Caring for the expensive digital cameras and Camcorders is easy enough if you have a steady hand and armed with the right knowledge and the right tools.
1. Keep Your Digital Camera Clean:
“ A Stitch in time saves nine” – “ An ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure ” If you observe the basic precaution of keeping your digital camera clean on the inside and outside, you will have less problem in their maintenance. Invest in proper camera bag and at the minimum a blower brush. Never wipe the lens with your fingers or any cloth. The lens will have a chemical coating to protect against surface reflections. It is this coating which enhances the image contrast by reducing the reflections from the surface of the lens element. This protective coating is susceptible to grime and the natural oil in your fingers.
Use the blower brush with new bristles to clean the dust away from the lens. If you have a digital SLR camera, you could start with a Skylight filter to protect the expensive the lens. If your lens has picked up enough dust, you could clean it with a proprietary camera lens cleaning liquid with a micro fiber cloth. This cloth has extremely fine fibers closely woven so that it cleans well without leaving any trace.
Clean the body with a clean dry cloth. For stubborn grime, clean the outer parts of the camera with isopropyl alcohol dipped cloth. It is a good idea to clean the electrical contacts (if any) with a paper card. Do not use any organic solvents to clean the body or lens.
For general routine cleaning the sensors of the digital SLR, you would need the following:
a. A pair of rock steady hands
b. Fresh batteries or fully charged batteries
c. Set your camera to manual and B mode.
d. Set the camera on a foam pad on the desk illuminated with a bright lamp
e. Sensor Cleaning kit ( if your camera really is in such a bad shape)
f. magnifying Glass (if you are not a spring chicken)
In case the camera times out and closes the shutter, you might end up damaging the mirror or the shutter or in the worst case all the above in addition to the sensor. If you are not sure, you will be better off to attend to this professionally.
Blow the dust with a blower brush aiming the jet of air in such a way that the dust is blown off the innards. Check the sensor with a magnifying glass for any trace of dust. With a fine bristled brush from the kit, wipe away the dust if any. Reassemble.
The Photo illustration adjacent here probably shows all the elements that can hurt a digital camera – sand, dust, fur and the electrostatic charge from stroking a cat.
2. Storing Digital Camera: Always store your camera gear in an air tight cover with silica gel bags. There are indicator types of silica gel bags which change color when fully doused with moisture. They can be kept in a warm oven to dispel the moisture and they can be ready. But the fact remains that they are cheap and can be discarded. Remove the batteries when not in use for more than a week. Store the camera in a separate air tight cover and the rest of the accessories in another cover. Your camera bag should include padded bottom to protect the camera from occasional knocks. Don’t count on the padded interior to protect the gear from a fall. Charge the rechargeable batteries every couple of months. All nickel cadmium batteries have a “memory effect” which will tend to reduce the available capacity. Metal Hydride batteries and Lithium ion batteries have no such memory effect.
3. Memory Card Maintenance:
These days memory cards come in high capacities – a few Giga bytes at very reasonable rates. Still it pays to be careful with them as a sudden failure can lead to complete loss of precious images you have shot. Always carry extra memory cards. Avoid wiping a few images every time. It is far better to wipe a batch after downloading to your hard drive. Avoid handling the contact surface. When connected to the computer, use standard PC precautions waiting for the signal like “safely remove hardware” before you remove the card.
Shoot a visiting card or a self addressed label as the first shot in the memory card. In case the camera is misplaced, the finder may return the camera.
You will have noticed that if your hard drive is almost filled to its capacity, it slows down the performance of your computer. Same way leave some space in the memory card – another reason to carry additional memory cards.