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Posts Tagged ‘camera maintenance’

Planning to be out and about for a day of shooting? Unless you’re doing this in the Sahara, plan for rain. Nothing ruins a day quicker than a sudden downpour. Rain and digital cameras don’t mix. Where film cameras could shrug off a shower with little, if any, negative consequences, the electronics in today’s digital cameras will short out when exposed to moisture. 

So, to preserve your investment, keep your camera DRY!

There are a lot of protective rain covers on the market that cost hundreds of dollars. My solution is a bit cheaper. I use a plastic trash bag! 

Don’t get me wrong, those expensive camera rain coats are worth the money when you have to shoot an event in bad weather. What I’m talking about here is bringing along a kitchen trash bag to throw over your gear if you’re caught outdoors and exposed to the elements. 

It’s cheap insurance that takes up little space in your bag and weighs, well, nothing. I squeeze my “emergency” cover in a pocket on the inside of my backpack. The trash bag is so inconspicuous that I forget I’m carrying it… unless it starts to rain!

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Here’s two things I do to lower the chances of getting dust  on my sensor chip when changing lenses. First, do it quickly to minimize the time the camera body is exposed to the open air without a lens. In preparation, I try to have the end cap removed from the lens I’m changing to before I remove the lens from the camera. That way, I’m not fumbling around and exposing the chip to dust longer than necessary. Second, and more important, I also turn the camera body so the lens points straight down. I keep the camera body oriented this way as I change lenses. Doing this prevents gravity from helping dust particles fall into the opening.

Using this two-step method has kept my sensors relatively free of airborne dust particles during the many, many lens changes I’ve made since switching to digital. Of course, if your surroundings are very dusty (like when covering rodeos, motocross races, etc.) it’s a good idea to keep lens changes to a minimum or to make the swaps in a more dust-free environment. To recap: point the camera down, change lenses quickly.

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