19 September 2012

My favorite things: lens cap keepers

Photography can be a pricey hobby. There’s a reason that I’ve had my camera for four years and have yet to purchase a real external flash. Or why the two fancy lenses I own were both major gifts that I didn’t purchase myself. Or why the only photo editing software I have is the outdated (but functional) software given to me for my graduate studies.

I love photography, but not enough to spend actual money on it.

But turns out there is one photography gadget that is inexpensive AND useful. It’s this little guy, and if you have a DSLR, you should go purchase a five-pack of these right now.

It’s called a lens cap keeper. The little round thing sticks on your lens cap, and the elastic band goes around the lens body. In other words, this is what keeps you from losing your lens cap into the large body of water you’re shooting, or dropping it on the busy street to your great embarrassment while people step over you so you can pick it up, or misplacing it while taking photos around your house and looking for it for twenty minutes because I JUST HAD IT WHERE DID I SET IT DOWN OH MY GAH.

Sure, you could MacGyver a reasonable substitute with duct tape and a bit of yarn, but these cost $2.20 for a pack of five. Even I am not that cheap. These look way more professional for the ridiculously low cost:

But why am I pushing the five-pack? Well for starters, you might acquire more than one lens. I had a lens cap keeper on my kits lens for a while, so when I got my nifty fifty lens, half the time I’d pull off the lens cap and immediately drop it on the floor, forgetting it wasn’t connected. Um, doy.

But also? Something that simple and cheap isn’t going to last forever. My last one had a good two-year run before the string finally snapped just before my travels this summer. If I’d had a backup, I wouldn’t have been obsessively checking every twenty seconds that my loose-fitting lens cap was still on as I walked down busy city streets (while taking those photos I showed you yesterday). And it definitely would have saved me a jog down half a block in the reverse flow of pedestrian traffic to retrieve it from the sidewalk. Londoners are polite but yeah, I felt foolish.

So, yes. If you own a DSLR, take this quick and cheap fix. You may even take better photos!

Or at least you’ll feel more professional as you carry your camera around with its original neckstrap and construct a bounce flash from an index card. I’m with you, fellow cheap photographer! Shoot proudly.