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Tony Muna

Removing the Lens during transpo

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I thought this was a silly conversation but I'm sure its all different strokes for different folks. But during a conversation my buddy mentioned that he doesn't understand why one needs to remove the lens during transpo.

 

I told him, during my years of camera assisting, there's so much that can happen. He laughs and says, the operator would put it through more damage then it sitting in a coffin that's padded.

 

I thought, well this is just silly, just remove the lens. simple and safe. I mean as an AC, it would be negligence if anything is to happen during transpo. He's a Gaffer who occasionally operates.

 

I mentioned to only list a few that could possibly go wrong and he still doesn't agree that its necessary if you're careful.

 

Long story short, how would you respond to someone who is so key that it's the same thing having the camera in a coffin and on an Operator's shoulder (during its rough moves)? Hopefully that makes sense.

 

 

I'm obviously posting to hear the many reasons to better my argument.

 

I'm still going to continue to remove the lens.

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I suspect this may depend on the camera format (eg 2/3" v large sensor), the lens (prime v zoom) and the nature of the transportation. For example it's common practice to keep to keep the zoom lens on ENG cameras during the working day while they are being moved from location to location in the camera car, while large sensor cameras will commonly be broken down for these moves. Again, this may vary on documentaries v dramas because of differing set up time requirements..

 

For air transport/freighting it's good practice to take the lens off on all cameras because the risk of damage inside a system which can result in boxes being dropped, kicked around etc and other actions that can result in large shearing forces on the lens..

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Your buddy's a gaffer, right? Tell him that you occasionally work as a juicer and that you heard it's perfectly fine to drop a hot 18K off the lift gate...

 

If the camera body is sitting on a hi-hat on the camera truck during a company move, then I would remove the lens. If the camera is strapped in to the front seat of the car, sitting in the AC's lap in the pass van, strapped to a Cinesaddle or in a padded camera bag in the back of the car, then I usually wouldn't bother. I'd be more likely to put away a large zoom lens than a prime, going with the idea that more leverage causes more stress on the camera mount. Obviously for shipping, you should never leave the lens attached since airport baggage handlers love to toss cases around like hay bales.

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In my experience this is particularly important with big heavy zooms like the Optimo 24-290. When we're pushing carts a long way, or over bumpy terrain I always remove the lens. I figure it can't hurt, and eliminates the chances of extra damage should a cart tip, which I have seen happen. I also have a theory that it's just more gentle on the mount and everything else.

 

While there may be valid points against it, and certain circumstances that warrant otherwise, in my opinion it doesn't take much effort and makes you look like a pro.

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Simon says, do away with heavy lenses. Two-inch triplets are fine. You can leave your hat lens on.

 

No, seriously, camera body and lenses are to be wrapped separately for transport. Even tripod legs have their own box. Light meters, too

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This is funny timing, but a DP recently shipped me an ACL2 with lens attached, LA > NYC. When it arrived in NYC, needless to say the lens was no longer attached and the front of the camera had also ripped off.....

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This conversation doesn't even make sense to me. NEVER EVER LEAVE A LENS ON A CAMERA EXCEPT WHEN SHOOTING WITH IT. The potential damage to the flange depth or the lens is simply not worth the risk. It's a terrible habit not to remove a lens when the camera isn't working. It's lazy.

 

G

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Hey Greg,

 

Just wanted to say that you've changed my thinking on this subject. I worked about 10 years ago for a 1st AC who would remove the lens after every setup. I thought that was an interesting way of working, have not seen it done since. Makes a lot of sense though for narrative style cinematography. I think with the increase in documentary style shooting we have gotten out of the habit.

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There are potential dangers with taking the lens off for transport too, like geting dust on the sensor, which wasn't so much of a problem with film.

Edited by Mei Lewis

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Lens Port cap works well for this.. :) I think the dangers of leaving a lens on far out way the few seconds the camera port is exposed.. or back element of the lens for that matter.. you wouldn't take the lens off in a dusty place either..

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During transpo, remove the lens.

Company move, remove the lens.

Day's wrap, remove the lens.

 

I work with a gaffer who operates sometimes or somebody who does "everything".

I understand the Cam OP is the higher authority than the first AC, but nonetheless, the first AC is in charge of what's on the camera.

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