5 of the worst things you could do to your camera4th September 2018 // Bronya Bouchia
Whether you’ve gone ahead and bought yourself your first DSLR with a couple of lenses, or you’ve managed to keep your seasoned camera equipment out of harm’s way for quite some time, there could be a number of dangers hiding around the corner.
Before heading out on your next shoot, make yourself aware of 5 of the potential dangers that could befall your camera equipment, along with what steps you can take to lengthen the lifespan of your DSLR.
1. Contact with water
If it’s snowing, raining or you’re sat next to a body of water, this could present one of your camera’s biggest threats. Should any form of water enter your camera, it can cause completely destroy its inner mechanisms, often beyond repair.
How to keep your camera safe from water
There are some great shots that can be taken whilst it’s raining or of snowy landscapes, and with these protective tips, you won’t have to avoid these types of shoots for the sake of your kit.
For one of the safest and cheapest ways to protect your camera from rain or snow, start by cutting a hole in a resealable bag and put your DSLRs lens through it. The body will be protected against some of the elements, however, if you want to ensure that it stays completely safe, invest in a waterproof housing for your DSLR.
Should you find yourself with a water damaged camera, speed is of the essence. Shut your camera off immediately, remove the battery and under no circumstances turn it back on. This is where those small packets of silica gel you get in the package of all your electronic purchases come in handy. Place the camera in a resealable bag with these silica gels and take it to your nearest camera service centre. Whatever the outcome, you can feel comfortable in the knowledge you did your best to salvage your camera from water.
2. The small yet deadly effects of sand, grit, and dust
Do not be fooled by their size. Sand, grit, and dust not only cosmetically damage the body of your camera, but once they work their way into the various components such as the shutter, they can render it unusable.
How to to protect your camera from sand, grit, and dust
You can still take your camera to the beach for those beautiful snaps of the sunset or glistening azure waters, but you will need to be extremely careful. Do not open or change any of the various components. That means no changing of lenses, memory cards or batteries, especially on a windy day. Don’t fall to temptation as there’ll be a higher risk of sand entering your camera.
You can use a waterproof case for your DSLR to keep all of these small particles out. If, however you do get sand, grit or dust inside your camera, do not start trying to salvage it - take it to your nearest service centre for cameras as one wrong move could damage your camera for life.
3. Extremely hot temperatures
Travelling to an exotic destination with your DSLR? Although modern DSLRs can withstand a wide range of temperatures, be warned, excessive temperatures can dry out the seals on your camera and evaporate the lubrication on your camera’s moving parts. Your battery will also be very susceptible to the extreme heat. If the seals of your camera dry out, you’ll find that you’ll have yet another problem with dust and moisture easily entering your camera.
How to avoid the effects of hot weather
Should your camera be exposed to extreme heat, the damage can sometimes be repaired, however, it’s always best to avoid having to repair your camera in the first place. Try to keep your DSLR out of direct sunlight not only for the above reasons but so that the UV rays cannot warp the camera body over time.
If outside temperatures begin to reach above 35°C, switch your camera off for a few minutes to let it cool down and let it have a break from the heat.
4. Moving between hot and cold temperatures
One of the biggest problems of visiting an extremely hot or cold destination is when you move from one extreme temperature to the other. If we take the previous example of being in a destination where the temperatures reach 35°C and above, chances are you’ll have the air conditioning on full blast. If you aren’t careful about the change in temperatures, you could risk a build-up of condensation on the inside of your camera which can damage the image sensor.
How to avoid the effects of condensation
If the weather is extremely humid, try to avoid taking your camera with you. Although you will be without your camera for the day, it may mean that you can be with it for the rest of the year or longer.
Should you be shooting in cold winter wonderlands, the biggest threat is taking your camera straight into a warm room. To avoid condensation, put your camera in a resealable bag while you’re still in the cold outdoors and then take it inside. The camera will gradually warm up to room temperature without the formation of condensation. The same rules apply with your camera battery - if they’re too warm, then condensation will build up on the inside. As such, you should try and cool them down before inserting them into your camera.
5. Not investing in a good camera case
Your camera and accessories are a significant investment and it can be easy to cut corners once you’ve paid out for your new camera, lenses, and other additional equipment. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s a protective camera case. Consider your camera case as the front-line of defence for protecting your camera equipment from the elements.
Now you know what to look out for and how to try and avoid being the unfortunate owner of a damaged camera, you can concentrate on enjoying your camera and capturing more beautiful moments and landscapes. If you have your own DSLR protection tips, we’d love to hear them, especially any weird and wonderful techniques that saved your DSLR from destruction.