Compact cameras are wonderful tools if you’re looking for a quick snap of your surroundings. Yet, they can be fragile and subject to damages. That is if you don’t take care of them well.
“Sure, a quick wipe, cleaning it with liquid, and it's brand new!”
Trust me, maintenance is a complicated and multi-step process. That’s why it demands a separate article such as this. Make sure to follow the following tit-bits once you buy a point-and-shoot camera. Surely, your piece will have an extended life. You’ll be able to use it for decades to come.
1. Cleaning of Fiddling with Camera Parts? Turn it Off First!
When fiddling with camera parts, we should always remember to turn it off first. One should never detach or attach cables while the camera is on.
Swapping batteries, lenses, and memory cards can also be dangerous when power is on. Batteries lose their mojo. Lens sensors can get dusty, and memory cards get corrupted.
If you simply turn off the camera, you can conserve battery and save the touchscreen (if there is any) from getting ruined due to the cleaning process. Thus, you will end up paying less money in the maintenance of the device and saving more.
Extra money in the wallet means you have the chance to buy new gears.
2. Leaving Batteries in Is a Bad Idea
Compact cameras require batteries instead of film roles for taking pictures. So, the sky is the limit when taking photos. As long as the memory card doesn’t stop you. But, you get the point.
Since we don’t need film roles, we recharge batteries, put them in, and forget about them when we’re done taking photos. Latest compact cameras with newer batteries don’t pose issues.
However, Lithium or Alkaline batteries tend to leak acid and get corrosive. Don’t keep them inside while keeping the camera in a moist place.
Make sure to remove the batteries if you’re not using your piece for a long time. Batteries can get corrosive even when they are completely drained. Yes, empty batteries get more used up when kept inside the camera. The camera is only safe when you remove the batteries before putting it on a shelf.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Battery Replacement and a Maintenance Charge
Even when you’re being extra careful, sometimes reputed batteries DO leak. Worst of all, they damage the camera while taking pictures. I know many who’d straight up throw the battery away. Some would even buy a new battery of another reputed brand. But I’d ask you not to do either of the two.
Firstly, what good is it to throw the damaged battery? And, what’s the guarantee that the new battery won’t do harm to your device? The answer is, “None.”
I got into this scenario once when using a Casio battery. It leaked acid and I immediately took it out. Next thing I did is phoning customer care. I asked for a replacement and a maintenance charge to cover for damages to the compact camera. Naturally, the customer care guys obliged my request and compensated me.
The point of this story is to tell you that reputed brands always go the extra mile to please their customers. It’s natural for them to cover for damages caused by their products. All you need is asking.
4. Do Yourselves a Favor and Get a Good Memory Card
Memory Cards are essentially the brains of the compact cameras we use. They do the important thing of storing pictures that we take. People should always strive to get a good memory card at hand. If you already have a memory card at hand, here’s how you can use it better:
- You’ll do well to carry the memory card safely. I’d advise using a protective case for transporting the small storage device.
- I’d not let my memory card get dirty while removing it. Dirty memory cards can stop functioning any time. Make sure your storage device remains dust-free all the time. If you want to remove the card, make sure to do it indoors and while there’s no dust around.
- Memory cards last a long time when they are kept in cool places. Keeping them inside your car’s dashboard or near a heating fan is never a good idea. They can heat up too. This can lead to malfunctions, data corruptions and a host of other problems.
- Be careful and never keep a memory card near TVs, audio speakers, car speakers, and things that can generate strong magnetic fields. Magnetic field reacts with the exposed copper or nickel parts of the card and renders it unusable for life.
- Like I said before, NEVER remove a memory card while your camera is turned on. This can lead to a dead memory card and a lot of corrupted data.
5. Cleaning Camera Lenses and LCD Screen Requires Care
Did I say extra care? Add extra equipment in there too. Lenses are sensitive parts of your compact camera. Don’t go in thinking any “Glass Cleaner” would do the trick and remove dust off it. Normal glass cleaners are known to destroy the anti-glare coating these lenses have.
Visit your nearest camera store or search online for a compact camera cleaning kit. A kit like this comes with special cleaning solution, microfiber cloths for wiping, and cleaning brushes to take care of the thin coating above lenses. Special cleaning solution dissolves dust and microfiber cloth & brushes help to wipe it off.
Microfiber cloth is great at wiping fingerprints and smudges off the LCD Screens as well. For smudges that are stronger than usual, you have special LCD cleaners like Klear Screen and Monster ScreenCare Kit.
While you’re taking care of the LCD screen and Lens, don’t forget the Sensor. Yes, sensors need cleaning too. Sensors get plagued by dirt. Cleaning solutions would do the job nicely. Use flat swabs to apply them effectively.
6. Protect Your Lens: Use A Filter for the Job
Cleaning lenses regularly is great. But that’s not the end of the road. The secret to using a compact camera better lies in taking better “All-round” care. The users have to protect it against scratches, stains and keep it from breaking. Attaching a filter to your lens will do just that.
People use a UV lens filter for the job. This object guards the lens against breaking or getting a scratch from a fall. When push comes to shove, the UV lens breaks and guards glass and sensor of the lens. Under normal circumstances, a UV filter does wonders to your picture quality by enhancing them.
Yes, lens filters make pictures better besides protecting it! Naturally, UV lens filter isn’t the only one you can buy. There are options. I’ve seen people buying polarizing filters, neutral density filters, and color filters.
The polarizing filter allows color saturation to take place. Neutral Density Filter slows the shutter speed of our cameras. It’s really helpful when photographing in ambient lights. A color filter can cool down or warm up the photographs according to the users’ needs.
7. Stay Away from Canned Air When Cleaning the Device
Many of us can’t resist the temptation of using canned air to clean compact cameras. I’ve seen quite a lot of camera shops sell canned air too. But the thing they forget (sometimes intentionally) to mention is the fact that “Canned Air” isn’t what it says. It’s not air. Instead, you get a lot of chemicals mixed in.
Take my advice, don’t touch these things and don’t ruin your camera’s body or lens. Why? Well, these “Cans of Air” have some chemicals that discolor the body of the camera. Also, sensors might have non-removable spots due to the chemical vapors mixed in.
Use simpler things like a blower and a brush to wipe the dirt or completely clean your apparatus.
8. Have A Camera Bag at Hand? Use It
You’ve done the maintenance and cleaning of your camera, go take some pictures with it. Herein lies a problem. People shoot lots of pictures and at the end of the day, some of you carry the device by hand.
Others use backpacks and oddly shaped bags that hardly resemble a camera case. I’ve seen people carry compact cameras in suitcases, purses and even in plastic bags. These things do more harm than good. Makeshift carry bags can often put a scratch on the camera, damage the lenses, and hamper the photos.
I’d advise my readers to buy a proper camera bag for their endeavors. These things can come in various prices and with numerous perks. A good bag can protect cameras from scratches or damages. I know that photographers struggle in the rain with compact cameras. Waterproof camera bags can save you from the trials of a rude weather.
9. Be Careful When Going Out in Cold or Rainy Weather
Having a good camera bag at hand is half the job when you’re out in cold or soggy weather. As a photographer myself, I know the value of some of the “Once-in-a-Year” or “Once-in-a-Lifetime” photos. You can’t make do with substitutions. Luckily, a bit of situational awareness and care will save the device.
The first parts that get damaged due to bad weather are buttons and small openings. Waterproof camera bags are a solution as I said. Let’s get a bit more ingenious. I always keep a soft towel in my camera bag to wipe the dew off my device. It comes handy when cleaning lens and LCD screen too.
One can also wrap the compact camera with plastic. Leave gaps for the lens and LCD screen while you are at it. This will help you in taking pictures without worrying about distractions.
If you have the budget for it, go for dry silica pouches. Keep them inside your camera bag. These things take the moisture out of contention and keep the camera dry. People with the funds for it should go for camera sleeves. These things are better than plastic when protecting the compact camera in the open.
10. Control the Condensation Factor to Get Better Usage
Too much exposure in the different weather patterns can lead to the compact camera be defective. It will bear an impact on how good or bad your photos look. The water can seep into the mechanism inside and damage the intricate parts as well.
The difference in temperature due to traveling leads to condensed water building up on and around the camera lens, LCD screen, and buttons. Whenever you see fog or condensation clouding your camera, make sure it sits in humid conditions for a bit of time. This will clear the fog.
Remember the fact that I told you to leave an opening for the lens and the buttons when carrying cameras in plastic bags. That’s because a closed bag will cause these devices to sweat. Another thing you can do is to wipe the camera with a soft cloth as I told you to.
What Do I Have to Say at The End
Compact cameras don’t require you to break a bank as the expensive DSLRs do. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to care for them. Maintenance isn’t rocket science (in other words, too difficult) but is necessary. Leave them without maintenance for too long and they’ll start acting up.
Also, the lack of regular maintenance might lead to serious problems. You may have to replace your device. This can be a serious setback for people who made a significant investment in camera and its accessories.
Thankfully, this little article will teach you a few things you can follow along without breaking a sweat. No matter how experienced you are with your device, you’ll find this guide helpful. These tiny tips will save you a lot of time and trips to a store near you.
Go through the piece and let me know in the comments if it helped you a bit. Feel free to share what unique maintenance tips you follow as well.