Making It Easier to Put Your Cap On

Manufacturers usually go for “good enough” solutions, even if they can make something significantly more usable with just a bit of more expense. Case in point: Canon rear lens and body caps (I’m citing Canon here, because I’m a Canon shooter, but it also applies to most other manufacturers).

If you ever shoot in marginal light (if you are a landscape or nature photographer, I bet you do it most of the time), then probably run into the hassle of putting your caps on. To comply with Murphy’s law, you’ll always try to attach it in the wrong position at the worst possible moment (I even have a cap at the bottom of Bryce Canyon because of this).

We have a red alignment dot on the lens mount and on lenses, but the stock caps only contain a small, shallow hole marking the attachment position – which is pretty hard to see. And the solution is pretty simple: fill that hole with white (or your color of choice) paint! It can be done in a few minutes for your entire lens collection (after you mastered the technique – I’m using a thin wire to put just a drop of paint there).

My lens cap mod

My lens cap mod

I’m using this trick for almost a decade and haven’t had any issues with putting on the caps since then.

Fixing a Painful Mongoose M3.6 Problem

I’m using the Mongoose gimbal head since late February. It is a great head with one recently discovered issue. Which turned out to be a painful one – literally.

Whenever I use my long lens setup on a tripod I try to improve its stability and maneuverability by gripping the lens the way shown on the following image. With the Mongoose I have a solid platform to lean my left forearm against (this is why I place the arm of the head on the left, even if it obstructs controls on the lens).

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Gripping the lens to improve stability

This worked fairly well during the colder months when I was wearing a fleece and a jacket. The problem surfaced on the very first hot spring day when I left warmer clothing at home and my skin was in direct contact with the Mongoose: the horizontal movement locking knob on the head’s base was constantly sticking in my arm, causing a pain directly proportional to the force I used to stabilize the lens with.

The offending screw from another angle

The offending screw from another angle

I was out on Lake Tisza when this first happened, together with my guide, who is also an avid photographer – and retired mechanical engineer. When I told him about the issue, he pulled out a piece of blue foam you see on these pictures from his bag to cover the screw…

This quick fix saved the day (not to mention my forearm), and when I left I even got a bigger piece of the same foam from him to affix it to the head.

Foam and zip-ties to the rescue

Foam and zip-ties to the rescue

Although we discussed a couple of proper solutions, I had no time to implement any of those before going out next time, so just zip-tied the foam to the holes on the arm of the head.

All in all, this solution works pretty well, but I’m a bit disappointed to run into an oversight like this on a $600 head.