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Cleaning a Camera

"Essential for Better Photographs"

Question from Tiffani about cleaning a camera -

Hello, I was wondering if you could help a first timer clean her camera correctly.

I have a Nikon D60 and I am ashamed to say I have never cleaned it in the few years I've owned it. I have a cheap filter on the front of the lens to keep the actual lens from getting scratched but now I'm wondering if the cheap glass is compromising the image quality.

I ordered a Giottos Rocket Blower and am waiting for it to arrive. I've heard a lot about Pec Pads and Eclipse cleaning solution to clean the sensor with; would you recommend something different?

I'm confused about sensor brushes as well. I'm also hoping that you can offer some insight as to what exactly a lens pen is and how it differs from a synthetic brush. After I blow the large dust particles off the front of my lens, do I then use the microfiber to polish it?

And would a lens pen be better to use as it has the brush on one end and the polisher on the other? And how would you go about cleaning the contacts on the side of the lens? Hope you can help me out!

Thanks in advance. cleaning a camera

- Hello Tiffani,

Thank you for visiting Better-Photographs.com and contacting me.

From the way you ask the question, I am sure you appreciate that it is best to make sure a camera is always kept clean.
  • Turn off the camera and remove the battery before cleaning. Wipe gently with a soft cloth. If the camera is very dirty, soak the cloth in mild soapy water and wring well. Wipe the camera with a damp cloth and then dry it with a dry cloth. Always remove any salt water splashes.
  • Wipe the monitor and viewfinder gently with a soft cloth.
  • When it comes to the lens use a Blower Brush to remove any dust particles. Any splash marks, finger smudges etc. can usually be removed by breath condensation and a clean lint free cloth. If you choose to use a filter, always use the best quality or you might as well use bottle glass for lenses.
In my 50+ years experience I have only cleaned the inside of a camera if it's necessary. If your camera is functioning properly, the viewfinder is clear and your photographs are unblemished, there is probably no need to clean its insides.

Under normal cicumstances, dust and dirt can only enter a camera when lenses are changed and the best practice to adopt when doing so is to switch the camera off and hold it with the lens facing downwards in a wind free area. This may seem obvious but I continue to be amazed that so many phtographers do not observe this simple precaution.

If the mirror or another easily accessibly part needs cleaning then blow dust off mirror and focusing screen with a commercially available blower. cleaning a camera

If you think the sensor needs cleaning then some cameras have a pixel mapping or sensor cleaning function (or both) usually to be found in the menus. Try running these first. I do not consider it worth the risk of atempting to clean a sensor yourself and recommend contacting an authorized service center for your make of camera. Sensors are highly sensitive and can easily be damaged.

Further notes and cautions - cleaning a camera

  • Do not use strong solvents such as benzene or alcohol, or a chemically treated cloth.
  • Avoid storing the camera in places where chemicals are treated, in order to protect the camera from corrosion.
  • Mold may form on the lens surface if the lens is left dirty.
  • Check each part of the camera before use if it has not been used for a long time. Before taking important pictures, be sure to take a test shot and check that the camera works properly.
  • Be careful not to let the mechanical blower (commercially available) touch the image pickup device. If the blower touches the image pickup device, the image pickup device will be damaged.
  • Never put the mechanical blower behind the lens mount. If the power turns off, the shutter closes, breaking the shutter curtain.
  • Do not use anything other than the mechanical blower. If high-pressure gas is sprayed onto the image pickup device, it will freeze on the image pickup device’s surface, damaging the image pickup device.
Also, may I suggest you also post your question on the Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/betterphotographs and if you are on the LinkedIn network, there is a Group of Nikon Users at - www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=130599. That way you might get further advice from someone who has cleaned a D60 or at least a Nikon.

I hope this helps you and if you do find further advice which you would like to share with your fellow photographers then please add a comment at the foot of this page.

Best wishes, cleaning a camera


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