Spring is almost here, at least for those of us in the southern hemisphere. It can be a good reminder for those in photography to do some regular cleaning.
Cameras with interchangeable lenses are prone to getting dust of the sensor. The more that you change lenses increases the chance of dust. You don’t even need to change lenses to get dust. Zoom lenses can act like a vacuum, sucking dust into the camera.
Sensor cleaning is best left to professional technicians. That’s not always possible because of cost, time or proximity to repairers. If photographing in remote locations sensor cleaning is sometimes needed in the field.
There several methods to clean sensors and the technicians I’ve seen do it use swabs and pure isopropyl alcohol not available to the general public. There are many DIY kits for consumers but use caution on what you buy and where from. When in dusty environments like the Australian Outback I use LensPen SensorKlear Loupe a dry cleaning system. This is not a recommendation for LensPen; it’s just a product I’ve used.
If you’re taking your camera for a sensor clean bring your lenses too. Dust inside lenses doesn’t really affect image quality. The build up of dust over time can cause lower contrast and possibly flare. Compressed air that is filtered is often used to clean lenses.
The outside optical areas of lenses must be treated with care. They are treated with an expensive multi-coating that improves light transmission, colour accuracy and reduces flare. Use an optical microfibre cloth and lens cleaning fluid if needed. Gently rub the cloth in a circular motion.
Many photographer attach a high quality, clear UV filter to the front of their lenses to minimise dust and avoid damage. Clean the filter as you would a lens.
Camera bodies should be cleaned so the dust doesn’t make its way into lenses and onto the sensor. Compressed air, a microfibre cloth and some TLC will suffice. With the lens removed clean inside the camera body. I regularly have cameras cleaned by the manufacturer.
Dust inside a digital SLR viewfinder is annoying and near impossible to clean without disassembling the camera.
Photographing outside bags and cases get dusty, inside and out. Some bags are machine washable, most will need a vacuum. Otherwise that dust will find its way into your camera equipment.
Digital photography means we can make and save many more images. Over time this can get out of hand and result in lost images.
If you can manage it maybe you won’t need to delete anything, ever. Just make sure you have a good image collection management system in place to find the good images amid all the others. A good start is using an image rating system, one that uses industry standards so you’re not locked into one vendor.
Most likely you will need to prune your collection, archive historical images to external locations along with adequate back ups. I manage over half a million photos and videos in my image collection and need to do a regular Spring Clean.
Just do it!
Spring cleaning may not the most exciting task. It’s definitely easier when done regularly in small amounts. Afterwards you’ll be inspired to go out and make more images!
Let me know on Linkedin what you have on your Spring Cleaning list.