Keeping your digital camera in good working order doesn't have to be a chore if you keep up with regular maintenance and make sure to protect your equipment. There are even ways to fix common problems yourself.
A good camera can be an expensive investment, and even a cheap camera can be inconvenient to replace. Fortunately, there are a lot of things a photographer - even the most casual hobby picture-taker - can do to keep their equipment in good order. Start by protecting your digital camera, and follow up with regular cleaning and maintenance. That will prevent many problems from arising in the first place. Then, if something goes wrong, check out the tips and fixes to see if your problem is addressed.
Camera maintenance begins with protection. While there are ways to protect your digital camera during everyday use, you may also encounter some special circumstances, like especially cold or hot weather, that require extra measures. Be aware of the things that might damage your camera and you'll be well-armed to protect your equipment. For information on how to deal with issues that arise when your best efforts to protect your camera have failed, refer to the section below, called "Quick Digital Camera Fixes."
Batteries and Memory
Some of the most common problems with digital cameras have to do with the batteries: dead batteries, low batteries, batteries that won't hold a charge, and so on. Fortunately, there are ways to maintain camera batteries and keep them working as long as possible. The same goes for memory cards, which are another common source of camera issues. Take care of your camera's memory with proper handling and maintenance and you should get years of use out of it.
Sensors and LCD Screens
The quality of digital camera images depends to a large degree on the camera's sensor, but a digital camera sensor is an extremely delicate component. If you're careful with it, and avoid the dreaded dust-on-the-sensor, you'll have much better results. The LCD screen, on the other hand, has little to do with the quality of your results, but it makes it much easier to see what you're shooting. Luckily, it's not as delicate as the sensor, and is relatively easy to maintain.
Lenses and Filters
Another vital component of your digital camera - or any camera for that matter - is the lens. While it can be a delicate thing, with proper care anyone can keep a camera lens sparkling clean for great photographs. The same goes for filters, which are essentially little add-on lenses. For ways to fix common lens problems, see the "Quick Digital Camera Fixes" section, below.
Quick Digital Camera Fixes
Sometimes you just have to break down and take your camera to a specialist for repair, but before you give up, there are some things you can do yourself. It may even be possible to revive a seemingly dead camera, and some common problems have really simple solutions once you know what they are.
Brand-Specific Camera Repair Tips
Each camera brand has its own quirks, so before you despair that your attempts to correct whatever problem you're having aren't working, check the tips for your digital camera brand. Always remember to check the manufacturer's website for your camera brand, as they often have extensive troubleshooting and help files, and may even have a user's forum where you can ask questions. And read your camera's manual, too - often they're really basic, but you may find the answer to a common issue.