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Proper Photography Equipment Care – A Clean Camera Lens & Sensor

By on March 13, 2013
clean digital camera

It is often said that the things we own are just extensions of ourselves, so we can really tell a lot about a photographer by just looking at how he treats his photography equipment, but especially how clean the camera lens and sensor are.


There’s a long list of  negative consequences when people fail to properly take care of their photography gear. Malfunction will be the result of poor maintenance, the lifespan of your equipment will be shortened, and their value will decrease as well.

Cleaning and caring for your photography gear will save you time and money in the long run. Having a care kit and observing a regular cleaning regimen is better than paying for the costs of going to camera shops for any required professional help. Today I will share with you some tips about how to properly care for your photography equipment.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure so let’s start with things that we can purchase to keep our gear looking and working as if it were brand new. A proper camera bag is needed for the correct transport of the camera body, the lens, and other things that we require when capturing images. You don’t really need an expensive container; an inexpensive camera bag will do as long as it is tough enough. If you are really interested in photography, you will soon find yourself investing in lenses and other photography paraphernalia. As your collection grows you will also upgrade your camera bag so do not invest in expensive bags that will only last for a couple of months.

cleaning digital cameras 300x199 Proper Photography Equipment Care   A Clean Camera Lens & SensorAnother preventive practice that we can all do is to regularly cap the lens when not in use. The lens is the most sensitive and expensive part of the camera because it’s almost always exposed. Buying an ultra violet filter, as soon as you get your lens, is also a good idea. They are cheap and will not affect your exposure at all, although they will cut down on the amount of ultra violet light that enters your camera.

There is also another item called the lens guard. It is a rubbery cap that covers the top part of your lens and prevents damage in case you drop your camera. It somehow looks dorky like a kid who never goes outside without a helmet but it isn’t too bad considering the price of the lenses.

The lenses and the camera body can also be greatly affected by fungi. Everybody at some point has heard about the effect of fungi on our camera equipment, but not everybody properly stores their photography gear. Preventing fungi is relatively easy. All you need to is purchase a dry box, silica gels, and humidity indicator strips. Place the silica gel packets in the dry box with your equipment. The humidity indicator strip will tell you the level of humidity which is supposed to be between 35 to 45%. Anything lower will dry your gear and a higher level will promote the growth of fungi. You see, fungi loves dark and humid spaces so it’s best to place your things on dry, bright, and cool places.

Now that we’ve covered how to store your gear properly, I will now discuss how to clean your camera. It can be intimidating to open your camera and clean the insides but it will not be a problem if you equip yourself with proper information and the right tools. First, you need to buy a cleaning kit. Usually the kit will consist of cleaning solution, lint free cloth, an air blower and some cotton swabs. A different kit is sold for cleaning the sensor. The sensor cleaning kit contains sensor cleaning swabs and sensor cleaning solution. Please take note that although it is easy to clean your camera, it is not that simple. We won’t have problems with cleaning the outside but once you open your camera, your sensor will be exposed to dust so observe proper precaution.

how to clean digital camera lens 300x200 Proper Photography Equipment Care   A Clean Camera Lens & SensorMake sure that you work on a clean environment free of dust, sand, and lint. Check first is your sensor really needs cleaning; you can do this by taking a picture of white clean paper on a small aperture, around f16-22. Upload the image on your computer and see if there are dark blemishes. After checking and seeing that there are indeed blemishes, do not open you camera immediately. You can start cleaning by working on the outside first. You can use a soft and clean cloth to wipe off all of the oil and dirt from your camera.

Activate your camera and enable the sensor cleaning mode. By doing so, your camera will lock the shutter and open the sensor so you can gain access. It is important that you read your manual on how to do this.

Once you’ve secured the sensor open, you can use the air blower to gently introduce air inside to remove dust particles that might have invaded your gear. Drop the adequate amount of sensor cleaning solution, which is about 2 drops, on the sensor cleaning swabs and gently swipe the entirety of the sensor. Flip the swab and bring it back from where you swiped first. Throw the swabs and never use them again. Close your camera, exit cleaning mode, and take another picture of the paper. If you see any dust motes then just repeat the process until your sensor is completely clean.

camera sensor cleaning 300x199 Proper Photography Equipment Care   A Clean Camera Lens & SensorThe last thing to clean is your lens. Just blow away some of the dirt and dust with your blower and wipe the lens clean by using the lint free cloth with some lens cleaning solution. Wipe the lens with the dry part of the cloth if you see excess fluid and you’re done! That wasn’t too hard was it?

Now that I’ve told you how to properly take care of your gear, make sure that you clean your equipment regularly and consistently. Always remember that if you do take care of your photography equipment, and in particular the camera lens and sensor, it will give you back the very best image results possible.

About Mike Chase

One Comment

  1. Emmanuel Garduque

    March 18, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Thank you really for this! Before I read this post I don’t know how to clean correctly my camera lenses and sensor. I am too cautious because I am scared I might damage the lenses ;( I am into photo tricks and effects now (recently learned from http://www.trickphotographybook.org), and it was sick; the dust ruined my photos. I search the internet and found this tips, thanks again. Another thing, I used also the guard lens to protect my camera lens, clean this also as dust sticks to rubber.

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