Do you stuff your camera in your backpack with or without the lens attached?


Do You Place Your Camera in Your Backpack With or Without a Lens Attached?

Chances are you have one or more camera bags for transporting your camera gear. A shoulder bag, a backpack, maybe a trolley. Do you pack your camera in your bag with or without the lens attached? Or does it depend on how you use your camera bag?

There are many ways to pack your camera bag. Everyone has a preferred way of storing gear in the main compartment. It also depends on the type of bag you use. A shoulder bag has a completely different way of placing gear.

Different types of bags are for different types of photography I guess. A backpack is perfect for transporting your gear when hiking. It allows to carry a lot of weight without much difficulty. Unless, of course, you have a poorly designed backpack.

A shoulder bag provides better on-site access. You can grab a lens or camera with relative ease since you don’t have to take a backpack off your back. There are backpacks that allow you to rotate them in front of you. But often this is not so practical, especially when it contains a lot of heavy equipment.

I also use a trolley, which can be most convenient at weddings. It offers the flexibility to carry extra gear without hanging it on your shoulder or being packed on your back without easy access.

I wrote an article a while ago about the camera bags and their purpose. But no matter what bag you use, how do you place your camera in that bag? Do you have it with or without the lens attached?

How do you pack your camera in your backpack?

I believe the most common camera bag is a backpack. This is understandable given that it can carry a lot of gear, while weight isn’t a huge issue if you’re carrying it on your back. Handling a heavy backpack can become a bit more difficult when you take it off and put it back on your back. But in general, it’s the most convenient way to take photo gear with you.

But how do you pack your camera in a backpack? Do you have it with the lens attached? Do you have the lenses separately next to the camera body? I believe the best way is to put the camera in a backpack without the lens attached.

To understand why, you need to think about why you would use a backpack. It is used to transport devices from one place to another. A good backpack is not designed to be easily accessible. Because if you want to grab your camera, you need to take the backpack off your back, put it in a safe place, open it and take it out.

If you stored your camera with the lens attached, do you want to use that lens for a specific moment? Most likely not, which means you’ll need to swap out lenses. After you take the shot and want to put the camera back in the backpack, you need to change the lens again, otherwise it won’t fit.

One reason many pack their camera with the lens attached is for fear of getting dust or debris on the sensor when changing lenses. If you already have a lens attached, it looks like you reduce the risk. But unfortunately, it forces you to change lenses more often. Not only because you have to attach a different lens for your shot, but also because you have to re-attach the previous lens because otherwise it will not fit.

My advice is to keep the camera in a backpack with no lenses attached

If you use a backpack frequently, make sure the layout is designed for a camera body with no lens attached. This allows you to grab the lens you need and attach it directly, rather than removing a lens first.

There are also shoulder bags where you can rotate the bag for quick access to the camera compartment. These bags are often designed to carry the camera with the lens attached. But again, how do you know you need that particular lens? In the worst case, you will also have to exchange lenses with such a bag.

I believe these shoulder bags are often the best choice for photographers who only use one camera and lens. This is the only good reason to pack a camera with a lens attached in a backpack. After all, if you only have one lens, there’s absolutely no reason to take it off.

What about shoulder bags and trolleys?

Don’t take a shoulder bag if you’re carrying a lot of gear. A heavy shoulder bag is something you must always avoid. It’s good for a light setup, maybe with just one extra lens. And it offers a number of advantages over a backpack.

When I use a shoulder bag, it contains a camera and a lens or two. Maybe three, just like I should have done with the three primes in French tarn. Changing lenses is easy, no need to put the bag on the floor. I also prefer to carry a camera with no lenses in my bag, but not always. It depends on how many lenses I take with me and in what situation I’m shooting. If I only have a second lens for a special situation, I leave the other lens attached to the camera

The trolley I use for my wedding photography carries a few extra lenses and a pair of flashes. I use a strap to carry the cameras for direct access and occasionally change lenses. Since I have two cameras, each with a different lens, it’s easier to pack the camera in and attach a lens. But when I’m ready to shoot the wedding, the lenses are removed from the camera before I put them in my bag.

Store your camera in the most convenient way

I don’t want to tell you how to pack your camera in a backpack. No way. You must make your own decision and choose the path you prefer. But I want you to think about it and carefully weigh the pros and cons. I believe it’s better to plan your backpack’s main compartment with the lenses separate from your camera body.

If you use a backpack to carry your photography equipment, do you have your camera in it with or without a lens? Please share in the comment below why you have chosen this path and what the benefit is for your photography.

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