Whether your camera body costs $350 or $3,000, these camera maintenance ideas will keep your equipment in ship shape and humming in tune all the time.
Maintenance is an important part of any mechanical device’s life. Film and Digital Cameras are no different from other mechanical devices, and need to be cared for too. Remember to follow these guidelines, and you should keep your gear in good working order for many years to come.
Well, now … you’ve bought yourself a new camera, and it looks delicate, but you don’t know if there are specific tasks that you need to do to take care of it. Wherever should you start? Let’s start here:
Table of Contents
1. Keep Using Your Camera Equipment
Using your equipment often is one of the best ways to keep it working, ironically. Buying an expensive lens and storing it away in your closet is most likely not going to extend its lifespan by many years.
You’ve heard the phrase “Use it, or lose it”.
Do you want to keep your camera working well? Use it. Using the lenses and cameras that you have keeps the gears, motors, and hinges lubricated and rust-free. It keeps your lenses aerated and free of fungus (if you’re not in an excessively humid area) and ensures that your camera’s springs, motors, and gears are still active when you press that shutter release! Some of this advice applies more to film cameras than digital, but this one is true for both.
More than anything else, using your camera equipment often keeps the photography gears running in your head. Remember, we talked about that…
2. Control the Humidity When Possible
It’s important to keep your lenses in a moderately humid area (40%-50% RH), especially if you live near the coast or in a humid region. Excess humidity promotes fungal growth in your lenses. Fungus can 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. On the flip side, very low humidity (below 30% RH) could dry out the lubricants that keep parts from wearing out.
In this case, prevention certainly is surely 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.
3. Keep Cameras and Lenses 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 it is 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 Your Camera 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 (aff) 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!
Do share your perspectives with us in the comments.
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Published: April 12, 2007 | Last Updated: September 28, 2022