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Maintenance

thinkricky

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Did a search on camera maintenance but couldn't find anything. I was hoping someone could tell me good practice for keeping your camera pristine condition.
 
*moved to equipment subsection*

In general maintenance is not too complex for cameras unless you are shooting/living in more extreme conditions. Polar and tropical environments (as examples) will put more strain on components and require different additional steps for best results.

In general maintenance consists of:

1) Lens cleaning - try not to be too frequent and remember that many dust flecks can be easily blown away with a blower (Rocket Air blower is very popular). Avoid compressed air (unless its special kinds, most compressed air contains liquids which will splatter over your lens) and your own breath if at all possible.
You've also options like Lens Pens and microfibre cloths as well as cleaning chemicals

2) Sensor cleaning - only to be done when needed and can be as simple as blower cleaning (again avoid compressed air and own breath) through to dry and wet cleaning methods. Only needed if you are seeing dustspots in your shooting (to detect shoot with a small aperture at a sheet of paper/white wall - if you see black dots they are your dustspots; but they don't show up at wider apertures half as much).

3) AA Battery recharging - for flash units using rechargable batteries well will save you lots. Using a proper charging unit (eg Maha/Powerrex brand options) to slow charge the batteries (eg over 6-12 hours) will increase duration of life of the batteries. In addition some units can recondition older and poorer performing batteries (Eh Maha C9000 unit).
(note in addition I'd strongly suggest using hybrid batteries such as Sanyo Eneloops)

4) Store camera gear in a dust and moisture free environment. For most temperate locations a simple cabinet or even your camera bag will suffice when combined with a few silica gel packs. Dust can be easily removed with a small brush as and when needed.

5) Dry out Silica Gel - pop it in the oven for a while to dry it out. The Gel has a finite amount of storage for moisture and if not dried out will become useless.

6) Clean tripod legs/monopods - an important part and best done as soon after they take high levels of dirt/dust to prevent build up and problems. Note also that if you work in salty areas (eg on the beach) you should strip down and wash with clean water right after you shoot to prevent salt deposits causing problems. Most good quality tripods will strip down without much trouble and guides should be around on the net for instructions for the various makes and models.
 
Appreciate it. Thanks. I would have definitely used canned compressed air. Or just blew on it. Thanks again
 
I sent my camera bodies to Nikon every 12 months for inspect, clean, lube, re-calibrate.

Since I had 4 bodies I sent one every quarter.

Lenses went every 5 years.
 
KmH - surely for recalibration you've got to send your lenses in as well? Or did you do that all in one big go and then have recorded calibration values for each item so that they can be restored to those values each time they are independently sent it?
 
I have my lenses serviced, cleaned and checked too.
 
I sent my camera bodies to Nikon every 12 months for inspect, clean, lube, re-calibrate.

Since I had 4 bodies I sent one every quarter.

Lenses went every 5 years.

How much does that cost?
 
KmH - surely for recalibration you've got to send your lenses in as well? Or did you do that all in one big go and then have recorded calibration values for each item so that they can be restored to those values each time they are independently sent it?
If I had a lens/camera focusing issue I'd send both in, but other wise they just calibrated using the standard test gear.

But, I never had a Nikon lens/camera focusing issue.
 
KmH how long does Nikon usually take to turn around the bodies back to you?
 
I sent my camera bodies to Nikon every 12 months for inspect, clean, lube, re-calibrate.

Since I had 4 bodies I sent one every quarter.

Lenses went every 5 years.

How much does that cost?


It depends on any repairs they need to perform. I am a Canon CPS member, so what I do pay is different than the full retail value. I do know from others that if the camera isn't extremely old you often will get no bill for the clean and check. They update the firmware, clean the sensor and the camera itself and run a diagnostic. If there is nothing needed turn around can be a matter of less than a week. I always plan to be without for a month, but I've never had to because of the CPS membership and their loaner program.
If there is a repair needed they will quote you the price before repairing and you either approve or decline it. They send back. The shipping is probably the worst cost in a camera in good condition, less than a million years old and that will run you $20 or so for fedex insured.

I have had repairs on a lens run me as much as $400 and as little as $85 which I believe was the hourly rate for labor.
I recently sent 2 flashes to Sigma for service and update-no charge except for shipping.
It all really depends on what you are needing.

If you are close to one of the service centers you can actually walk your camera in and know same day exactly what the cost will be.
 
I sent my camera bodies to Nikon every 12 months for inspect, clean, lube, re-calibrate.

Since I had 4 bodies I sent one every quarter.

Lenses went every 5 years.

How much does that cost?
I'm not sure how much it costs if you're not an NPS member, but I would guess it's about $200 - $250.
 
I am a big believer in "If it is not broken don't fix it" i have never sent a lens or camera for calibration/clean/service and never had any problems all my cameras have had heavy use my 1D's have paint chips 5D is the only one that looks clean, my old 10D has got big scratches and dents but never missed a beat.
All they get is a bit of a wipe and battery charge
 

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