"Turn off camera when changing lenses"

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ben_hutcherson, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. I was reading the F100 user manual, and I came across the above adamant statement several times in it.

    That caught my attention. I'm still new to the F100 with only three rolls through mine, but I'm far from new to SLRs. I admit that I've used a lot more mechanical SLRs where there either is no on-off switch or at best maybe a collar to lock the shutter button. I am careful about turning off "always on" meters like on the Canon F-1 and the F Photomic heads, but that's to save the batteries and not out of any other concern.

    Even so, I've never paid any mind to whether or not the body was on when changing lenses. That's extended on into DSLRs and other fully electronic cameras. I do turn off DSLRs to save battery power, but I rarely even turn off newer film SLRs unless I know they're going into a bag or other situation where the shutter button might get pressed.

    So, needless to say this is a warning I haven't heeded, and I think that I'm not the only one who changes without turning off the camera. I know that folks don't necessarily change lenses that often now given the popularity and quality of zooms with both large apertures and long zoom ranges. That's not me, though-I don't have a whole lot of zooms, and still have a preference for primes. I'm the guy who turns up my nose when I see someone like a wedding photographer fumble a lens change because I make it a point to be able to change 35mm lenses with one hand and without looking(and now habitually do the index dance on Nikons and even try to do it on G lenses). So, given that, I guess I don't see myself stopping to turn off the power.

    Does anyone here actually do that, or am I the one who has it wrong?
  2. I've always assumed the warning is there for a reason, so I try to heed it. I've often found myself clicking in the new lens and realising I'd forgotten to turn the camera off though, and they still keep functioning fine. I've only ever reaaly used DSLR's, so I don't know if the possible adverse effects could be greater for a SLR?
    And you're not the only one preferring primes ;)
  3. I always follow this rule.
    Not only for changing lenses but specially when mounting/unmounting flash heads and other hot shoe items. Notice that we`re talking about gear with electronic contacts in line, and I know nothing about electronics.
    Also, I always wear gloves in the darkroom, observe speed limits, ladies first, never use the bathroom at night, etc... that kind of revolving guy, I`m afraid. :D
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
    erik_christensen|3 likes this.
  4. What's a manual?
  5. It's that thing that you have to read on a modern camera to figure out how to turn off all the annoying beeps, lights, and over-rides that get in your way when you're trying to use it :) . It also tells you what all the cryptic error messages mean when you've inadvertently push a button you didn't know was there.

    To be fair, the F100 is free of most of that stuff, but I'm ashamed to say that after dealing with as many different film cameras as I have it did leave me scratching my head as to how to rewind the film at the end of my first roll. I finally realized that one of my issues was that the symbol was mostly gone from the right side button so it didn't jump out at me. I then had to look up the custom function for auto rewind.
  6. What's up with using the bathroom at night? I'm getting scared :eek::D
  7. On the old cameras there are no electrical connection between the lens and the body so changing lens with the camera on isn't a problem. Cameras like the F100 have several electrical contacts between lens and body and thus breaking and making these connections while power on isn't a good thing.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What is a manual? It is that annoying booklet (or on-line PDF document) that you are supposed to read, but (almost) nobody reads. :)

    BTW, I frequently change lenses without even checking whether the camera is switched off or not. I have been using Nikon AF bodies for almost 3 decades and never have had any problem with that issue.
  9. It's not just cameras. Any electronic device is at risk if it's disconnected manually with the power on. Better safe than sorry.

    So, Jose is right about that, but....never using the bathroom at night? It's better than changing bedsheets at night. (It's an old guy thing.)
  10. Here's a bit of interesting(to me) information:

    The F5 manual also specifies turning the camera off when changing lenses.

    The F4, which supports CPU lenses(albeit not to the extent of the F5 and F100) doesn't give this warning.

    Also, I spot checked a few EOS cameras from the 80s to current and from low end to high end, and didn't find anything about turning the camera off. The EF mount is 100% electronic and has been from day one.

    Here's another something I read on the internet, but double checked it to satisfy myself if it's correct or not.

    If one looks at the pinouts in the F mount, the +Vbat is the left most contact when you're facing the mount/mirror box. What this means is that when you rotate the lens CCW to mount it(again, facing it), it does not "power up" until the lens is locked into place. Even though the contacts will brush each other, the data contacts on the lens are "dead" until the lens is all the way on. Similarly, when turning a lens CW to unmount it, the +Vbat contact "breaks" first, so again you don't have live contacts brushing past each other.

    Similarly, the EF mount places the contacts at the bottom of the mirror box and makes the left most one +Vbat. So, again, when turning the lens CW to mount, it gets power as soon as it's locked into place but not before. Rotating CCW to unmount again breaks the + pin first.

    I'm not saying all of this to be argumentative, but more just to play devil's advocate. I found the statement in the Nikon manual interesting, and I'd be willing to bet that a good portion of photographers who migrated to F5s/F100s from mechanical mounts never gave a thought to turning off their camera when changing lenses. One would think there would be rampant lens or body failure if that were the case.

    BTW, I don't own a Hasselblad but have played with them a few times(I went the Bronica route for a 6x6 SLR). Mounting and unmounting a Hasselblad lens always makes me nervous, but I've never felt that on a 35mm camera.
  11. Well, I'm still a believer in Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong... :(
  12. LOL, I was almost a kid just arrived to switzerland that took a shower a bit before midnight... on the following day, I found a polite note on my door from the building`s keeper, asking me to avoid using the bathroom late at night, in order to not disturb our neighbors resting hours. I was surprised, I use to be noiseless.
    It was when I started to learn why swiss citizens were considered amongst the most respectful people in the world...
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
    erik_christensen|3 likes this.
  13. I don't remember reading it in the manual, but it just seems like common sense to me to power off the camera before removing the lens.

    All my DSLRs have the power switch around the shutter button, and I've got into the habit of flicking the camera off after I've finished shooting. Flick off-swap lens-flick on. It just seems part of the workflow.

    Having said that, I have forgotten that routine when the camera is tripod mounted, since my finger's not on the shutter button all the time.

    I'll admit to forgetting when fitting or removing a speedlight from the hotshoe too. Not that I use hotshoe-mounted flash a lot; it's a terrible place to have your light originating from.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
  14. Wasn't there an issue with 'Parking' the VR lens elements before removing the lens and that required power?.. or atleast the usual power-down sequence before removal.

    If not parked properly, they could rattle if the lens is shaken gently.
  15. I usually remember shutting down the camera, but the few times I did not - changing from/to a lens with VR with the camera still powered on, for me has lead to some strange behaviours. VR not engaging, or the whole lens not being detected well. It almost seems like VR is "initiated" when the camera powers on. With other lenses, I have not seen issues, so my suspicion is that it is particularly needed for VR lenses. But could also be that I just got lucky the other times, or unlucky those other few times. Switching on and off is quick enough to not take the risk, so I do the better safe than sorry thing.
    DavidTriplett and mike_halliwell like this.
  16. +1 Wouter!

    Some of my non-Nikon VR lenses, such as my Sigma 150mm OS macro won't AF or if it does, OS won't work until I dismount it. Turn off the cam, remount it and power up, then it's all OK. Very much a sequence thing.

    My 105mm VR macro is very sensitive to an 'incorrect mounting/dismounting procedure' resulting in odd operation and rattles.

    However, I think sometimes it's not as predictable as all that....:)
  17. wtm


    Uhhh...this policy would require a catheter - or rubber sheets - for this old man...
  18. I change lenses so frequently I think I'd be doing more harm than good by turning the switch on and off. I do turn it off while changing memory cards or a flash.
  19. Nikon, like most large corporations, has lawyers. I'm sure that one of them required this and many other warnings in the user manuals of every camera body on the off chance that someday somewhere a Nikon owner might short-circuit their camera in this manner. Same for removing/inserting a memory card with the camera on. Odds are that it will not happen (I know this because I have done it dozens if not hundreds of times over the years), but in case it does they can hopefully prevent a class action lawsuit by pointing out the warning in the manual that few of us read.
  20. I don't turn it off to change lenses. But, most of the time, I change lenses while the camera is already off.

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