Camera Maintenance Basics: How to Keep Cameras Running Well

Ok, so maybe you don’t have a $3,000 camera, or the expensive lenses that go with it, but you’ve put in a tidy sum to get your camera gear, and I’m sure you’d like a couple of camera maintenance ideas to keep that gear ship-shape and humming all the time.

1. Keep It in Use

Keeping your gear in use is one of the best ways to ensure that its working when you need it. Buying an expensive lens and storing it away in your closet is not going to keep it nice and well. You want to keep it in shape?Use it… Using the lenses and cameras that you have keeps the gears, motors and hinges lubricated and rust free. It keeps you lenses aerated and free of fungus (if you’re not in an excessively humid area) and your camera’s springs and gears lively and full of punch!

More than anything else, it keeps the photography gears running in your head. Remember, we talked about that…

2. Control the Humidity When Possible

Its important to keep your lenses in a moderately humid area, especially if you live near the coast or in a humid region. Excess humidity helps fungal growth in your lenses, which, over time will lead to poor image quality and softness. Once fungal growth has begun, it’s almost impossible to remove it completely without damaging the lens’s coating. Low humidity (below 20%) could dry out the lubricant.

In this case, prevention certainly is better than cure… And prevention is easy, just make sure that your lenses are in air-tight containers and that you have fresh indicative silica gel inside, along with those lenses. Don’t use too much though, a couple of sachets should do for most situations.

3. Keep Them Away from Vibrations

Any delicate machinery should be kept away from vibrating surfaces. Vibrations make screws get loose in their threads and eventually fall out… Consider that your camera’s shutter is a delicate part and that a loose screw getting in between it while its moving could ruin it completely. Vibrations could also mess up the various delicately calibrated parts other than the shutter…

Make sure that your camera bag is well padded on the sides and the bottom so that vibrations are dampened to the maximum possible extent.

4. Clean it Often, and Keep it Clean.

A good assumption to make is that your camera is allergic to dust. Wipe its nose, will you? and keep it wiped…

Dust, sand and moisture are a camera’s worst enemies and the worst you can do is to keep it in an environment with these elements around…

  • Dust gets jammed in inconvenient places and is very hard to get rid of once it enters your camera body.
  • Sand is extremely abrasive and could instantly jam any moving part in a camera.
  • Moisture/water and electronics do not mix. They go together like, well, electricity and water… a lethal combination. Keep your camera as dry as possible, even if the manufacturer claims that the camera is weather-proof. In addition, moisture is bad for your lenses, remember? fungus…

Cleaning your camera equipment takes care of dust that could enter the camera body, makes sure that you don’t have sand around the lens mount when you change lenses, and safe storage keeps moisture out of the equation. Camera and photography equipment maintenance is an ongoing task.

5. Use UV filters on Your Lenses

The front element of your lens is always exposed to the open. Getting fingerprints, dust and often, horrible scratches on the lens element are not all that rare occurrences. That’s why you should protect it with a filter. Getting an Ultra-Violet filter for your lens keeps your lens one step away from these disastrous events. You can leave UV filters on all the time as they have a very minor effect on the resulting photographs…

6. In General, Pamper Them, but Not too Much

Your cameras have to be taken care of, kept clean, and charged, but you do have a life beyond the camera. At the end of the day, your camera is just metal, plastic and glass. Don’t obsess over your camera gear. People need love and care too! Also, you have those photographs to take… So go out and take photographs!