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August 29, 2012

Innovative 'Quikdraw' DSLR Lens Belt Provides Easy Run-and-Gun Prime Lens Switching

We've all been there... it's the twelfth hour, and you're Cam Op or DP on a skeleton crew that's shooting on a DSLR. The director wants that organic, handheld, flowing look, and stopping just isn't an option because the talent are in the zone. You've been shooting on the 50mm a little too much for your taste, and would love to try the 35mm or 85mm -- but your lens bag might as well be on the moon with how fast things are moving (and with no AC). What do you do? Wouldn't it be great if there was a tool to help with your quick run-and-gun filmmaking -- to keep your lens choices literally at your fingertips? Well, with the Quikdraw, a new belt-side lens holder that's seeking funding on Kickstarter, you can have the luxury of lens change speed with some added security. Click through to see a video of the system in action.

(I've definitely been a "stasher" before, occasionally a "commander" if I have the 1st AC, though never really a "slinger"... that reminds me of some wedding photographers I've seen.)

Developed by Riley Kimball, a photographer who also happens to be an engineer, the Quikdraw can be used with Canon EOS or Nikon F mount lenses. Essentially, the Quikdraw is a mount that fits to the side of your belt. When you need a new lens, you simply twist on the lens you're no longer using, and twist off a lens that you're ready to use. With a 20lbs weight rating, you're not going to see a lot of lenses that this system won't support.

I know what you're thinking -- why not just plan your production with a good pair of AC's to help out so you don't have to be quick draw McGraw? I'd argue that sometimes you want to keep the energy going in the aforementioned run-and-gun kind of shoot. Take for example DP John Guleserian's experience from our previous post on the Sundance-winning Like Crazy:

Like when we were in London, shooting. Right when we got off the plane, we were just going to get dinner. Drake decide[s] … to put the actors in the wardrobe and we’ll just follow them as we go to dinner, and they’ll walk through these crowds of people and maybe we’ll get something that we can use in the movie. And that was literally me with a 7D body and a 32mm lens and a Zacuto viewfinder finding my own focus, leaning on things to be stable, and hoping for the best.

I could see the Quikdraw being a Hugedraw (ha) in a situation like that. Suppose he wanted to stray from the 32mm into 28mm or 50mm territory quickly? It was just him, the director, and the talent... no time for complications with lens changes. I have to say I like the idea of moving fast sometimes on set for the "energy factor", and this system would seem to lend well for that. The beauty is in its simplicity, and of course, this has implications for still photography as well -- especially live-event.

The one drawback I can see to the entire system is figuring out where lens capping comes in. Despite hanging at my side in a reasonably safe position, it still would be my lens dangling downwards at my side with no scratch protection. Suppose I am croutched for a low angle, and someone accidentally kicks something up from underneath? I would think you'd need to pocket your lens caps as well with this device.

The campaign for the Quikdraw is currently going steady at about 85% completion as of August 29th. For the basic system, you're looking at about $160 (or $80 apiece for two Quikdraws). What do you think? Worth the price?

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33 Comments

180 for two??!??! mmm I'm not sure about that. Plus in the comments he says he will be adding other products to go with it later? sounds like a good business for him but not for me! I'll stick to my ThinkTank bag.

August 29, 2012

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Riddle me this, Riley: how will this work in super-close quarters?

You're right, Benjamin, there are a number of situations where this just doesn't seem feasible. When I'm shooting performances at different venues, I usually have to carry my sling bag close to me and raise my camera above heads to get through a crowd. I can't imagine sifting through an extremely tight place with this on and risking people bumping into the lenses or spilling drinks on them.

Bags are what I see most people toting their gear in, and it makes sense: keep your gear safe from the elements. I guess I just look like the a-hole that's ready to board a plane, though, right?

August 29, 2012

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I think it's valid, personally.

Nice creation. I'm a bagger, by the way. LoL. Canon Backpack.

August 29, 2012

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Seems pricey for what it is, although I think it's generally an excellent idea. My only concern (apart from price) would be close quarters as mentioned by other commenters. I wouldn't be concerned about lens caps etc when crouching - all my lenses have cheap UV filters to protect against exactly that kind of thing.

August 29, 2012

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Luke

I'm also a little concerned with the potential increase in sensor dust accumulation.
In my opinion, in most situations and environments that I can imagine this as being useful, they are unfortunately the same type of situations and environments that I'd be very reluctant to expose my sensor to, even for just 5-10 seconds.

September 1, 2012

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Jules

http://products.lowepro.com/product/SF-Lens-Exchange-Case-200-AW,2226,53... -- can be had for $40 on eBay and protects the lens better vs the $180 you need to pledge for two Quickdraws.

August 29, 2012

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Well yeah, I mean a bag is going to win out on protection and on price, but I think the whole point is the quick-drawing aspect of it... the name is apt! Apt I say!

August 30, 2012

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Benjamin Dewhurst
Writer
writer/director
184

For wedding DSLR videography (and I'm sure photography) this is perfect. $180 makes sense to me, so long as the quality of those caps you mount to are well-made. During the reception, I'd be a little more nervous... but the truth of the matter is, I spend 85-90% of the reception with a 50mm 1.2. Not a whole lot of need for changing there. During the preceremony time, though, when I'm running around a church and having to go back for gear, this looks like a great tool.

August 29, 2012

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David

I was going to write that but I'm glad you did, there are times when you only want camera body, and that split second changing a prime lens can make all the difference. Just use a zoom lens then? Well, if you want to use lower ISOs for cleaner video, fast primes become essential. I've been in receptions where I was at 12,800 ISO with a 50mm F/1.2, 24fps, and 1/24th shutter and it was just barely enough for an exposure.

August 29, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
256

receptions can be tricky with low light but 12,800 ISO at 1.2 is ridiculously dark. could people see who they were dancing with? haha

August 29, 2012

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Joe

The thing about eyes is that they can adjust pretty well to darkness after enough time, so for the people dancing I'm sure they didn't notice after awhile. But it was obscenely dark - the lights might as well have been off. Very odd choice for a really beautiful location.

August 29, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
256

At that point I'd throw in lights if at all possible. Fast lenses can only take you so far.

August 30, 2012

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It wasn't the main reception, it was just the dancing after - but lights are distracting and in my experience brides and grooms prefer not to have them, so you make due. Fast lenses combined with a camera that can see in the dark like a Mark III or FS100 and you can basically shoot anywhere with minimal noise.

August 30, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director
256

I think this is pretty cool but prefer a camera bag so I could have batteries and cards on hand as well. However I do love the design of it. A quick fix for the lens cap problem would be to velcrow the cap to the belt or the top of the lens holder (soft side on the belt to protect clothing from sticking to it).

August 29, 2012

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That is a good solution for the cap, Richard. I'm all for taking advantage of unique gear and modding it for your needs. It reminds me of another Kickstarter product I had to mess with - the Fifty Dollar Follow Focus (remember that?)... The pulley system would slide on my lens gears, so I got one of those cell phone grippers and cut it up, put it between the pulley and gears, viola it started to pull.

August 30, 2012

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Benjamin Dewhurst
Writer
writer/director
184

That's the way to go if u want to damage all of ur expensive lenses at once. You only have to fall once or get pushed by someone.

August 29, 2012

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gerald

yeah thats strange, but who really cares?

August 29, 2012

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gerald

Great idea... But what happens when one of those mounts start to tear apart or if you get a faulty one. You screw a lens on then it falls off. I would rather use a Shoot Sac, I could also store batteries and additional items in it.

August 29, 2012

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Great Idea. Wondering how press photographers can use this with their Vest on? Their vests tend to hang below the waist.

August 29, 2012

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Henry

I don't like having the lens exposed to the elements at all times. If you have enough time to change a lens, you have enough time to pull it out of a bag or pouch.
I use the ThinkTank Speed Belt with a holster for when I don't want to carry a backpack or use the holster with a shoulder strap. If I had more lenses and need them on my person, I would look into getting some of these:
http://www.amazon.com/Think-Tank-Changer-Pouch-Lenses/dp/B0069S2M9E/ref=...

August 29, 2012

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Carl

I´m sure someone in China will copy the idea soon enough and sell it at a reasonable price..

August 29, 2012

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I dont want my lenses hanging off the side of a belt like that. Its not that hard to just keep your lenses laid out on a table or something near you as you film, anyway. Sometimes I keep them in my backpack, worn front-on and I just quickly unzip it and pull one out and uncap it and hand it to the operator as he hands me the other lens.

August 29, 2012

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john jeffreys

If someone gave me that thing, I'd drop it right in the trash. I can see a lot of accidents happening...no thanks.

August 29, 2012

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Patrick

So you'd throw $80 directly in the trashcan? : ) Kidding aside, I'm curious to see the strength of the Quikdraw myself. I mean if it's anywhere near as strong/reliable as a Canon or Nikon mount then it should be fine, considering that those mounts already support the weight of the lenses themselves (plus gears or other add-ons).

August 30, 2012

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Benjamin Dewhurst
Writer
writer/director
184

This isn't worth the dork-factor.

August 29, 2012

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jk

August 29, 2012

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as my first ac always says: "its never too late to start working professional"

for me its hard to imagine how to justify this belt in front of a rental house, after somebody run into you and damaged the lenses.

its stupid and its made for people who think that saving some seconds while sacrificing the safety of the equipment is a good idea. for sure producers will love it, cause everybody knows that the camera department is always overcrowded and one person can easily make the job of three.

even if its just some canon lense, its still a lense with a certain value and should be treated like more expensive lenses as well. there are only three places for a lense on a filmset: on the camera, in the case, in the hand of a camera assistant or operator. thats it. no belts, tables, whatsoever.

August 30, 2012

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phil

I would use it with my own Canon and Sigma lenses without a doubt.

Another thing is on a bigger project with rented equipment.

August 30, 2012

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Álex Montoya

Ha! Boy some people get uptight. Awesome little invention pending your needs and situation.

August 30, 2012

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Lliam Worthington

I'd have to spend a ton of time worrying about the lens proximity to hard dangerous surfaces that I wouldn't be focusing on the job at hand. I think after a week of working I'd have wrecked every lens I own. I think it's a good idea and will be useful for some folk but not for my style of paying attention.

August 30, 2012

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Jiiiiiim Leaburn

I'm sticking with my airblaster

August 30, 2012

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Nate

Great Idea!!, if there was a Sony Mount for the Alpha's Then I would definitely be interested

October 1, 2012

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David Fillion

Interesting idea, but I would never use it around high crime / pick pocket areas! Look! Dollar fruit just dangling from that guys belt!

September 17, 2013

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