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03-23-2009, 04:21 AM   #1
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Changing Lenses

I wondered if anyone has recommendations on how to change lenses quickly (and safely) when you are out and about. It often takes me a minute or so to change lenses and by then the shot is gone...

03-23-2009, 04:31 AM   #2
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60 seconds is pretty good as far as I'm concerned since I have a deserved reputation for clumsiness and the first rule is always "Do no harm." The trick is to try to anticipate the shots you'll see. A good zoom can help, too.
03-23-2009, 04:32 AM   #3
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A minute? That's a very long time by any standards.

This is what I do (keep in mind I am not very anal about dust getting in my camera):

Open my camera bag and loosen the intended lens' cap. Remove the lens from my camera body and drop the lens in the bag. Take the cap off the new lens and put it on the other one. Mount new lens on camera body. All this time my camera is pointing down.

I'm sure there's better methods out there.
03-23-2009, 06:58 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I wondered if anyone has recommendations on how to change lenses quickly (and safely) when you are out and about. It often takes me a minute or so to change lenses and by then the shot is gone...
Practice, my boy.
Practice.

Changing lenses is not a committee decision. It shouldn't take more than a few seconds to commit a lens change.

03-23-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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I find it convenient to unlatch the old lens *first* - before taking a new lens out of the bag - so that I'm not fiddling with the latch while holding the new lens. I press the latch and turn the lens just enough so I don't need to press the button again when I fully remove the lens, but it stays on the camera for now. Also, I shut off the camera to kill the charge on the sensor and reduce the likelihood of dust (so they say, anyhow).

I then get out the new lens and take the rear cap off. I make the switch as quickly as reasonably possible (again to reduce likelihood of dust); the neckstart allows me to use both hands as necessary. I place rear cap from new lens on old. If the filter sizes are the same, I transfer the front cap from the new lens to the old. Otherwise, I take the front cap for the old out of the pocket of my bag I use for that purpose, put it on, and put the front cap for the new lens into that same pocket. Then I put the old lens away, turn the camera on, set SR focal length if necessary (another good reason to have shut the camera off previously - saves time getting to the SR menu), and go.

The whole process takes maybe 10 seconds at most.
03-23-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I wondered if anyone has recommendations on how to change lenses quickly (and safely) when you are out and about. It often takes me a minute or so to change lenses and by then the shot is gone...
This is my sequence:

1) take out the new lens, uncap it and keep it in my right hand
2) with index of right hand push the lens release
3) remove the old lens
4) put the new lens as soon as the old lens is out
5) put the back cap on the old lens and put it in the bag

Sometimes I also remove the lens right away and put the protective plastic mount before I search for the replacement lens.

The whole process is not that far from 1 minute depending on how easy it is to find the lens in the bag. I mean 1 minute from the time you're decided to change the lens from the time you're ready to shoot with the new lens is not that bad because there are a lot of operations I have not detailed: unzip the bag, zip the bag, put front cap, remove front cap, remove the hood, put the hood, etc. When you think about it it's quite a lot of operations in one minute.
03-23-2009, 12:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I wondered if anyone has recommendations on how to change lenses quickly (and safely) when you are out and about. It often takes me a minute or so to change lenses and by then the shot is gone...
Often it takes time because there is no place to put the old lens once it's detached from the camera, and there is no hand to remove the cap from the new lens.

Buy a bunch of rear lens caps, not the flimsy soft plastic cap that kind of "sits" on the lens, but the hard plastic cap that needs to be rotated to latch onto the lens.

Use good duct tape (best is Gorilla tape), tape two of the caps back to back; and use this for your lenses.

When you need to change lenses, pull the new lens from the back, then detatch the old lens from the camera, latch it on to the other side of the rear lens cap. Now you have two lenses connected end to end, just detach the new lens and attach it to the camera body.
03-23-2009, 12:56 PM   #8
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This sounds like really similar to what everybody else is saying.

I'm not super anal about dust either. Here is my sequence:

1 - Find the lens I want and get it read in my bag. That means loosen the back-cap, keeping it on the lens.

2 - Cap the front of the lens on the camera. Remove from camera and place face-down in bag.

3 - Transfer cap from new lens to old lens.

4 - Attach new lens to body.

I don't rush it, but once I have the old lens ready, the actual changing procedure can't take me longer than 10 or 15 seconds. The camera is open to the world for just a few seconds, maybe 4 or 5...

The main thing for me is that before I go to stick the lens on, I make sure I know where the witness mark is so that I can stick it straight on the body, and have it go straight into the Bayonet slot. No fiddling around.

03-23-2009, 04:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tips. I am just always worried that if I go too quickly, I will drop one of the two lenses and then I will end up with a several hundred dollar mistake.
03-23-2009, 06:18 PM   #10
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For me, the floor is my friend. I set my bag on the floor/ground and squat. I chose my lens and take it from the bag. I place my camera on the bag with the lens facing upwards and disconnect it from the camera but I do not remove it.

Next I simply pop the cap off of the replacement lens, pull the lens off the camera and place the new lens on. Put the cap quickly onto the old lens and then twist the new lens on correctly. I am still pretty new to photography but it takes me probably 10-15 seconds from the decision to change until I am ready to shoot again.
03-23-2009, 06:39 PM   #11
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I say whatever method works best for you is the best. I usually have the luxury to plan ahead for the lens I will need. Most of my shooting is outdoor landscapes and I rarely go into the field without a master plan of attack on my photo composition...I have the basic picture in mind before I show up. If I think I will be in a situation that may require two different types of lenses with little time to change, I bring along a second body and have my backup lens ready to go on that camera.

As far as the actual routine for changing out a lens, the only advice I can give is NEVER change your lens around a molting cockatiel! I did this ONCE by accident near our little feathered house pet and it totally messed up my K20D sensor. Little feather dust has oil on it and they stick like glue to a sensor. Even my rocket blower couldn't tackle it.

And I was out of sensor swabs! Had to wait several days for a new box to arrive!
03-23-2009, 07:29 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
NEVER change your lens around a molting cockatiel!
This strikes me as excellent advice!
03-23-2009, 08:15 PM   #13
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You guys makes me think about that story about how people behave when they get children considering the pacifiers (dummy).

With the first child you follow the recommendations and clean the pacifiers regularly in boiling water.
With the second child you pick up the pacifier from the flor and rinse it under the water tap before you give it to the kid.
With the third child you pick up the pacifier and put it in your own mouth to suck it clean before you give it to the screaming child.
The fourth child has to fight for his pacifier with the dog who also wants it, and you wont care...

Why did I came to think of this when I read this thread?
03-23-2009, 09:12 PM   #14
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Lately it's been like this -
  • take off backpack
  • get out tripod
  • setup tripod
  • get big lens out of it's case
  • install it on tripod
  • take old lens off camera, cap it with the cap from new lens and put it in the bag
  • install camera on lens ...

The real lesson which I already knew, but just re-taught myself is that if you're cruisin' for wildlife - for pete's sake put the long lens on before you find wildlife - it will leave while you change lenses . I was 40 feet from a bobcat the other day (second one I've ever seen in the wild - the first was 20 years ago) and after the lens change, it was about 200 ft away.
03-23-2009, 10:43 PM   #15
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I usually have 2 bodies...w/ different lenses....BUT on the occasion i have one body..(does suck carrying around 2 on walkarounds)

I usually get the new lens 2 uncapped, and prepped...take off lens 1 from body, and put lens 2 on body. I find it's easier to blow off dust from the rear element than from the mirror/sensor...

so, i do a quick change before re-capping....if not, i'll cap the body first while I get the lenses ready...

usually takes me less than 30 seconds
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