Modern camera lenses are beautifully complex pieces of optical engineering. Even fully manual so-called “legacy” lenses are intricately constructed and deliver outstanding performance in terms of image quality.
But even with all the benefits that come from having a superb quality lens sticking out from the front of your camera problems can still arise. One of the biggest problems, at least or me, is not always having a good grip available to zoom or adjust the focus on some of my lenses. This is especially true when I’m shooting the stars on moonless nights or when the weather makes conditions a little less than desirable. The truth is, some lenses just don’t have very aggressive grippage on the zoom and focusing rings.
So when I was approached by the developers of the Band.it (or Cameraband.it) I was quite intrigued to have a look at their product. One of the reasons was because there are a lot of gimmicky “shoot better quick” gadgets on the market and I wanted to see how the band.it would perform.
I was one of those guys who used a soft rubber bracelet on my lenses to improve the grip and little did I know that someone had taken that idea and ran with it, refining the concept of a rubberized grip ring for camera lenses. After working with the band.it for a couple weeks I couldn’t be more impressed with this wonderfully simple piece of gear. Let me show you why…
The products arrived in a shockingly well packaged box. I was surprised to see just how sleek the packing job was for such minuscule gear.
Housed in the box were the three band.it sets, a warranty/instruction card, a decal, and a nifty felt storage bag.
Each band.it came with an attached label determining which one fit which lens was a snap. I was sent three sizes of the band.it for testing:
- 1 for my Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art
- 1 for my Canon 50mm f/1.4
- 1 set (zoom and focus rings) for my Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar 24-70mm f/4
And this, friends, is the band.it…
Like I said, simple, right? These are made from an “elastomer” which is very soft and stretchy. It feels very similar to a silicone rubber pot holder.
Each band.it is custom made to the exact proportions of the lens it’s intended to fit. Once, installed (just stretch and slide) the fit perfectly on each one of my test lenses. Something I was concerned about was how they would look once on my lenses. I’m a firm believer of form being second to function… but I still like my gear to look as good as it shoots.
I was worried that the band.it would make my lenses look bulky and cumbersome. To my surprise, each band.it actually complimented the looks of my lenses. The matte black matched the colors of lens and they don’t add ruin the lines of the lens design… but of course tastes vary.
Of course the real reason I tested the band.it was to see how well it would do its job. In short, the little elastomer band showed up ready to play. I was most interested to see how the band.it would perform with my trusty Sony 24-70mm as it was the lens that I had previously sported the rubber bracelet due to the extremely swallow gripping serrations on it’s zoom and focusing rings. The band.it performed as advertised. The was instant grip improvement and each lens became much easier to handle.
I can see now why the developers over at band.it advertise them as added extra protection to your lens. The band.it adds just a little extra cushion in the bag and helps soften any bumps that come from a hurried lens changed.
In field use, the band.it continued to impress due to its complete utilitarianism. It was virtually nothing but the benefits are outstanding, especially for outdoor and adventure shooters like me.
The band.it loves prime lenses. One band on the lens gives the photog excellent control over focus.
Things to Consider
I encountered only one problem with the band.it over the course of the review. When using them on a zoom lens or any lens where there are two band.it rings installed, be careful that they do not touch. If they do, you risk the zoom ring turning the focus ring and vice versa.
So make sure that you properly install your band.it and that they don’t overlap while shooting. This was the only concern worth mentioning which is always nice.
Final Thoughts on the band.it…
The band.it, much like all good inventions, is a simple idea which fills a needed role. For photographers, it offers more grip on your lens and additional protection for our precious glass. And hey, in my opinion it still looks cool.
For prime lenses, the band.it is great. If you shoot a lot of zooms you’ll need to pay more attention to how the band.it is installed and where it it stays while you’re out shooting. Overall, I can highly recommend the band.it for all photographers and especially for those who are just getting started or who need a little extra grip and assurance. The band.it is available at camerabandit.com for $25 each or $45 per set (zoom and focus rings).
Originally posted on Contrastly
About the Author: Adam Welch
Adam is a photomaker, author, educator, self-professed bacon addict, and a hardcore nature junkie. You can usually find him on some distant trail making photographs or at his computer writing about all the elegant madness that is photography. Follow his work over at website , Instagram , and 500px