Cleaning tips ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by toonfan, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. toonfan

    toonfan TPF Noob!

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    Hi there, I am just starting to get a little more seriously into photography and am finding I'm having serious problems trying to keep my equipment clean and free of dust. Was hoping someone might be able to give me some tips that might help with this. I am shooting mainly outdoors/landscape type stuff with a Canon 10D using a few different lenses and typically either a polarizer or graduated grey filters (I transport and store my equipment in a Loweprow NatureTrekker backpack). I seem to be spending more time trying to clean dust from my equipment and figuring out whether dust specs are in my camera body, on the lenses or on the filters than I am actually setting up and taking pictures !!
     
  2. Shinnentai

    Shinnentai TPF Noob!

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    I take a kind of "quarantine" approach, keeping lab handling habits no matter where I am. Quicker & easier to not let it get dirty than to clean it.

    I carry around my SLR and lenses kit in a converted cooler pack seperate from my backpack. I usually keep it all stowed and sealed until I see something I want to photo, then put it all back before moving on. It adds an extra 30 seconds or so to the process, but helps a lot in keeping things clean and ding-free, especially out in the bush (I like wildernessey settings too).

    For long hikes and such, a baggie of vinyl or latex surgical gloves is a good addition to the kit. They help a lot in keeping the hands I've spent hours getting grubby & dusty from contaminating the equipment. I usually find the hands to be the biggest potential vector for dust and dirt. Keeping the hands clean keeps the camera clean. The second-string vector is wind, which can usually be managed effectively by cultivating quick & practiced motions for changing lenses, as well as turning your back to the wind while doing so.

    I've layed out the inside of the cooler pack so the camera's default stowed arraingement is with my most often preffered lense already attached. This way I can take it out and put it back without exposing the inside of the body half tthe time. Each of the lenses in the field kit (only three, plus a x2 teledapter for the macro) is stowed with it's own polarizer already attached. Hold/carry the camera apart from you body at all times. Don't let the equipment touch *anything* other than your hands and the inside of the pack. Use a strap with quick release clips so you can stow it seperatly from the camera if need be.

    Field lab habits and "quarintine" procedures slow you down a little, but not a lot if they're reflexive and well-practiced. I usualy end up with a pinch or two of dirt in the bottom of the cooler pack, but nothing of consequence on (much less in) the equipment itself.

    Hope this helps. I'm an amature too, and have only been doing "real" photography for about nine months.
     
  3. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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    If you are a serious photographer and shoot a lot you will drive yourself crazy trying to keep every speck of dust off your equipement. Dust will never effect your photos. Only if you have some major muck on your lens will it effect your photos or show up in photos.

    I garantee you the best and most well known photographers have equipement that looks beat to hell.
     
  4. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Professionals' equipment might look beat up but i can assure you it's spotless!
    Before turning pro I spent several years as an assistant. After opening the post and getting the coffee on my first job of the day was to strip down all the equipment and give it a clean. And my last job of the day was to strip down the equipment and give it a good clean.
    One speck of dust in the wrong place can screw up a whole bunch of pictures and this is just what you don't need when you are doing it for a living.
    This is what I know to work:
    Wash and dry your hands before you start.
    Use a soft brush - preferably a photo brush. Try not to touch the bristles themselves as this can transfer grease to the equipment.
    Brush all around the part you are cleaning to loosen any dirt and then use a can of compressed air to blow it clean.
    Clean lenses front and back and around the mount.
    Clean cameras inside and out.
    Do all this on a clean table and keep the cleaned and 'dirty' kit seperate.
    If you do find fingerprints on lens elements or inside the camera, clean them off using a proper lens tissue and breath on the item to mist it slightly. Clean with a gentle circular motion. Repeat until the mark has gone. Use a lens tissue only once.
    NEVER use those bits of furry cloth you get with spectacles.
    Store lenses with lens and end caps on. Store the camera with the body cap on.
    Never store equipment in camera cases that have foam rubber inside. This stuff breaks down over time to make a sticky dust.
    Use camera bags with fabric inserts and vacuum them once a week.
    Carry a can off compressed air with you and use this to clean your kit during use if you see a need.
    All the above may sound a bit anal but it guarantees minimum dust worries. And I was working for photographers who were getting paid £20,000 for one shot! With that kind of cash at stake you don't take chances (and if anything got screwed up it was the assistant who carried the can - namely me).
    If you use these cleaning tips and clean your kit before a shoot and after you shouldn't have a problem.
    And if you want to know what problems one speck of dust can cause just ask and I'll give you the list :wink:
     
  5. j_mcquillen

    j_mcquillen TPF Noob!

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    Just a warning if you're using compressed air to clean your camera - avoid blowing it directly into the camera body, as high pressure air can cause damage to sensetive shutter mechanisms...

    If you need to blow dust from the inside of your camera body, use a 'blower brush', preferably with the bristles removed.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Compressed air works fine inside the camera. I've been doing it for over 25 years and never damaged a shutter yet.
    Blower brushes harbour dust and the little blower bit doesn't produce enough 'blow' to shift much.
     
  7. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Canon warns against using compressed air for cleaning it's DSLRs. They say it can damage the sensor. I'd hate to screw that up.
     
  8. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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