Simple Photo Tips
Clean your camera

Tips to clean your camera and lens

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Cleaning your camera and lens(s) regularly is extremely important for photo quality.  Especially if you shoot outdoors at all.  Dust can get onto the lens, filters and even inside the camera on the sensor and mechanical parts.  Here is info you need to effectively and safely clean your camera.

Protect your investment as well as your photo quality

Dust and grit can wreak havoc on moving parts, wearing them down and jamming them up.  It is important to maintain the functionality and appearance of the camera, lens and other accessories.  And it also just feels great to use a clean shiny piece of equipment.

Clean your camera – Don’t do these things

Normally I would put the list of things you should DO first, but in this case, it is important to have the DON’Ts spelled out right up front.

DO NOT USE CANNED AIR OR COMPRESSED AIR.

Both of these have way too much pressure and can easily damage sensitive components or cause dust particle to become abrasive like sandpaper.   That means scratches, and scratches and cameras simply don’t mix. Also, canned air contains a liquid propellant that is freezing cold, and could damage shutter and sensor.

DO NOT WIPE THE LENS BEFORE BLOWING OR BRUSHING IT.

Again, it comes down to dust and grit.   Blow off the lens or brush it before using a wipe or microfiber cloth to ensure you are not sanding the surface of the lens.

DO NOT PRESS BRISTLES OF A BRUSH DIRECTLY INTO THE LENS.

Always drag the brush away from the tips of the bristles.  Pressing the tips of the bristles into the lens can cause micro scratches over time the lens will lose sharpness. 

DO NOT USE SOAP AND WATER.

Even if you drop your camera in the mud, rinsing it is just not an option.   To clean your camera, the best option is to let the mud dry.  Gently pry it off with your fingers.  Use a squeeze blower and soft brush to remove as much dirt as possible.  Cotton swabs will help but don’t scrub with them.  Remember dirt equals grit and grit equals sandpaper!

Clean your camera – needed items

Build yourself a little kit to clean your camera.  I usually keep this stuff in a quart sized Ziplock bag that is easy to stuff into my camera bag.  Here is the list:

Lens Cleaning wipes.

Personally, I like the Zeiss brand lens wipes.  They are not too wet or too dry.  Just moist enough to do a terrific job cleaning the lens.  I have tried several other brands.  Trust me the Zeiss are the way to go!  Link on Amazon

Microfiber Lens cloth.

Keep this is a separate small zip lock bag inside the larger bag. Shake the cloth out both before and after using.  Occasionally clean the cloth in cold water with a drop or two of mild dish soap (bleach free).   Rinse thoroughly and let air dry.  Link on Amazon

Small soft haired brush.

You want to make sure you don’t touch the brush bristles with your fingers as it transfers oil to the brush.   I like a brush with retracting bristles like this one:  Link on Amazon

Small squeeze type air puffer.

This is an important piece of the kit.  You need one with good air output.  A good choice is this:  Link on Amazon

Soft lint free cloth.

You just need something soft and gentle to clean your camera.  If you cannot find one that is lint free, that’s OK, you’ll just need to use the puffer afterwards to blow off any lint.  Honestly, you should probably do that anyway.  Link on Amazon

Cotton Swabs.

Can be used to clean nooks and crannies of the exterior of the camera.   You can also clip off the cotton ball and just use the stick as well to clean your camera.  Link on Amazon

Small alcohol wipes.

Can be found in the drug department under diabetic supplies. For cleaning electrical contacts.  Link on Amazon

You may also want to consider just getting a kit.

An excellent kit is the: VSGO DKL-3.  Link on Amazon
Clean your camera lens

Clean your camera – How to

 

Cleaning the lens. 

Be sure to keep a cap on the end of the lens you are NOT cleaning to protect it.  First use the puffer or the brush remove any lose particles from the lens.  Using one of the lens wipes, gently clean the back of the lens (the part that goes in the camera), and then buff with the microfiber cloth.  Using an alcohol wipe, gently clean the metallic electrical contacts on the back of the lens.

Perform the same operation on the front of the lens, other than the alcohol wipe as there are no contacts on the front.  Cleaning lens filters is roughly the same process.  Just lay the filter on a soft cloth.  Gently clear the side facing up.  Flip it over and do the other side.

Cleaning the camera body. 

Hold the body with no lens attached, face down and tap on the bottom and back to expel anything that may be inside.  Using the puffer blow puffs into the body and different angles to dislodge dust or other particles.  Repeat the tapping procedure. Gently brush around the opening, clean the contacts and replace the lens.

Using the lint free cloth, wipe down the entire exterior of the camera and lens.   Before putting the cloth away, shake it out to ensure its free from debris.   Launder the cloth now and then.

Clean Camera – Bonus Tip

Some DSLR’s have a dust data feature that will take a reference photo (white sheet of paper) and use that to determine if there are any spots in the image.  If dust spots are found, the camera will save that info to try to remove the spot using adjacent image information to fill in when a photo is taken.

Info for Canon: https://support.usa.canon.com/kb/index?page=content&id=ART136907&cat=5260B&actp=LIST

Info for Nikon:  https://www.nikonimgsupport.com/na/NSG_article?articleNo=000025778&configured=1&lang=en_SG

Clean your camera – Conclusion

The process to clean your camera is not rocket science but like all things there is a proper way to do it.  I hope these tips have helped with both the process and the items you might need to be successful.  Now that you have a nice clean camera, lets get out there and take some awesome photos!

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If you have any questions, comments, praise or other information to share, feel free to put it in the comments section below.  I’d love to read what you are thinking, what issues you are having, what topics you want to see covered or corrections that are needed.  Your input is valuable in helping me to help you and others learn and improve this thing we call photography.

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