6 easy DIY tips to maintain your digital camera and lens

Fact is, your  digital camera is a veritable dust magnet. Undertake this simple test. Take a picture of a neutral background such as a grey wall or a clear blue sky. Zoom into all parts of the picture and you may be surprised to see spots and smudges appear all over.

Everytime you change the camera lens, the electrostatic charge within the camera’s body will suck in dust. You may also find rust beginning to show up around your lens contact, as that area is most likely to lock moisture. These things will erode your camera and start showing up in your pictures. Undoubtedly, the value of regular self-cleaning and maintenance is massively underplayed.

And while most people assume that an undertaking of this sort requires the expertise and skill of a professional, you’d be surprised at how easy it is, with the right tool and patience, to ensure you’re giving your precious DSLR the right amount of care.

  1. Humidity Protection: In India, especially coastal areas like Mumbai, it is difficult to escape the humidity, but that climate is also the most unsafe for your camera’s “health”. It greatly affects the imaging sensor of your SLR. As we all know (but may not follow), always store the camera in a cool, dry place. Additionally, some easy measures to protect your photography equipment from humidity are to use desiccant packets in your camera bag and store them in ziplock bags. Avoid moving the camera from a cool place such as an air conditioned room to hot, humid outdoors. The resulting condensation will wreak havoc on your imaging sensor.


  1. Cleaning your camera: In order to effectively clean your equipment, use a combination of a soft bristled brush and a a microfiber one, and wipe down the exterior to take off dust and other particles that could also creep inside the camera body. Unless you change your lens constantly, you won’t need to get inside your camera that often. If you must though, use a cleaning brush to clean the all-important imaging sensor. However, make sure that the camera is set to a manual cleaning mode before you go anywhere near the sensor, to protect the mirror. You can look online or in a local photography shop for more advanced imaging sensor-cleaning tools. But be warned – your camera is at a bigger risk of damage from improper tools, rather than the dust (such as your shirt sleeve or handkerchief). If you’re afraid to take this task on yourself, take it down to your service centre for proper maintenance.


  1. Protective gear: The most common and expensive mistake people make is not using the caps and hoods – and making it into an obsessive habit to use the cap every time you put the camera down. It takes second and can save you a lot of money! Lens hoods are another safety feature. Though they’re meant to block sun glare, they have the added bonus of protecting the edge of your lens. Carrying a well designed camera bag, especially when taking multiple lenses around is a must and will go a long way in securing your equipment while on the move.


  1. Cleaning the lens surface:  Using a sensor loupe will help identify the spotty areas on your lens or sensor. An hand air blower and brush will blow and wipe away dust, if that’s the culprit. For smudges, use the above mentioned microfiber cloth. Start in the centre of the lens glass and move outward in a circular motion. A high grade iso-propyl solution works best to remove the smudges. Take some new photos and see if that did the trick. If not, consider sending your camera out for a professional cleaning.


  1. Storage Tips: Leaving your camera, even if in a bag, in the trunk of your car in the heat is not a good idea. The same goes for leaving it in below freezing climes. These extreme temperatures are not your camera’s friend. Though it can withstand varying conditions out in the field with the proper protection, leaving it sitting in these temps for long periods of times will only damage it in the long run.


  1. Protecting from water: You’ve probably heard this warning a few times before – water from the rains, beach, swimming pools or really anywhere can damage your equipment like nothing else. If you’re going out on a rainy day or in the pool, it is worth the investment to carry a waterproof case for the camera, so you can continue clicking away without worry. (this Aquapac case works the best). Your lens on the other hand, can take a few drops. Keep that dry microfiber cloth handy, though to wipe off the water on a regular basis.

Remember the preventative maintenance rules and use a light touch when doing any maintenance. That said, always send your camera out if you’re uncomfortable with any of the cleaning or maintenance. It’s worth the time and money spent to send it out rather than the risk of damaging it.

Ofcourse, if all this sounds like too much of a task, you can always rent your photography equipment needs and outsource all the maintenance to us!

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