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A Guide to Basic Camera Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your camera can ensure shooting quality and prolong the camera’s life. It’s in fact not that difficult to do it your own. Check out the tips below on basic camera and lens cleaning and give your gear a clean from time to time.

The tools

There are many tools out there available to clean a camera. This article will talk about the 3 most common and easy tools, namely lens cloth for lens cleaning, air blower to blow away larger dust or grit and brush that removes dust and dirt.

Clean the body

Simply remove any dust or dirt from the outside of the camera using the brush. Pay special attention to areas such as lens barrel, on/off button and hot shoe where dirt is likely to accumulate. We can blow away any dust inside the SD card slot using the air blower. When cleaning, you should also check if the camera’s on/off button, dials, lens mount are in good condition and functioning well. If any problem, take your camera to the manufacturer for repair.

Clean the inside of the camera

The inside of the camera refers to the mirror and image sensor space after removing the lens. There are many tools out there available to clean an image sensor but we don’t suggest to do it your own. Since the image sensor is very delicate, there is a risk of damaging it during the cleaning. It is unlikely that an image sensor is covered in dust, but if that happens, the right thing to do is to take your camera to the manufacturer for maintenance.

For dust on the mirror, we can use the air blower. Turn the body upside down with the lens mount area facing down to prevent the blown-away dust from getting back in again.

Clean the lens

Before cleaning your lens with the lens cloth, use the brush or air blower to remove those large dust particles and dirt on the lens surface. This can help prevent dirt from getting trapped in the cloth and cause potential scratches to the lens surface. With the cloth, start from the center and gently wipe the surface in circular movements (in the same direction). DO NOT use any of the below to clean a lens out of convenience:

  • Kitchen / Toilet Paper – too coarse
  • Tissue – fibre will drop
  • Rubber – causes scratches

Precautions

In addition to regular cleaning, we can also follow the below advices as a precaution:
  • Attach a protect filter (such as UV lens or clear filter) on the front of the lens to prevent dirt and dust;
  • Face the camera body to the ground when changing lens to prevent dust from dropping into the inside of the camera;
  • When shooting in environment with huge temperature difference, zip your camera in a ziplock bag before putting it into the camera bag. This can prevent water from condensing on the lens surface due to quick temperature change, leading to moldy lens in the long run
It is easy for us to handle the basic camera cleaning. But remember, for serious issues such as dirt on the image sensor or moldy lens, we should leave it to the manufacturer to take care.

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