Over the years my collection of filters has become indispensable (not to mention valuable) so it's important that they are well protected while I'm in the field, both from the elements and my own clumsiness. I've never quite found the perfect storage solution so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the Lee 'Field pouch' to see if it fit the bill.
A quick look
The Field Pouch is a simple design, made from a durable canvas type fabric which comes in two colours - sand or black. I can't be trusted to keep anything clean for long (note the mud splatters in the photos) so I opted for the latter, it was only going to end up black eventually anyway.
Flip back the top of the pouch and ten, well padded, filter slots are revealed. The lid, which extends about halfway down the front and sides of the pouch to keep the elements out, is held in place by a tab of velcro. It has been designed to fold back out of the way to allow unrestricted access to the filters inside and there is even another velcro tab on the velvety lining of the lid to hold it there. Open the zip on either side of the pouch itself and the whole thing concertinas open to allow even easier access to the contents. The larger 100x150mm filters are easy to get in and out even with the zips closed, the smaller 100x100mm size less so, opening the zips a bit however makes the smaller filters equally easy to reach.
Around the back of the pouch is a large belt loop as well as clips to attach either of the two included straps - a short one for hanging the Field Pouch from a tripod and a long one for hanging it over your shoulder.
Overall it looks to be pretty well made... so far, so good.
How does it perform in use? In short, very well.
Until now I'd been using the Lee multi filter pouch, which although it provided protection, was never particularly practical in use. Designed like a book, the filter sleeves were rather flimsy so it was difficult to quickly get the filters out and even harder to get them back in again. It also lacked any way of attaching it to anything, I fixed a lanyard to mine so I could hang it around my neck, improving matters but only slightly.
The field pouch is a vast improvement, with it slung over a shoulder and across my body both hands are left free to get the filters in and out. I wasn't so keen on having it hanging from the tripod using the short strap because it had a habit of tilting forward and with it unzipped look perilously close to spilling the contents on the floor. I should note that nothing actually did fall out and unzipping it halfway instead of all the way improved matters but I felt more comfortable using the shoulder strap.
Protection is good as well. The pockets for the filters are soft and padded so the filters are snug and safe from scratches while the front and back of the field pouch are reinforced protecting the contents from knocks.
This is where I started to struggle. Personally I wouldn't really change a thing… perhaps the velcro tabs, especially the one inside the lid, could be bigger to make closing it properly a little easier but that's a minor point.
Ok, if you want somewhere to keep your filter holder or adaptor rings you're out of luck, you can fit a filter holder in at the expense of a couple of filters but I don't think that's how it's designed. It's also quite large so you might have to rearrange your camera bag to fit it in but I'm nitpicking now.
This has been a bit of a short and sweet review and the conclusion is going to be no different… truth is, the Field Pouch is well thought out, well made and comes highly recommended.