Lens on or off the camera body?


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Nov 14, 2011
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What is best...storing/transporting the camera with or without the lens attached. I was told (from a dust standpoint) to keep a lens on the body.

Thank you,
It depends on the weight of the lens, but you can always put the body cap back on the camera in lieu of a lens.

A small light lens like a 18-55 mm kit lens or a 50 mm prime is fine.

I would not leave a heavy lens like a 24-70 f/2.8, or a 70-200 mm f/2.8 on a body.

By the same token there are right ways to change a lens, and wrong ways to change a lens to help keep dust/debris out of the camera's mirror box area.

In this shot there are 3 camera bodies in the case, none of which have a lens mounted, but all 3 bodies have the body cap on.

caps and cases is what you need. If you know the type of shoot you are doing then chooses your equipment before you go and add an extra or two for an off the cuff shot.
Provided a camera and lens are stored in such a way that there is no pressure put on the lens mount itself, it shouldn't matter if a lens+body are transported no matter the lenses focal length. I know many photographers who happily have massive lenses with camera bodies readily attached as they travel (400mm f2.8 - 500mm f4 - 300mm f2.8) and they have no problems at all. The key is that they make sure they pack and travel so that the lens mount is not pressured; they also take care to lift by the lens not the body.
My D700 and heavy lens's have been transported thousands of miles on my motorcycles attached without issue.
I don't keep a lens on the camera, because I don't know what lens I will want to use the next time I pull my camera out of the bag.

Odds are good that if I kept a lens on the camera in the bag, I would have to change it right away anyway. It's easier/faster to take a body cap off then put a lens on than it is to take a lens off, cap it, then put another lens on.

Plus, if you do keep a lens on the camera, you have to put the same lens on every time you put the camera away, or else you would constantly be re-arranging your bag.

The only time I can personally see to leave the lens on is if you only have one lens.
Thank you for the responses.....camera shop clerk caught me with the camera body with plastic cap on. Proceeded to tell me the plastic cap would not keep dust out of the camera body.

KmH, please explain the right way to change lens to avoid dust in the camera body.

Thank you,
.....camera shop clerk caught me with the camera body with plastic cap on. Proceeded to tell me the plastic cap would not keep dust out of the camera body.
LOL. That is exactly what they are made to do. The body cap will keep dust out just as well as a lens.
Lens or no lens is not an issue with the camera, keeping a lens on keeps the camera ready and is a better seal than the caps only. There are no seals on the cap or body.

A bigger concern is how you carry the camera. If the lens weighs less than the camera it should be carried with the strap attached to the camera, if the lens weighs more than the camera it should be carried with the straps on the lens. Cameras are designed to hold the weight of the camera body without any stress to the mount, keep this in mind when carrying it around. The same holds true for tripod mounting, lighter lens mount the body, heavier lens mount the lens to the tripod.
How to change a camera lens.

1. Prepare the lens on the camera for removal by reversing or removing the lens hood and put the lens cap back on.
2. Set the next lens to be mounted on the camera near you with it standing so the rear end cap is on top. (assumes the next lens has already been prepared for mounting by verifying the front and rear lens elements are clean, yada, yada, yada.)
3. Loosen the end cap on the standing next lens.
4. Hold the camera so the lens mount is pointed at a downward angle. The camera body will need to be kept with the lens mount in the down facing position during the lens change.
5. Release and remove the lens on the camera and immediately set it near you standing with the rear of the lens up.
6. Lift the lose end cap off the next lens and place it lose on the lens just removed.
7. Immediately mount the next lens onto the downward angled camera body.
8. Tighten the end cap on the lens just removed from the camera.

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