The 7 Second Lens Change


Lens Changing no longer has to be scary and painful. Here’s how you can swap like a pro!

How many times have you thought to yourself, “Aw, I’d love to take this shot, but I don’t have the right lens on.”? Now how many shots have you lost, simply because you didn’t want to change your lens?

Whether it is due to the fear of getting dirt in the camera body, or struggling through a juggling act more awkward than the first day of High School, lens changes can be a crippling thing. What an oddity that changing lenses, the strong point of SLR photography, can also be the most frustrating aspect!

However, with a few simple tips, a consistent technique, and a little bit of practice, you can effortlessly change your lenses in 7 seconds or less! Much like learning how to drive a car, lens changing becomes second nature with practice and some technique! Follow these steps and you’ll be on the way to speed-lens-changing in no time!

See the technique in action!

Step 1 – Prepare

Not ReadyThis camera is NOT ready! The camera is NOT tethered to the body, and the lens to be swapped in is NOT accessible.

A common mistake photographers make when changing lenses is that they remove the lens from the camera before they are actually ready! You don’t skydive before putting on your parachute, so don’t take the lens off before you’re all set up!

ReadyCamera is tethered and lens to be swapped in is accessible. This camera is ready!

Prepare! This is a simple, unspoken rule. First, ensure the lens cap is on the lens and that your camera is tethered to your body. Whether through a harness or neckstrap, your camera should be connected to you to prevent any accidents. Make sure the new lens you are about to change in is free and within grasp.

Step 2 – Unlock

UnlockLens to be swapped out is ‘unlocked’ but not removed.

This step is crucial to speed lens changing. A lens will typically turn about 70 degrees in order to lock to the camera body. ‘Unlocking’ the lens simply means pressing the lens-unlock button and turning the lens about 10 degrees. When the lens is ‘unlocked,’ you can let go of the lens-unlock button and still turn the lens freely. In this step, do NOT remove the lens completely, and do not loosen the lens more than 10 degrees, or it will fall off and you will have a sad face.

Step 3 – Orientate

Find the line-up point on your lens that you will be changing in. This point is usually a red or white dot or line that helps you align the lens to the camera body mount. Hold this lens with your thumb, index, and middle fingers. Leave your ring finger and pinky free.

Depending on the direction you must turn the lens to lock it into the camera, you will either orientate the line-up point on the lens half-way between your thumb and index finger, OR just under the knuckle of your thumb. Over time, you will memorize how to ‘Orientate’ each of your lenses.

Step 4 – Remove

Orientate Remove Lens is orientated with the ‘Line-up’ Marker halfway between thumb and index fingers. Rear cap is held between ring and pinky fingers.

At this point, the lens that is to be switched out should be ‘unlocked’ and will turn without having to press the button. Hold the new lens firmly in one hand, and use the other hand to remove the rear lens cap. Instead of putting the lens cap somewhere it can get lost, hold it between the ring finger and pinky of your handle holding the lens that is about to switched in.

RemoveLens is removed.

One hand should be free now to finish turning the ‘unlocked’ lens without having to press the button. Removing that lens should be easy!

Step 5 – Replace

ReplaceLens is replaced, the camera body is only exposed for less than a second

Now that the first lens has been removed, snap the new lens onto the camera body. If you ‘Orientated’ that lens correctly, it should naturally line up in the right spot and snap into place. This is something that takes some practice, but easy to master in a shot amount of time!


Once the new lens is locked into place, use that rear-lens can you were holding between your ring finger and pinky and cap that lens that was removed. Congratulations! You’ve just finished changing lenses!

Other Tips

Practice this technique over a soft surface, such as a bed or sofa, just in case a lens finds a way to drop itself.

Time yourself with a clock and try to see if you can beat your previous ‘fastest time’.

If you have multiple lenses of different brands, their rear lens caps may not be compatible with each other. Buy extra rear-lens caps from the maker of your camera body to ensure an easy, universal fit.


Whether or not you completed these 5 steps in 7 seconds on your first attempt will depend on your experience and comfort with changing lenses. Follow these steps and practice for about half an hour. As you become more comfortable, you will find that on a good day with the wind to your back, this process can even be as quick as 4 seconds!

You no longer have no excuse to miss that shot while you are out on the field. Shoot with confidence!

Looking for more expert tips and techniques? Check out the Imaging & Entertainment Expo in Sydney this June!

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Jerrel Dulay


About idigitaldarwin

Helping people stay informed with the latest ground breaking technology and valuable photo-imaging and gadget tips. View all posts by idigitaldarwin

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