Protecting Your Camera from Extreme Heat & Direct Sunlight - Summer Photography Tips on Camera Care
One problem that often occurs, believe it or not, is people leaving their camera exposed to direct sunlight with the lens cap off and the lens pointing upwards. “I would never be so stupid!” you say? It doesn’t take a moron to make this simple, yet deadly, mistake. All it takes is you tossing your camera in the backseat of your car while you drive from point A to point B – as you’re watching traffic, the sun’s evil rays are beaming down through the back window and attacking your poor camera. Or, you could be sitting on a blanket in the warm sun taking pictures when your child calls out that she wants her lunch, so you innocently put the camera down for a few moments to get sandwiches from the cooler. What’s a few seconds going to hurt? To paint a grim example, remember when you were a kid and, on a warm sunny day, you would get out the trusty magnifying glass, find the nearest ant farm and see how quickly you could fry those little buggers? Don’t want to admit to your sadistic childhood activities? How about then, trying to burn your initials into a piece of drift wood? You could do it rather quickly, couldn’t you? The sun and your camera lens work in a very similar manner. Image the damage they can do when working together.
(Click on any image for a larger view)
Besides the damage direct sunlight can do to your camera, extreme heat can also wreak havoc on your equipment. Digital cameras have lubricants in them that help the camera function properly; heat can melt these lubricants, causing damage to the camera that could be either really expensive to repair or irreparable.
How to Protect Your Camera from Extreme Heat & Sunlight
I’ve only scratched the surface as to what heat can do to your camera, but the moral of the story is, protect your camera from the heat. Here are some tips on how to do just that:
Purchase an insulated camera bag. If you can’t afford, or don’t want to spend the money on one, an insulated cooler can also help.
Wrap your camera in a light colored beach towel or other fabric if you don’t have a case for it.
Check your camera’s manual to see what temperatures your camera can withstand. Keep in mind that the inside of your vehicle can get extremely hot during summer months.
If you must leave your camera in the car, place it in the trunk or under the seat. Though this is far from a fool-proof way to protect your camera from heat, it’s better than leaving it in the main part of the car, where temperatures can become extremely intense. If you can, leave the windows cracked open for some ventilation and wrap your camera in light colored fabric or place it in a cooler or insulated camera bag.
Always keep the lens cap on when you aren’t using your digital camera.
What Do You Do if Your Camera is Exposed to High Temperatures?
Do NOT try using your camera while it’s still warm/hot, this can cause even more damage to your camera. In fact, you should even try to keep your camera as still as possible. When heated, the camera’s lubricants and glues have been softened – moving your camera around or trying to use it will make a mess of things.
Water is the final element that your digital camera hates about summer. Continue on to the next part of this series to learn tips on how to keep your camera dry this summer and helpful suggestions on what to do if your camera does get wet.
This post is part of the series: Sand, Salt, Heat & Water - A Digital Camera’s Worst Nightmare!
Summer is a great season to capture some of the best photos. It’s also the time of year when your camera is at great risk of being damaged by sand, salt, heat and water. Learn some helpful tips and suggestions on how to protect your camera from these elements and what to do if the worst does happen.