3 tips to clean your camera with care

July 28, 2015

Be gentle with your camera and it will be good to you in return for many years to come.

3 tips to clean your camera with care

1. Clean cameras with care

  •  A soft, dry cloth is usually all you need to wipe a camera or camcorder body.
  • To remove stains and sticky residues, however, you may need to use a cloth that has been slightly dampened with water (be sure to squeeze out any remaining liquid before wiping your camera).
  • Don't use soap, alcohol, or any harsh chemicals.
  • They can ruin the surface and possibly even damage the viewfinder.
  • Water should never be applied directly to your camera.
  • It may cause some camera parts to rust and can seep into the inside mechanisms where it can cause serious harm.
  • If you need to clean the film compartment of a camera, fight off the temptation to try to blow out the dust with your mouth; the introduction of any saliva or water vapour will only make the problem worse.
  • Use a blower bulb or blower brush instead.
  • If that doesn't work, bring the camera to a trained specialist for a thorough cleaning.

    Camcorder cleaning:

  • With a camcorder, use a wet-type head-cleaning cassette to clean the tape path (be sure to give the unit adequate time to thoroughly dry before you insert a tape — at least an hour; see the directions that come with the tape).
  • You can also use a few chamois swabs with some denatured or isopropyl alcohol to clean the tape path, but because of a camcorder's many miniaturized components, manual cleaning is only recommended for experienced users.
  • In most cases, you would probably be better off getting the unit professionally serviced.

2. Clean viewfinders regularly

Photographic viewfinders fall into one of three categories:

1. The traditional viewing window found on most 35mm cameras and many digital ones

2. The eyepiece viewfinder like those on many older camcorders

3. The small LCD screen found on digital cameras and on newer camcorders

  • Both viewing windows and LCD viewfinders are easy to clean.
  • Simply use a soft cloth or chamois to periodically wipe fingerprints and grime from the plastic or glass surface (many camcorders and digital cameras come with a cloth that's especially made for cleaning the LCD screen).
  • The eyepiece viewfinder can be trickier to clean. It typically consists of two surfaces:
  • A small CRT-type viewfinder and a diopter lens, which is positioned above it to magnify the images on the viewfinder.
  • Often the lens is housed in a tube that slides up and down to let you focus.
  • Once you've detached the tube, you can easily clean any dust or dirt from the viewfinder with a blower brush or even a short blast of canned air.
  • The lens, however, comes into continuous contact with the area around your eyes, which leaves deposits of eyelashes, skin oils, dust, and other contaminants.
  • It should be regularly cleaned with a lens cloth or lens tissue (apply a few drops of lens-cleaning solution, if necessary).

3. Clean SLR mirrors with caution

  • The internal mirror is the most delicate component of an SLR camera.
  • In addition to being very fragile, it must be in the proper position to accurately show you through the viewfinder what it is going to record on film.
  • It is therefore essential to never wipe it with a cleaning cloth or tissue.
  • If you absolutely need to remove dust from the mirror, use a handheld blower or a clean, soft camel's-hair brush.
  • Never use canned air as it produces too much force. If your mirror is still dirty after using the brush or blower, take it to a camera specialist to be professionally cleaned.
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