Introduction: Outdoor Lens Exchange Protector

About: I work as software engineer in one of Bay Area (California) companies. Whenever I have a time I like to program micro controllers, build mechanical toys, and make some home improvement projects.

If you own a DSLR or hybrid camera you for sure have more than one lens and from time to time you will switch them on your camera.  During the exchange some dust can get onto the camera sensor and that dust can spoil images.  Sensor cleaning is not easy. Done by a professional it can cost you $60-$100. To lower the risk it is recommended to follow the following lens exchange rules: “inside, camera oriented down, lenses verified before mounting, camera’s dust removal system activated before starting to shoot” (Pentax Forum recommendation). It is hard to argue with these recommendations, but does that mean you can never exchange lens outdoors? Yes, it is risky:   wind can blow dust or sand  grains inside the camera, but it is still hard to avoid temptation to set the proper lens while you are on a hike.  The proposed simple solution should protect the camera from dusty or sandy wind.

Step 1: Here Is What I Used to Make My Protector:

Soccer ball sack pack (Ross Store: ~$4), camera neck strap (any DSLR strap will fit), zipper (from worn out bag,  zipper length must be not less than sack pack width), polyester ribbon 1 ½ “ wide (Michaels Store: ~$3), normal duty Velcro (any supermarket or hardware store: ~$3-$4 ), two or four chain links or medium size key rings, piece  of transparent plastic which is used for sales item packing (it could be flexible or hard, just try to find  more or less durable), wooden stick, thread, some glue. As tools I used scissors, knife, small hand saw and needle.

Step 2: Removing Sack Pack Straps

Untie knots on the sack pack rope straps and remove straps out of sack pack.

Step 3: Closing Sack Pack Straps Holes

If your bag strap holes has metal rings (as mine) you can use a wooden stick. Narrow it and make it round with knife so it fits into the strap hole, than apply some glue and press inside the hole. When glue binds (time depends on glue you are using) just cut the outer part of stick with hand saw. Repeat the same for other hole. You can paint cut with permanent marker (optional).

Step 4: Making Neck Strap Rings

Cut   two or four pieces of polyester ribbon ~ 10 inches (25 sm) length. Bend it along, than across. Make the loop out of these pieces and put the rings or chain link inside. Sew loops tips  inside sack pack strap sleeves. I used four links: one per each opening of each side of sleeve, but actually two is enough (in that case you can put one ribbon tip into one sleeve opening and another into its peer opening).

Step 5: Creating Cuffs

Rip up upper part on both sides of sack pack. The size depends on how big your hands are; I needed ~ 5 inches (~12.7 cm). Cut two more pieces of ribbon (length should double what you ripped up), bend ribbon along, than sew it into the opening creating a kind of cuff. Yes, I know I am a terrible tailor.

Step 6: Closing Bag With Zipper

Sew zipper to the upper bag opening.

Step 7: Making the Window

Your bag needs the window so you can properly orient lens during installation. Cut the rectangle window on one side of the bag. Rectangle dimensions are   ~3“ x 2”  (7.6 x 6.3 cm). Window should be located in the upper part of the bag ~2” (5 cm) below the zipper line. In the rectangle corners make diagonal cuts 0.5 cm. Bend the rectangle sides inside and sew it. Now window opening finished.

Step 8: Putting the Glass on the Window

Make the window glass out of transparent plastic. The dimensions of the plastic rectangle should be bigger than dimensions of the finished window on the width of Velcro strip. Cut Velcro strips alone, making two strips out of each original, remove protections from the one side of Velcro and put its sticky part on the perimeter of window glass. Then remove protection from other side on Velcro and put the window glass from inside of the bag so it will close the window opening.

Step 9: Attaching the Neck Strap

Attach the neck strap to the bag. You are done. And here us how the process of lens exchange looks.

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