How to efficiently swap lenses on location to keep your sensor clean
Even if we’re out shooting with multiple bodies, most of us will find ourselves having to change out a lens on location at some point. Changing lenses seems like such a simple thing, but are you doing it in the best way possible for your camera’s sensor?
Many people will just pull the lens off, put it in the bag, and then grab the lens they want to use and put it on the camera. But out on location, especially in bad weather, this can cause a lot of dust and crap to get on your sensor. In this video, Michael Brietung shows his efficient method for swapping lenses on location to minimise this risk.
It’s all about being prepared and quick. You want your sensor exposed to the elements for as little time as possible. Michael first places the strap on his camera and puts it around his neck so that he can work hands-free without worrying about the camera falling. Then he loosens the cap on the lens he wants to use and places it mount-down in his bag.
Next, he pushes the lens release button on the camera and starts to twist. And this is why he has the strap on the camera. With his other hand, he grabs the lens out of the bag, keeping the mount pointed down (gravity is your friend), and once it gets close to the body, quickly swaps them out keeping the mount of the lens he just removed pointing down.
Finally, on goes the cap to the recently removed lens, and off he goes, carrying on shooting.
It’s a simple thing, but it can mean the difference between having a lot of ruined shots due to crap on the sensor (or a lot of time wasted in post trying to clean it all up) and having a sensor that doesn’t require cleaning as regularly.
A lot of people don’t like straps, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t usually have a strap on my cameras. But I do have the Peak Design anchors that Michael mentions in his video. I do have a favourite strap (it’s the one Nikon used to ship out with the D2h) and having anchors on all my cameras means I can use the same strap with all of them. And I can also quickly and easily take the strap off if I want to put the camera on a tripod, slider or gimbal. They’re very handy.
Still, I’d advise keeping a rocket blower in your bag anyway. Just in case.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.