Keeping your camera clean is an important step in preserving your equipment and making sure you're ready for the next photo opportunity. While it's best to have a professional perform a thorough cleaning when needed (leave the camera's internal mechanisms, like the sensor, to a trained professional), there are a few simple and inexpensive things you can do to keep your gear in tip top shape between cleanings.
Before you handle your camera gear, be sure to wash your hands and ensure your workspace is clean. It's frustrating to begin a cleaning only to discover that you brought more dirt or dust with you! Also, it's good to remind yourself to keep things simple and gentle. It's better to proceed with caution when cleaning your gear, rather than using rigorous or aggressive cleaning methods. If your gear is in need of an extensive cleaning, it's always best to take it to a professional.
|Giottos Rocket Air Blaster|
With the lens still attached to your camera body, an easy first step towards keeping your equipment cleans is to use a soft brush to gently remove any loose dust or dirt off of your camera gear. It's important to do this with the lens attached to your body as to avoid getting dust inside the camera. A soft makeup brush can be used for delicate surfaces, or even an air blower like Giottos Rocket Air Blaster.
Giottos Rocket Air Blaster is great for removing dust, and it's portable so it fits nicely in your camera bag. Be sure to give your air blower a couple of puffs away from your camera before you use it to remove any residual dirt of dust from a previous cleaning. Air blowers are recommended over canned air, which can be too harsh for your delicate camera gear. A gentle puff of air from an air blower is much safer to remove loose dirt and dust from your gear.
|Nikon Microfiber Cleaning Cloth|
Another inexpensive cleaning tool that can be used to clean your camera gear is a microfiber cleaning cloth. They are static free, and gentle enough to clean camera gear. Be sure to use a microfiber cleaning cloth after you brush/blow away loose dirt and debris, as a loose grain of sand or dirt could potentially scratch a delicate surface when wiped with a cloth.
A microfiber cleaning cloth can be used to gently clean the exterior of your camera body and lens, as well as clean the viewfinder and LCD screen. They are also portable, so they can be tucked away inside your camera bag. They are also great for cleaning smartphones and tablets.
|Nikon Lens Pen|
A lens cleaning pen is another handy item to keep in your camera cleaning toolbox. A lens cleaning pen, such as the one made by Nikon, is great for keeping your optics clean. It is a double sided tool with a retractable brush on one side for removing dust particles, and a soft pad with a non-liquid cleaning agent to remove fingerprints and heavier grim on the other side.
The lens cleaning pen is another portable tool that fits nicely in a camera bag, and it can be used on film or digital lenses, binoculars or telescopes. As a word of caution, it's not recommended to give your lenses or other delicate surfaces a daily cleaning. Excessive or rigorous cleanings may potentially damage the coating on the glass of the lens.
|Zeiss Lens Cleaner|
Cleaning fluids made specifically for optical glass, such as Zeiss Lens Cleaner, is another option for cleaning lenses. When paired with a soft cloth (a different cloth than the one used to clean the camera exterior, viewfinder, LCD, etc.), it is safe to gently clean the glass of your lens. Be sure to apply the liquid directly to the cleaning cloth, and never directly to your camera gear. It's also good to avoid using an excess amount of the fluid. Using just enough to leave your camera lens streak free is sufficient. This is another cleaning product that should be used with care and caution, as a rigorous cleaning could result in potential damage.
Another tip to help keep your camera gear tidy is to make sure to clean out your camera bag from time to time. Consider vacuuming it out once in a while to remove sand, dirt, dust and other debris from getting on and in your camera. If your vacuum attachment can't quite reach tiny crevices in your bag, you can try using a piece of tape to pick up loose bits of sand or dirt. Stowing your camera in your camera bag and keeping caps on your lenses while not in use is a good idea as well. Keeping your portable cleaning tools in a Ziploc bag is a handy way to keep them from picking up excess dirt and dust too.
These are just a few simple things you can do yourself to help maintain your camera equipment. However, if you feel uncomfortable cleaning your own gear, it's best to go with your instinct and have a professional do it for you.