Hey Everyone! Hope you had a great week! This week's topic is from a fellow camera club member. As one of the officers in our camera club one of my duties is to come up with a gear related topic each meeting to give a 5 or so min. discussion before our actual meeting starts. I put the question to our camera club membership page and got quite a few good suggestions but one of our new members suggested how to clean your camera so that's how I got this topic. First of all cleaning you camera is just part of taking care of your gear. Gear is expensive and we don't want to damage it just through neglect. Clean gear not only gets you clear photo's but also will last longer if well taken care of. So before we get into the actual cleaning lets get to how to protect and keep our camera equipment clean as possible.
Prevention. Keeping your camera from getting dirty in the first place is key to not having to clean it all of the time. The more you rub on the expensive lenses the more potential there is to damage them. First of all if your not using your equipment it should be stowed away in a clean dry place. Your camera bag will be fine unless you just got in from a rain storm. In each of the compartments of my camera bag I have desiccant bags to absorb any moisture. You get these little bags in every thing you buy from shoes to electronics. Instead of throwing them away put them in your bag to help absorb moisture. Keep lens caps on front and rear of your lenses when not in use. This will keep stray dirt and dust off of your expensive lenses. The same with your camera body if its stored without a lens on it put a cap on it to keep dirt and dust out. A protective screen protector for your rear display is a must. These displays are easily scratched and the screen protector works great just like it does on your phone.
Cleaning. Cleaning your camera comes in phases. The first phase is cleaning the outside of your camera and lenses. Microfiber is your friend. I keep small microfiber clothes in each of the compartments of my camera bags. Little small squares that you get from all kinds of places work great for this. You seem to get one with electronics , from the eye doctor, and they just accumulate. I take them and put in my camera bag and always have one in my pocket for easy access. These are great for wiping down your camera's outside from dust and debris. You could also use pre-moisten cloths that you can get for cleaning electronics also they work great.
The second phase is the lens glass itself. Keeping these clean and free of debris can make post processing easier without a lot of processing to get out pesky spots. The first line of defense is blowing the debris away from the glass , not with your mouth because you'll just end up spitting on your camera. But with a blower. I keep a small one in my bag just for these purpose's. You'll find that a blower will get out most if not all of the stuff off of your lens. The second thing you can do after blowing is use a lens brush. These are inexpensive brushes that are very soft and made for lenses. These will get the stubborn debris off of your lens.
The third phase is for stubborn smudges or water marks on your lens. A liquid lens cleaner and a microfiber work well. There are some prepackaged wipes that are made especially for lenses. Zeiss makes the one's that I'm thinking about but I'm sure there are more. These in conjunction with a microfiber clothe will get these lenses clean as new.
Now lets talk about sensors. Our camera sensors have electricity running through them and that makes them into a dust magnet. If you're using a mirrorless camera this is even worse because the sensor is just right there when you remove your lens. Not like a DSLR that has the mirror mechanism to protect the sensor. Most cameras have a setting on them that will de-magnetize them and shake the sensor to get the particles to fall off. This should be your first defense for cleaning . Second should be holding your camera upside down sensor facing the ground and using a blower to blow away the dust. If your using a DSLR you will have to lock up your mirror to get to the sensor to do this. The third is using a sensor brush. This is not the same brush that you used to clean your lenses . It is made especially for delicate sensors . These methods usually get all of the dust off of your sensor. But if your sensor still needs cleaning then using a sensor swab to clean them is the final step. Using the correct sensor swab with the correct solution on it for your sensor gently wipe one direction stop at the end of the sensor and go back with the other side of the swab. Throw swab away don't use it again. If you need to keep cleaning get a new swab and repeat until clean. FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR CAMERA to do this. On mirrorless cameras it not to hard but on DSLR's you have to use a setting on your camera to lock up the mirror open the shutter for cleaning. I can't say it enough follow the instruction in your camera's manual on how to do this. Most of the dirt and dust that get on your sensors comes when you change out lenses so try not to change in dusty or dirty areas. I try to always blow out my camera before changing lenses but its not always practical to do when in a rush.
Keeping your camera clean and in good working order is easy to do if you take the time to find out how. If you are not comfortable on cleaning your sensor you can take it to your local camera store and they will clean it for a small fee. Having well maintained equipment (clean) will extend the life of your equipment and make your picture taking more enjoyable. So until next week Get out and Shoot!