How many of you actually take the time to give your cameras a good cleaning in between projects? Keeping your rig in top shape with a Spring cleaning a few times a year is the best way to keep getting the best images possible for a good, long time. Here’s a few tips.
These tips come from Cooph, on YouTube, and through a light hearted video, shows how you can have a long lasting and healthy relationship with your camera, by caring for it at home.
- Dusting and cleaning your camera and lenses. A good tool to have for cleaning your camera is a blow brush. This tool will blow air onto your camera area while the brush will sweep away any particles of dirt big enough to be caught by the wind. Then once you give it a cursory blowing, take some q-tips dipped in alcohol, or cleaning solution and run it over places that need the most elbow grease to get clean. Then run it over with a microfiber cloth. This is true with your lenses as well. Both sides, as when you change lenses, your lens elements are exposed dust out in the wild.
- Run your camera sensor cleaning utility regularly. Most modern cameras have a sensor cleaning function in the menu settings, that sends a small ultrasonic vibration through the sensor, which causes the negatively charged sensor coating to repel dust with the same charge. There is some debate as to just how well this works, but as one writer on Stack Exchange notes, it’s a lot more effective in cameras that have it, than cameras that don’t.Where does the dust go? Well, according to Olympus, which invented the process, the dust should fall down to the bottom of the sensor area where a dust trap collects it.Cooph then recommends using the gel stamp that camera with your camera to lift up any troublesome or larger particles, and then finishing it off with sensor wipes. Well, I’m a bit queasy about that. I prefer taking the camera in for a professional sensor cleaning a few times a year. This is your bread and butter, and as such, it’s not only worth the expense, but it likely tax deductible. Moreover, the cleaning will be warrantied, so if anything goes wrong, they’ll fix it. But if you absolutely must do it yourself, then it is a smart idea to go to the local authorized camera repair facility and have them train you how to do it. Then get the right tools if you don’t have them.
- Keep a UV filter on your lens. This is, perhaps, the cheapest protection you will ever get. For a few dollars, you place a clear filter in between your camera and the lens elements, which not only blog out UV rays, but will also get damaged and scratched long before your lens does. It’s a great insurance policy.
- Use a lens hood. Lens hoods not only keep you from indulging in your inner JJ Abrams and let in lens flares, but they will also protect your camera lens from being bumped around while you’re carrying it. And often they can be put on backwards to protect your lens outer shell when not on use.
- Bag em and tag em. When you’re not using your camera, storing it in a zip lock bag with the silica packet that came with your camera when you bought it, will not only protect it from dust, but from moisture and condensation. A shower cap will also do a good job, when the camera is not in use. And the cap can also be used for some clever lighting effects.
Lastly, Cooph recommends above all, do not change lenses in inclement weather. Water drops can do a lot of bad things to your sensor, and to your lens elements. So get out of the rain to change your lenses before moving to the next shot.
These tips, when practiced regularly, will not only keep your camera looking and performing like new, but will guard your camera’s value when it comes time to upgrade.
What tips do you have for keeping your rig in top condition? Leave a comment below.