Are you sporting a heavy camera and lenses when you go on photoshoots?
Have you ever wondered why they are so bulky and weigh a ton?
While camera manufacturers have made use of advanced technology to take their products to the next level, which means smaller and more lightweight cameras, lenses are still so complicated that most of them remain big and hefty.
Professional DSLRs cameras are already a struggle to lug around, but add another weighty lens or two and a photographer’s job becomes quite uncomfortable, not to mention painful.
Of course, pros can always use smaller, more lightweight mirrorless cameras, which have improved in recent years and can compete with the quality that DSLRs produce. But if you want to get the most out of your photos, you will still need the help of heavy lenses.
The question is why?
And why are lenses just that heavy and large?
Are there ways to make carrying heavy lenses easier?
Find out the answers to these questions in this article.
Why are Lenses Needed in Photography?
Lenses are considered the most important part of a camera. An image’s quality highly depends on it. And it lets you control what you can shoot.
No matter how aesthetic or advanced your camera body is, if the lenses are of low quality, your photos will come out poor and uninteresting. On the contrary, even if your camera is old and basic, but has good lenses, you can still create great photos.
What does a camera lens do that makes it the most important part of a camera?
- According to Photography Tips, any lens, even the simplest one, gathers and focuses light. It allows this light to pass through, which allows the production of well lighted and sharply defined images on film, even with short exposure time.
- With quality lenses, any chromatic aberration, distortion and vignetting, which are produced when the elements react with light as it passes, is minimized.
As photography expert Harry Guinness put it, “Your camera is just a dumb, image capturing brick. Without a lens, all you’ll be able to do is take selfies.” And that is reason enough to get yourself a quality lens with your camera.
Why are Lenses so Big and Heavy?
With the importance of camera lenses in photography, it can be understood, and “forgiven”, how these camera parts can be so big and heavy.
But just what makes them so?
- The focal length is a complicated detail
The focal length of a lens refers to the distance between the rear nodal point and the focal point, and is usually represented in milliliters. It is a measure of how strongly the system converges or diverges light.
In other words, the longer the focal length, the narrower its angle of view and the higher its magnification. Inversely, the shorter the focal length, the wider its angle of view and the lower its magnification.
The issue with the focal length is that manipulating it is complicated. Doing so will involve the addition of more lens elements, which will then make things bigger and heavier.
Also, moving away from the flange focal distance, which is the distance between the lens mount and the sensor, will make the lens bigger.
This is what hinders manufacturers from making lenses which are smaller and more lightweight.
- Aperture won’t allow for a smaller size
The aperture, which is a function of focal length, is the opening through which light travels.
When you have a 50mm lens at f/2, the lens iris is open to the focal length divided by 2. In this case, the lens iris opening is 25mm. Now, try imagining a 200mm lens at f/2.8. With this lens and aperture, the lens iris will open at 71.5mm. And it is quite a big opening, considering the size of your camera and lens.
This is just how physics work, which means lenses can’t be made smaller if you want to get more light into your photos.
- Advancement means added lens elements
And these elements mean additional weight and increase in size.
Everyone can tell how cameras have greatly improved from those of the past. This is all due to the added lens elements which have made the autofocus better and the image across the entire frame sharper. However, these elements have also added weight and size to the lens.
Moreover, modern developments, which give rise to new features and even better photo quality, add yet another gram in weight, even more.
And what about the telephoto lens? It can definitely take your photography to the next level with what it allows you to do. Unfortunately, the trade-off is its significant weight and “bazooka” size.
Now that you know why a camera lens can be quite hefty and is a pain to bring along during photoshoots, the struggle can be excused and quite easily accepted. Once you get the quality photos you envisioned, carrying around something as big and heavy as a telephoto lens can be forgiven, maybe even embraced.
On a different note, there are three lenses that every photographer should have.
According to experienced photographers, these three, which are the most commonly used, are the general purpose zoom, the macro lens, and the telephoto zoom. But there are still other types that you can use for specific purposes.
If you are planning on buying one but don’t know what type of lens exactly, check out this video for reference.
Bringing Lenses to Photoshoots Easily
As you now know, lenses are big and heavy for a very important reason. If they are not the way they are right now, then your camera would not be able to produce amazing and high quality images.
While manufacturers are still figuring out how to make this important aspect of photography smaller and lighter, below are some great ways to make carrying all these heavy gear less stressful on the body.
- Make use of the appropriate camera carrying system
Carrying systems like the SpiderPro Single or Dual Camera Systems v2 allow you to carry your DSLRs and lens in the most ergonomic way. The strap-free systems significantly reduce the risk of neck, shoulder and back injuries. Even with the weight you have to carry around, having it at your hips will offer more comfort, convenience and security.
- Use the best hand straps
Hand straps make holding your cameras a lot comfortable. After all, you need to hold on to them, with a heavy lens attached, during the photoshoot, which can take hours to finish.
With the SpiderPro Handstrap v2, essential weight support above and over your knuckles is provided, giving you a comfortable fit and freedom of movement. Its curved design also gives you the perfect shooting position.
- Have your lenses at the ready
When you need to bring a lens or two to a photoshoot, you need to place it somewhere safe and secure. And have it ready for use at an instant. The SpiderPro Lens Pouches provides the perfect solution for this.
You can easily strap the Large Lens Pouch to your belt and store your 70-200mm lens, with the hood on right at your hip. The superb quick draw accessibility and optimal lens protection is the premier solution for carrying your camera lenses. It is waterproof, light (without the lens) and foldable for easy storage.
- Make use of a lens collar plate
If you carry a tripod, adding on the SpiderPro Lens Collar Plate v2 will give you better balance that will not sag or raise the risk of impact, especially when mounting cameras with longer lenses. There will be less stress on the camera body and lens mount.
Now, if you are using two or more different lenses, you need to be able to have them at the ready and be able to inter-change them quickly. Learn how to do it with the Top Tips for Changing Your DSLR Lenses Easier and Faster.
The accessories above will make photoshoots more comfortable and less stressful even while lugging around big and heavy lenses.
Whether you go on outdoor shoots or chaotic events, you won’t have to worry about coming back with pains and aches all over your body, or even back and shoulder injury. Spider Holster’s wide range of ergonomic and safe solutions have got you and your equipment covered.
You might not be able to lessen the weight of your lenses or camera but you can most definitely make sure you are carrying them in the most comfortable way possible. Find the right accessory at Spider Holster and keep your lenses and camera equipment safe and secure.