Never Mind the Dust – Change the Lens!

March 10, 2010

Photo Tips

It seems that I am always hearing younger photographers discuss the horrors of switching a lens out in the field. There is this underlying concern that a person may actually get a fleck of dust inside the camera, and then actually allow it to land on the sensor. Oh the horror!

My advice to you is relax just a bit and don’t be afraid to switch lenses frequently. After all, the end product that we photographers are seeking is a great digital image capture, right? To capture the image you seek, you need to put the proper lens on your camera without giving it a second thought. If you are too afraid of getting dust on your sensor, you will end up missing many great image captures. You can’t live like “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” (TV movie, 1976)!

I frequently go live in my tent in a national park somewhere. Everything I carry gets covered with dust. Really, this is not a huge issue because “dust-spotting” in Lightroom, and in Photoshop has become a piece of cake. Get the shot first, clean your camera back in your bubble later on.

Hey! I hope you can make it to the Maui Photo Festival. I’ll be there teaching along with Rick and Juan!

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This post was written by:

- who has written 13 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Randy is owner of Hawaii’s oldest fine-art photography gallery. He left the world of corporate & medical photography behind 20 years ago to realize his dream of becoming a professional camera artist. He is an avid outdoorsman who proclaims, “My tent is my castle, and my kayak is my limousine.” You can visit Randy’s website at

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7 Responses to “Never Mind the Dust – Change the Lens!”

  1. Soren Hedberg Says:

    You said it! On a couple of camera club trips I overheard a few people saying they didn’t want to change lenses because of “dust”… I just shook my head. I change between my 24-105mm and 100-400mm lenses out in the field all the time, and I’ve only ever had a speck of dust on my sensor ONCE, and I easily cleaned it with my blower.


  2. Jack Larson Says:

    The more you clean your low pass filter, the easier (and more natural) it becomes.


  3. Dave Ewers Says:

    I frequently photograph off road racing where dust clouds are common place. Changing the lens can be risky. I have done it but now delpend on two setups, but the cameras do come back covered with silt,


  4. Darrin Says:

    This is a great image. I am careful when I change my lenses, but in saying this I have gotten dust on the sensor. An easy fix in photoshop, and an easy fix to clean.


  5. Randy Says:

    Thanks for the emails. I completely abuse my cameras. Actually, i should say, rather, that I make them “work” for me. Another camera will cost some bucks, but one great image can earn several thousand dollars, or more. Don’t miss the shot.


  6. photographytips Says:

    Good advice, I appreciate your view as I am from India and always suffer from dust problem in spite of that have to take risk to capture my best shot. By the way, this picture is amazing I like to congratulate the photographer.


  7. James Says:

    I keep my 35mm (50mm equivalent) on my camera at all times. It makes me a more creative photographer and no dust gets in my camera.


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