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Thread: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

  1. #1

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    Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I am just curious what everyone's preference is for lens caps and the pros and cons? I know there are plastic push-on, squeeze-on, leather push-on, and metal screw-on. I know plastic are weather resistant but stretch and become loose, leather is not weather resistant and some say leather is food for fungus but they are plush, and metal screw-on lens caps are unbreakable? Has anyone had any issues with leather lens caps? I like them. Thanks for you input

    Robert

  2. #2

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    Plastic push-on caps are cheap, but most are too soft and tend to get pressed against the lens, causing rub marks. Squeeze caps don't always hold firmly, and the springs on the inside are sometimes too dangerously close to the lens. Metal screw-on caps are good protectors, but may occasionally bind in cold weather. One needs to be patient while attaching these caps, otherwise it could result in the threads getting damaged, or the cap getting stuck. Leather caps look wonderful, but the velvet lining inside could retain moisture.

    I'll probably be accused of being biased, but the poor and varying quality of lens caps made me think of venturing into making Acetal (Delrin) caps. But caps come in a very wide range of sizes, and I wanted to test the market with lens cell and shutter protectors

    Sadly, not too many people seem to want them, making me hesitate getting the caps manufactured.

    Kumar

  3. #3

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    Thank you Kumar, that is exactly why I asked the question, one of my lenses has a rub mark/scratch right in the center of the lens from a plastic push-on lens cap. And some lenses have a front element that is very close to the front edge or front plane of the lens making them vulnerable to this rub with the cap.

    So far everytime I go to a camera show I look for metal screw-in caps, but as you say finding them in the needed size is tough.

    The Delrin cap sounds good, SK Grimes makes them, but I suspect his cost is beyond my budget. Thanks for your post!

  4. #4

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    Did you see the prices in my links? They are not $1 or 2, but they are still very affordable - at least I think so. Most people don't seem to agree

    Kumar

  5. #5

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I'm OK with any cap that works (and I have around), but I don't like heavy metal ones because they tend to fall off (due to weight), maybe hit something (like the lens element) when it falls, and dents when it hits the ground, so not my favorite...

    I see here that many folks get nervous not having a (odd size???) cap, but there is a good DIY solution... If you ever took apart a leather lens cap or hard SLR lens case, you might be surprised to find that they are merely a cardboard cap or tube covered with real or fake leather covering, so why not make your own???

    For a cap, you would start by cutting a circle of matt board, etc with a compass cutter slightly larger than the lens diameter, the size is big enough to include the thickness of another mattboard strip that would circle around the lens, and enough room for plush, fabric, etc that would go on the inside... The outer band goes around the lens and glued to the top circle... Then you can cover the outside with whatever pleases you... It is really quite simple once you work it out, and many can be made right on your kitchen table some rainy night... These can cost you nothing if you have the scrap material laying around... And can look professional with a little effort...

    I often have to make caps for large telescopes (that cannot be found), but I just prefer natural mattboard...

    Give it a try sometime...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  6. #6

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I've tried many over the years, from plastic push-ons from Schnieder, Fujinon, Mamiya, etc.. I've used plastic clip-ons from Minolta, Nikon, Osawa, etc. The list goes on. The best I can give any of them is a B-. Keep in mind that camera and lens manufacturers change their lenses caps over time, so you can't draw a conclusion from a sample of one or two.

    I have a couple of Spiratone metal screw-in caps (and ends), but they are heavy and a pain to use, so I use them for protecting my filter STACK -- instead of individual cases for each filter!

    I also have plastic clip-on caps from Sigma, Tamron, Yashica, Osawa, etc. lenses. One day, a long time ago, I a bought a Tokina lens -- a wonderful 80-200mm f2.8 APO. Great, fast, one-touch zoom lens. But the plastic clip-on lens cap was SO fantastic (most snap-on caps fall off too easily because the tabs stick out, and/or they don't have enough force/tension!) that I decided to make the switch. I contacted Tokina for direct sales. They never had a request for their lens caps from the general public, but they were happy to help. So I got a BUNCH of Tokina lens caps -- in 55mm and 77mm (my standards). I wouldn't call it a CHEAP move -- mainly because I have a LOT of lenses -- but it was well worth it.

    But I still use the push-on plastic caps on the REAR of my large format lenses (because they are much less likely to be knocked off), and the standard, REAR, plastic twist-on plastic caps on my Minolta bayonet lenses. I really like the REAR Tamron lens caps for Minolta, because they are a tad deeper.

    So now, I have a lot of front-end lens caps for when I sell a lens -- or need an ash tray!
    Last edited by xkaes; 13-Sep-2017 at 07:37.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I prefer metal screw-in caps. A substitute in most sizes can be made from cheap filters with the glass replaced by metal, fiberglass, or any other tough material.

  8. #8

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    There is a big difference is suitability of lens caps for coated and non-coated lenses. Coated lenses get etching damage from even being in low/medium humid conditions with fungus growths that release the fluoride ions, with or without lens caps. Non-coated lenses from before 1890 are undamaged by fungal attack. Uncoated lenses using some varieties of the new Schott glass after 1890 can have minor surface damage when left in very damp conditions.

    Leather/card/velvet make wonderfully tactile lens hoods.
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 14-Sep-2017 at 01:54.

  9. #9

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I'm just grateful to find any cap that fits my odd size LF glass. I've even made my own out of leather, or used recycled plastic bottle caps.
    LF glass isn't cheap and having protective lens caps front and rear are really important.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #10

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    Re: Lens Cap Preferences? Leather, Plastic, Metal?

    I like Nikon pinch caps. They work fine and are cheap and easy to replace if you lose them.

    You can get them cheap off Ebay from China. I don't know if they are knock offs or not but the ones I bought looked the same to me as the one that came on the Nikon DSLR zoom lens I used to own.

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