handling lens swaps in the field?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by w.a. manning, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. w.a. manning

    w.a. manning Guest

    i just shot a sporting event and i was a bit befuddled by how to
    effectively handle swapping 2 lenses quickly and carefully. i was
    going btw 2 somewhat heavy pieces of glass (28-80f2.8 and 80-200f2.8),
    so it was sorta tricky to juggle them and the risks of dropping one
    was indeed great.

    so how do "pros" do this?

    should i not worry about damaging the back element and dispense w/ the
    rear lens cap? or is there some special technique to do this quickly
    and safely?
    w.a. manning, Oct 13, 2003
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  2. w.a. manning

    ll.clark Guest

    I'd expect they'd have two cameras.
    ll.clark, Oct 13, 2003
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  3. w.a. manning

    John Miller Guest

    Probably many other ways I've never thought of, but...
    ....I've always found it easiest always to have space in the bag to
    accommodate a cap-less lens safely. Remove the lens from the camera, put
    it in that spot, take the lens you want from the bag, and attach it to the
    body, freeing up an empty spot in the process.

    With an additional body or bodies, the need for changes is less.
    John Miller
    My email address: Domain, n4vu.com; username, jsm

    An alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do.
    -Dylan Thomas
    John Miller, Oct 13, 2003
  4. I dunno, it seems pretty simple to me. I just put the front cap on the lens
    on the camera, pull the lens off, stick it face down in my bag, switch the
    rear lens cap off the lens I'm about to put on onto the lens I've just taken
    off and put the new lens on. Only takes a few seconds and none of the lenses
    are ever in any danger.
    That said, recently I've ended up with two bodies hanging round my neck so
    that I don't need to change lenses so often (because it's still a pain no
    matter how fast you can do it).

    Chris Barnard, Oct 13, 2003
  5. w.a. manning

    Bill Jameson Guest

    I usually make my camera bag a partner in lens changes.
    0) remove hood from lens one on camera, replace front lens cap, remount
    hood reversed on lens one.
    1) find lens you want to change to, loosen rear cap.
    2) remove lens one from camera, place front end down in camera camera bag.
    3) move rear cap from lens two to just removed lens one
    4) mount lens two on camera, remove front lens cap, mount hood
    5) close camera bag.
    Bill Jameson, Oct 13, 2003
  6. w.a. manning

    Loren Coe Guest

    i "3rd" the 2nd (or more) camera, other benefits acrue, more film options,
    less film changes, piece of mind. most folks need to understand that important
    pictures are just that, and resist the temptation to hold rolls until they
    are full. pros will develop a roll with a single shot on it. what i mean to
    say is that partial rolls are the least thing to worry about.

    that said, assuming one camera, select your lenses more carefully. consider
    a wider range tele, andor a fixed lens at the high range, much easier to handle.

    my 2cents, --loren
    Loren Coe, Oct 13, 2003
  7. Practice. The more you do it the more you learn how to do each one.
    You will know where you can park the 135mm and the 55mm etc. You also learn
    that glass is not as fragile as most think and that a small chip is not the
    end of the world or a lens. Once the lens becomes a tool and not a piece or
    priceless art, it gets easy.
    Joseph Meehan, Oct 13, 2003
  8. w.a. manning

    Alan Browne Guest

    Pros bring 2 or 3 cameras for things like sporting events and avoid
    switching lenses. (also 2 or 3 bodies acts as failure insurance)

    For the non-pro who needs to switch:

    ...plan: Know when you will need one lens over the other(s). When I
    shoot soccer, I shoot first 1/2 with a long lens (300 f/2.8 with 1.4X
    and 2.0X ready to be inserted) and second half with the 80-200 f/2.8.

    ...compromise: Know that sometimes it will be impractical to shoot the
    preferred lens, and that for a less important shots, it is better to
    shoot the current lens, esp. if you know you will need the current lens
    shortly. If you CAN'T compromise, then you should have 2 bodies.

    ...routine: Have a recipe for how you do lens changes, such as:
    -put lens cap on lens on camera
    -Place 'new' lens back end 'up' in bag or on stable surface.
    -loosen back cap
    -Remove current lens put in bag, back 'up'
    -move back cap from 'new' to 'old' lens
    -mount new lens, remove lens cap

    You may choose to not bother with with the front lens caps, esp. if you
    have a UV filter in place. I didn't bother with little things like lens
    hoods in the recipe above, but these need to be considered too. Other
    "things" might come into play like monopods and lenses with colar mounts
    v. lenses without... (eg: my 28-80 has no colar, my 80-200 does).
    Moving filters from lens to lens comes into play occasionally as well.

    Whatever your recipe, execute it faithfully and calmly and you will have
    few if any problems.

    I always cap the rear. Dirt here generates a lot of flare, is difficult
    to clean, there are electrical contacts on most lenses here (these days)
    and often mechnical linkages (aperture) and int he case of Minolta, IAC,
    AF drive is mechanical at this junction.

    Alan Browne, Oct 13, 2003
  9. w.a. manning

    Deathwalker Guest

    beware of the superzoom.
    28-200 have never been built adequately. 28-80 75-210
    i risked 75-300 so far so good. having wide such as 28 and telephoto more
    than 105 causes distortion.
    Deathwalker, Oct 13, 2003
  10. w.a. manning

    Scotty Guest

    I'm retired now, but when I was working and was sent to do a situation like
    you're talking about, I took two or three bodies, each with a different
    focal-length lens.


    *** No animals were harmed during the production of this reply ***
    Scotty, Oct 13, 2003
  11. w.a. manning

    John Guest

    Even pro's still try to take care of their gear. Hanging 2 cameras from your
    neck really bangs them around. It also restricts your movement quite a lot,
    eg can't lie down on the ground or run if you need to change positions very
    quickly. I try to use only one camera at a time. if I use 2 then the other
    one is in the bag. Of course there are times when you need all your lens at
    your fingertips and bugger the cameras.
    John, Oct 13, 2003
  12. w.a. manning

    John Miller Guest

    That's why the Lord gave us adjustable straps. If two in front, one high,
    one low. Third camera on the side. Or front and both sides. Not a

    Of course, there is a certain macho chic to clanging your cameras together,
    if they're Leicas.

    John Miller
    My email address: Domain, n4vu.com; username, jsm

    "I once witnessed a long-winded, month-long flamewar over the use of mice
    vs. trackballs...It was very silly."
    (By Matt Welsh)
    John Miller, Oct 13, 2003
  13. w.a. manning

    Gordon Moat Guest

    You can use something to hold the lens. A small lens bag on a belt, or a
    waist pack can work as an extra set of hands. Practicing swaps can also
    help, and doing this without looking at the camera can hone that skill.
    Mostly, dust should be the biggest concern, unless it is raining. If you
    find that you need to change lenses often, just get another camera body
    to dedicate to the extra lens, and avoid swaps.

    I often take two or three cameras to every paid shoot, sometimes more.
    Part of that is for backup, though there is a convenience to having
    several different films, or a different lens on each camera.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Oct 13, 2003
  14. Don't omit the rear lens cap!

    I always keep the body on a neck strap, so I don't have to hold
    onto it. Then I have two free hands to juggle two lenses
    and one rear lens cap. Since a rear lens cap isn't big,
    heavy, or delicate, it can go between two fingers of a hand
    while the other fingers are holding a lens.

    The specific sequence is: Hold second lens, cap in place, in left
    hand. Use left hand to press lens release button, and remove
    first lens with thumb and forefinger of right hand. While
    continuing to hold first lens, grab rear lens cap of second
    lens with pinky and ring finger of right hand, and twist the
    lens out of its cap (still holding with left hand). Mount
    second lens on camera with left hand. Grab cap with left
    hand and put it on first lens.

    The whole process is very quick and natural with practice.
    Some may find a different choice of hands and fingers works
    better for them. Others may need to set an unprotected
    lens down in the bag sometime during the process.

    Richard Cochran, Oct 13, 2003
  15. w.a. manning

    Deathwalker Guest

    okay once more but making sense.
    28-200 superzooms are bad

    28-80 good
    75-210 good
    75-300 text books say so so but so far i'm doing fine
    100-300 or 100-400 also good.

    35-105 good. 28-105 absolutely not.

    two bodies.

    prime lenses are generally higher quality and faster ( smaller f numbers).

    two primes 1 on each body would be fantastic. As someone here actually did.
    Deathwalker, Oct 14, 2003
  16. w.a. manning

    CARBUFF Guest

    35-105 good. 28-105 absolutely not.

    Why not on the 28-105? Ive got a 28-105 usm 3.5-4.5 (eos) and its geat. I used
    to have the 35-105 and it was good too. I thought the 28-105 usm was a highly
    praised lens, for the price, of course.

    CARBUFF, Oct 14, 2003

  17. Multiple bodies: 3 or 4 in some cases.
    Michael Scarpitti, Oct 14, 2003
  18. w.a. manning

    ken Guest

    If you had had more than one body then you probably would have had it
    there. The answer to your question probably lies in what you are using
    to carry your second lense. Whatever you are carrying it in needs to
    be readily accessible so that the one lense can be either set in there
    temporarily while the other one (maybe in the camera pocket) is
    brought out and put on the camera. The size of lense that you are
    using would be hard to juggle while trying to hold one and mount the
    other. I would suggest that you always put both caps on to protect
    the lenses. You might be able to save some time by not putting on the
    lense hood if not needed. Don't worry about what the "pros" do, you
    must practice with whatever gear YOU have or modify it, or get
    something new in the way of a case or lense bag that will be best for
    you. A lot of people, me included, can not afford a second camera and
    a lot of lenses as well. My next major purchase will be another lense,
    not another body. I'm quite happy with the one I have. This Sunday I
    am going to an even that will require me to change lenses a few times,
    and I'm quite prepared to do that.
    ken, Oct 14, 2003
  19. Having just spent the day, yesterday, switching my 28-135 IS and 100-400 IS
    numerous times on my D-30, what I did was work out of my backpack, put the
    'pack on the ground, pull the lens off the camera, put the rear cap on it
    from the new lens, set the old lens in its space in the 'pack, and just put
    the new lens on. Usually, I have two bodies, each with its own lens, loaded
    with the same film, but I only have one digital.
    I've been known to put the old lens under my arm to hold it and leave my
    hands free, but then you run the risk of dropping the lens.
    Skip Middleton, Oct 14, 2003
  20. w.a. manning

    Steve Kramer Guest

    I use two methods;
    1) I keep an empty space in my shoulder bag, take off the lens and put
    it into that space, remove the rear cap on the new lens and put the lens
    on the camera, then put the rear cap on the lens in the bag.
    2) Basically the same, but putting the lens into a pocket of my shooting
    vest. That way I don't have to carry the weight of my bag all the time.
    I keep a lens in one pocket and a shoe mounted flash in the other.

    My biggest concern is keeping dust out of the camera body. I shoot in
    very hostile conditions, and when it's really bad, will use two bodies

    Steve Kramer
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    Steve Kramer, Oct 14, 2003
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