We love shopping for new camera gear as much as the next photography enthusiast, but let’s be real: Buying a camera or lens is something you only want to do every few years or so. Photography equipment is an investment, and every photographer should look after their gear to protect it from damage and extend its life for as long as possible.
Still, we know that’s sometimes easier said than done. Between scratches and spills, dirt and drops, there are more than a few ways to accidentally damage your camera. Thankfully, with a few tricks up your sleeve, you won’t have to worry about these while shooting. Below, we’ve teamed up with the photography experts at Ted’s Cameras to give you 6 easy camera care tips to keep your camera and lenses in tip-top condition. Read on to discover their practical photography advice.
- Store your camera in a padded bag
Whenever you’re not using your digital camera, pop it in a padded camera bag or backpack. For the best protection from scratches, look for a protective camera case that has pockets and adjustable dividers that keep your camera separate from your lenses and other accessories. Ideally, your equipment should fit snugly in your bag. This is an easy way to prevent damage if your gear gets knocked around while you’re on the move.
Your camera bag should also be waterproof and made from durable material – especially if you’re a landscape or wildlife photographer who’s always shooting in the great outdoors. And if you use a tripod, opt for a bag with a tripod holder to free up your hands.
- Invest in a camera strap
As a photographer, the last thing you want is a strap that digs into or irritates your skin. Comfort is key, so if you’re not a fan of the strap that came with your camera, try upgrading to a better one.
There are tons of options to choose from, from neck and sling straps to double camera straps and holster-style straps. You can even find decorative straps, luxe leather camera straps, and straps in varying lengths and thicknesses. Prefer to shoot hand-held? Good news: There are plenty of hand or wrist straps on the market.
Ultimately, the best camera strap is the one that suits your shooting style and preferences. Try a few different types, choose your strap carefully, and think long and hard before deciding to ditch a strap completely. Without a strap, it’s really only a matter of time before your camera slips from your grip and hits the floor or another hard surface. In other words, it’s a perfectly avoidable disaster waiting to happen!
- Use a UV filter
We get it: It’s tempting to walk around with your lens uncapped during a shoot. Fumbling with the clip of your lens cap can take up precious seconds, which can mean the difference between capturing the perfect shot and a shot that’s just “okay”.
Luckily, you don’t have to choose between protecting your lens and taking the perfect shot. If you prefer to keep your lens cap off between shots, consider screwing a glass UV filter onto your lens. It’s a simple precaution to take for camera lens care.
If anything happens to the front part of your lens, the filter will take the blow. You can just unscrew and replace it – which is much cheaper than booking in for camera lens repair! As a bonus, the UV filter will block ultraviolet rays and protect your eyes and precious camera lens from UV damage during shooting.
Top Tip: Shopping for a new lens? Protect your camera from rain and snowy, windy, or dusty conditions by opting for a weather-sealed lens.
- Clean your camera gear regularly
For your camera and lens to function well, they need to be free of dirt, dust, and grime. To ensure this, you’ll need to commit to cleaning your gear often and with the proper products.
Here’s where a camera cleaning kit comes into play. You can buy a ready-made kit, or create your own with these products:
- A microfibre cloth. When you’re done using your camera, wipe it down with a damp microfibre cloth. This will lift off any dirt and grime, and get rid of any fingerprints.
- A blower brush. A popular lens care product, this nifty tool will dislodge any stubborn dust, dirt, and debris that’s stuck to your camera and lens. To avoid scratching your lens, consider packing a blower brush in your camera bag for on-the-go touch-ups.
- A camera cleaning fluid. Reach for this specialised fluid when your camera and lens need a thorough wipe down.
- A silica gel packet. If you often shoot in high humidity, toss a silica gel packet into your camera bag to draw moisture away from your gear and provide basic camera weather protection.
Top Tip: Steer clear of using a t-shirt to wipe down your camera. It might feel soft, but it’s not made for wiping down screens and sensitive optics – the same goes for tissues and paper towels.
- Protect your camera’s sensor
Your DSLR or mirrorless camera relies on its sensor to capture high-resolution, high-quality images and videos. Unfortunately, the sensor is a magnet for dust and dirt. Those particles will show up on your photographs which can take hours of painstaking editing to remove.
The reality is that your sensor will collect dust eventually, whether you like it or not. While you can’t stop this, you can prolong the time between professional cleanings by taking these camera dust protection steps:
- Never leave the front of your camera uncovered for more than a few seconds.
- If you take your lens off for storage, do it quickly and in a clean environment. By shortening the time your camera is facing upwards, you’ll prevent small dust particles from flying into, and landing on, your sensor.
- Use the camera’s body cap to protect the sensor while you’re switching lenses.
- Protect your gear between uses
This goes without saying, but don’t leave your camera gear in very hot places, such as the glove compartment of your car. All types of extreme weather can cause damage, so you should also avoid storing your gear in extremely cold or overly humid conditions.
If you’re planning to store your camera for a longer period of time, remove the battery and charge it up every now and then. While modern lithium batteries aren’t prone to leaking or similar issues that plague other battery types, it’s better to be on the safe side!
Give your camera gear the care it deserves
Cameras and lenses don’t come cheap, but a little TLC and the right products can extend their life significantly. As a bonus, looking after your camera properly can ensure it works like it’s supposed to, meaning more happy snaps and room for creative expression in the long run. Just remember to be careful when cleaning your equipment to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to delicate components. If in doubt, your local camera store or repair centre can clean your camera professionally for a small fee.
Ready to put our advice into action? Follow the six easy camera care tips above to keep your photography gear looking and working as good as new for as long as possible. For more expert photography advice, visit Ted’s Cameras blog today!
Written by Ted’s Cameras