How to Change the Lens Safely Outdoors

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by carmen_m, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. I'm new to the DSLR world but I already have 2 lenses, the kit lens and the 50mm
    1.4 but I find myself shooting with the 50mm one most of the time because I'm
    afraid that by changing the lens I risk letting dust in the camera, etc.

    Can anyone give me some good practice tips on how to change the lens outdoors to
    minimize the risk of something going wrong (dropping it, having wind blow in
    dust, etc) especially when you need to change them fast.
  2. Switch it off (charged sensor could attract more dust)
    Stand with back to wind/spray
    Have 2nd lens ready to attach (ie. rear cap removed)
    Point camera body down
    Remove and replace

    THat's how I do i anyway. Of course, if you can find proper shelter (ie. indoors) to do changes that's even better!
  3. I never switch the camera off when changing lenses and I don't believe that doing so makes any significant difference to the dust issue, it just makes the lens changing process slower.

    Keep the camera body round your neck, then you can't possibly drop it. I hold the camera body in my left hand with my thumb on the accessory shoe and my fingers under the base of the camera, which gives a very secure grip, and I change the lens over the camera bag, so that if I were unfortunate enough to lose my grip on the lens, no damage would be done. Take the obvious precautions mentioned by Simon. Enjoy!
  4. I didn't know that I had to point the camera down when changing the lens. Why is that? I've changed the lens 3 times so far but never pointing the camera down (twice I was indoor, once was outdoor).
  5. gravitation :)
  6. Dust falls down, not up.

    I try to sit first, then work inside the bag using the lid as a wind shield.

    Take off the lens, then lower the camera to seal the lens mount while you are picking up the next lens.

    If conditions are really bad, work inside a clear plastic bag.

    All this necessary? No but I don`t want the sensor dirty which is why I went with a nice 18/70 zoom that will do most of my work. I suppose I could clean it.
  7. There is a specific sequence I go through that I learned from Galen Rowell:
    With your left hand, grab the left side of the camera (the side without the grip & shutter button) between the bottom three fingers on your left hand and your palm.
    Grab the new lens with your right hand, bring the bottom of the new lens over to your left hand and grab the cap with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand (without letting go of the camera).
    Twist your right hand and remove the lens cap from the new lens; set the new lens back in the bag (you now should have both the camera and the lens cap in your left hand, nothing in your right).
    Press the lens release button with one of your bottom fingers on your left hand.
    Remove the old lens with your right hand; bring it over to the cap in your left hand, give an opposite twist with your right hand to apply the cap to the old lens.
    Put the old lens in the bag with your right hand, then grab the new lens and mount it.

    A few benefits of this process: You never transfer a lens or cap from hand-to-hand, which is when we tend to drop things. Once you get used to the process and it becomes second nature, the time the camera is open to the elements becomes quite short; only a few seconds.

    BTW, one move that is probably much worse than switching lenses is the habit of standing around when you're bored twisting the zoom ring on your kit lens back and forth. It becomes an efficient little air pump as the lens goes out and back, out and back...
  8. I often shoot with the camera on a tripod, so it goes something like this.

    Partially loosen the lens currently on the camera by releasing it and giving it perhaps 1/3
    of a twist. Remove back cap from the other lens and hold it next to the lens currently on
    the camera. Twist the currnent lens the rest of the way to release it and as it comes off
    move it to the side and move the next lens over the opening and attach it.

    The body is only open for a second or two and even then it is generally obstructed by one
    lens or the other.

    While this is the ideal, I dont' always do it this way. Basically, to the extent reasonable and
    possible, I try to work quickly and to avoid unnecessary exposure of the chamber. If it is
    windy or dusty I'll be a bit more careful.

    Having said that, don't be so paranoid about changing lenses that you you either use the
    wrong lens rather than changing or that you avoid changing in somewhat less controlled
    circumstances. Avoid becoming overly obsessive about dust - all you have to do is clean
    the sensor occasionally and/or touch up the images in PS. Dust is part of the process with
    a DSLR, so better to just learn how to deal with it.
  9. Practice tip?

    It depends on what bag you have.

    If its a shoulder bag (as usual), always store the lens pointing down, so that the rear cap is facing you.

    Always put the neck strap on when changing lens.

    When changing lens:

    Put the front lens cap on your lens fisrt.

    Then open your bag and loosen the rear cap (but dont remove it yet) on the lens you want to mount, before removing the lens in the camera.

    After the lens was removed from the body, put it inside the bag facing down, then transfer the loosened rear cap to the cap less lens.

    Pick the lens with no lens cap from the bag than mount it on the body.

    Practice this at home,

    Once you get the hang of it, then go outdoors and do it as CALM as possible, Act like Pro If possible (if anyone is watching). HEHEHEh :)
  10. Lot of good tips, my routine is more-or-less per mars c. Neck strap is really a necessity, otherwise you run out of hands. And turning away from the wind is good insurance.

    Regardless of your best efforts, you will get dust on your sensor. It likely had some when assembled. Periodically you will notice a persistant grey blob or two in your skies. A bulb blower may get them, and if not, there are methods that will: statically charged brushes (which I've not tried) or Eclipse moistened paddles. For the wet method I have a Copperhill kit which I use maybe every 6 months. I shoot a low volume of just personal pictures.
  11. Dust happens. It's a good idea to take reasonable steps to reduce how much of it you get in your camera, but there's no point obsessing over it; it will drive you crazy. There are lots of suggestions above, and I'd say use whatever is comfortable for you. Certainly, try to avoid changing lenses in hostile environments if at all possible, and try to shield your camera (using your body, your camera bag, whatever's available) from things like dust and spray while changing lenses. And of course use the neck strap to keep the camera from falling, and try your darndest not to drop your lenses or stick your fingers on any of the glass bits (been there, done that).
    And accept that, once in a while, you will need to clean the sensor. Remember that smaller bits of dust generally only show up when you stop down a fair bit, so you may not even notice dust in some of your photos.
  12. Changing lenses with DSLR sensors gets blown out of proportion. Use a couple of the "common sense" ideas from above and you won't have much trouble. I have 7 prime lenses and a 10D. I got dust on the sensor in the first month, cleaned it like the manual said, and now 1.5 years later I have not yet cleaned it again despite hundreds of lens changes indoors and outdoors.

    For 25 years I have been changing lenses on cameras and I have always turned the power off. Just common sense that when the camera is inactive to save battery power, and with the electical contacts of lenses (and flashes too) why risk any electrical contact complications.
  13. camera off. Release lens slightly, just so that it doesnt reconnect, very little turn so i dont risk doing something stupid and having the lens fall off. Then i either place the camera down, or let it hang in the strap/sit on a t-pod and take the new lens out, cap off place it somewhere, take off old lens with left, and place new lens on with right. Sometimes i will take the old lens off with the cap in my hand though, esp. the kit lens, which is small and light.
  14. Hi Carmen,

    I follow the same sequence as mars c. I think it's the best way to control your lenses. Always focus on the lens change. Don't be distracted by the photo opportunity you're trying to catch - that's when mistakes happen and lenses fall.

    By the way, an early reply to your question made reference to "charged sensors" attracting dust. According to one of his April Tech Tips, Chuck Westfall of Canon says this belief about sensors is a myth:

    Q/ This comes up every time digital camera sensor cleaning is discussed: An assertion that the digital sensor carries (at least as long as the camera is switched on) an electrostatic charge that attracts dust. However, I've never seen that stated other than as word of mouth. I have seen some comments that the Digital Rebel XTi has a low-pass filter that has been somehow "treated" to be anti-static. What are the facts about electrostatic charges on sensors and the effect of attracting dust?

    A/ I cannot speak for other manufacturers' products, but EOS Digital SLRs with Canon CMOS image sensors do not carry electrostatic charges at any time. Also, when DSLR image sensors are discussed, it's important to remember that the surface of the sensor itself is never exposed to dust. Instead, a low-pass filter is permanently mounted in front of the sensor at a distance of a millimeter or so. The gap between the low-pass filter and the image sensor is hermetically sealed during the manufacturing and assembly process. Once that happens, additional dust particles are prevented from reaching the surface of the sensor. Loose dust particles will eventually end up on the front surface of the low-pass filter during normal use of the camera, such as changing lenses. For this reason, the low-pass filters used in EOS DSLRs are treated with an anti-static coating during the manufacturing process. This coating passively repels dust particles, but at no time is the filter electrically charged in the camera.

    Of course, there are many different kinds of dust particles. Most are relatively dry, and small enough that they can be easily dislodged from the surface of a low-pass filter with ultrasonic vibration or a soft puff of air. But others are wet or sticky, and once this type of particle adheres to a low-pass filter, it usually cannot be removed by vibration or air movement. This is the reason why Canon developed the EOS Integrated Cleaning System, which applies Dust Delete Data recorded by the camera to remove residual dust spots in images during post-processing with Digital Photo Professional software in the photographer's computer. It's also possible to clean the low-pass filter manually in order to remove sticky dust particles. Let me know if this answers your questions.
  15. Thanks for the link Jim!
  16. Here's what I do. If I want to change lenses, I pop off the one on the camera and put the new one on. When my sensor becomes dirty enough to be objectionable, I clean it. Obsessing over either is a waste of time.

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