Your DSLR will deliver years of hassle-free photography, as long as you’re prepared to look after it. With that in mind, guest bloggers from Photoventure offer up 17 simple tips for how to protect your digital camera and make it live longer.
Some are recommended camera care routines that many of us in all truth probably don’t carry out as often as we probably should, while other tips offer less obvious ways to extend the life of a camera, particularly if you’re a photography beginner.
1. Do… Read the camera manual
Your camera’s manual is full of invaluable advice and essential warnings for preventing camera damage and keeping it running smoothly — from how to extend the life of the camera battery to how to avoid overheating when you’re using Live View.
2. Don’t… Expose the camera to extreme heat
Chances are that this will be highlighted in a bold font at the front of your camera manual. Excessive heat and digital cameras aren’t good bedfellows. Leave a camera locked in a hot car and you risk plastic parts becoming warped and rubber components deteriorating.
3. Do… Attach a camera strap
If you haven’t dropped your camera at least once then, well, you’re just not pushing your gear hard enough. Seriously though, a camera strap can prevent the ground from smashing your DSLR’s digital brains in. It might get in the way when you’re shooting from a tripod, but wouldn’t you rather out up with that than foot an extensive camera repair bill?
4. Don’t… Get ‘water-resistant’ and ‘waterproof’ mixed up
Your camera may have O rings and weather resistant seals in all the right places, but unless it’s a dedicated underwater camera it hasn’t been designed to withstand a drenching.
A few spots of rain are unlikely to cause problems, but avoid wet conditions. If the camera does get damp, wipe the body down with a chamois leather or microfibre cloth as soon as possible, and don’t change lenses until the lens and lens mount area are dry.
5. Do… Consider adding a battery grip and tripod plate to the camera and/or lens
These can provide an extra layer of protection, should you drop the camera, and they’re easier to replace.
6. Don’t… Take a naked camera from a cold environment to a warm one
If you’ve been shooting outdoors in cold temperatures and bring the camera indoors, condensation may form on the outside of the camera and its internal parts.
To prevent this, put the camera in a sealed plastic bag before taking it into a warm room. Make sure it’s wrapped up tightly, so that condensation forms on the outside of the bag rather than the cold camera body. Once the camera has warmed up to room temperature, you’re good to go.
7. Do… Consider fitting clear UV filters to your lenses
A protective lens filter is a worthwhile accessory for a number of reasons. Without a filter in place, there’s a risk that the filter ring would become dented or the front element damaged should you drop the camera.
Using a lens hood also helps to absorb impact if your camera hits the deck. A clear filter is also useful when you’re photographing in the rain, or at the coast where it prevents the lens’s front element from being exposed to salt spray.
8. Don’t… Change lenses when it’s windy
Obviously you can change lenses whenever you want to, but doing it in a stiff breeze increases the likelihood of dust and other particles entering the camera body and ending up being deposited on the sensor (or rather, the anti-aliasing filter in front of it).
You’re particularly putting your camera at risk when you change lenses at the beach or when you’re a passenger in a vehicle being driven along a dirt road (a specific example, we know, but just the sort of thing that happens on safari). It’s often better to plan ahead and fit a zoom that will give you a wider range of framing options.
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