In yet another product we'd not seen but they seem to be flying off the shelf category, we introduce you to the Flex Lens Shade. It looks pretty ‘flexible' and potentially useful. They have sent me one, and when I've used it for a bit, I'll let you know what I think.
The Flex Lens Shade
The Flex Lens Shade is a flexible lens shade that can be easily attached to any lens to block unwanted light from the lens. This large (7 x 11″/17.78 x 27.94 cm) lens shade attaches to a lens or lens hood using the included touch-tab strap, and can be bent into whatever shape you need to prevent lens flare–the shade keeps the shape you bend it into. It will also block rain from your lens (the lens shade is made from waterproof ballistic nylon with double-stitch sewing and finished edges). The Flex Lens Shade weighs just 1.2 oz (34 g) and lies flat for easy storage and transport.
- Flexible lens shade that attaches to your existing lens hood or directly onto your lens with touch-tab strap
- Able to bend to block unwanted light or shield your lens glass from rain and water while holding its shape
- Holds shape in any situation
- Waterproof to shield water from your lens glass
- Lightweight – only 1.2 oz (34 g)
- Made of durable ballistic nylon
- Stores flat in your camera bag
You can find the Flex Lens Shade at B&H
Birth of the Flex Lens Shade
Four years ago, while shooting boxing ringside at Staples Center in Los Angeles, I was furiously working on my standard gaffers tape and cardboard extension to my lens shade to block light flare from the HBO lights that hang over the ring. The shot I had been waiting for, happened; a perfect knockout right in front of me, I quickly chimped the back of my camera and the framing was perfect except….my homemade gaffers tape hood extension drooped down and block the fighters face. Agh!! As the night wore on I ended up so paranoid of “the droop” that I found myself worrying about “the droop” as opposed to getting the shots I needed. Shooting without a shade extension was not an option as the light flare was brutal.
The next day while doing a studio shoot, I found that the fill light in the back was giving a weird light flare across my lens. I was able make a temporary extension to block the flare but the athlete was not too happy with the wait time it took me to create rigged extension. I had to find an alternative that would block light flare.
When I got back home I was determined to find something to block light flare and began searching the internet, B & H, Roberts, Samy’s, Yahoo, Google….you name it. I searched high and low but did not find anything that would be flexible, hold it’s shape, lightweight and easy to store. With no option on the market, I decided to create and market my own.
Thus, the Flex Lens Shade was born!
I search high and low looking for the right mix of materials that would enable the extension to hold it’s shape, fasten in some way to the lens so that even if bumped, it stayed in place, lightweight so that there was no pull on the front of the camera lens and stores flat (something that us with heavy camera bags thoroughly appreciate). Over the next four years, I was able to find the right mix of materials while testing each variation of the product.
FINALLY, in the last few months everything came together. I was able to find a fabricator to produce the Flex Lens Shade, lightweight at only 1.2 ounces, flexible in any shape, attaches to the existing lens hood (or strap it right onto your 70-200) with a Velcro strap (no glue or adhesive) and lays flat while VERY durable covered with Ballistic Nylon (yep, the bullet proof stuff).
Since the Flex Lens Shade hit the market, customers have submitted video’s and stories about how they have used the Flex Lens Shade from DSLR video shoots outdoors to block sunlight to using the Flex Lens Shade to block rain from the front of the lens glass at Cape Canaveral (thanks Gene Blevins!)
As a photographer on the go, I am proud to have created a product that is friendly to the photographer and a must for any photographer’s bag.
Check us out at in Las Vegas at PMA@CES in January 10-13 2012, drop by our booth for cool prizes.
(cover photo credit: snap from the Flex guys)