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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 2 : 11 -16 of 16 questions

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Photography Question 
Alex Cabrall

member since: 9/6/2004
  11 .  Canned Air: Is It Safe?
The canned air I recently bought says to NEVER use it on "camera mirrors". Does this mean:
1: Don't use it on cameras anywhere?
2: Just don't spray the reflex mirror and focusing screen?
3: Don't spray any glass whatsoever?
Just wanted to know, as the inside of my backup body started to get dusty. Thanks.

12/26/2004 2:03:59 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/17/2003
  The warning is most likely to deter possible damage to delicate internal parts. (The pressure in those cans can be pretty intense.)
There's also the possibility of blasting tiny bits of debris further back into the camera where they could wreak havoc with your circuitry.
Personally, I won't use canned air on anything ... except for cleaning slides or negatives prior to scanning.
Dust on the mirror and/or focusing screen has no effect on the image. As long as your lens glass is clean, you are OK.

12/26/2004 3:42:46 PM

Tiffany L. Cochran
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/27/2004
  When I needed my CCD cleaned on my D100 by a Nikon-trained pro, he taught me how to clean the CCD myself. He asked me to bring a can of compressed air with me. The "pro-sumer" camera store where I purchased it and my other supplies (optical cleaning system liquid and swabs) said that the compressed air was the correct one I needed.

But, the Nikon-trained pro was alarmed that the store had given me the wrong product because the "compressed air" was actually a can of air with other chemicals in it (sorry -can't remember what). This is the same as what you purchase from stores such as CompUSA to dust your computer equipment. Don't use this for your camera gear as it will result in VERY expensive repairs.

If you are purchasing compressed air to clean your camera, it is very important to get PURE compressed air. This may be purchased from professional photographer camera supply stores, which are usually not found in chains. Used properly, this poses no risk to your sensitive (digital) camera equipment, including your CCD. But, to be on the safe side, it is best to have a pro show you how to do this first. You must be careful of not damaging components such as the mirror. Once you learn, you will save money and possibly weeks of time which may results from having to send your gear to the manufacturer for cleaning.

A lot of info, but I hope this helps.

12/28/2004 9:21:01 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  I think that liquid in the can is the main reason for the warning. You don't want to spray it all over the inside. The pressure isn't that high, unless you're using a can of super air.

12/28/2004 10:28:55 AM

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Photography Question 

member since: 12/5/2003
  12 .  Airport X-Rays: Problems for Film or Digital?
Will the x-rays at the airport damage processed film and prints?

3/14/2004 2:53:25 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  After developement, no.

3/14/2004 7:42:59 PM

Jessy Hallam

member since: 2/22/2004
  How about undeveloped film? Or digital cameras?

3/14/2004 7:51:33 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  X-rays can harm undeveloped film. Never put film in checked baggage, since the high power x-rays will fog all speeds. The scanner for carry-on luggage is generally safe (in the U.S.) for speeds up to 400 and maybe one pass for 800. You are generally allowed to request hand inspection of higher speed films.

Digital cameras are immune to x-rays, but the digital storage media can be affected by the magnetic fields of the wand and the walk-through metal-detector. Put your digital and all storage cards through the carry-on x-ray machine.

3/15/2004 5:22:14 AM

Daniel J. Nolan

member since: 1/24/2003
  I have written an extensive article on x-ray damage to undeveloped film, including some photo examples. It's not usually the first x-ray pass that damages the film. But it's the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, if you've been to multiple airports - or if they run it back and forth to get another look. See my web site at for samples and details. It's under articles - X-ray. Get a lead film bag to be safer.

3/19/2004 11:03:41 AM

Douglas Hanlon

member since: 2/18/2003
  You may even try putting your undeveloped film in a clear plastic bag and have it passed over the counter.

3/21/2004 2:30:17 AM


member since: 2/13/2002
  I read somewhere that the 'lead bags' are not a good idea as this ups the intensity of the photons and makes things worse! The x-ray machines are set up to find a way past the item and therefore a barriar will make the thing try harder. I do like the response from Douglas. (simple ideas are often.......)

3/23/2004 10:36:38 AM

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Photography Question 
Michael McCullough

member since: 6/11/2002
  13 .  Digital Performance in Cold Weather
I have a question about digital SLR camera performance in sub zero winter conditions. Just how well will these wonders perform in very cold weather extremes?

1/28/2004 12:02:40 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Mostly fine. No moving parts (except the lens), no film to get brittle. Only problem is that battery life drops precipitously with the temperature.

1/28/2004 2:26:56 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2003
  Does film get brittle in the cold? I keep mine in the freezer. I hope that's okay. :)

1/28/2004 4:54:47 PM

Davin Edridge

member since: 2/22/2003
  Hello All,

I believe that it depends upon how cold you mean? Compact Flash and Smart Media have extremes which they will not go beyond.

Smart Media - according to the Fuji S2 Manual - should not be used below 0*C. I believe that compact Flash and microdrives will suffer a similar fate. I also believe that the LCDs are limited to operating in certain temperatures as well - should be in your manual, or on the camera manufacturers Web site.

I have seen examples of work done in the Antartic. The photographer used a manual camera and film - (no camera LCDs etc - batteries only operated the exposure meter in the camera). He mentioned that one of the biggest problems was using the camera through the mittens - or the possibility of frost-bite if removing the mittens. He also mentioned that the film was brittle and he damaged the odd roll of film trying to load it into the camera, and as already mentioned batteries do not last long.

As far as keeping your film in the freezer (or the fridge)- it is ok as long as you let it come to room temperature before using it. This stops condensation entering the camera and the possible tearing of the film due to the brittleness if trying to load it when brittle.


1/28/2004 9:02:15 PM

Mike Fitzgerald

member since: 2/8/2004
I use a Fujifinepix 3800, and yes the manual gives an operating range of 0-30 c. 0 c corresponds to 32 in the f scale. By experience , living in northern ontario , and having not purchased me cam till dec of the year. Winter pics are the only pics i've shot. I don't think any of the hundreds i've snapped showed any effects from the temperature. And some were taken at at temperatures exceeding -20 c. A good example is in this months contest for you to view. Appropriatly called 20 below. I should note the cam never spend 2 hours emersed in those temps. Nor would the photographer!but sometimes it was over an hour in the outer pocket of a parka. And often it was exposed for periods longer then half an hour. So I guess try to keep it warm best you can, but I havent seen any adverse effects even the lcd display functioned for the 15 minutes I was on the shore of a wind swept lake bracketing a series of shots and varied compositions. More of a concern may be effects of condesation of the electronics and lenses when the camera shifts from those cold temps to a warm moist environment. the point being, to play with a $400 fuji cam this way, while I can afford to do so, take the chance, I don't believe I would however try the same experimentation with a camera with higher price tags. Just couldn't afford to take any chances!

2/9/2004 5:52:54 PM

Dan Throckmorton

member since: 2/10/2004
  Actually digital cameras perform better at lower tempratures. Digital "noise" is drastically reduced at extreemly low tempratures. The batteries are your weak link. Try keeping them in your pocket or a heated vehicle until you are ready to shoot. The biggest problem for your digital camera is condensation that could damage fragile electronics. I allways try to let my equipment aclimate by leaveng it in the bag (Tamrac backpack in my case) so it can slowly change temprature before taking it out for use, keeping batteries warm seperately. Hope these tips help.

2/10/2004 9:29:36 AM

Nicole C. West

member since: 10/1/2002
  Okay, I'm thrown off by the talk of batteries loosing life in the cold. I have always been told the best place to store my unused batteries is in the freezer, and so I do. Am I shortening their life span? Where is the best place to store them?

2/11/2004 12:22:37 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Storage and use are two different things. Refrigerating/freezing batteries increases their storage life by slowing down the chemical reactions that expend the charge. But at the same time, cold increases the internal resisitance of the battery, making it unable to deliver that charge.

When working in the cold, the battery will appear to quickly lose its charge and be unable to power the device. But it doesn't need recharging so much as it just needs to be warmed up.

2/11/2004 5:26:30 AM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Another factor you will want to consider is condensation. Digital cameras are even more sensative to condensation than electronic film cameras. The condensation can cause internal corrosion and/or shorts.

The battery issue can be worked around by bringing extra batteries. Go with CF cards as opposed to hard drive based storage. So no microdrives and such. The only other concern would be the various rubber and rubberized plastic parts of some digital cameras. The extreme code may render them brittle and/or cracking.

2/11/2004 4:42:25 PM

Bob Duerr

member since: 4/10/2004
  Good evening Mike:

I just came back from Fairbanks, AK
last March... The nite time temps were
- 10 degrees.

I was using the Oly c-700 with Smart Media memory card and metel-Nickel batteries. I had no problems at all.

If concerned about temps u may keep your
camera in your coat until u are ready to

Hope this helps to relieve the fear of
the camera not working...


4/10/2004 10:08:09 PM

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Photography Question 
Kevin Boutwell

member since: 2/4/2002
  14 .  Travel Insurance for Camera
I am traveling to Europe in the next couple days and cant seem to find any insurance company that will cover my camera and equiptment for more than $500 a piece. And well that doesnt even cover my camera body. Does anybody know of any place that will cover me? Also cover me on short notice due to I am leaving in 4 days. I need coverage up to at least $2500 for about 10 days. Thanks.

7/21/2002 3:21:22 PM


member since: 2/3/2003
  cover more insurance
I don't know the exact address but look in google. Cover up to AU$2500 good luck

2/3/2003 7:19:34 PM

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Photography Question 
James Bennett

member since: 1/22/2001
  15 .  Brassing on Canon A-1
I have a Canon A-1, which I love, but it's showing serious brassing above the strap lugs. Is there anyway or anyone who can repair this? Can a camera be repainted, like a car? If it weren't for this little cosmetic flaw, my baby would be beautiful. Thanks in advance.

11/16/2001 8:12:50 PM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  Brassing is beautiful; it shows your camera is being carried and used. Makes ya look like a pro.

11/17/2001 10:48:03 PM

James Bennett

member since: 1/22/2001
  Thanks, Doug, that makes me feel better. I'd still like to make it purtyful, though.

11/19/2001 6:46:34 PM

Marvin Swetzer

member since: 12/25/2003
  I have the same problem with my A-1. If that's what it takes to look like a pro I don't want to look like a pro. The Canon Representative was no help. It seems that they just did a cheap job of finishing the camera, because none of my other cameras are brassing like the A-1. I have been thinking of stopping at a local paint store that sells all types of paint and see if I can have some touch up paint made. I think that it would look a lot better.

12/25/2003 2:01:54 PM

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Photography Question 
Susmita R. Pal

member since: 6/18/2001
  16 .  Protecting a Camera from Moisture Damage
How do I protect my camera from moisture damage?

6/18/2001 12:54:46 PM


member since: 7/8/2001
  I use a dry case with silica gel. That's a sufficient enough protection from moisture.

Silica gel absorbs moisture... it comes in a plastic jar and looks like blue colored tiny balls.

You use them according to the amount of equipment and the size of your dry case (an air tight container). When the silica gel turns pink or white is time to change the gel. You need not buy new gel just take the pink ones and reheat them in the sun or if you are short of time over a heated pan or microwave.

8/9/2001 1:13:51 AM

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