Today I’m going to start by asking a question.
Do you want to capture the best image possible, no matter what model or make of camera or lens you have?
There can be only one answer, of course you do! Yet if we don’t allow our equipment to work at peak performance our photos will suffer. One way to ensure peak performance is to allow the gear to work as the designers intended by keeping it clean. There are some inexpensive tools we can use to help us do just that.
Micro Fiber Cloth
Here in the Southwest we have no shortage of dust. Dust will work its way into every part of our gear if we allow it. To help keep the dust out, make it a habit to clean the outside of your camera body and lenses with a micro fiber cloth or soft brush after every photo shoot. Don’t use compressed air because that tends to push the dust into the places we don’t want it to go. A micro fiber cloth can be used on any outer part or your gear with no worries about scratching, even the plastic parts are safe. They are inexpensive and come in many shapes and sizes.
If you wear glasses like I do then every time you get a new pair they give you a cloth to take care of them. These are just what you need. The free cloths you get are a bit on the small side, but they are free and they do work. If you would like larger cloths you can find them in most camera stores, but if you want them to be as big as possible, get the ones that they sell to clean flat screen TV’s with. Micro fiber cloths will usually clean off just about any finger print or those annoying nose prints on the LCD screen without the need of any cleaning fluids. If you do have a stubborn spot that requires some fluids, be sure to apply the cleaning fluid to the cloth not directly on the lens or camera. When the cloth becomes dirty they can be washed, just don’t use any fabric softener. The softener will leave a residue on the cloth.
Another handy device is a soft brush. There are brushes sold in camera stores such as the one on the Lens Pen. They work quite well and will not harm anything on the outside of the camera. If you are looking for a brush that’s larger or even smaller, the brushes used for applying make up are very soft and come in many sizes. These can be found at drugstores and department stores at the cosmetic counter. Men, if you are too self-conscious, have the woman in your life do it for you.
A word of warning, don’t use any of these items on the inside of the camera to clean the mirror or sensor. They require different tools all together, but that’s a topic for another day. And no, your shirt tail is not a micro fiber cloth, so don’t use it.
In conclusion, a clean camera is a happy camera that will focus faster, produce sharper images and last longer.