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The Care & Keeping of LCD Screens

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/7/2010

Some simple tips to keeping your LCD screen in perfect condition.

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    As digital cameras become more and more sophisticated, the LCD screens have also increased in importance. Many digital cameras do not even have traditional viewfinders or dials; instead they depend entirely on the LCD screen for previewing an image and adjusting the settings. Yet for all their critical importance, many people do not know how to properly care for the LCD screen. Here's a quick guide:

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    Daily Care

    What's the single best way to keep your LCD screen in pristine condition? Prevention. It may seem like common sense, but the majority of scratches and other damage aren't caused by dropping your camera into tiger traps. If the LCD screen doesn't come with a cover or fold-away feature, make sure you keep it in a clean, non-abrasive case when not in use. Even when put away, try not to put too much pressure on it: LCDs are fragile, being made of plastic and not glass, and even a little pressure can cause permanent damage. Try to adjust your grip on the camera so that your fingers avoid touching the screen while adjusting settings on nearby buttons, as smudging from fingerprints is difficult to remove.

    Also, make sure you gently clean the screen with a lens or other microfiber cloth on a regular basis. Cleaning solutions can be bought fairly cheaply at any electronics store, or you can make your own 50/50 mixture of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. Be sure not to use ammonia-based cleaners such as Windex! Make sure the LCD screen is off when you do so.

    Do not leave water on the screen itself after you are done, as that could cause damage. The best way to ensure that there is not excess liquid left on the screen is to dampen the cleaning cloth with the cleaning solution, as opposed to spraying the screen and then using the cloth.

    and make sure there is no liquid remaining on the screen when you are done

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    But all the care in the world won't stop accidents from happening. It's a good idea to give your warranty a thorough reading before anything actually happens, just to see how the manufacturers will treat you and your camera. If they don't offer free replacement, it is often the case that they'll have discount replacement rates. Failing that, an LCD screen is a relatively cheap repair and/or replacement at your local camera repair shop.

    Of course, there's always the DIY approach, if the damage is beyond both the warranty and your pocketbook—or maybe if you just want to get into the nitty-gritty of how cameras work for the fun of it. Replacing the LCD screen requires surprisingly little mechanical know-how and very few tools. However, it will void your warranty in the majority of cases, so I'd really only recommend it if that's already the case.

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    There are many products out there that can either prevent LCD damage or improve LCD performance.

    One of the most useful accessories for LCD screen health is an LCD screen protector, which may be purchased either through the manufacturer's site or through sites like this. However, many camera models do not have LCD protectors made specifically for them, or if they do, they are expensive and difficult to replace. Here is a very easy, very useful make-your-own LCD screen scratch protector project, where you cut it out specifically for your LCD screen, and can easily replace once scratched.

    An anti-glare cover for your LCD screen is great way to optimize performance, especially under sunny conditions. Many cameras come with an anti-glare covering already attached, but if glare is an especial problem, then either buying or making an anti-glare cover with the same procedure as for the screen protectors might be the thing for you. Similar to this are LCD “hoods”, which can attach right above the screen to physically shade the screen from outside light and prevent glare.