The most important thing you can do for your camera is to take care of it well. If you look after your camera properly, it will reward you with a long life.
A lot of people know how to take pictures, but not everyone knows how to extend the life of their camera through proper care.
If you want to get the most out of your camera—better performance and more enjoyment—then you’ll have to follow these most important camera maintenance tips.
In this article, we are going to cover these most important camera maintenance tips to protect your camera and lenses:
- Use a Good Quality Camera Bag
- Take Care of Your Camera LCD Screen and Lens
- Try to Swap Your Camera Lenses in a Safe Environment
- Turn Off Your Camera While Changing Lenses or Batteries
- Never Leave Your Batteries in Your Camera
- Always Use Good Memory Cards
- Use a Filter to Protect Your Camera Lens
- Remember to Update Your Camera Firmware
- Go From Hot to Cold and Cold to Hot Slowly
1. Use a Good Quality Camera Bag
There are many high-quality camera bags and backpacks that come in different shapes, sizes, colors and construction. Finding the right camera bag or bags takes time, particularly as your gear collection expands.
For storage and travel, select a sturdy multi-compartment bag that has sufficient padding protection and is water repellent/resistant. When it’s out for a daily hike, having a backpack or daypack is easy on the back while protecting the camera.
Tip: take your gear with you when selecting a camera bag. Or if ordering online, look at the pictures of the bags and review their dimensions. Then lay out your gear that you would keep in the bag with a couple of inches between each item and measure to see if it fits. Not perfect, but it helps.
LowPro Tahoe Camera backpacks are the best budget-friendly camera backpack in the market right now.
2. Take Care of Your Camera LCD Screen and Lens
You need special equipment to clean your camera’s LCD screen and camera lens. Don’t even think about being cheap and taking the easy route by using glass-cleaning products like Windex on the lens of your camera! You’ll just destroy the lens’ anti-glare coating.
Instead, head to your nearest camera store and buy a special cleaning kit that includes liquid solutions, microfiber cloths and brushes that have been specially designed to clean your camera lens. Your camera will thank you for it.
Got fingerprints or unsightly smudges on your LCD screen? Just use the microfiber cloth to get rid of them. Got stubborn smudges? You’ll need to do something extra like buying commercial LCD screen cleaners. Gizga Essentials Gz-Ck-102 Professional Cleaning Kit is the greatest.
3. Try to Swap Your Camera Lenses in a Safe Environment
If you own an interchangeable lens camera, be careful when changing lenses, because that’s a prime occasion for dirt to sneak into the camera. Try to point the camera slightly downward when you attach the lens; doing so can help prevent dust from being sucked into the camera by gravity.
When shooting outdoors, your camera is even more at risk during this operation, so try to find a way to shelter the camera while making the lens exchange. You can use a jacket or T-shirt as a sort of protective tent or, if your camera bag is large enough, perform the lens swap inside it.
Finally, be especially mindful of the end of the lens that sports the electronic contacts (the end that you attach to the camera). Avoid touching the contacts, and attach the cap made to cover that end of the lens as quickly as possible.
4. Turn Off Your Camera While Changing Lenses or Batteries
Before you do anything to your camera, always keep in mind that it should be turned off first. No matter what it is—swapping lenses, changing memory cards or disconnecting or attaching cables—your camera should be turned off.
Keeping your camera on when, for example, it’s actively writing to the memory card increases the chance that you’ll ruin the card if you abruptly remove it. Similarly, if you change the lenses with the camera still turned on, you increase the chance that dust winds up on the sensor.
Turning your camera off is also useful for battery conservation. If you get in the habit of always keeping your camera on, you’re going to go through way too many batteries in a short period of time, running up your costs.
Getting in the habit of turning off your camera before you either add or remove something is no trouble at all, so remember to do it.
5. Never Leave Your Batteries in Your Camera
Always remember to put out your batteries from your camera if you are not going to shoot for the next 10 days. Most of the camera batteries are now alkaline or lithium formats. If you keep your camera with the batteries inside of it in a moist area, then the batteries can get corrosive. So if you’re thinking about just putting your camera on the shelf for several months, do yourself a favor and remove them. Even if you spot some corrosion on your batteries, you can usually rectify this by carefully utilizing a pencil eraser to rub said corrosion away!
Batteries usually leak if you use them when they’re empty. Even if your batteries are empty, but you still leave them in your camera, keeping them inside your camera will actually use them up some more. To be totally on the safe side, never leave empty batteries inside your camera.
6. Always Use Good Memory Cards and Protect Them with Care
Memory cards are highly important to your use and enjoyment of a camera. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to retain any beautiful memories that you’ve snapped with your camera. Too many people treat their memory cards roughly, but here’s what you should do to keep memory cards working properly:
- Only transport your memory cards inside of a protective case
- Make sure the memory cards stay dust-free at all times. When removing memory cards, make sure you do so indoors or in non-dusty situations.
- Make sure that you keep memory cards only in cool places. Never keep them in places where they may heat up, like dashboards or glove compartments.
- Never place your memory cards close to magnetic sources. Examples of magnetic sources are things such as audio speakers, TV monitors and actual magnets.
- Avoid touching the contact areas of the card.
- Turn off the camera before inserting or removing a card.
- Store extra cards properly.
- Check the lock switch (SD cards and some CFast cards).
- Format the card.
Sandisk is known as the best memory card manufacturer. The most popular memory cards from Sandisk are 32GB Class 10 UHS-I SDHC Memory Card and 64GB Class 10 UHS-I SDXC Memory Card. You can go with any one of them blindly.
7. Use a Filter to Protect Your Camera Lens
The lens of your camera is naturally fragile. As such, it’s susceptible to scratches, cracks, dents…you name it. So why not protect it by attaching a UV filter? Not only will you give your lens a fighting chance, but you’ll also enhance the quality of your pictures.
In the worst-case scenario, if you happen to be clumsy and drop your camera, the UV filter will break first and keep the lens intact, thereby saving you a sizable repair bill. A misconception is that filters are simply made of glass, but that’s just not true. There are various sorts of filters out there.
There’s a polarizing filter, which aids you in increasing color saturation and reducing glare. There’s also the neutral density filter, which allows you to reduce your shutter speed much more effectively than the ambient light levels ordinarily allow. Finally, there’s the color filter, which is utilized to either cool down or warm up your photos.
8. Remember to Update Your Camera Firmware
Just when you thought software and hardware were confusing enough, along comes another techno-term to deal with: firmware. This special software lives permanently on your camera, telling it how to operate and function — in essence, it’s your camera’s gray matter.
Every now and then, camera manufacturers update the firmware to fix problems and bugs, enhance features, and generally do housekeeping that makes your camera operate better. Sometimes these changes are minor, but occasionally they fix pretty serious problems and errors.
To benefit from these updates, you have to download the new firmware files from your camera manufacturer’s website and install them on your camera. If you signed up for manufacturer email updates when you registered your camera (you did do that, right?), the company should inform you of updates when they occur. But it’s a good idea to also simply check the manufacturer’s camera support page every three months or so to make sure that you don’t miss an important firmware update. You will find instructions on how to install the firmware at the website.
9. Go From Hot to Cold and Cold to Hot Slowly
A digital camera is pretty much a computer with a lens, and like any electronic device, it isn’t designed to cope with weather extremes. So take these safety steps:
- Don’t let your camera catch a cold. Extreme cold can cause various mechanical functions in your camera to freeze. If you must take your camera into the cold, keep it in a camera case under your jacket until you’re ready to use it.
- Don’t let it get heat stroke, either. Extreme heat can damage your camera as well and can be especially hard on your LCD screen, which can “go dark” if it gets too hot. If this happens, simply get your camera to a cooler place.
- Avoid rapid changes in temperature. Changing temperature extremes, such as from an air-conditioned office into the heat of a summer day, is bad for your camera. To minimize this issue, invest in a well-insulated camera bag. When you arrive at your destination, leave the camera in the bag for a while so that it can acclimate to the change in temperature.