Other cleaning

Monitor cleaning

LCD monitor screens are made of plastic and are even easier to scratch than the lens, so it’s important to keep them clean too. Clean off dust using a blower or air can. To clean greasy noseprints off your monitor, you can use the same type of microfibre cloth that you use for cleaning your lens, but it’s a good idea to use the other side of the cloth, or the next time you clean your lens you’ll end up smearing grease all over it. Don’t use alcohol-based cleaning fluids or abrasive cleaners on the monitor screen, as they may have an adverse effect on the plastic coating.

Cleaning the outer case

If your camera body gets dirty, clean it carefully using a soft dry cloth. If this doesn’t shift it, very carefully use a very slightly damp cloth or a dab of any non-abrasive cleaning detergent , applied to the cloth rather than directly to the camera, but do not get any moisture near any openings in the case, such as control buttons or hatches. Moisture and electronics don’t mix, so if your camera gets damp let it dry out for 24 hours before attempting to use it. Also, avoid using alcohol or spirit-based cleaners on the camera body as they may damage decals and painted-on labels.

A notable exception are waterproof cameras such as the Pentax Optio W-series or some of the Olympus mju Digital models. These can safely be rinsed under a tap and wiped clean with a soft cloth, but don’t use very hot water or detergents, as these can damage the rubber seals that keep the camera watertight.

CCD cleaning

If you own a digital SLR, especially an older model without a self-cleaning sensor, then sooner or later you will probably have a problem with dust getting inside the camera when you change lenses, and contaminating the sensor. This is a serious problem, as the dust will show up as black spots on every frame.

CCD cleaning is a tricky and delicate operation, and it’s generally best to have it done by professionals. Many camera shops offer a sensor-cleaning service, or can refer you to someone else who does. It’s not usually expensive, and it’s a lot less risky than doing it yourself. If you damage the sensor you will have ruined your camera, and repairing it will be very costly.

If you are determined to clean it yourself though you should only use a specialised CCD cleaning kit, which will have specially designed wipers for use on the delicate surface of the sensor. Do not use compressed air cans, any type of detergent, your lens brush or cleaning products designed for the lens as these can and will damage the sensor. There are compressed air-powered suction cleaners or special brushes that use static electricity to remove dust that are designed for CCD cleaning, but they are quite expensive, and should also be used with extreme care. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using such items.

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