. Other models are on the way.

Its makers are currently raising production funds on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$20 will get you a set that includes two caps, when and if the product reaches production. Larger pledges will get you more caps.

Additional information is available in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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12 Comments

"Needless to say, you could also just let your camera hang from a neck strap while you change lenses. Not everyone likes using those straps, however."

Why? "Needless to say" I've never met anyone else with a disability of using such basic common sense, until I read this article.

SpaceBagels
18th May, 2012 @ 05:54 pm PDT

Photographers have a third hand, it´s called a strap. Also if you have lenses at hand you probably have a camera bag as well. Use that to prop the camera while changing lenses if you feel a strap is not for you.

Bas Klein Bog
18th May, 2012 @ 06:09 pm PDT

never had a problem changing lenses on a Canon EOS with only 2 hands without the strap. Only need one hand on the body, and one on the lens...

so... what's the point?

Adrien
19th May, 2012 @ 08:30 pm PDT

SpaceBagles: I'm an reasonably experienced photographer, and I hate straps with a passion, for several reasons. A) People can grab it and start running. B) It gets in the way, especially when shooting with a portrait grip. C) Straps can catch onto things, causing more problems than they solve. D) The weight of a gripped SLR body and 70-200 lens causes neck pain. E) The camera dangles when you walk, requiring you to hold it anyway.

I use a Spider holster.

Back on topic: I would never trust the weight of a f/2.8 zoom to a little magnet.

Joris van den Heuvel
20th May, 2012 @ 01:15 am PDT

I think it's a nice idea, but agree with Joris that a magnet powerful enough to hold a 2+ pound lens would be either hard to use or hard to trust. And no doubt those lens caps will cost quite a bit more than the non-magnetic ones.

Bob Fately
21st May, 2012 @ 11:40 am PDT

Well, for the usual lenses it's not a big deal to change them with one hand, even the cap I could remove and put it back...

Of course, it's a bit risky, if I loose the grip on it, but I have never dropped it.

Imhof Iván
22nd May, 2012 @ 09:09 am PDT

I dont think the magnet supports the lens at all. it holds the cap. you hold the lens to the cap, twist, and pull away. now you have a capped lens with one hand.

Christopher Miller
22nd May, 2012 @ 09:52 am PDT

The billing here isn't quite accurate. The Backer Capper only assists with one step in a lens changing process - attaching and removing the end cap. Well that can make a difference for most of us I'm sure. It could be a super-convenient little device that can easily be added to existing straps (bags, holsters, belts, etc.) and I would probably use it. Now that being said, I am still left to deal with the lens itself. That bit is not addressed with this little device. The introductory video appears however to try and sell you on the fact that this will make your entire lens changing process much more effortless. This really isn't the point of the system. This little device should be introduced as only part of a lens changing process or system. And for that it seems to do ok.

James Davis
22nd May, 2012 @ 12:01 pm PDT

This is ancient history.

Back in early 70s Canon had a very innovative design for their F series cameras. The mounting ring could be turned to release the lens from camera and it would click into open position. The lens simply had to be pressed against the rear cap which released the spring loaded mounting ring on the lens to turn and hold the cap in place.

pmshah
22nd May, 2012 @ 11:34 pm PDT

Why not just use a flat head screw to attach a rear lens cap to a camera strap, belt, etc.? Beats the heck out of trusting a little magnet to hold your expensive lens.

Charles O. Slavens
23rd May, 2012 @ 02:24 am PDT

I guess Joris, Bob and Charles all missed the point, as per Christopher's comment. But there is another point that has been missed by all: We may not have a third hand, but our body nonetheless does have a third manipulation device - that's right, try using your mouth to hold the cap while twisting/untwisting the lens. You will be amazed . . .

Sid

Sid Whiting
23rd May, 2012 @ 05:43 pm PDT

Big Deal! So What! I do the same thing with velcro on the lens cap, and my kneck strap, and for those times I'm not using the kneck strap and instead using the wrist strap I have velcro on the bottom of my cameras!

Semperfi-USMC
21st January, 2013 @ 05:28 pm PST
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