Digital Camera Care
Digital Camera Care
Mark Comon (Vice President, Paul's Photo, Torrance, CA) gives expert video advice on: What kind of protective case should I have for my digital camera?; What kind of lens-cleaning kit do I need and how often should I use it? and more...
What kind of protective case should I have for my digital camera?
You've got to have a case for your digital camera, because all your digital cameras hate three things, and those are sand, water, and gravity. I recommend a nylon or neoprene case to protect your digital camera. What case do you need? You need one that protects the camera, that fits the camera, and that you can carry. If you have a small digital camera, a little small belt or purse case is more than enough, because all it needs to do is just shield the camera from everyday bumps and bruises. If you have a bigger SLR camera, you may want something that will hold an extra lens or an extra flash and things like that. Look to one of the top case manufacturers to buy your camera cases. Don't get sold some store brand or after-market case. My favourite camera case is a Lowepro, and if not a Lowepro, a Tamrac carrying case, because they offer the quality you need to protect your camera properly.
What kind of lens-cleaning kit do I need and how often should I use it?
With regards to digital camera care, to clean your digital camera and lens you need two things. I recommend a microfiber cloth; this is a photographic quality microfiber cloth, not unlike one you get from your optometrist. However, this one is untreated so that it will clean the camera lens and LCD properly. The second is an oil-reducing lens cleaner; to clean the camera you spray the cleaner onto the cloth and then gently wipe the camera lens and LCD off. This will remove any dust, oil and grit on the camera lens.
How often should I clean my lens?
You need to clean it when it's dirty. If you go to the beach, every time you go, you're going to need to clean it. If you just take it to a birthday party and it comes out and goes back in the case, maybe you don't need to clean it every time. But one thing I'll tell you is that digital cameras today are far more finicky with dust and dirt than film cameras ever were. You've got to keep the lens clean, the LCD clean, the whole camera clean, because otherwise you get dust and spots and blur on your picture that we didn't have with film.
Do I need an extended warranty on my digital camera?
Extended warranty on a digital camera is a really hard question to answer, because an extended warranty is basically an insurance policy. So do you buy insurance for everything, or do you say, "You know what? I'm not going to have any problems, and let it go." My rule of thumb is if the manufacturer of the camera offers an extended warranty that's reasonably priced, I recommend it to customers. I never recommend an aftermarket extended warranty because it's really worth not any more than the paper that it's written on because these aftermarket warranty companies come and go all the time. So you have this five year warranty from a company that no longer exists. What have you got? You've spent 70, 80, or 100 dollars for basically nothing. Extended warranty - it's up to you. I'm not a big fan of long extended warranties.