17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Improving Your Photoskills - Camera Cleaning and Protection

Just like our belly buttons cameras are delicate and need a good cleaning every once and a while.

Take out your camera right now and look at your lens. Does it have water spots or finger prints on it? These spots usually are not immediately evident since they start out small, but over time these spots multiply and eventually blur any images you are trying to capture.

Cleaning a camera lens is not like cleaning a window. DO NOT use ANY house hold cleaners on your lenses or eyeglass cleaners. Instead I suggest getting a special lens cloth like this one . It is a special kind of fabric that dose not make lint and it has a special chemical already inside it. I love this particular one because it is sewn in to a little bag that can be clipped onto your camera bag so it is compact and you won't lose it. If the lens is really really dirty consider getting lens cleaner fluid .

Any ammature or professional camera store should have something like this.

Another item that is useful in cleaning your camera is a canned air. This can be used to remove bits of dust and sand. Resist using your breath because you could accidentally get your spit on the lens which is bad for the lens. It sound funny, but I had classmates who did it and it ruined their images.

Sand is the number one enemy of camera equipment. It will scratch lenses and grind on the inside mechanisms of your camera. So be careful when you take it to the beach and periodically clean our your camera bag from dirt and sand.

Once you have your cloth and your canned air you are set.

Cleaning the lens

1. Make sure there is no dust or sand on the lens. A few short burst of canned air should do the trick.

2. Hold the lens to the light to get a good look at what you are cleaning.

3. Wrap the cloth around one of your fingers. Use a small circular motion as you rub the cloth on the lens. Try your best to let the soft part of your finger to apply presser instead of the nail.

4. If you can take your lens off of the camera body clean both sides of the lens. Once you have taken the lens off you will be able to see a mirror in the body of the camera. It may or may not need a little burst of air or wipe down.

If you can not take the lens off of your camera you may be able to get to it through the body of the camera, take a look and read your manual. If it is possible, your manual should have the instructions on how to do this.

If you suspect that any of the interior parts of the lens are dirty or has sand in it, PLEASE take it to a professional. It won't cost much to have them take it apart and clean it $30-$50 maybe. This will prolong the life of your camera. I once had a camera that needed it's aperture cleaned because it was sticking which made the exposures too long and ruined about every third shot. So frustrating.

Cleaning the Camera Body

If you can't get to the inside of your camera body, don't worry about it.

If you can get to the inside of your camera:
This area is not as sensitive (except for the back of the lens) but it is good to clean. In general canned air will do to remove the dust. No need to wipe anything. Take a look around in case there is animal or human hair in there (hey it happens, and is bad news).

Cleaning Your Camera Chip

When I say chip, I am not talking about your memory card. I am talking about the special light sensitive chip that captures the photo. Hopefully you never have to clean this. The reason being that it is VERY delicate. It is (usually) the most expensive part of your camera. Most digital cameras are not even designed to let you get to it for this reason.

The only time you should ever clean this chip is if all your pictures have the same smug or black dot in the same place, even after you have cleaned your lens and blown out any potential dust.

In this case read your manual carefully and follow the instructions.

Protecting Your Camera

Lens cap
Use them. If you lose it, buy a new one (front and back for removable lenses please). They are the first line of defense

If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses:

UV Filter
This is a clear glass filter that screws on to the front of your lens. It will protect your lens from dust, sand and scratches and can improve image quality . They cost usually between $8-$20. If it gets damaged, no biggie, just throw it away and buy a new one. Any ammature or professional store will have them. If you don't have the time to go to the store buy them on line. You will need to know which size of lens you have (ie 50mm or 35mm-75mm zoom). The front of your lens should have this information. This is your second line of defense.

Camera Bag
So many kinds of bags. You will want one that has some padding and that YOU will want to use. It is not necessary to get the really expensive kinds. The one I used I bought at Fred Myer like 5 years ago and it cost about $15. You can find them on Ebay, Target, Walmart, or at the photo stores. This is your third line of defense.

With Carrie's recent burglary I got motivated to get renter's insurance. It is cheep and easy to set up. Of course it is wise to go over with your insurance company which situations it will cover.

I hope I haven't over whelmed you all with all this information. Cameras are precious and are an investment. Maintain them and they will serve you well.


  • "Just like our belly buttons cameras are delicate and need a good cleaning every once and a while"

    Love that quote. I really do need to clean my camera.....I am bad at it.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 9/13/2007 11:14:00 AM  

  • I always love your camera tips! And while I didn't have renter's insurance - bummer -- I do believe in the accidental coverage warrantee that most electronic stores will sell you when you buy a camera. But, then again, I have terrible luck with cameras. After going through 4 cameras in one year - one lost to the ocean, 3 broken in different ways, but husband decided to buy me one that was touted as being almost indestructible--Waterproof, shockproof, squishproof. I thought for sure this one was safe in my hands. Oh yeah, that is the one that got stolen 2 weeks later in the burglary.

    Seriously bad camera luck.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/15/2007 10:26:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all your tips! I'd say video surveillance security systems need the kind of gentle care they need from their owners if we want them to last longer and make good of our investment.
    posted by Anonymous Mike at 9/16/2007 10:15:00 PM  

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