I lose lens caps by the billion. Is there another way to protect my lenses without having to carry these things around with me?

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    Lug? How much do your lens caps weigh? ;-) – Nick Jul 28 '10 at 21:23
  • @Nick - a billion should be pretty heavy ;-) – ysap May 2 '12 at 21:24
  • The question is title is "should I use lens caps", but you elaborate on the assumption that it is necessary to put something in front of a lens to protect it. This is not necessarily the case. Unless you are in quite challenging conditions daily(i.e. sand, salt water, very abusive things in your bag) then I wouldn't put anything at all in front of your lens. Just store it in a bag with a soft interior and you will be just fine, as I have been for years with daily use. – dpollitt Dec 24 '14 at 0:48
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    You only need lens caps on the lenses you care about. Lens caps are just a waste for the lenses you don't mind getting scratched or broken. – Olin Lathrop Dec 24 '14 at 14:27

I keep a UV filter on most of the time as a secondary barrier - but to be honest, I just have to get into the habit of putting my lens cap in the same pocket each time I remove it. I've spent way too much time hunting around for the the damn things too.


This doesn't quite eliminate the annoyance, but a leash is a great solution that prevents losing them.

Cheap ones just stick on your existing lens cap like mounting tape, and an elastic band goes around the base of the lens.

That way, when you take off the cap, it just hangs about 4 inches off the camera, so you can't misplace it.

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    Mine didn't last 10 minutes before I got annoyed with it dangling around. – tunaranch Aug 24 '10 at 4:51
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    Good lens cap tethers also come of a piece that goes on the neck strap which you can lock the cap too, so that it does not dangle at all. What's left is a small extra cord that goes along your neck-strap. – Itai Mar 9 '11 at 15:11

+1 for a filter as a matter of course, but my main walkabout lens, once it's been unleashed for the day, is rarely without its lens hood - the extra plastic quite effectively prevents little bumps directly on the glass.

  • +1 for lens hoods. My hoods quickly become covered with little marks from banging against fences and gates, but then I tend to be running fast to get to safety. – Greg Mar 10 '11 at 4:06

Jackets are great for lens caps. If you have jacket with inner pockets it's easy as pie to reach in quickly and drop the lens cap in the pocket, instead of fumbling around in other pockets.

Mind you, this only works in colder climates where you need jackets.

I tend to just put mine in a pocket.


I do want to have a lens cap for when the camera is in a bag/case. I basically have two modes of usage.

One is I'm out and about and taking quite a few photos. I will fit a lens hood and leave the cap in the camera bag. The hood gives plenty of protection against knocking the front and I can shoot easily.

The other mode is when I'm sitting around with friends and family and taking the occasional shot. Then I take the cap off and hold it in my left hand while I take the shot and put it straight back on afterwards. (I have large hands which helps with that case).

Oh and like others I use UV filters aswell.


If I am using a bag I try to get one that is large enough to allow me to use the lens with the hood on. Even if I am just trekking around on foot with just my camera I have found the hoods to be long enough so I don't have to worry about bumping the front element and accidently touching the lens with my fingers.

There are times I walk around without my hood but I still don't have my lens cap because I have one of these holsters (fairly expensive but I'd have to say it's my favorite case by far and it looks great.)

If it counts for much the only time my lens caps are on any more is when I am storing the lenses.

Update... I don't carry my camera in the holster much anymore. After I upgraded to a Nikon D800 I got a black rapid strap and just leave the lens hood on. I find this strap to work much better especially now that my lenses and body are larger and heavier.

As a note, skytoptrading used to sell a nice leather holder that I referenced above. They no longer make these holsters but have replaced it with a nylon case. I have no idea how good the nylon holster work or how it looks.

  • The link is dead. Can you put a make/model explicitly in the message? – JDługosz Dec 24 '14 at 1:27
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    That's a huge bummer... it looks like they stopped making the leather holsters. (Skytop Trading). – Matthew Whited Dec 24 '14 at 13:49
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    I'll also note that I rarely use UV filters anymore. Putting a $30 filter on a $1000+ lens and getting weird reflections, refractions and lens flares isn't worth the pain. I find the lens hoods protect my front element just as well with less trouble and quality loss. – Matthew Whited Dec 24 '14 at 14:02

Depending on your environment even with a UV filter you will want a cap to keep dirt and stuff off of the lens. A cheap cap keeper is handy, although I've become pretty used to sticking the cap in my back pocket. It beats carrying around something to clean the lens!


If you don't mind trading the cost of additional lens caps against the cost of the UV filter, then go for it, and skip them. What I mean by that is if you don't keep a lens cap handy, you will end up replacing the filter eventually. Up to you.

I just toss the cap in my pocket, and haven't lost one yet.


haven't used a lens cap in 20 yrs, do use a uv filter. And most of the time i do have a hood on the lens. Can not find any need for a cap other then to anoy me when i want to make a quick image.

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