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Caring for Your Digital Camera - 8 Tips on How to Protect Your Digital Camera

written by: Terri Cassidy•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/5/2009

You’ve made the plunge and bought that digital camera you’ve had your eye on. Make sure you follow a few simple steps to ensure your camera will give you plenty of worry-free use.

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    You’ve spent your hard earned cash on a digital camera to capture those once in a lifetime shots. To ensure your camera works for you when you need it to, there are some simple no cost or low cost things you can do to keep it in tip top shape.

    1. Purchase a good camera bag that your camera fits well into. There are dozens on the market for every style and shape and they don’t have to cost much at all. A camera bag will protect your camera from all those little bumps and scratches that can come from regular use. Make sure it’s nicely padded. Don’t settle for just any thin bag or pouch as it will not protect it like an actual camera bag.

    2. Invest in screen protectors. They are thin sheets of a clear plastic that adhere to the screen on your camera, are fairly inexpensive and will save your screen from scratches. They come in an assortment of sizes and usually have a few in a package.

    3. A camera cleaning kit is a good idea. Included in a good kit are some cleaning solution and special cloths made especially for the delicate surfaces of a camera and to clean off smudges that mysteriously show up on the lens. Clean your lens only when absolutely necessary and don’t use old rags or flannel diapers for this. They can scratch your lens. Also in these kits you will find a camera brush, and a blower. These little gadgets blow or brush debris from the inside of the camera or off the surface of the lens. It is not recommended to use canned air (compressed air) as this can cause those bits of debris to be pushed further into the camera and cause problems you don’t want to deal with.

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    4. Handle all the moving parts of your camera with care. Some of these parts are very delicate and can break easily. Be sure to turn your camera off when removing the memory card or disconnecting the power cable, USB cable or batteries. Remove the memory card carefully, and reinsert the correct way. Most image cards will only fit one way in the camera. Don’t format your card unless you are having a problem with it. In most cases you will format the card the first time you use it and then not again unless there is a problem. You can cause damage to the card by repeatedly formatting it.

    5. Protect your camera from the elements. If it’s cold outside, I keep my camera inside my coat until I need to take a picture. Once I’ve taken the picture, I put my camera back in my coat to keep it warm. The same goes for really warm days. Don’t leave your camera in a hot vehicle or expose it to direct sunlight for any length of time. Don’t expose your camera or the memory card to magnetic fields or magnets, water, sand, smoke, steam or chemicals.

    6. Use caution when traveling. Although new technology will not damage your digital camera or memory card if it needs to go through a scanner, it is recommended you keep your equipment with you when you’re traveling any commercial carrier. Items are tossed around and jostled, and could get damaged or lost in transit. Your camera equipment is delicate and costly so the safest place is with you as a carry on. Check with your booking agent to be sure you don’t exceed the allowable amount of carry on bags to avoid any problems.

    7. Keep your camera free of moisture and humidity. I keep a few packets of silica gel in my camera bag to absorb moisture. Otherwise you could have mould growing on the inside of your lens and when that happens, your camera is no longer useful.

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    8. Store your camera properly. If you need to store your camera for any length of time, remove the batteries and the memory card and store them in a separate place. Removing the batteries will keep your camera safe if they start to leak. Battery acid is corrosive and can really damage a camera. Always store your camera with the lens cap on and if you have extra lenses store them with lens caps on both ends to avoid scratches.

    Follow these few simple hints and tips and with a little care and attention your camera should last you for many years.

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