Do you like to use caps?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jose_angel, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. While searching the archives for good camera bags, I`ve found this funny video where John Harrington describes the Nikon gear he use on assignments. There have been quite recently posts about the use of clear filters for added protection... well, this pro looks to be absolutely carefree about this topic. He doesn`t use filters, lens`caps or even... camera caps!. Later, some items are also distributed on small bags in full contact, without pads.
    I meet some pros using clumsy storage systems and crappy bags but, at least, they use to try to avoid friction between lenses and other items on storage. Some of them even use black electrical tape for protection.
    I must recognize that I use to avoid front caps while working with a bag, but always with hoods attached for protection!
    John Harrington`s video: link. What do you think?
    (BTW; first, the 14-24/2.8 and now the 70-200/2.8 finished off with the usefulness of my old, beloved bags that were designed for film cameras. I need the F2 bag of the current times; looks like it is an odd harness... )
  2. I think it is down to how you see cameras and lenses. If they are an expensive personal investment which you hope to keep in nice shape for your own enjoyment, then all caps are used (I am very careful), however, if I worked for the press or the cameras were 'pool' items, then I would use them in the most efficient way possible. If that meant letting items roll around for a while without caps, then I would not mind.
    Look at loan cars, pool cars and rental cars. Those get to see whatever the driver throws at them.
  3. It seems that especially some PJs throw around their gear with little regard for it. I think it's a matter of style, personality and lack of care. They don't own their equipment, they don't need the greatest image quality so they can abuse the equipment. OTOH I have and have seen lenses that are rough on the outside but have immaculate lenses, which shows another approach.
    I do use either caps or hoods (I think it's inconvenient to use both), but I pay for my gear and I also care that it's in shape.
  4. I'm always amused by the fact that, without exception as far as I can recall, every single manufacturers' pic of a camera gear bag, whether shoulder bag or backpack, is depicted with the lenses it contains lacking BOTH caps and lens hoods.
    This seems like purest idiocy on the part of the bag companies. Try as hard as I can, I cannot think of a single good reason why the lenses are shown this way.
    Bother anyone else?
  5. "...some PJs throw around their gear with little regard for it... They don't own their equipment..."​
    Not necessarily. Most PJ's I've known used their own equipment that they bought. And it's not carelessness so much as efficiency. Nic Coury might be able to chip in with more recent experience on the subject.
    When I've shot freelance PJ stuff (many years ago, only a few fires and medical emergencies the past several years), weddings, events, live performances, I usually didn't use front or rear caps. Too fiddly when having to change lenses quickly with one hand. I did use hoods and if there was a chance of the front element getting sprayed with blood, sweat, spit or flying liquids (all a possibility at fire, emergency or crime scenes) I'd use protective filters, which can be wiped quickly with a shirt or bandanna, no need to worry about scuffing the coatings - filters can eventually be replaced cheaply.
    Between uses, lenses go naked into separate compartments in the bag, usually face up. That way when I grab 'em I don't need to shift grip to attach 'em to the camera. I made one concession to protecting the lenses - lenses with protruding rear elements, I'd adjust the focus ring to withdraw the element inside the barrel. I had only a couple of lenses with vulnerable rear elements and rarely used 'em for PJ stuff or situations where I needed to work quickly. Midrange and tele zooms, one wide prime and one fast normal lens were usually enough.
    I preferred a top loading bag with a generous lid that I could fold over or out of the way with one hand. That's why the traditional Domke design is so popular. I also had a cheap no-name knockoff that worked about as well, as well as an oddball little bag from Beseler that was a sorta knockoff of a Billingham. All easy to handle one-handed. I did prefer bags with separate compartment for lenses and the flash, but everything else tended to go into a junk pocket. Even when I started out with caps, batteries, accessories, etc., neatly organized, within an hour everything was in a single junk pocket.
    And I keep emphasizing one-handed. If you can detach and reattach a rear cap while holding the lens, all with one hand, then you might be able to manage re-capping lenses between uses. My fingers are long enough to handle this, by palming the lens barrel and using my fingertips to handle the rear caps. But it's a hassle and will eventually lead to juggling the lens and dropping it. Try it a few times with cold, numb hands, or wet hands.
    So far I've never dropped a lens while shooting this way, because I stopped bothering with caps. The only times I've dropped lenses were at home when I had no excuse - I'd pick up a lens and the damned thing would either spring loose like my schiztsy Siamese cat or go limp and slither outta my grip like my ninja cat. And every lens I've used for shooting PJ stuff, events, etc., still looks about as good as the lenses I use with great care, such as my 28/3.5 PC Nikkor.
    Front and rear elements are fine. In part, that's because I routinely use a decent quality protective filter on the front element to protect it from liquid spray. I don't have to quickly and roughly wipe the front elements with a shirt or greasy napkin, so the lens itself is fine. I have had to replace protective filters every year or so but those aren't too expensive if you stick with decent quality Kenkos or the moderately priced Hoyas. After five years I finally need to replace the Kenko on my 18-70 DX Nikkor from having to quickly wipe it many times while shooting various documentary type projects. Ever wipe baby pee, snot or spit-up from a lens? I have. It'll make the anti-filter crowd reconsider their options.
  6. Yep, I'm pro filter - though not that much in contact with baby pee, snot or spit-up. Had my share of mud on the lense though and at those times I was happy I had my protective filter.
    Mostly cap. Lens hood on in reverse to keep it snuggly in my Billingham. Mostly left in the bag when using the camera. Depends on the circumstances.
    I appreciate a bit of closeness to what I shoot and a lens hood that is bigger than the lens itself often scares people a bit.I rarely use the hood of the lenses I use most (Sigma 24-70, Nikon 18-35, Nikon 50mm and the 14-24 doesn't have a lense hood, fortunately.
    Some lenses are more flare-sensitive than others. With those (80-400mm / 70-200mm) I always try to use the hood, or the sun should be in my back.
  7. Gosh, that is a huge camera bag. But I don't think that guy is careless. One thing we see is the lenses are well protected in that bag. Also, whoever carries a bag with that much equipment, obviously doesn't have much time to fiddle with caps. Rear caps are not that important either. As for a body cap... Um, I think it is a smart thing to use, but again, obviously he doesn't have the need. I can quite imagine when one needs to put on a lens quickly, one doesn't want to have a cap in the way.
    And no, I don't use a filter or hood (a hood only if it's raining) and I'm trying to lose my caps, but it I don't have the luck :)
  8. Lex, I can corroborate your comments. After years, I found this one-hand way, the only really practical while working.
    As you say the F2 type bag is great to do so... but things have changed. Now with the digital SLRs, we have "new" delicate parts, as are sensors to dust or that rear "stopper" glass element on new zooms to scratches... the big bulbous front element on the 14-24... add the bulk of this new lenses... specially big if you use that big hoods (a must for protection). The F2 bag is now small for pro use, and a bigger one is simply too big, IMHO.
    I actually don`t know how to transport or use them with a bag (that I`m still looking for!).
  9. My head is spinning. I can't imagine treating my 70-200 2.8 or D300 like that! Heck, I can't imagine treating my remote shutter release like he treats his sync cable. I guess it's all in what you get used to. I have to go lay down for a few minutes. :)
  10. No body caps = dirty sensors. Go to his website and you will see many spots on some of his photos in the lighter sky areas.
  11. LOL, that`s true. I have seen a couple of dusty pics soon. Thanks God he is a good photographer... :)
  12. lex, i remember a picture of your trunk a long time ago.
    for those new here, that will be a real treat :)
  13. Lex, I didn't say "all PJs". Many of the situations I see PJs working in don't require rapid reflexes, lens changes or such. And I do assume that most full time PJs I see around where I live work for an agency or newspaper. Of course the working environment is different for different photographers which to a large extent explains the difference in approach. For example in a lot of what I do, I need to get maximum image quality and that means treating the equipment with care, cos if I don't, I'll start having issues sooner or later.
  14. Ramon, I don't remember ever posting a snapshot of my gear piled into the trunk of my car or floorboard of my truck. That may be Bjorn Rorslett or someone else you have in mind. Bjorn has a few snapshots on his website of his traveling setup, with lots of stuff piled into his vehicle. He also appears to use some sort of color coding or labeling system to make it easier to locate certain bits of equipment.
    BTW, I do use a body cap faithfully on my dSLR and SLRs. I don't like to risk the delicate mirrors. To some extent I worry about dust but the main concern is leaving the mirrors unprotected. And I always use front and rear lens caps when not actually shooting or when the lenses are in the closet or bags between sessions. Accumulated dust is a huge pain in the neck to clean, so it's easier to prevent it.
  15. sorry, lex. i thought that was you. might have been bjorn, but now am not sure.
    anyway, extra lens(es) i take on a shoot have rear caps. i have big hands so i can palm the lens and unscrew the rear caps with my thumb and forefinger. but ones lens caps are off, they stay off for the rest of the assignment. my extra body will always have a cap or a lens mounted.
    accumulated dust, indeed, is a real pain in the rear end :)
  16. So, a quick question for a PJ. How often is it necessary to clean lenses, and do you have it done professionally (i.e. send to Nikon) or what do you do?
  17. As seen posted on the lab walls near the film-loading tents at my community college years ago: "Dust is the unseen enemy."
    I'm afraid that is generally my credo about photographic equipment, film processing, printing & drying. I am guilty of putting an expensive lens, uncapped, in my coat pocket on a rainy day, it's true, but I really do try to use my end caps on lenses. I am less religous about my front caps than the rear caps, especially on the job in a hurry, but that's because I too use a clear filter to protect the lens. I cannot remember ever leaving off a camera body cap - I mean, why would you do that unless you were desperate or lost the cap? It adds up to another CLA fee and time w/out that camera while it's in the shop.
    Do you think it's simply "film" discipline, learning to avoid permanent dust spots on negatives? Maybe the guy started off having labs/other people develop his film and never learned about "the enemy"?
    Alternative theory: he makes so much money he can replace a lens w/out blinking at the cost.
  18. Glen, I've never had to have my lenses serviced professionally. I have disassembled, cleaned or repaired a few used manual focus lenses but those needed service when I bought them. So far, my personal practice of occasionally leaving caps off while shooting busy events has never resulted in any more problems with dust than I've seen in anyone else's lenses.
    After using lenses without caps for a session, I'll use a Giottos Rocket squeeze bulb blower all around, including the inside rear, and occasionally use a vacuum cleaner with a small nozzle attachment near the lens (a few inches away), but never in direct contact with the lens. The vacuum is just to prevent the loosened airborne dust from resettling inside the lens, not to actually vacuum the dust out. Depending on the lens design, direct suction could damage the aperture blades, so don't get too close with a vacuum.
    As for what working PJs do (which I am not and haven't been for many years), it seems to vary. Some adopt the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. Others opt to have their equipment inspected, adjusted and cleaned every year or so. I've known a few who'd have their 35mm SLRs overhauled, including a shutter replacement, after more than 100,000 cycles, to help minimize the risk of failure on the job. Wouldn't surprise me if these folks were following the equivalent practice with their dSLRs.
  19. My current Nikons and Hasselblads, rear caps only, no front caps or UV filters. My older set of Bronicas and Nikons, 1988-98 I never used any caps or filters, they were all in a box in a drawer. Never had any problems, that's just how I work....
  20. That video shows his PJ gear, they only have 2 hands so when you pull one lens off the camera it get dropped into the bag and the other lens goes on (no third hand or time to cap lenses) a big hint on how important speed is to this guy... 2 flashes 1 with tungsten and one with FL, not time to swap flash filters....
    I try and use caps but when working I cant its to hard to try and uncap and cap the small camera (d3/70-200) when balancing the D2x and 400 in the other
    I am amused at how scared of dust people are, do you think you are not sucking dust in and out of your lenses when zooming and focusing.... last time I checked lenses are not air tight

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