June 7, 2014

Some Tips from Canon for Taking Care of Your Cameras & Lenses

Over a long enough time period, cameras and lenses can take a beating, and the best way to keep them functioning and minimize issues like dust is to clean them on a frequent basis. What's the best way to do that? While you will likely get different answers from different people, Canon has released a video that aims to provide some basic information on maintaining lenses and cameras. This might be a Canon-focused video, but the tips are certainly applicable to any brand out there.

One of the best ways to avoid getting dust on the sensor is to make sure there isn't any dust on the back of your lenses and lens caps. The bulb air blowers are great, especially for non-DSLR cameras that have exposed sensors when you remove the lens. As they show in the above picture, turning the camera or lens upside down is helpful for making sure the particles you're blowing off actually come off, and don't just blow around.

While you should never use canned air on the sensor itself as mentioned in the video above, it will usually be fine for non-sensitive parts of the camera and lens as long as it is used properly. This means keeping the can upright, never shaking it, keeping it more than a few inches away when spraying, and always giving it a few test sprays into the air to ensure that there is no liquid coming out.

I'm a huge fan of using lens pens like these once I've removed any particles on a lens, and if you've got fingerprints or any other marks that are being stubborn, a few drops of Pancro on a Kimtech wipe should do the trick.

Everyone has their own specific ways of cleaning gear, so feel free to share what you use and how you use it in the comments below.

[via Canon Watch]

Your Comment

26 Comments

Wait! What?!?

Sony, Panasonic, BlackMagic...release great new cameras and Canon gives us a video!

Hmmmm

June 7, 2014 at 8:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RickyG

Something is brewing, I'm sure.

June 8, 2014 at 3:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

A couple of commenters on nfs have alluded that Canon has a couple of affordable 4K cameras coming out soon. Of course affordable in Canon terms mean a little pricey. But I'll hold judgement on it until I see the image.

June 8, 2014 at 6:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

That's what I thought too, though I saw this article implying Canon might delay for a while.
http://www.canonrumors.com/2014/06/whats-next-for-cinema-eos/

June 10, 2014 at 12:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

Whoa whoa, DO NOT use canned air on your sensor. That's a good way to ruin your camera.

June 7, 2014 at 11:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rob

Right, neither me nor the video mentioned using canned air on the sensor. I actually chose the photo above for that reason.

June 7, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

In the video the Canon Rep says don't use canned air at all because it has too much pressure and can cause real damage, especially to the sensor. But you have contradicted her recommendation by saying use canned air.

June 8, 2014 at 9:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I was specifically talking about using it on the surface of cameras and lenses, but maybe we should do a post on how to properly use it? Holding the nozzle 1mm away from whatever you're trying to blow off is obviously not the smartest idea, but a safe distance away will still give more power than a bulb blower, but not enough to damage anything. I think their biggest worry is that people will misuse the canned air, which is easy to do if you're doing it without thinking.

June 8, 2014 at 12:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

But that is in direct contradiction to Canon's recommendation. She is specifically stating not to use it on the surface of cameras and lenses. She is unequivocally saying don't use it on your equipment at all. You are using Canon's video as expert advice but not upholding with Canon's expert suggestions. That's being confusing. And if you hold canned air away from the equipment to reduce pressure why not just use the bulb? I personally would not suggest using canned air on any camera equipment.

June 8, 2014 at 2:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sure, if you don't want to listen to me, don't, there is nothing wrong deferring to Canon's suggestion. After a decade of using canned air, I've never had a problem when I've used it correctly.

June 8, 2014 at 3:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

By the way, when you said canned air will still give you more power that a blower even if you hold the canned air away from the equipment is not necessarily true. Just as you can decrease pressure from the canned air by moving it further away, you can increase pressure from the bulb 3 different ways if you feel doesn't have enough already. 1) Squeeze harder 2) Hold it closer to the equipment 3) Use a smaller nozzle or reduce the size of the nozzle. The formula for pressure is force per unit area or force over unit area, force/unit area.

June 8, 2014 at 2:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Let me clarify, when I say reduce the size of the nozzle I mean the air outlet hole of the nozzle.

June 8, 2014 at 2:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I have seen professional camera assistants use canned air on expensive cinema lenses, and I have also used canned air on broadcast lenses myself. When you follow common sense and check the canned air output first, it is safe to use on a lens.

The Canon support of course says don't use it because they cannot count on people using common sense. They have legal issues to deal with, so if I was in their situation, I'd also say don't use it!

It' like if you ask me "can I change the fan in my computer's power supply?" I'd say no, never even think about opening that power supply. However I have done it more than once and I am confident about it - but recommending it over the internet? Hell no!

June 12, 2014 at 8:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

The reason why Canon recommends not using canned air is because they don't think it's a good idea. There are no legal issues they have to worry about. They didn't have to mention canned air at all.

June 13, 2014 at 12:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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"Never, ever use canned air to clean the camera sensor." -The video above

June 8, 2014 at 2:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ty

And once in a blue moon I've found these sensor swabs to do the trick on stubborn smudges. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=238168&gclid=CJ_C...

June 7, 2014 at 11:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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MarkF

In the USSR, high grade military lenses came with their own cleaning/packing shammy ( Chamois) rags. People in the know/on the inside stole whole rolls of these rags and then had the cloth professionally tailored into men's jackets. It came out as a faux suede type of clothing that was then sold on assignment for roughly an average person's monthly wage per item. The additional labor was minimal and it was pure profit. Of course, it was blatantly illegal and, if you got caught, you were looking at some serious time.
.
A little slice of history, just for kicks.

June 8, 2014 at 2:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Love this anecdote! Thank you for sharing..!

June 8, 2014 at 11:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DOC

The Kimwipe tissues you linked to are the standard Kimwipes, which some people say you should only use on lenses moist, because they're a bit coarse. There are softer Kimwipes in a black box that you can also use dry to remove the last bit of anything after cleaning the lens with lens cleaner.
I like to do that because nothing is really able to take that last layer of smudge from the lens except for dry paper towels like the black Kimwipes. Also, breathing on the lens before wiping it that last time helps a lot - it adds a fine layer of distilled water that is just perfect.

If you want to know how well you cleaned your lens, take a flashlight and shine it into the glass from a small distance. If you are a perfectionist though you might not want to do this because with a flashlight shining right into the glass, it will never look perfectly clean... when I started doing that, I almost went crazy because you are never able to clean a lens perfectly - you just have to live with that :)

June 12, 2014 at 7:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Heiko

For years in scientific and manufacturing optics for truely clean optical surfaces use First Contact
( photoniccleaning (dot) com) utmost gently brushed on with a squirrel brush. It's like honey. After it dries in few minutes use a sticky label to lift up the film and it strips all the dirt, smudges and embedded junk away.

After passing the booth at Photonics trade show for years we finally tried it. We have successfully restored extremely delicate diffraction gratings. Works with all optics we've tried from 400nm to thermal IR at 15um.
Seems to remove water deposit as long as not etched into surface.

Experience show if you spray the stuff you get millions of fine cobwebs, more suitable for set design than cleaning, so brush on. If an optic is going to be stored for long time often it's coated with the stuff prior to packing. It keeps pollution off of lens surface.

It would be tricky to use on a lens, as you could get it in seams on edges and then the film could get impossible to remove. It's certainly not something for daily use, but suggest try it out on that truely dirty optic, if you did not scratch it by drag wiping isopropanol (drag wiping always scatches). it will restore the optic to new condition. It takes some learning, so learn technique on a cheap filter or something first. Once you get technique, for a truely irreplaceable optic I suspect you never use isopropanol again.

Not sure if it could be used on a hopeless dirty sensor. (Trouble with many sensors is the fine groves tend to hold particles with electrostatic attraction. To blow off a sensor must first use an ionization gun.) But having designed CCDs for deep space work, it might. It also might pull off the micro lens and Bayer pattern. With our grating experience, if you stay away from bond wires on edges, might work.

Ps. Never use drug store isopropanol on optics, the impurities often leave a film.

June 13, 2014 at 10:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pat Grant

thank u for shareing

August 5, 2014 at 9:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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zaheer

thank u

August 5, 2014 at 9:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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zaheer

This is the best way to clean your camera and lenses... I always clean my camera this way.... It comes out squeaky clean.............. Just remember to remove the battery...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrdkFXsr5Us

August 5, 2014 at 10:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ghostdog

Excellent. Good presenter. Classy manicure. Tired of hang-nails and blood on ragged finger nails by hyper-testosterone males who don't realize how much of a distraction poor personal hygiene is.

August 5, 2014 at 11:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Harry Kemball

Reminds me of a flight attendant...

August 6, 2014 at 8:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lo localice con el por azar ;) Lo visitare
mucho mas con asiduidad ya que lo he metijdo en book-marked .
Este tipo de comentario es la mejor manera de cambiar y ayudar con los usuarios interesados.

August 19, 2014 at 2:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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