How to Change a Camera Lens Quickly

How fast can you change a camera lens? In this short demonstration, Jasmine Star, an international wedding photographer, shows how she swaps out lenses on her Canon 5D in about six seconds:

A bag that’s easily accessed seems to be the key to Star’s quick technique. She uses an ONA Brooklyn Camera Satchel, which has top-loading compartments for her lenses. The side bag rests just at hip height, which proves to be convenient.

Star’s other secret is that she does not use lens caps during her wedding shoots. Not having to fiddle with caps frees up precious time that could otherwise mean missing essential moments during a ceremony or reception. Would it be worse to miss an important shot or to get dust on a lens?


While many balk at the thought of not protecting their lenses, others acknowledge that professional gear can take some abuse and say that’s the whole point of spending a little extra on high-quality glass. And, according to Star, she’s worked this way for eight years without incident. She does make sure to have her camera sensor cleaned regularly, and she properly covers her lenses once the wedding is over.

Whether you master the technique of speedy lens changing or prefer to keep two camera bodies around your neck at all times, there’s no denying that weddings require nearly constant shooting. What do you do to avoid missing crucial wedding moments?

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13 responses to “How to Change a Camera Lens Quickly”

  1. Vickie Siculiano says:

    I wish it were that easy, but I am really concerned about just slipping a ens in between my wrist and hip while I swap out a lens without even putting on the cap. All it takes is a small piece of dust or even a scratch and goodbye lens. I will take a second a put it on a surface to protect the glass, but thanks for the idea.

  2. Fred Seaver says:

    I put the lens caps on B4 putting away!!!

  3. I’d love to see Star coping with changing Roll film/35mm on a wedding shoot, as we used to before the Digital Age, if she thinks speed is of the essence, how would she have fared?? The pace of weddings has not changed since those days.

  4. Dan says:

    Love the bag, love the technique… but absolutely dislike the lack of lens cap on both ends of the lens before putting it away in any bag. One quick scratch or chunk of debris at the beginning of a shoot can cause hours of unnecessary time in Photoshop fixing dozens or hundreds of photos. No thanks, I’ll the extra take 2.2 seconds and protect my lens before putting it away any day of the week. But if it works for her then great! Thx for sharing!

  5. mike k says:

    Keeping the lens workout a cap… “smart”!

  6. R Sail says:

    Thank you for the information about changing lens quickly this will come in useful next time I shoot a wedding.

  7. Robin says:

    @Wayne: the quality of wedding photography has changed tons since that time. I spoke to one wedding photographer couple who worked 20 years ago and was booked out 2 years in advance. They said they’d be happy if they had one very good shot. They were blown away at having seen 100s of good shots coming out of single wedding. Nowadays photographer almost get sued if they miss an important shot.

  8. Michael Dalmacio says:

    Looks like commando style lens changing, not for the faint hearted. Can be useful for sudden scene changes.

  9. Alan Miller says:

    1st… you never change a lens with the camera opening facing up.
    2nd… you never store a lens without the caps.
    And finally 3rd… who ever published this video should never be allowed to handle a camera. Just sayin’

  10. Rick says:

    Looks like a good idea… if those are not my own lenses!

  11. Alan Miller says:

    Sorry…. this makes me want to unsubsidized :-(

  12. BIPIN GUPTA says:

    This video demonstrating quick lens change is like asking the Bull – come hit me.

    It can be disastrous – holding on to one lens between your arm & belly while taking out the other from the
    bag and then bayoneting it on to the camera body.

  13. MIKE FORSYTHE says:

    Better have equipment well insured! I put both caps on my lenses before putting them away, I also never let the glass or sensor point much above horizontal to prevent dust etc from entering, but then I don’t shoot weddings.

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