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Photography Question 
Darren J. Gilcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2005

Care About Your Equipment?

I was at a Renaissance Fair yesterday and couldn't believe the people with expensive camera equipment hung over their shoulders and no lens caps on while walking through the crowd. Is this what everyone does? My lens cap goes back on the second I'm done. Maybe it's just me.

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8/13/2006 11:13:34 AM

Everett Forester
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/7/2006
Keep doing that. No matter what kind of camera you have, it's only as good as the lens. Dust and scraches will not help a photo !

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8/13/2006 12:24:53 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  My equipment stays packed away until I'm ready to shoot. On rare occasions, I'll sling a camera body with one of my favorite lenses over my shoulder on a strap if conditions warrant rapid deployment. Even then, the cap stays on and I instinctively cup my hand over the front of the lens when walking through thickets or heavy brush. It pays to be careful... Good glass doesn't come cheap.

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8/13/2006 1:31:16 PM

Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  In this day and age, I find more and more people who don't know the value of something. It's a disposable world full of expensive electronics that are here today, history tomorrow. Most people who know anything about photography know that it's the lens that makes the picture, not the camera.
My lens cap is always on, unless I'm shooting. Makes for some embarrasing moments when I go to shoot something only to look through a black viewfinder because I forgot to first take the cap off. But I would much rather be embarrassed then to have something smash against the front of my lens. And like Bob C. stated, good glass isn't cheap.
My zoom is a $1500 piece of glass and I'll admit, that while I'm shooting with it, the lens cap is replaced by the lens hood, which offers good enough protection from most anything. And again, like Bob C., I'll always cover the front of the lens if going through areas of dense brush or what-have-you.
It amazes me too, the number of people who own expensive camera bodies, and then put a cheap third party lens on it. I ran into a guy last year with the Canon 1d mark IIN? The high speed model that shoots 8 fps, coupled with some cheap little zoom, ?-300mm that was smaller than my 17-85mm. I would much rather spend the money on quality lens than a fast camera or one with more bells and whistles.

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8/13/2006 3:46:34 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  lens hood no lens cap.i do that.

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8/13/2006 9:38:08 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  This day and age has nothing to do with it. You're looking at tourist/snap shooters.
And it's relative to who and the situation. A working journalist will very likely keep a couple a cameras straped with caps off of both lenses. So it's not neccessarily something that has to do with somebody who's serious or not.

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8/13/2006 11:54:14 PM

Rebecca A. Steed
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/6/2005
  I was at a renaissance fair on the 12th too Darren. I was at Angelbachtal in Germany. If you were at that one, it's a small world.

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8/14/2006 12:56:50 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  My Sigma lenses came with rigid lens hoods. They do a good job of protecting the front element from bumps and I use them all the time, even when shooting indoors. But since the hoods are rather deep, it's very difficult to get the lens cap on or off with my short stubby fingers when the hood is in place. So when I take my camera out of the bag (or switch lenses), the cap goes in the bag, and the hood goes in place and stays that way until I put the camera or lens away. And I don't use any cheap glass filters to protect my lenses.
Chris A. Vedros

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8/14/2006 7:11:38 AM

Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/17/2005
  Sadly, I've been guilty of this... I've been getting better about it though. Lately I've been trying to always keep a lens hood on it.

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8/14/2006 8:10:29 AM

Darren J. Gilcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2005
  I guess I could see the lens hoods adding some protection. And no Becky, it was in Sterling, New York. But I sure would have liked to be at the one in Germany.

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8/14/2006 8:20:38 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  I believe as long as the conditions are OK, you can leave the cap off and not worry.. I have been doing this for a few years with no problems, I find when I take off the cap and put it in my pocket, I get more dust on the lens after putting the cap back on than walking around with it off. but, in rain or on the beach, it makes more sense to leve it on and miss them "pop up" shots! this is why you need a clear UV filter and a good blower such as the rocket blower.. just a little bit of maintenence and your lens will last a life time! Hell, also DONT turn my camera upside down to change lenses and I hardly have a dirty sensor, I just blow it off before and after a shoot with the rocket. it makes even less sense to me to fumble around, trying to quickly change a lens while holding my cam upside down for fear of something that is hardly ever happening. Also, after changing a lens, blow off the rear element before putting it away to insure its clean before putting it back on later.. THATS how your sesnor gets its dirtiest! As for walking with the cap off, I always do..

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8/14/2006 12:55:54 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Craig brought up a few good points:

Sticking a lens cap in your pocket does allow for the possibility of dust particles accumulating on the inside...which will later be in contact with your front element.
A blower is a good thing to have on hand but may not always be practical.
It pays to inspect the inside of the cap before re-installing it.

Also...when changing lenses, contaminants can enter critical areas.
I once had a small bug venture inside my camera body while my lens was off.
I don't know why he decided to go in there. (Maybe he saw his reflection in my reflex mirror and fell passionately in love...Who knows?)

All I know is that it was a pain trying to focus with him running around on my focusing screen. Exentually, I managed to coax him out.

Now, I change lenses more quickly and invert the camera body during the change.


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8/14/2006 5:00:34 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  As a working photojournalist, I've been known to inadvertently abuse a body (including my own) and a lens or two. But they're tools and get worn. Althnough I don't deliberately mistreat equipment, I don't baby it either.

IMHO, part of the problem these days isn't so much the disposability factor but rather that equipment made these days can't "take it" like the older gear, say like my Leica M-3's or Nikon F-2's with MD2 drives that you can use to pound fence posts with. Well, not really but they're still pretty solid bodies made mostly out of metal not plastic.

I'm with Greg in that I almost never have a cap on a lens/body I'm wearing on a strap. It's that second or two it takes get the cap off and into my pocket that might cost me a missed shot and I can't afford for that to happen. And as for lens cap leashes, YIKES !!! Something else swinging in the breeze to get in the way.

Careful maintenance before and after the shoot, in my view, is really important to making gear last, whether it's new or older.
Take it light.

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8/14/2006 8:32:07 PM

Paul Michko
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/23/2004
  When I'm in a situation where I want the camera at a moments notice. I leave the cap off put on the lens hood and screw on a UV filter or Skylight filter of good quality, Though I know it adds another layer of glass it also adds protection.

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8/15/2006 4:48:14 AM

Bruce D. Hughes   I normally have my 65mm-200mm zoom on my camera with a hood, and I found a plastic cap like the type that goes on a can of peanuts that fits snuggly on the hood, taped a piece of string to it, tied the other end to the strap, and can remove, or replace it in a flash.

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8/15/2006 5:05:39 AM

She-She Killough   I tend to keep my cap off if I think there is ANY chance a shot might pop up and keep the cap in my pocket and always check it and clean it before putting it back on but in reference to having a UV filter I always have a quality lens filter on my lens at all times. It has saved my lens twice now. Usually I have one hand on my camera body as I walk and if something happens like you trip (happened walking through the rubble at Saddam's palace in Bahgdad) I went down and automatically my camera went UP and was safe because my hand was on it. But there are those times when my hand was not on my camera (just recently in Lebanon) and I went down and so did my camera the UV lens SAVED my lens. It busted completely but when I got back to the states and my lens was checked and cleaned it was perfectly fine because the lens cap took the brunt of the fall. (ok I don't fall that often REALLY but if you DO a UV filter is indispensable IMHO) The camera shop I use deals with hundreds of photogs a week and they also highly reccomend a high quality UV filter as they have seen it save MANY a lens.

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8/15/2006 6:20:53 AM

Stefan Bauer   Get yourself a clear (good quality) filter. Well worth the investment, even if you have the good habit of using the cap. At some point, you will be glad that you have to replace $40-$50 for a new filter rather than lense or worse yet your camera if you dont have a SLR.

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8/15/2006 6:25:20 AM

Stephen Zacker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/6/2003
  I'm with Paul. I call them never-ready caps. Just my opinion.

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8/15/2006 4:14:55 PM

Sheila L. Willis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/9/2006
  I carry my camera a lot and never with a lense cap on. I tried that for a while, but after losing some great shots because the cap had to be taken off...I stopped. The only time the cap goes on is in storage. HOWEVER, I did purchase a good quality MC filter. I use it to protect my lense at all times. It never comes of my camera, but I can still get that shot. I found it to be a great solution. If that breaks it's a lot cheaper to replace.

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8/15/2006 8:14:38 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  hey darrin,you see all the posts?
hard to believe different people(photographers?)take a different approach, or treat their equiptment different?
I love opinions,best to help me judge my own?
bad time of day/harsh light I will have a cpl on mine.
I have an opinion that,if your careful,ummm,you should not need protection..i.
maybe a few agreed with you?
or didn't,sam

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8/15/2006 8:39:05 PM

Darren J. Gilcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2005
  Your right Sam. I guess as long as what someone does works for them. Some people did have lens boots on. I just know that the first time I picked up one of the kids or something it would swing off my shoulder and into a bench , glass first. But then again I'm always a pessimist

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8/15/2006 9:56:39 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  i was just amazed no one got ticked off,said they were right and so on..
many people responded I had never heard of,with an opinion?nice.
well kids are different.full protection,no mistakes or it will cost you.
do you trust your camera strap?another little glitch in the;it will be ok book.
and a sacrifice post,with their own equiptment,yes..
my camera has eye start,i have to remember to turn it off in a crowd.but I want it on?ah well..
I agree with many,i just can't remember which ones?
you make the call,sam

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8/16/2006 7:23:11 PM

Nacoma D. Hayden
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2004
  Does a carpenter worry about how he treats his hammer? Of course not!!! its a tool. If its an expensive hammer he might take extra care of it, like not try to lose it or something. But give me a break!!! You choose your demons. Photography is not a cheap hobby or profession. Therfore you knew that the upkeep of your toys were pricey. Stop treating those cameras like babies and use them like the tools that they are. If the great sculptors of the past would have pampered their chisles the world would have not the wonderful marvles today. Keep shooting!!!

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12/4/2006 1:01:43 PM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  You contradict yourself Nacoma.

"Photography is not a cheap hobby or profession."

"Stop treating those cameras like babies..."

#1. It's NOT cheap, you're correct. Not everyone has tons of money to blow though either. I scrape pennies when it comes to equipment, and buy everything used. I personally need to take care of my stuff because I can't afford to just buy another if something happens. Nothing wrong with pampering your equipment. Do you drive your car wrecklessly? Probably not because it's expensive and you probably can't afford to just buy another if you wreck it.

#2. It all depends on your equipment. Pro stuff is made for rough usage..."pro usage". Consumer stuff isn't made for roughness. For example, a Canon 1Ds II is made to be thrown around (to an extent). A Rebel Xt isn't. It's a plastic body. One of my cameras is all metal, I could probably drop it waist high and wouldn't do to much to it. If I dropped my wife's A530, it's probably be done for. I need to take care of the cheaper one more...and baby it.

Some people who are tight on money will probably baby their stuff more. People who have great incomes and wouldn't be burdened by buying a new camera probably won't baby their stuff as much.

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12/4/2006 2:49:52 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Pampered babies usually come out OK.
The abused ones....well you've heard the stories.

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12/4/2006 4:41:38 PM

Everett Forester
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/7/2006
my camera is my baby, along with all my other equipmint, I even pamper my batteries, hope my wife doesn't read this, oh well she already knows i,m sure. I take my camera almost everywhere I go, oh yea her to.


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12/4/2006 5:18:08 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  hey gordon,
yet you respond?
even a carpenter takes his hammer home at the end of the day.with no malice or judgement.
I make my judgements on an attempt of harm.i will allow a bit of banter or opinion,humor,yet I will make a call.
never allow yourself to drop a level,unless you know the rules of the game.the court systems are a trap.only work with those you trust.
thanks bob,not a prayer,a life,sam

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12/4/2006 9:15:11 PM

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