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Taking care of your digital camera

Dave Johnson | Jan. 17, 2011
Here are five basic things you should do to keep your digital camera functioning at its best.


Get a Carrying Case

How do you care for your camera? For starters, put it in a carrying case. A padded, appropriately sized case can help you keep the camera clean and protected. It lets you collect various accessories (spare memory cards, AC adapter, USB cable, extra lenses) in a single easy-to-find place. My favorite use for a carrying case: I can easily delegate Sherpa duties to my kids and trust they can carry my camera gear without dropping anything. Keep It Clean and Dry

If you get a case, you're well along the way to keeping your new camera clean and dry. Remember that the vast majority of cameras sold--even if they look like rugged tanks--are not designed to withstand exposure to harsh environments. They definitely, are not waterproof (unless you get one of a handful of water resistant models) so don't even think about taking pictures in the water. Rain counts: Don't expose your camera to a storm. If you want to shoot outdoors in bad weather, get a rain cover for your camera--there are a lot of inexpensive coverings you can find just by searching the Web for "digital camera rain cover."

Don't Use Canned Air

You'll want to keep your camera clean, but resist the urge to pick up a can of canned air at the local camera shop. Canned air can be dangerous to cameras, especially if you are not exceedingly careful. For example, if you shake a can of canned air, you can end up squirting propellant all over your camera and lens. Canned air can also force air and dust into parts of the camera that aren't airtight, which can eventually contaminate the sensor. My advice: Get a good lens cloth and brush, and leave the canned air in the store.

Turn It Off

Finally, here's some advice you don't hear very often, but it's good to keep in mind: Turn your camera off before you do anything to it. Changing lenses, swapping memory cards, connecting or disconnecting cables--all of these activities are best done with the camera powered off. If your camera is on and actively writing to the memory card, for example, you can ruin the card by removing it. Likewise, swapping lenses with the camera powered on makes it somewhat more likely that you'll attract dust to the sensor. It's a small and easy thing to, so get in the habit of turning off the camera when you're about to add or remove anything.


 

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