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Photography QnA: Caring for Cameras and Equipment

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Category: All About Photography : Caring for Cameras and Equipment

Looking for digital camera care kits? Maybe you just need information on how to take care of all of your equipment. Take a look at these discussions.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 16 questions

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Photography Question 
Stephanie Frey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/31/2007
  1 .  Missing Pixels?
I shoot with a Canon 10D and the last few times I downloaded my images I've noticed that there are numerous pixels missing. Even before I start to do any editing. What could be causing this?

7/16/2008 5:38:48 AM

  Hi Stephanie,
Are all the images missing pixels in the same place? This could be a sensor problem. Are you shooting Raw, JPEG, or both? Try shooting Raw+JPEG and see if both images look the same. If it is the sensor, you may have dust which you can clean with an air blower or sensor swipes if you are comfortable doing this. You may also try a different CF card to eliminate that option. After that, I would suggest taking it to a camera shop and have them check it out.
Good Luck, Carlton

7/16/2008 6:34:07 AM

Stephanie Frey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/31/2007
  Thanks Carlton! It happens with both Raw and JPEG and in different areas (I believe). I'll try cleaning my sensor today. Thanks again!

7/16/2008 6:56:37 AM

  If cleaning didn't work try Canon's Tech Support. They're great. You have to ship and wait for the return but if your under warranty it's worth the effort.
Bill D.

8/13/2008 10:41:51 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  You need a sensor stimulator. Your cameras sensor isn't excited about the pictures you're taking so it looses interest and only grabs parts of the shot.

8/13/2008 10:45:07 AM

Stephanie Frey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/31/2007
  Cleaning cleared up 98% of the problem. Thanks though!

8/13/2008 10:58:50 AM

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Photography Question 
Sarah Baker
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/6/2008
  2 .  Cleaning My Camera
 
Recently, I started noticing a spot on all my pictures and it was always in the same spot. I looked at the mirrors on the camera body and saw some dust. I have never cleaned anything but the lens on my camera, and I don't want to ruin the mirrors! What should I do? I am leaving to go on vacation in a week and the only camera store around my house takes two weeks for the cleaning. HELP!!!

6/12/2008 6:35:02 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings Sarah. The mirrors on SLR cameras are fine-tuned and somewhat easily knocked out of alignment especially by putting pressure on them while cleaning. While it can be done, it requires great care. Most of the time, dust can be knocked off using a small burst of compressed air from a can of something like DustOff or a air bulb with a camel hair brush on it. It doesn't require cleaning with lens cleaner or lens tissue.

A CLA (cleaning, lube and adjustment) is always good once in awhile, but I wouldn't do that just before you leave on a trip unless you get a chance to test drive the thing before you go. Besides, dirty mirrors aren't usually the cause of dust on a photo although yeah, it can be a distraction when shooting. Still all in all, harmless if you can just look past it.
Bon voyage. ;>)
Mark

6/12/2008 9:06:10 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Oops, a Nikon digital camera? That's not a mirror, it's a sensor and for cleaning those, I defer to someone who's got one.
M.

6/12/2008 9:08:17 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Sarah first, do you mean mirror or sensor? Im guessing you mean sensor correct me if Im wrong. Okay, going on this guess, dont let anyone tell you that cleaning a sensor has to be scary or highly difficult. It isnt either of these things, at least not after the first time. I clean my sensor a lot mainly because I end up shooting in some fairly dirty/dusty environments. I use a bulb syringe and the Arctic Butterfly by Visible Dust. I also use the sensor cleaning fluid and swabs when needed. I just got the sensor loupe and already love the thing. I shoot with a Canon 5D most of the time, so am not really familiar with your particular Nikon; however, your user manual will have step-by-step directions for accessing the sensor which is always protected by a cover. Two points Ive learned: make sure you do the cleaning in a clean area no stray animal hair, etc. (weve got dogs, cats, horses, etc.) Make sure you use the bulb syringe first to remove any large particles. Other than this, you shouldnt have any real problems. However, if you still cannot get the sensor clean, you will need to consult a local expert who can see what is causing the problem. Thankfully, I have yet to encounter anything that I could not clean myself well, after getting good advice here once or twice or five hundred times! LOL

Now, if you really are concerned about dirt on your mirror the experts will tell you (correctly) that even touching the mirror is a very BAD idea. Of-course, they are right; however, I have used the bulb syringe to blow dust particles from the mirror surface and have never had a problem. If you do use this method, go very carefully and try not to touch the mirror itself. If there is some sticky dirt on the mirror well, Ive cleaned my mirror with the same stuff I use for my sensor, but, in all honesty, this is really not something Id recommend! Ive only done it in a real pinch, but BTW: dirt on the mirror will not affect the image. It can make focusing tough under some conditions, but will not "write" on the image.

6/13/2008 7:21:18 PM

Sarah Baker
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/6/2008
  im sorry... the sensor has dust... thank you for all the help!

6/14/2008 8:35:03 PM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  For very detailed instructions go here.
http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/cleaning.html

6/16/2008 12:12:54 AM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  And Sarah How did you ever find the time to visit so many diverse places, you must be wall versed in the Arts, as page one of your gallery clearly documents.

6/16/2008 12:30:24 AM

Daniel O

member since: 5/30/2006
  I can't improve on Irene's awesome answer, but I can emphasize one thing: I have corrected ALL of my dust-on-the-sensor-and-mirror problems with a few air bulb puffs. That's no guarantee that it will cure all YOUR problems, but by all means try it first.

6/17/2008 5:52:25 AM

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Photography Question 
Tim Hennessey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/7/2007
  3 .  Condensation and Cameras
Over the weekend, I was at an indoor water park, and I had stored my camera in our room which was cooled to about 65 degrees. When I brought it into the water park, the temp was close to 82 with 100% humidity. My lens fogged over almost immediately and I had trouble focusing the majority of the time I was there. I'm planning a trip to Costa Rica in May and would prefer that this sort of thing does not happen again. Do you have any suggestions on how I can prep my camera for the extreme humidity that I may face there? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

4/3/2008 8:36:20 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings. When changing from extreme environmental temps like cooler to warm, you're likely to get condensation forming on everything from your skin to your equipment. The solution is before changing environments, stick your gear inside a plastic, zip-lock type bag, squeeze the air out of it, and zip it shut. The condensation will form on the outside of the bag, and the equipment temp will equilibrate after a few minutes and you're ready to shoot.
For lens fogging, you can also use a good cleaner that helps repel moisture. For that, I like some stuff called ROR (residual oil remover). It's a good cleaner and seems to help prevent fogging in greenhouse environments and indoor pool areas. Take it light ;>)
Mark

4/3/2008 9:34:36 AM

Danielle E. Rutter
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2006
  P.S. from Mark: Now for pot roast, instead of a camera, add a 3 pound roast inside an oven bag. Don't use a freezer bag because they'll melt and possibly burst into flames.... salt and pepper to taste, add garlic...preset oven to 350 degrees and.............

Thanks Mark! That is great advice.

Now to go cook me some pot roast... :P

4/4/2008 9:39:14 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  Hey Mark,

When do we add the veggies?

4/6/2008 7:21:44 PM

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Photography Question 
Carl W. Bradberry

member since: 12/28/2007
  4 .  Very Hot Camera Batteries
My camera (Minolta Maxxum 5000) quit working. I've noticed that the battery pack gets very hot ... so hot that the batteries are untouchable. Has anyone ever had this kind of problem? Can anyone advise me what to do? Thanks!

12/28/2007 6:29:44 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Overheating of the batteries is due to either faulty batteries (try replacing them), or perhaps a problem in the camera that it is attempting to draw too much current from them.

12/29/2007 5:45:17 AM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Hi Carl, I know this won't help you, because you are talking about your camera battery recharger, but didn't want you to feel alone out there. I have a rechargeable system for some Energizer double A's that I tried rechargeing last month. Two, one one side of charger were so hot, I was worried about using them. Didn't know if it was the slot in the battery recharger, or the battery itself, so I put an X on both, so I wouldn't use that section, or that battery. Haven't tried a test since.

1/3/2008 12:05:52 PM

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Photography Question 
Lisa B. North
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Lisa
Lisa's Gallery

member since: 8/18/2005
  5 .  Is There Hope for My Lens?
I had a bit of an accident today - slipping on the shore of my pond. My "kit" Canon EF-S 18-55 lens that came with my Canon EOS XTi was loose and went floating in the pond. And, at the same time, my Canon Powershot Pro 1 in its camera bag was also floating away as I'm mucking in the pond mud grabbing for both! My Powershot came out dry, but my kit lens has condensation inside. Is this lens kaput or will it eventually dry out? Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

10/28/2007 5:06:39 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Lisa,
The condensation will clear. The electronics will probably be OK, given enough time to dry. The REAL problem you have is the residual dirty water that has evaporated and deposited a ton of dirt internally. Lenses CAN be opened and cleaned, but if you have never done it, don't even try. Let an expert do it if the cost is reasonable.
All the best,
Pete

10/28/2007 6:22:04 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Well, Lisa, you're fortunate it wasn't salt water and also that you don't look into the front of the lens and see fish or tadpoles swimming around inside the barrel.
To supplement what Pete said, lenses can be opened, cleaned, dried out and relubricated to some extent. Condensation might dry and turn to corrosion and may leave some of the electronics inoperable.
So, in my opinion, the best thing you can do - if there's hope in saving this lens - is get it to a competent repair shop. Let them open it up, dry, clean, relube and retest the electronics. The sooner the better. If the estimate isn't more than half the cost of a replacement, I'd let them give it a whirl.
Take it light. ;>)
Mark

10/28/2007 7:39:00 PM

  Thanks, Pete and Mark! I'll look into that today. I still see water in there! But no fish!! Lisa

10/29/2007 4:53:24 AM

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Photography Question 
Lynn Marie Coffren

member since: 12/26/2005
  6 .  Dark Corners on Photos
 
Hello! My mother owns a Canon Powershot 520, and recently her photos have started having dark corners on them. She can't figure out what setting she may have accidentally changed or how to get rid of the dark corners. Is there someone here who might be able to give step-by-step instructions on what to look for? Thanks so much! :)

7/13/2006 2:44:53 PM

Lynn Marie Coffren

member since: 12/26/2005
 
 
  eek!
eek!
 
  eek!
eek!
 
 
Photo upload didn't work, trying it again here. :)

7/13/2006 4:41:27 PM

Brendan Knell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/17/2005
  Does her camera have a lens cap that automatically closes when she turns off her camera? If it does, then they're starting to stick. My old HP 720 was starting to do this. My guess is that a regular cleaning at a camera shop will fix it. In the meantime, whenever you start it, just look at the lens, and if the lens cap is still partially closed, just touch them, and they should open right up.

7/13/2006 6:13:54 PM

Lynn Marie Coffren

member since: 12/26/2005
  Hi Brendan! I forwarded your comments to her, will let you know. The problem just started suddenly and she doesn't remember adjusting anything that might be causing it. Will follow up as soon as I find out if this worked. :) Thank you! -Lynn

7/13/2006 7:52:39 PM

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Photography Question 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  7 .  ...Not Really a Question, But a Revelation!
Here's a tip I learned recently while on a photographic road trip across the country. If you've ever wondered how to keep your film cool and fresh while on the road during the heat of summer, try one of those battery-operated coolers. They plug into the cigarette lighter outlet in your car, and in normal summer conditions, will maintain a temperature of 37 to 40 degrees. As an added bonus, you can keep beverages cold and store perishable foods for snacking during multi-day road trips ... without the mess and expense of ice. You can also get an AC adaptor and bring the cooler into your hotel room at night. I just thought I'd pass that along.

6/17/2006 3:23:51 PM

  Great idea! I got some of those enclosed things you freeze and put in the cooler... well, that worked just fine until I hit the motels without a way to refreeze them, so then I was stuck buying ice or drinking warm soda.

6/18/2006 4:05:11 AM

  You do need to get the AC adaptor because if you leave them plugged into a car battery too long they will drain the battery. They are very nice for traveling. We used to keep one in our truck when we drove over-the-road.

6/18/2006 5:30:27 AM

  Good idea!
Where would I get battery operated coolers?
Thank you.

6/19/2006 5:55:05 AM

  If someplace like Walmart doesn't have them you can get them in truck stops. They are always more expensive in a truck stop though.

6/19/2006 6:02:00 AM

  Roughly how much is the cost?

Saw your "Evening Zephyr".
Creative!
Always love your gallery.
Thank you.

Girish

6/19/2006 6:05:27 AM

  Thank you, Girish! It's been a while since I've been in a truck stop but they used to run about $100 for a decent size one.

6/19/2006 6:10:50 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  I got mine at Walmart.
It's a Coleman with a 40 qt. capacity (I think) and came with the AC adaptor...(definately a necessary accessory if you don't want to worry about possibly getting a hot-shot to start your vehicle in the morning).
We also carried along an auxillary, re-chargeable 12 volt power source for those times when we were away from the car during long hikes or mid-day meal stops.
This kept our cooler running without draining the vehicle battery.
At night we would bring the cooler into our hotel room and use the adaptor to plug it in and re-charge the aux. power source if it needed it.

This system worked great for 9 days on the road.
My film stayed cold and we had instant access to cold drinks and such while driving.

Bob

6/19/2006 6:44:34 PM

  They'll last a long time if you take care of them properly. Ours was getting pretty old when I accidentally got water on the lid part. I think it shorted it out.

6/19/2006 7:16:29 PM

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Photography Question 
joy e. GLENN

member since: 11/24/2001
  8 .  Mildew/Mold/Fungus Protection
I live in a very moist environment. We do have air conditioning units (not central air). I would like to know how other people protect their cameras and lenses from mildew/mold/fungus. I have my equipment in a plastic box with Damp Rid jar in it. Is it better to leave the cover on the box or let the air circulate?

6/1/2006 4:17:14 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  There have been a lot of postings on this subject. One of the more recent ones under the key word "fungus" is here:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=23999
Take a look and if you still have questions, let us know.
Oh, BTW, air needs to circulate around or past your equipment. In a very humid environment, I'd be careful about enclosing it in anything other than a breathable camera bag, even using lots of dessicant gel or "Damp Rid". Don't store your equipment with filters in place, and make sure your lens caps are the breathable type rather than the screw on variety.
Take it light.
Mark

6/1/2006 7:01:02 PM

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Photography Question 
Stephen  Arment

member since: 5/18/2005
  9 .  Lens Fogging in High Humidity
A very simple matter really: Is there any way to control the way a lens fogs up in high humidity? I went to the Virgin Islands last weekend and had a hard time.

5/18/2005 6:30:41 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  I'm going to guess that it happened because you took your camera from cool/dry indoors to hot/humid outdoors. The moisture in the outdoor air condenses on the cold lens.
When moving from cold/dry to hot/humid, put the lens (and camera) in a bag and allow it to warm up to the outdoor temperature before opening it. You don't need to do this going the other way - from hot to cool.

5/18/2005 7:15:30 AM

Gena A. Tussey
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2005
  I photograph quite a bit of swimming and diving in the winter and going from the car to the pool is enough to make you batty! So I usually go to the public restrooms and use a hand dryer to help speed up the process. A little fan helps too, the small hand held kind but it takes longer. I have also carried my lens and camera under my coat to get used to body heat and arrived early to ensure no fogging when the action occurs. Hope this helps some...happy shooting!

5/24/2005 6:10:03 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  This has been a common problem shooting weddings in the middle of summer with temperatures and humidity both in the 90's; especially just after it has rained. Go from inside the air-conditioned church to photograph the exit (wherein the happy couple are pelted with whatever is politically correct other than rice now) and I usually have to tell them to wait a few minutes while my lens un-fogs from the condensation. As it warms up to the outside temperature, it will un-fog itself. I usually cap it before going outside and leave the lens cap on for a few minutes which minimizes the fogging.

As John Close mentions . . . there is really no other effective solution other than waiting until the lens warms up.

-- John Lind

5/24/2005 7:13:33 PM

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Photography Question 
Ronald S. Matthew

member since: 1/27/2005
  10 .  Using My Digital Camera in Extreme Cold
I'm going to Fairbanks, Alaska, in February, where the temperature could be -20 degrees or colder. Can I use my digital camera in those conditions without damaging it and get good photos? If so, what steps do I need to take to protect the camera and get quality photos?

1/27/2005 9:36:14 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Batteries don't last very long in cold weather. Take some extras, and keep them warm with body heat - in your pocket or something like that. If you are out for a long time in extreme cold weather, protect against condensation when you come inside by putting the camera and your lenses in air-tight plastic bags until they reach near-room temperature.

1/27/2005 9:48:55 PM

  Does it hurt anything to take the camera straight out into the cold?

1/28/2005 7:10:35 PM

Phil S
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2003
  Living in Alaska, I am finding myself outdoors taking photos at just those temperatures, Ron! Gregory has great advice on the bag! I place my camera in a Ziploc freezer bag. You can tell if the seal is air-tight and condensation forms on the inside of the bag rather than the camera. Keep in mind that plastic does not like that cold weather either, so pack it up quickly! Sharon, I found going directly outside has not effected my D70. And yep, I don't use the bag until I come back indoors. I have actually seen plastic break like glass when it gets that cold here. Keep that Ziploc warm until ready to use it, Ron!

1/28/2005 8:48:04 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  You won't get condensation going inside to outside. Humidity, not closed in, air isn't static.
Not talking about misty days, but you always get condensation on the inside of your windows, not the outside.

1/28/2005 11:38:01 PM

Rob Lonsberry

member since: 1/21/2005
  Great suggestion with the plastic bag. I do the same thing for my D70, and I use a dessicant just to be sure.

2/1/2005 7:30:44 AM

Denis Ruest

member since: 8/28/2003
  One thing I would be worried about is permanent damage to the LCD. What does the expert think about this issue?

2/2/2005 6:15:06 AM

Tyler B. Sutcliffe

member since: 2/29/2004
  I live in Anchorage,and use my digital camera outside in the cold and dark all the time. My LCD doesnt seem effected, however I do try to keep the camera as warm as possible (ie under the coat,in the car, etc) right up until I am shooting. I do not recommend letting the camera getting and staying cold.
Hand warmers help out too...

2/5/2005 10:14:30 PM

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