I carry a single camera with a single lens protected by a 52mm snap-on front lens cap LC-52.

I typically walk in cities and museums from morning to night, taking time to compose a picture every 30 minutes or so. I almost never need to take a picture quickly. Unlike more serious photographers who use a bag and never use the lens cover when the camera is outside of it, I don't have a bag and I prefer to have the cap on during the 30 minutes of not taking pictures, for various reasons that are not the topic of my question.

Now 6 months after buying it, the cap has not been taken off more than 500 times, but already it has started falling off very easily. Simply touching it with my sweatshirt's sleeve makes it fall. It is not attached so every time I have to hunt for it on busy sidewalks or in the sand or bushes.

Is buying a new one every six months the only solution? The cap is sold for 17 USD on the Nikon store.

Is there any trick to make the lens cap last longer, or to "fix" it so that it holds better?

  • 3
    Try a cheap generic cap of the same size - it may well be more reliable, and if it doesn't work, it's a pretty inexpensive experiment. – Jim MacKenzie Sep 21 at 2:53
  • At cambridgeincolour.com/forums/… a user wrote "I put a small piece of matchstick in the springy bit inside,seems to have done the trick", and another explained "I've found that super glue adequately keeps the lens cap from falling off". – Nicolas Raoul Sep 21 at 2:56
  • 3
    "Say" thank you to the owner and just buy a new cap, to show him that you take care about the camera. – Horitsu Sep 21 at 5:04
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Lens caps are for use on lenses that are in storage. They are not meant to be used on lenses that are in use, such as when attached to a camera. As you have experienced, they are not particularly resilient, they are easily detached in the field, and they are easily misplaced.

In the environments you describe, city and museum walks, obsessive use of lens caps is more likely to damage the lens than simply leaving them off, especially after they are likely to have picked up grit after being retrieved from "sidewalks or in the sand or bushes".

Attaching matchsticks to lens caps and gluing lens caps to lenses seem likely to be counterproductive. However, you do have several other options:

  • Obtain inexpensive lens caps from China. A lot of 10 costs ~$8. (Hurry, before tariffs set in. Although not everyone is in the US, you do reference the Nikon USA store.)

  • Use transparent lens caps (aka, "UV" filters). They cost a bit more than ordinary lens caps. Make sure it is multi-coated.

  • Use neoprene lens caps, which Chris H mentions. You can purchase ready made "LensCoat Hoodies", or DIY from a bottle holder.

  • Some people use lens hoods to "protect" their lenses. How well this works depends on the specific perils your equipment faces. Lens hoods should be sufficient for city strolls and museum walks.

  • Use cap keepers, as osullic suggests. However, some find that a cap dangling from the lens is annoying. Looks like a pack of 15 costs less than a pack of 5?

  • Purchase your own photography gear so you won't be subject to the whims of others. By having your own equipment, you also avoid damaging others'.

  • Purchase only a lens so the current lens can be safely stored away with its lens cap glued on. Yongnuo has some inexpensive prime lenses that may be worth trying. (I have not tried any.)

  • 4
    upvote for the suggestion to buy your own gear. I understand this may not be a viable option for the OP, but really, it's the best one. Also, tariffs? What tariffs? We're not all in the USA :-P – osullic Sep 21 at 10:39
  • If you keep a lens hood in position, you can put a neoprene cap over that as well – Chris H Sep 21 at 10:56
  • 3
    "[Lens caps] are not meant to be used on lenses that are in use, such as when attached to a camera." Citation needed. My camera always has a lens attached to it (except when I'm in the middle of changing lenses, etc.), even when the camera is in storage. A camera that's only being used to take a photograph every half an hour or so is effectively "in storage" for at least 50 minutes out of every hour. I have never heard anybody say that I'm "not supposed to" have a lens cap on my lens while, e.g., I'm carrying the camera around on my shoulder with no immediate plan to take a photo. – David Richerby Sep 21 at 12:54
  • Agree with David. There are many situations where you will want to keep your lens cap on while you are out and about shooting, e.g., when it's raining, when you're in a dusty environment, when there's a chance the front of your lens will come into contact with your clothes or whatever, when there's a non-zero chance you will fall over (e.g. you're walking over rocky terrain)… the list goes on... – binaryfunt Sep 21 at 16:22
  • @xiota Funny, but I rarely forget to take the lens cap off when I want to take photos. I wouldn't say I'm obsessive over putting it back on, but I've learnt the hard way how dust/water drops on lens the can spoil images – binaryfunt Sep 22 at 10:04

Just to add another suggestion... There are also those "cap keeper" doodads, which solve a problem for some:

Picture found at www.naturelounge.in/products/lens-cap-strap

  • Many of the cheap, third party lens caps mentioned in other answers include similar lens keepers. – Michael Clark Sep 22 at 8:14

This will cost you a bit more up front, but could save you some in the long run.

  • Out of appreciation to the owner for letting you use their camera, buy a new Nikon 52mm lens cap to replace the one you have worn out.¹ Place that cap on the lens whenever you are returning the camera to its owner.
  • Buy a few cheap generic 52mm lens caps. They can be had for very little cash when you buy a few together. It probably costs a seller more to prepare and package your order than their wholesale cost of a single lens cap. I prefer the center pinch type. Use one of those caps when you are out shooting. When one wears out, throw it away and start using another.

¹ As suggested in a comment by Horitsu.

  • Conversely (and this is purely a matter of personal taste, of course), I hate the centre-pinch lens caps because I find I almost always put them on incorrectly, so they fall off all the time. I think Nikon tend to use centre-pinch, so the solution in this case could be to use a third-party non-centre-pinch cap. – David Richerby Sep 21 at 12:56

I'm gonna go full Freudian here and suggest that the lens cap is not your problem here but rather the relationship with the owner of the camera.

Get your own gear even if it is used or of lower specs (remember that the 450$ Nikon d3400 with the kit lens is more capable a camera than any owned and operated by Henry Cartier Bresson throughout his career).

Depending on what would be less strenuous on your relationship with the owner either return him his camera+lens thanking him appropriately or keep it safely stored with the lens cap on at your place while using your own gear.

  • 1
    Thanks, but the multiple complex reasons that lead us to this mutually beneficial arrangement are off-topic for this site. I only mentioned it to avoid answers such as "Just don't use lens caps". – Nicolas Raoul Sep 22 at 8:06
  • Henri Cartier Who? – osullic Sep 22 at 11:51

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