Taking Care of Your Camera

Cameras are priceless possessions and although today’s digital cameras are pretty reliable pieces of hardware, they do fail or get damaged from time to time. Sometimes, they get damaged due to accidents, improper care or storage or lack of maintenance. However, there are steps to follow and tips to apply that could help you maintain your camera and save it from damage. Below are some ways you can ensure your camera is properly taken care of.

Camera Straps: It is important to have the right camera strap for your camera. some cameras come with straps but it doesn’t mean it’ll be the right fit. You need to take into account your own peculiarities as a photographer like how often you travel with your camera if you go on hikes with you camera etc. This will help you determine the right camera strap. Get a strap that is solid and long-lasting so it doesn’t break and cause you camera to fall or so it doesn’t dig into your skin and make your shoulder or neck uncomfortable especially if your camera is heavy. Be sure to use neck straps and wrist loops with your camera whenever possible as you’re shooting photos outside. If you slip while hiking, or if you lose the grip on your camera near the pool, the straps can save your camera from a potentially disastrous fall. Better safe than sorry.

Avoid dirt and sand: Always keep your camera away from the sand. Use care when cleaning dirt particles and sand from your digital camera. Do not use canned or pressurized air to clean the sand, as you might just drive the particles into the camera case.  Some camera cases might not be sealed perfectly, making it easier for dirt and sand to penetrate the case and cause damage. Gently blow out the grit and sand to avoid this problem. Use care when shooting photos on a windy day at the beach, too, where sand can blow with excessive force. Also, avoid opening the battery compartment when you’re in such situations. Make sure you’re in a dry and clean place before you open your lenses to change it.  It is unlikely that you will always have a choice when you’re switching between lenses in the field; however, it might be necessary to move a little bit to minimize your exposure.If you are shooting on a farm where there is a lot of dirt and dust flying, move to a quieter place before removing your lens. Also, avoid using an excessive amount of cleaning liquid with your camera. In fact, other than stubborn smudges, you should be able to clean the camera with a dry microfiber cloth. If a liquid is needed, place a few drops of the liquid on the cloth, rather than directly on the camera. Water can be used in place of cleaning liquid as well. Always remember to clean your camera bag too. Dirt and sand inside your camera bag could damage your camera, so be sure to vacuum the bag regularly to keep it clean and protect your camera.

Avoid liquids: Try to keep all liquids away from the camera, unless you have a model with a waterproof case. Cameras are like any piece of electronics, and they can be damaged by excessive water. For example, if you are shooting near a waterfall, move as far away as possible from the falls itself to avoid exposing the inside of your camera to mist and airborne moisture.

Avoid touching the lens and LCD: Oils from your skin can smudge the lens and LCD, eventually causing permanent damage. Clean the lens and LCD with a microfiber cloth as soon as possible anytime you see a smudge from your fingertips. Constant touching could also make the lens foggy which could hinder your perspective when you’re taking a photograph.

Avoid Direct Sunlight: Do not point your camera’s lens directly at the sun for any length of time, especially with a DSLR camera. Be very watchful of this when you’re doing an outdoor photo shoot. Lighting is important and you might be tempted to angle your camera in a way to catch the sun but you should find other ways. Sunlight focused through the lens of the camera could damage the image sensor or even start a fire inside the camera.

Watch the temperature: Although some cameras are designed to survive harsh temperatures, most cameras are not. Do not leave your camera in a sunny vehicle, where temperatures quickly can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid leaving the camera in direct sunlight, which can damage the plastic. Finally, avoid extreme cold, too, which could damage the LCD. Excessive heat accumulation will increase the chance of damaging your camera.

Store camera properly: If you’re not going to use your camera for a couple of months, you’ll want to store it in a low humidity area and out of direct sunlight. Additionally, try storing the camera without the battery inserted, as this will reduce the possibility of suffering corrosion. Also, keep it in a place where it won’t be shaken frequently or susceptible to breaking.

Routine cleaning: Try to wipe down your camera every couple of weeks and look for possible damage in the process. Start by powering down my cameras to reduce any static electricity that may have built up on the electronics. Next blow air into the inside compartment of each camera with a hand pump blower. It is worth mentioning that you should never use canned air or any device that blows high-pressured air on your camera. It is also a very bad idea to blow air into your camera from your mouth as this comes with humidity which you want to avoid. A hand pump bulb blower will not remove foreign particles that have been stuck onto your camera’s sensor, but it is usually effective in removing small bits of dust that reside inside the camera compartment, around the lens ring, and even on the sensor. Remove the lens, turn the camera body upside down and squeeze several bursts of air into the direction of the mirror and image sensor.

Follow this tips and also do more research to ensure you take proper care of your camera.