Technique for quickly changing lenses

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by aukirk, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
    While reading one of the recent mu-43 threads about the need (or lack thereof) for lens caps, some of the discussion focused on the ability to quickly change lenses.

    That led me to YouTube , where I found this great video from five years ago showing two techniques to quickly change lenses. Although this shows a big DSLR, I figured I would share it, as I have found the technique is particularly effective with the small m43rd lenses.

    Technique to quickly change Digital SLR Camera lenses - YouTube

    I have always struggled to not look like a total clutz while changing lenses, and this really does make it quick and I feel like a coordinated man.

    My few key take-aways from this are:

    (a) don't worry about trying to hold the rear lens cap in my hands while changing lenses... just put it in the pocket until after the switch, as the minute risk of the rear element getting some dust does not justify how I always feel like I am going to drop something while trying to hold that piece of plastic with the two lenses and camera.

    (b) put the camera in your left hand while switching lenses.... don't know why I never thought of that! I always keep it in my right hand, when that is the hand that requires the least coordination... also the lens release on the OM-D is on the left side, which I always strugle with.

    (c) there are two ways to hold the lenses in the right hand (either front to front, or making an "L")... however, making sure you line the new lens up so that the mount mark is lined up with my thump on top of the lens, results in a whole lot less fiddling to get it on... it is now one fluid motion.

    Hope someone else like me finds this old YouTube video helpful...
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    I usually bite the rear cap, without slobbering on it. Also, a la Gary, I find that the armpit is a great place to store a lens for a second when swapping out.
  3. I saw the same technique a few years back in a different video. Back then, I was shooting with Canon L lenses with a Canon 1Dmark II. I have small hands... no way I can safely grasp two lenses in hand securely especially if they are of different diameters. I also am most comfortable with the bag slung across to my left hip. So to work the bag and transfer the lens to my right hand was a royal PITA. I'm sure it works for some... techniques probably vary from person to person.

    What works for me is to keep it simple. Unmount, Drop into bag, get the next, mount... shoot. The only requirement is that there has to be at least one free compartment in the bag to drop the lens into mid-change.

    LISTEN UP to camera designers out there that might be reading this!!!!! (ok wish wish)

    Look REALLY closely at my Leica:


    Notice the lens release button? Its on the correct side of the camera.... its been done since the 50s. Its perfectly within reach of a finger on my right hand already holding the camera.
  4. I've tried holding two lenses in the one hand to change lenses before and I can't say that it always felt the most secure way to do things, particularly when some lenses need a different type of grip to remove or attach because of their size, design or placement of the focus and/or zoom rings.

    Ideally I have the camera on a neckstrap, then "pre-release" the attached lens by pressing the lens release and twisting the lens just enough to prevent the locking pin from re-seating. After that it's a safe and simple two-handed operation to remove the old lens and attach the new and the camera's lens mount is only exposed for a fraction of a second.
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I like his technique, but I dunno about wanting to hold two lenses in one hand. Often I shoot in a crowd or on the move, both of these cases and using his one hand two lens technique may prove fatal to a lens.

    I do appreciate that he lines up and knows where the coupling mark is on the lens prior to decoupling. I sorta do that but sometimes I fumble a bit lining everything up. So now I'll make a conscience effort to match finger and mark.

    Like Cruzan80, I also toss the rear caps in my mouth, makes it easier to find then fishing around my bag for a cap. It is interesting and very good that so many folks are intent on not only improving their images but also their photographic techniques.

  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    LOL, I've been using Nikon, Canon and Oly for so so long, with left side demount button, that when I change lenses with the Fuji, right side demount, I've been totally disoriented. I'm feeling around for the button, twisting the camera around, changing hands ... guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

  7. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Thanks for the tip, Austin. Looks as if it would work well with the smaller MFT lenses - I'll try it this evening (over the bed!).
  8. GreenGhost

    GreenGhost Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 30, 2012
    Peter Liakopoulos
    Thanks Austin. My usual technique involved find a flat surface and loosening the rear cap of the lens I wanted to place on camera, then doing a swap. This method is far superior and with very little practice quite manageable even with relatively small hands.
  9. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
    I no longer run into situation where I need to change that fast, but way back when, I made myself a card board bottom in my shoulder photo bag (back then the photo bags were usually hard cases, I would still prefer those now if I could find the right size). Glued onto that card board bottom were rear caps of the lenses I used. All lenses would be front up, same orientation, and each lens had its own spot (I had on 4 lenses in normal use). Of course the spot from the lens at the camera would be empty. All lenses had metal shades, not reversed but ready for use, and lens caps that would be at the outer rim of the shade.
    It allowed for quick changing; unlock lens on camera, lock lens into bag, pull off lens cap and simply drop in camera bag, unlock lens from bag, lock lens onto camera. I would later put back any lens caps that were floating around the bag. Locking the lenses in the bag took some time to practice, but at some point, you would have the lens already exactly in the right orientation in you hand once you rook it off the camera or from the bag.
    It allowed for fast changing; basically is was just one reach, from camera into bag and back to camera.

    By now I still mostly use primes, but if need be, I do have a zoom to eliminate need for changing lenses. I do not use it much, I also have become a lot better at predicting what lenses I need during a shoot. And then there is the digital zoom of the OM-D as a last resort...
  10. Hagane

    Hagane Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Limburg, Netherlands
    Have tried the method described in the vid last evening. For me (I have rather small hands) it works well. It's however somewhat tricky to get a safe hold on the 20mm 1.7, because of its small size.

    Until now I've used to open my shoulder bag and then rest my camera (Lumix G5) on top of it; then I use both hands to handle the lenses. Because of the fact, that there are a few seconds where I have no hand on the camera, this method always made me a bit uneasy....
  11. BigTam

    BigTam Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 19, 2012
    Dortmund, Germany
    Just had a practice session: works well for me for all combinations, though the 17 1.8 is small and makes a swap to a large lens (75, 40-150) not quite so easy.

    All in all, useful technique.

    It helps that I use the back to back glued lens rear cap system.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    ...which there usually is, since you've know you have a body and two lenses outside of the bag already. ;)

    Of course, it's problematic if you're using a backpack instead of a shoulder bag or something that can be swung to your front side.

    As for me, I use both methods. I always keep my bag open to drop a lens into and sometimes take my time but much of the time I swap my lenses in one hand in one motion. Either way, you still need that open bag to drop the lens into because if you're swapping lenses quickly it's usually because you need to shoot something quickly... so you need that lens out of your way immediately. Although sometimes I don't even have time to put the second lens away so I just shoot with an extra lens clutched between two fingers. Thankfully, using multiple bodies makes this situation a lot rarer. With bigger, heavier, more expensive DSLRs I used to swap lenses in one hand much more often, simply because I was more likely to be out with only one body. With the m4/3 system, extra bodies are so easy to carry.
  13. Mercurio

    Mercurio Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Bogotá, Colombia
    Is it compulsory to turn off the camera to change lenses?
    I always do as I am afraid of doing something wrong with the contacts, but of course that takes precious time...
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    While I rarely do such, I think it is a good idea and IIRC also recommended by the manufacturers.
  15. jambaj0e

    jambaj0e Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 31, 2010
    You'd want to turn off the camera because the sensor, when it's on has static electricity charge and can attract dust.

    Just tried this technique going from an Olympus 4/3 Zuiko 14-54mm mkII to a Panny 20mm pancake. Definitely had to do the end to end on that one, lol. Panny 20mmm to the Oly 75mm was easier and doable in the L position, as well as the 75mm back to the 14-54mm mkII and vice versa.

    This was done on my GH3 with battery grip. Thanks for the find!
  16. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Need to change lenses quickly? Just grab second body :biggrin:
  17. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
    The 20mm and other pancakes would definitely require end to end. The only problem I have run into with this method comes when I have a lens hood attached. You end up holding the lens basically by the hood, which is never a good idea, so I've been just taking them off before swapping lenses (drop them into the bag upside down and put the lens into it when dropping it in the bag)
  18. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I can never find the dumb red dot ... always fumbling for that. Red dot on the mounting face would be so much more obvious - or how about a lens body that is not round but has a flat ... anything so I can use my sense of touch would be way faster. Anytime spent looking is slow.
  19. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I find that the best thing is to have the camera on a strap around my neck so that it needs no hands to hold it. I hold the body cap in one hand and press the lens disengage button with the other. I remove the lens and immediately replace the body cap (dust on the sensor is more of a problem than dust on the lens). The rear lens cap I have kept in my pocket the whole time, so I just put that on the lens, after covering the camera with the body cap. Then, I switch the lenses over in my shoulder mounted bag and carry out the procedure in reverse.

    If I really want to do it in a hurry, I use the second lens instead of the body cap, although that means that back caps of lenses get swapped, although this is not much of a problem, as they all fit each other, and can be put back on their correct lenses later.
  20. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    I use the hot shoe mount of my E-M5 as a grip for my thumb when I hold it in my left hand getting ready to change. I don't use that plastic place holder thing that comes with all the cameras, the indent between the hot shoe is a pretty good grip for me. Fortunately the E-M5 is small enough for my index finger to reach the mount release button.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.