How to carry camera - with or without lens

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by michal_urban|2, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    since I bought my second lens (70-300mm tele) to my Nikon D80 and 18-70mm, Im constantly changing the layout of my Lowepro Nova 4 camera bag. While I can fit in the camera with shorter lens attached, it is not possible with the tele - because of the other stuff im carrying.
    Now, I read few days ago a post from a photographer who claimed he finds it faster to just carry the camera without lens attached so he doesnt need to remove from the camera the lens which can fit in the bag when he wants to start shooting with another lens.
    Im just thinking about possible pros and cons. I can see two cons already - first, you cant just start shooting after opening the bag - and second, the camera with lenses attached wont fit any compartment.
    Whats your opinion on this topic, please?
  2. I was never able to find a bag to fit both my camera, my 300mm and other stuff, so I carried the 300mm lens separately in its own carrying case. That also goes for my 70-200mm.
    Unless you have a strong back these are not your typical walk-about or candid lenses.
    Usually you bring these lenses to a certain location unpack and start shooting from there, so carrying them separated from the camera is not a big deal.
  3. Just to make sure, you would NOT want to carry a camera body open, without a body cap.
    Especially not a digital one, unless you want clouds of crud on your sensor. I can't see that taking off a body cap is much time savings over taking off a prime lens, moreover, and at least with a prime on the camera, you can take a picture.
    I'd get a different camera bag that will allow packing the lens and camera together with other gear. Nobody I know has just one camera bag.
  4. I don't know what version of the lens you have. The 70-300mm VR is not all that long, and you can find a camera bag which will carry it attached. You can also carry the body with the 18-70mm attached. Some bags are designed to carry bodies and lenses separately, but I avoid them. Personal preference, but, as JDM said, if you carry the body separate, make sure that you have a body cap on. Of course you want a rear cap on any unattached lenses.
  5. I often run around with particular lens on the camera....and usually I'll take the shot with it if action unfolds in the front of me. If I want to get specific, I'll go for macro or tele/wide and attach to the camera what's needed.
    If a person wants to cover entire range with one lens then a belt-holster (a pouch) or use a belt clip-on gismo. Depends what works for you.
    If you have a DSLR body and a lens in the will take time to mount the lens. Either way, it takes time.
  6. david_henderson


    I carry three zoom lenses with plenty of overlap between the zoom ranges so I don't have to change lenses every minute. I find that at least two thirds of my photographs are or could be taken with a 24-105 lens on full frame so I fail to see why carrying the camera with that lens attached isn't a time-saver. The other way I save time is to configure the bag so I can identify and reach each lens and each filter without having to move anything else, so I can change lenses or add/subtract filters whilst on the move, without putting the bag down.
  7. The photographer who said he carried no lens on his camera because of how long it takes to change lenses needs to work on his decision making skills;) Really.
    So I would carry the 18-70 unless I expected a particular situation in which I would need the tele. Frankly this is not hard. Try not to let your camera and kit get in the way of taking pictures.
    I don't know what it means but in 50 years of photography I have never heard of a professional photographer carrying a camera without a lens. There may be something in that.
  8. I bag my cameras with sane lenses mounted - The big bag holds a body on the 70-300, not sure if the mid sized or small ones would too, but my non stellar Sigma is a stay at home lens anyhow. The long lenses (Russian 1000mm mirror or 300mm non telephoto, old 400mm f6.4) came in individual cases and I would mount something shorter on my camera supposed to hold it on the march. - I would maybe keep the 150mm out of the Technika when I assume I'll end shooting another lens that doesn't allow closing the body.
  9. Naturally, the way out of the dilemma is to purchase a second body and a bigger bag ;-)
    Usually, I have the lens I expect to use most mounted on the camera. I have one bag configuration though where I can only fit the camera without a lens - on location I then pick the lens I need. Most of my bags are backpacks which don't offer fast and easy access - so it doesn't matter much whether or not a lens is actually mounted on the camera while in the bag. Once I am ready to shoot, I usually carry the camera in my hand - if necessary, all day.
  10. don't bother, just carry then separately, put on the lens when you ready to shoot.
  11. I have pretty much standardized on backpacks. I can configure a ThinkTank Airport bag to carry a D3 with a 300/4 attached, but I prefer to carry the body attached to the lens I use most - a 28-70/2.8. The 300/4 and 70-200/2.8 go on either side. The bag could be configured for a 300/2.8, if I had one. I don't routinely carry a spare body, but there's room for one with a body cap.
    A body cap is just one more thing to move around to attach a lens. There's one tucked away in the bag, but seldom used.
    My kit weighs just under 35 pounds, which is way to much for a shoulder bag. I can carry the backpack by one strap for a short distance, or by both straps all day. With a backpack, the trick is to keep it completely open or zipped shut. It's too easy to pick up an unzipped bag and dump the contents.
  12. On my D700, I used to use a 28-200 G as a body cap. It's not very heavy, it's flexible if I'm surprised about what I'm going to shoot, and as others have said it's not appreciably slower to remove from the camera if I'm switching in another lens than the body cap would be (though I would then have to cap the 28-200, not leave it open! Unfortunately, this lens doesn't really keep up with a D800, so I don't use it so much any more.

    Unless the space in the bag prohibits it, I tend to leave the lens I'm most likely to use for what I think I'm doing on the camera. Having to fit a lens just gives more chance for dust to get in, and swapping lenses isn't much slower than fitting one - and I'd rather have a lens on the camera so that I can take a quick shot if something surprises me. For a lot of travel, I sometimes deliberately put a small prime on the camera to avoid too much force on the lens mount if the bag gets squashed, but otherwise I pick by use.
  13. It depends on the specific shoulder bag, backpack or rolling case I am using. I don't know your model bag or what else
    you are carrying. If I were you I'd look at which lens you use most and keep that on the camera. If possible I'd try to keep
    your load for a shoulder or backpack type bag down to just the bare essentials of what you really need and not make
    yourself into a pack mule. You might find that you can work faster and with more energy to use concentrating on getting
    the shot.
  14. How do you find that you shoot most often? Is the 70-300 your go-to lens? Or is it the 18-70? Or do you use them equally?
    For me, I am most often photographing nature subjects, primarily birds, so my 100-400 (a big lens, essentially the same size as a 70-200 f/2.8 +/- a few mm & grams) lives on my Canon 7D (as does a battery grip). My Kata backpack has just enough room to store the combination in one of the side-entry compartments. I also carry a 17-55 f/2.8, though it doesn't get all the use it should...
    My point is, you need to make it work for you, and not rely on what works for someone else. Try other suggestions, certainly, but don't feel bad about not sticking with that if it isn't working for you. If it turns out that your go-to lens is the larger, and you can't re-arrange the bag to suit that, it might be time for a bigger bag...
  15. I have generally carried my cameras with lenses attached, partly so that they are always ready go to (I used to be a newspaper photographer) and partly according to what fits the bag. It really does come down to what bag you are using and what you are carrying.

    My main bag currently is a LowePro with wheels, about the size of a small airline carryon. My D7000 goes inside with 70-200 and battery grip attached. My D200 goes in a small compartment with a lenscap while my 24-70 and 12-24 each go in separate compartments. I would probably prefer to have the 24-70 mounted on the D200 but haven't gotten around to reconfiguring the bag to allow that. But at this point I shoot mostly with the D7000 and use the D200 as my backup, so I might still have to swap lenses once I start shooting anyhow.

    Back in film days, I used a Domke F2 shoulder bag. Carried an F2 and an FM, with a 28 on one and a 50 on the other just because that was what fit, with a 105 and 200 in other compartments. Unfortunately the bigger zooms today don't fit as compactly as that kit did, at least in the bags I have.
  16. My "go-to" bag is a Lowepro Backpack, I think it's the AW-1. I think I carry everything except the Kitchen Sink in it!
    Like Larry West above, I am also most often shooting Nature, Wildlife & Birds so my 100-400 pretty much lives on my 50D also with a battery grip. In addition I carry a 1.4X TC, 50 1.4, 17-50 2.8 and a 100 Macro 2.8. I also carry my 420 EX Flash, cords, Rocket Blower, several filters, 2 chargers and 2 additional batteries plus the 50D's User Manual and some other notes and paperwork. I can also stuff my 17" Laptop in the separate compartment made for carrying a computer if I so desire.
    A couple of years ago I was physically able to take some pretty long hikes or, a full day at the Zoo with much of the same gear packed in it. It has good shoulder, waist, & chest straps and at times I even strapped my Tripod to it.
    I also have another smaller shoulder bag (I don't remember the brand or size) that I can use for specific events like the wedding I shot a couple of years back where I only needed the Flash, 2 bodies, one with the 50 f/1.4 mounted, the other with a 28-105mm mounted and took along the 17-50 for group shots. This bag I recently gave to my Son with an Elan 7e and the 28-105.
    Both the Backpack and shoulder bag have "inserts" that can be arranged to suit the need.
    Yes, the Lowepro AW-1 is large and these days it only requires carrying to the car. For me these days it's sort of the "anything more than a couple of hundred yards from the car is not very photogenic" type of trips so, it works!
    Maybe a 2 bag solution is in store for you. Keep the Lowepro Nova 4 as your smaller of the two.
    I will add, . . . "Like Tripods, spend whatever amount necessary to get a "good bag" instead of several mediocre, lower cost ones over a few years. In the long run it will be cheaper!
  17. Thank you all for your responses, it was interesting reading and I have more stuff to think about during setting my camera and bag up. THANKS!!! :)

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