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Digital Camera Care Tips

1. Where you go, your camera goes. If you are comfortable, your camera is probably comfortable. This means to avoid leaving it in the car. In the Texas summer heat, the lubricants present in any mechanical part of your equipment can vaporize. When the environment cools, the lubricants are redistributed on unfriendly parts and cause all sorts of problems. This is the primary cause of overexposure due to oil getting sticky on the aperature blades in a lens. Extreme cold can cause condensation to occur inside your camera. If the cold cannot be avoided, you can reduce this problem by placing your camera in a plastic bag and removing all the air. Condensation cannot occur in a vacuum.

2. If your strap is on the camera....use it! A dangling wrist or neckstrap can catch on something and pull your equipment out of your hand. Many ,once in lifetime shots, have been missed because of a strap hanging in the way. A strap can be used to keep your camera secure, determine a marked focusing distance for macro shots or help to steady your shot when a tripod is not available. If you are not going to use the strap, take it off the camera. This will give you a little more room in your bag.

3. Always turn your camera off before removing the memory card, connecting to a computer or changing lenses. Always turn your camera OFF before removing the memory card, connecting to a computer or changing lenses! Yes, I said it twice.

4. Format your memory card often and only from the camera. It is best to avoid deleting unless you are just out of room on the card and need to shoot more. I worked in a photo lab and I have seen all those images that folks thought they deleted. I prefer using a card reader as opposed to hooking the camera up to the computer. I recommend moving the images to your computer after every shooting event, making a back up of some kind, and reformatting the card. Now comes the most important part.....PUT THE MEMORY CARD BACK INTO THE CAMERA! Do I even have to go there?

5. Always keep a spare battery charged. Avoid using alkaline batteries. They only last about 10 minutes anyway and sometimes the cameras get hot. Nickel Metal Hydride rechargables or Lithium Ion are your batteries of choice. The Nickel Metal Hydride battery looks like AA alkalines, but are rechargable and last longer than alkalines. Look for the higher 2300-2600 miliamps for better performance.The Lithium Ion battery can be much smaller and last longer between charges. These are more expensive.

6. Avoid frequent lens changes on a DSLR. When you do have to change lenses, make sure you are out of the elements. If you should get dust on your sensor, take it in to be cleaned unless you are trained.

7, Use a good bag for protection. Most Digital cameras do not like wet weather. I keep plastic bags on me when I travel.

8. When traveling, especially if you fly frequently, keep your camera from getting any direct contact with the floor. When possible, the camera should be cradled in the top part of your bag or better yet, placed on a seat with you. When I worked at a camera store, I could always tell who the Pilots were......all the screws were missing from their cameras! The constant vibration of an engine will work the screws loose.

9. Ok, you now that you know to keep your camera comfortable, use your strap effectively, have your memory card in the camera and your batteries fully charged; you can join us on one of our regular adventure field trips to learn even more about your camera.


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