How To Protect Your Camera And Lenses From Damage
Let’s face it, camera gear is expensive. At this point, you’ve probably spent hundreds (even thousands) of dollars on the gear you own. Obviously, the last thing you want is for it to get scratched or damaged. Unfortunately, accidents can happen while you’re taking photos so you always need to err on the side of caution. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to protect your camera and lenses from scratches, dust, or other damage.
Luckily it’s not rocket science to learn how to take care of your camera and lenses. With the help of a few simple practices, you can drastically increase the lifespan of your gear. This article will teach you exactly how to protect your camera and lenses to keep your gear in working order! Let’s dive in.
Why Is Camera And Lens Care Important
Taking care of your camera body and lenses is extremely important if you want your gear to last. Unless you’re sitting on a heaping pile of cash, the idea of ‘just buying new gear’ probably doesn’t sit well for you. With proper care and attention, your camera gear should last you for many years without issues. That’s assuming you take care of it properly of course.
Without adequate care, parts of your gear can become worn down or not function properly. Things like buttons, focus rings, screens, lens elements, or mounts can become easily damaged if you aren’t careful.
Damaging any essential parts of your camera body can reduce its overall functionality. For example, some people feel a little too confident in the rain and a button on their camera stops working. Others may not pay attention and accidentally scratch the screen when they place their camera on the ground. These mishaps can not only be annoying but make way for further problems in the future.
Although the camera body can get damaged, your lenses are at a much higher risk. Since they stick out the most, they’re often the first thing that bumps into something. They can easily scratch if they hit something or while getting bumped around without lens caps. The truth is, lenses are essentially just a tube of glass, so it’s wise to be as careful as possible. If you damage your lens it can affect the image quality or focus capabilities, making it difficult to shoot with.
To ensure your camera gear lasts, it’s in your best interest to protect it in any way you can.
5 Ways To Protect Your Camera And Lenses To Improve Their Lifespan
The common ways people damage their camera gear can be easily avoided with some smarter practices. Here are simple five tips to protect your camera and lenses to improve their overall lifespan.
#1. Using A Proper Camera Bag
The absolute most important thing to get with your camera gear is a proper bag. A dedicated camera bag is designed to keep your equipment secure and safe. Unlike a regular bag, camera bags have padded compartments to fit the different lenses or cameras your own. These compartments limit movement while keeping gear padded from anything your bag may hit. If you were to use a regular backpack, your camera gear would lump together into a big pile. Every bump that bag felt would cause your gear to clunk together potentially causing further damage. It’s common sense to see why investing in a proper camera bag is so useful.
There are so many different types of camera bags on the market. The right one for you will depend on the amount of gear you own, and the places you go with your camera. I personally use the MindShift Backlight 36L Camera Bag as my go-to bag. I’ve taken this bag around the world in just about any weather condition you can imagine. Even after all that, it looks brand new and perfectly protects my gear. It does sit on the more expensive end of camera bags, but it is a worthy investment.
If you’re looking for something more affordable (that still gets the job done) definitely check out this Caden Camera Bag. It’s a super well-reviewed bag with customizable storage compartments to fit all your gear!
#2. Never Put Your Gear Away Wet
It’s not uncommon to find yourself in a bit of rain while taking pictures. As long as your camera is weather-sealed, a bit of rain won’t kill it. However, it’s crucial you let your camera dry out before you put it back into your bag. If you put your camera away wet, it can start to seep into parts of the camera causing further damage. Additionally, it can cause condensation to build up inside of your lenses. This condensation is near impossible to wipe away if it fogs up and can affect the performance of your lens.
After you’ve taken photos in a wet environment, be sure to wipe off any visible water from your camera with a towel. From there, let your camera air dry on a table to finish the job. To go the extra mile, it’s not a bad idea to keep a few Silica packs tucked away in your camera bag. These packs are super cheap and work incredibly well to absorb any surrounding moisture or condensation. I keep at least two of them in my bag to ensure my camera and lenses stay as dry as possible.
#3. Use Your Lens Caps
Many photographers neglect to keep lens caps on their lenses after they put them away. I’ve seen way too many people with a bag full of lenses with no caps to be seen. If you want to know how to protect your lens from scratches or damage, using the lens cap is the easiest way. Both the front and back lens caps are important to use. Even if they are being stored in your camera bag, the glass elements can easily scratch. It only takes the end of a zipper, or the strap of your watch to cause a scratch. Be smart about it and use your lens caps to prevent damage to your lenses!
#4. Clean Your Gear Regularly
Just like all electronics, it’s important to keep them clean. To keep all the buttons, ports, and glass elements in optimal condition, it’s worth cleaning your camera regularly. Dust and dirt can easily build up on your camera making it even harder to clean if you leave it. Taking note and cleaning any dirty spots on your gear will help things to run smoothly.
It’s a good idea to do this every couple of weeks. If you’re shooting in a really dusty environment, it’s smart to clean it the same day. Just using microfiber lens cloths, puffers, and a cleaning solution will do the trick!
#5. Never Leave Your Camera’s Lens Port Open Longer Than Necessary
The lens port on your camera is that open hole you see when you change your camera lens. Through this port, you’ll find your sensor and other crucial inner workings of your camera. These parts are much harder and more technical to clean than the outer area. Furthermore, if the insides of your camera get damaged, it’s going to be a big repair bill. To reduce the risk of getting dust or water inside your camera body, minimize the time your lens port is open.
Of course there’s nothing you can do about this when changing lenses. Don’t take this as ‘it can never be open’ but just be conscious of it. For example, switch your lenses on and off quickly rather than having a conversation in the middle. Be aware if there’s heavy rain or dust around you. In situations like this, it may be best to change your lens somewhere else. The less time your lens port is open, the less chance dust or debris can get in!
How To Protect Your Lenses From Gettings Scratched And Damaged
Now besides keeping all of your gear safe, it’s also important to know how to protect your lens from scratches. It’s almost inevitable that your camera will take a bump or tumble you don’t expect. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare yourself! The tips outlined below share some of the best ways to protect your lens from these unforeseen situations.
– Using A UV Filter
A UV filter is a clear glass filter that mounts onto the front element of your lens. These filters don’t have any creative effect in your photography, but they do add an extra layer of protection! When a UV filter is mounted to your lens, it acts as an additional glass element. The difference being, it’s not a part of the actual lens. This means that if you accidentally scratch or bump your lens, it’s going to hit the UV filter instead. UV filters only cost around $10 – $20 making it far easier to replace than an entire lens if it got damaged. It’s a good idea to get a UV filter for all your most-used lenses. That way you can keep them protected from scratches and dust at all times!
Before you purchase a UV filter, make sure you order the correct thread size for your lens! The thread diameter for your specific lens will be labeled along the edge of your front element.
– Using A Lens Hood
Lens hoods are a fantastic tool to help cut glare and protect your lens from the elements. They also happen to work great to protect your lens from scratches! Since a lens hood extends a few inches past the front element, it becomes less likely to strike the actual glass. If you know you’re going to be in a crowd or a busy environment, a lens hood can add another layer of protection to prevent damage to your lens!
– Rethink Your Camera Strap
Now before you get carried away and throw your camera strap in the trash, let me explain this one. There’s nothing wrong with having your camera slung around your neck. It’s secure, easy to access, and sits in a natural position. The trouble is, it’s really easy for your camera to swing around and hit something. Camera straps also leave your camera hanging with the lens out, making it a prime target to get damaged. If you tend to carry your camera around on your neck just for quick access, it may be time to try an alternative.
Camera holsters are handy tools to replace your camera strap completely. They secure your camera safely to the strap of your backpack making them easy to access. My favorite part about camera holsters is that your lens faces down. When the lens is pointed down it’s nearly impossible for anything to bump or scratch the glass element. If you’re interested in getting a camera holster, the PeakDesign Capture Clip is definitely worth looking at!
– Keep Your Lens Cap On Whenever Possible
Once again, lens caps are coming to save the day. These cheap pieces of plastic will literally save you thousands of dollars if you actually use them. When you’re taking photos it’s easy to forget about your lens cap completely. However, putting your lens cap on between photos is an easy and worthwhile way to protect your lens. With the help of a lens cap, you can completely illuminate the chance of scratches when you aren’t taking photos.
– Use A Puffer Before You Wipe The Lens
A puffer is a must-have tool for cleaning a dirty lens. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can actually cause scratches from wiping your lens. If there’s already dust or dirt particles on the element, wiping will just move those bits around the glass. In some cases, this leads to actual scratches on the lens. With the help of a puffer, you blast away any dust or dirt before you wipe. Another useful (and easy) tool to protect your camera and lenses from scratches!
– Put Your Camera Away When You’re Not Using It
If you want to know the most fool-proof and simple way to protect your camera and lenses from scratches and damage, here it is. Just put it away when you aren’t using it! When your camera is safely tucked away in your bag, it’s impossible to damage your body or lenses. Rather than walking around with your camera in hand all day, only bring it out when you are actually using it.
Ultimately, Use Your Common Sense
Camera gear and lenses are expensive so it makes sense to keep good care of them. For the most part, learning how to take care of your camera gear is common sense. Remember that your camera body is an electronic and your lens is a delicate pile of glass. You wouldn’t go smashing your grandmother’s favorite china around, so why would you do that with a camera lens? Being deliberate with how you handle your camera gear is an important part of protecting it. Once you get complacent, that’s when damage can occur.
Although there is a lot to think about to protect your camera and lenses, don’t get too worried about it. Camera manufacturers don’t design cameras to fall apart at the slightest nudge. Your camera can take a bump every now and again and it will likely be fine. With that said, it’s still important to treat it carefully to prevent damage and improve the longevity of your gear.
Learning how to protect your camera and lenses from scratches, dust, and damage gets easier over time. Eventually, it becomes second nature and you’ll always know your gear is as safe as possible. Keeping your camera equipment safe is crucial to improve the lifespan, quality, and resale value of your gear. Treat your camera carefully and remember that it’s not invincible!
I hope the tips outlined here offer you some new ideas and strategies to protect your camera and lenses into the future. If you have any other methods you like to use to protect your gear, let me know in the comments!
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