Best Practices for Lens Changes

proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
With so much talk of dust on the D600 sensor, the issue of it being related to lens changes has been skirted a few times. Given that so many of us are afflicted with NAS, it's inevitable that we all have more lenses than bodies and are therefore prone to changing lenses relatively frequently. So what do you all do to try and minimize the impact of dust? Do you do things in a certain order? Do you only change lenses in certain places? Thought it might be worthwhile to share.


  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Remove back cap from new lens. Remove old lens or body cap from body. Install new lens. Put back cap on old lens. Basically minimize the time the body is open. Also keep the body angled somewhat downward.

    I've changed lenses on a windy beach, in a snowstorm and in my living room. For the first two, I use my open jacket as a portable shelter.
  • mk2popmk2pop Posts: 80Member
    like i said in another post i think too many people get hung up on the fear of contamination when changing lenses, ive never worried too much about this and ive shot all my bodies on the beach, at sea in heavy rain/snow etc and ive only had to clean my sensor on my d90 once in 3 years (about 35k) and my d40 twice in 5 years (about 50k), i dropped my d90 and sig 100-300 in the snow yesterday for about half an hour, no problems here.
    @Ironheart - i do use this method though
    D300 | D90 | D40 | F65 x2 | F75 | 10-24mm | 18-200mm | 35mm f1.8 | 50mm 1.4d | 40mm Micro | 70-300mm Tamron | 100-300mm f4 Sigma |1.4x Sigma tc | Sb400 | Sb900 x2

    Awaiting a DX D400
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Where possible I like to give the rear of the lens a blast with my Giotto blower before attaching it. Probably just paranoid but it might help!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Something to consider:

    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • DXV_PhotoDXV_Photo Posts: 160Member
    edited January 2013
    I do somewhat similar to Ironheart. I loosen the lens cap on the new lens but don't take it off. I take off the old lens and move the lens cap from the new lens on to the old lens. I attach the new lens while keeping the body pointing down then finish screwing on the lens cap on the old lens. I also keep a Giotto blower in the bag for just in case.
    Post edited by DXV_Photo on
  • DXV_PhotoDXV_Photo Posts: 160Member
    Something to consider:
    I don't know. I see myself dropping a lens trying to do that. I don't think the couple of secs it might save you is worth the risk. I think if conditions are that bad where you need to do lens changes that quickly then like Ironheart said use you coat or something as a wind screen.

  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member

    Wow! I thought it was really clever! Whether or not i can remember how to do it in the field is another matter but he is certainly better at changing lenses than i am!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @David, I totally understand the concern; hence, as I said a method to "consider."

    Like you and Ironheart, I too use my jacket/coat as a way of preventing unwanted objects from getting in to the body. In fact, Ironheart did exactly that as we shot on the beach on my visit up in SF when sand was blowing all over the place.

    The best solution I have found in hedging against debris from getting on the sensor is find out what type of photography I'm going to do, then I pick a single lens that will allow me to do so. For me, this happens to be the 24-70 2.8.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,494Member
    That's an interesting technique, thanks for sharing that Golf. Since I have two bodies I tend to just switch bodies as needed, to minimize lens changes.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @Golf007sd, Yes, the coat-lens maneuver is easier with a buddy/assistant for sure! I remember it was like a sandstorm that day! Even with all of that, I still found a few grains in the flange I needed to sweep out later. Or perhaps that was when the wave washed over the camera...
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Golf, the technique looks interesting but not for me, particularly when one of the lenses in question is a beast like the 70-200. I once read that if you're going to pick a room in which to change lenses, choose one with fewer fabrics, like a kitchen or bathroom, as fabrics and carpets tend to attract and create more dust. If I'm feeling particularly OCD, I'll use my walk-in shower (with the water off of course).
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    Copied from my post on the D600 discussion, my change routine goes like this:

    Get the next lens out, loosen its rear cap and stand the lens upright resting in its cap, loosen the lens on the camera, pick up the replacement in one hand leaving the lens cap on the surface then finish undoing the camera lens, remove it and immediately cover the hole by inserting the next lens into it. Place the lens I removed on/in the rear cap and leave that while I ensure the lens on the camera is inserted correctly then turn and lock it. Pick up the lens I took off with the rear cap, lock on the rear cap and replace in my bag. I wonder if it is my routine of not having my body open for more than 1 second that helps my sensor stay clean? 1 spot after 1 year.

    I have 6 lenses BTW.
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    @ Golf007sd
    Great for young folks...but very important...if one stores the lens hood on the lens, this must be removed first, otherwise disaster happens. And, for those of us who may have some arthritis, small hands, or other physical issue which prevents a firm grip on a lens as shown in the video, we do it in a more conservative manner.

    But, it is something to consider...thanks Golf.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    The youngster in that video obviously doesn't have dry skin like some of us older people - I wouldn't trust my teflon coated fingers with tricks like that. I still have a fair grip, but wit slippery skin, I have to have a secure grip on rubber.
    Always learning.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    #1 Assess the situation
    #2 If windy rainy or just plain unpleasant, relocate to a decent environment)
    #3 Remove your left hand from under your lens barrel (given you are holding the lens properly
    #4 Put a lens cap on the front of your lens
    #5 Turn camera off
    #6 Put right hand firmly around the lens with the camera pointed downwards
    #7 Grip body with your Left hand
    #8 push Release lock in located to the center left of your lens
    #9 turn lens counter clockwise until white dots align
    #10 pull lens away from the body and set into holster/bag or on table face down
    #11 remove rear cap from other lens
    #12 mount to camera with 2 dots aligned (warning one can mount lens upside down which is BAD for the lens)
    #13 turn clockwise until you hear a click and lens stops
    #14 put rear lenscap on the lens you removed in steps 6-10
    #15 turn camera on
    #16 take front cover off
    #17 start shooting

    Or just do what I do and change it anywhere anytime anyplace quickly. Pull one off slap the next one on (not recommended)
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • @kyoshinikon Pretty good but you forgot:

    1: Asses the situation - get out of the shower BEFORE changing the lens
    2a: Check with meteorological services - wind direction, rain - if either, stay in bed
    2b: Check with NASA for unusual sunspot activity - if likely, goto 2a
    2c: Make sure children are out of the house/sold (children create dust)

    Apart from that, not too bad...
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    :D and don't forget that nasty moons of Jupiter...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    Gee whiz...
    A list of steps, huh?
    First, the location...closed environment with all air movement stopped if possible. Avoiding fabrics, dusty areas is best. No car heater or AC fans on.
    I turn off the camera as the book says. Remove lens hood, place on table and replace with front cap.
    New lens, remove reversed lens hood, loosen rear cap and set on hard surface or clean area so it does not roll off. Usually on its side.
    Body in left hand, release pressed and lens removed and set down next to new lens with right hand. Move rear cap from new lens to old lens, take new lens and place in body. I try to hold the body so the opening is horizontal or pointing slightly downward.

    I have not had to clean a rear element of any lens except when inadvertently a fingerprint or other smudge happens. Some light blowing of air will remove small dust particles if necessary.

    I suspect the more obsessive compulsive we are, the more particular about our lenses we become. Yet, when shooting, I have beaten cameras on rocks, dropped into wet sand, walked into 160° F environments, hung out over building edges, all with potential damage to cameras including dirt, water, etc. But, when the lens change occurs, I can be very cautious.
    Msmoto, mod
  • JorPetJorPet Posts: 14Member
    I am with those that loosen the rear lens cap of the new lens and set it on a table. Remove the old lens set it down next to the new lens and set the rear lens cap to it and then pick up the new lens cap and put it on the camera. The camera faces down the whole time.

    I don't think I worry about dust and such as much as some here. I change lenses when and where I need to and really haven't had any issues over the years.
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 416Member
    And after the lens swap run the sensor clean function on the camera.

    Denver Shooter
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @darkslide: You nailed it buddy. Would you be so kind and give me NASA's or JPL's number. Thx :)]
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 197
    edited January 2013
    Sure thing mate!

    Try this for the JPL +1 818-354-4321

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I've never had major issues with dust from swapping lenses and I seriously doubt that is the issue with the D600.
    Not that this is a bad thread, but if it was something as simple as this, they would have seen dust on previous bodies. I think there seems to be the "perfect storm" of inconsequential things that have just lined up.

    I'm wondering if part of all the "dust in D600" is more due to people using lenses that "breath" when zooming in and out that blows dust into the box. Especially with the older zooms that people may have sitting around the have been not so much "dusted off" and are getting slapped onto bodies. The D600 has allowed a different user (lower spender) access to FX who generally would use the more consumer zooms and used older lenses that are much more prone to sucking up dust than the pro glass. Slap a 15yr old 28-85 kit lens on a body and you are much more likely to see the dust from that than the lens swaps. Just a thought.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    TTJ, this wasn't meant to be about the D600 specifically, but more of a general question. The talk of dust and the assertion of many at Nikon that this was due in part to user error when changing lenses, just made me think of it.
  • warprintswarprints Posts: 61Member
    WTF? I just swap out the lenses. Juggling two in one hand? I don't think so. Swapping lenses in the kitchen? Just where do I find a kitchen in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp? Been just swapping lenses - slow and steady - for over 40 years.
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