Camera care is one of the more mundane tasks you’ll perform as a photographer, but ultimately it’s one of the more important.
To help you with your camera care, we’ve identified some of the most high-risk elements that can turn your perfectly functioning digital camera into a frustrating, lifeless paperweight.
Below are some of your digital camera’s worst enemies and our tips for how to overcome them.
Enemy No. 1: Moisture
In addition to the obvious problems rain, spray and a dunk in the sea can have on cameras that aren’t weatherproofed, the hidden threat of humidity is a slow camera killer. Mould and fungal growth can wreak havoc with expensive electrical parts.
If you’re travelling in a humid country, place silica gel packs in with your gear. Try wrapping your camera tightly in a plastic bag when moving from cold to warm temperatures and ensure you let it acclimatise slowly – condensation should form on the bag instead of the camera body.
Enemy No. 2: Sand
If you’re hitting the beach, keep your gear safely zipped up in your camera bag. Wrap it in a plastic bag for protection and only take it out when you’re going to shoot.
Use a cleaning brush to remove abrasive sand grains from cameras and lenses each day, paying attention to moving parts such as lens focus and zoom rings. It’s a good idea to empty your bag and clean that out each day too. (Read our 10 tips for better coastal landscapes)
Enemy No. 3: Dust
It’s a tireless battle trying to keep your camera’s sensor dust free. Take common-sense precautions such as keeping your gear zipped away in bags when driving in dusty environments.
Consider using the weatherproof cover that comes with many bags to add an extra layer of protection. Fit a zoom lens with a wide range of focal lengths so that you don’t have to change lenses unnecessarily – and switch your camera off if you do.
Enemy No. 4: Salt
Shooting near or on the sea – particularly on windy days – can leave your gear exposed to the corrosive effects of salt water (see 25 great examples of serene seascapes).
To protect the front element of your lens, fit a clear UV filter and wipe your gear down with a cloth or T-shirt that you’ve dampened with a little fresh water. Make sure your camera’s battery is charged and that you’ve enough room on the memory card so you don’t have to open up those parts of the camera.
Enemy No. 5: Sun cream
No-one wants a greasy handgrip and LCD monitor (see our Nikon Tip: how to set your Graphic LCD display), so carry a bottle of fresh water and wash your hands before touching your kit.
This is vital if you’ve applied insect repellent as well. Don’t be tempted to carry bottles of sun protection and repellent in your camera bag – a leak will be costly.
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