Happiness Is A Clean Camera
Often overlooked, cleaning our cameras not only helps us get sharper pictures but a clean camera will last longer too! Follow these tips to get your camera spotless in only a few minutes:
You will need a soft cloth that hasn’t been washed with laundry softener, several cotton swabs, and either a microfiber lens cloth or lens paper and fluid. A manual blower or blower brush is required too. Never use compressed or canned air to clean your camera.
An important tip for those who use lens paper and fluid: Always apply the lens cleaning fluid to the lens paper, never apply it directly to the lens or viewfinder! Fluid applied directly to the lens or can run down into the lens body damaging electronics or accumulating on intenal lens elements.
- Begin with getting the dust off. Use a blower or blower brush and knock any dirt and dust off the camera’s body. Removing loose dust first is always a good idea.
- Using a soft cloth further clean the camera’s body. A cotton swab can be helpful in cleaning cracks and crevices.
- Open the battery door, remove the battery and clean the compartment out too. Use the blower first and then cotton swabs. Be careful not to leave any cotton down in the chamber, it may prevent the battery from making contact!
- Next up is the LCD panel. Once again with the soft cloth gently clean the surface. If there is any stuck-on debris remove it first! Usually a fingernail is enough to get any stubborn dirt off of the LCD panel.
- If the camera has a pop-up flash raise it into firing position and clean out the cavity the flash folds in to. This is a favorite hiding place for larger grit. A careful cleaning will keep the flash mechanism working when its needed.
- Now it’s time to clean the eye level viewfinder if your camera has one. Pay particular attention to the rubber eye cup, clean it well with the soft cloth. For the glass finder itself either breath on the glass and clean it with a microfiber cloth or use lens paper and fluid.
The lens is up next!
- On cameras without removable lenses use the microfiber cloth or lens paper and fluid. Always blow off the lens elements with a blower or blower brush before attempting to clean your lens. For the best results clean the lens with circular motions starting from the center working outward. Don’t forget to extend the zoom lens barrrel fully and gently wipe down the lens tube!
- For interchangeable lens cameras, remove the lens from the camera body. Also remove any filters that may be on the lens. Clean all of the glass surfaces on the filters and front element of the lens as described above. Rear lens elements rarely need cleaning but they do need to be blown off. If the rear lens element does need cleaning I prefer to only use a clean microfiber cloth and breath.
Do not attempt to clean the internal mirror on an interchangeable lens camera! The surface of these mirrors is thin and can break with only a little pressure.
- It’s a good idea to blow out the camera’s mirror chamber. To do this, hold the blower in one hand and hold the camera lens mount down in the other. place the nozzle of the blower just inside the mirror chamber, make sure it isn’t touching any of the internal surfaces or the mirror. Gently compress the blower’s bulb several times. The air motion should blow out any dust that has accumulated in the mirror chamber.
- Sensor cleaning can either be done by an authorized repair facility or by the photographer with proper training. It isn’t difficult to clean a sensor, however the wrong amount of pressure can break the sensor while too little pressure can simply smear the dust all over the sensor.
The Tools We Like:
Our favorite cleaning kit is the 14 Piece Mini Rocket Cleaning Kit. What we like are the shaped, firm-tipped cotton swabs and the small but powerful rocket blower.
An alternative is the nifty Camera Care Kit With Waterproof Case. This is a great kit for compact camera owners.
A nice gadget to keep in a camera bag is a Lens Pen. Resembling a fountain pen in size, the Lens Pen uses a unique and self contained dry cleaning agent applied by a super-soft sponge tip. Cleaning a lens is as easy as turning the Lens Pen cap one click before removing it and then cleaning the lens element using a circular motion. Very handy and reliable cleaning.