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16/09/2008 – Packing Your Cameras & Lenses Properly : Do Not Attach Your Camera & Lens
For some reason photographers like to pack their lenses attached to their camera bodies. For some even stranger reason photographers seem to pack their longer, heavier, lenses attached to their camera bodies. Why do photographers pack this way? I have no idea.
When you pack your equipment you should think of Sir Isaac Newton and his theory that an object in motion will remain in motion until something stops the motion. Another way to look at this is that that a force of impact on your camera will need to dissipate that force.
So what does this mean for photographers when they pack their 70-200f2.8 attached to their Nikon D700 body? It means that if your bag should sustain an impact the force through your camera, or through your lens, will transfer from one object to the next, often damaging the weakest link. What is usually the weakest link between a camera and a lens? The mount!
If your bag is dropped, knocked, hit, or otherwise ‘whacked’ your camera body can be spun one way while your lens is spun another way. The result of this impact is you torquing the two mounts significantly damaging both your camera and your lens.
If you pack your body and your lens separately the twisting motion of the camera body and the lens are only felt by the body and the lens individually. The impact dissipates into the padding of the bag. Since neither your camera body or your lens is attached to the bag there is no damage to either the camera or the lens.
I have heard many photographers say, “If my camera is attached to my lens then I can act faster to capture the photo.” I have news for you, if you need to put your backpack down, open the flap and remove your camera and lens kit……….you’ve already ‘missed the moment.’
I have spent years covering news and fast paced situations and I can’t think of a single moment where I thought, “if only my camera and lens were attached in my bag I might have captured that image.”
Fleeting moments happen non-stop. You’ll see photos all day long if you’re looking, and if that is your intention you need to travel with your cameras out, on your shoulders, ready to shoot.
When you pack your equipment you need to pack it securely. Pack your gear relatively snug so it does not bounce. You need to maximize your space in small area of a bag, backpack or rolling case.
Not only does traveling with your lens attached to your camera significantly increase the chances of damaging your camera equipment while traveling, but it also decreases your packing flexibility. When you pack your camera body and your lenses detached from each other you increase the space in your bag to pack more effectively. By having each item separate you are no longer packing ‘around a camera-lens combo,’ you are free to stand lenses up, stack lenses, lay lenses down, adjust the location of our camera body within the bag.
All of these elements make for a safer and more practical way to pack your equipment.