- A microfiber cleaning cloth
- Make-up brushes
- A DIY lens bellows made out of an infant nose-clearing sucker
- Eyeglass wipes
photo by Nirut Punshiri via iStock
One of the hardest lessons most photographers learn early on in their careers is that you need to protect your camera gear with your life.
Then, you spend the next few decades of your career constantly learning and relearning how to protect your camera gear.
You don’t just need to figure out the best rain protection for cameras, or dust protection for cameras, but you need to learn ways to protect your camera from: toddlers, spilled coffee, thieves, public transportation, other people and yourself.
One of my mentors, a photojournalist, had been in the photography business for 30 years by the time I met him. I immediately asked him how many times he had dropped his camera in those decades. His answer, “none,” astonished me.
While I’m not as careful as he is, I have learned some tricks of the trade when it comes to keeping both sticky fingerprints and sticky fingers off my camera gear.
Practice Smart Lens Changes
photo by georgeclerk via iStock
The first lesson you need in learning how to protect your camera gear is this: change your lens outdoors as little as often.
No, this isn’t practical advice. It also isn’t advice that many photographers follow because at times it is impossible. But, blowing wind means dust, sand particles, and ash can coat the rear element of your lens and get all over the camera’s sensor, too.
Eventually, this build up will prevent your camera from operating properly and when this happens the ensuing professional cleaning bill will be hefty.
While many modern manufacturers claim to have built-in dust protection for cameras, it is never guaranteed. With our current technology, it is impossible to promise your sensor will always be free of debris.
Whenever possible, move inside to change your camera lens. When this isn’t possible, point your back to the direction of the wind. Then, point your camera body down (so as to use gravity to your advantage for helping dust fall out) before switching your lenses.
This method is by no means perfect, so you’ll want to watch CNET’s video above to learn how to clean your DSLR lenses.
Invest in a Bag That Offers Protection
Every camera bag is not made the same. And a big part of knowing how to protect your camera gear from the elements is knowing you have a trustworthy bag at your ready.
A great camera bag needs to be sturdy, waterproof, comfortable and heavily lined. A problem many photographers run into is that most camera bags are one or the other: built for photographers or built for cameras.
I personally believe a well-built sling bag, like HEX’s Ranger sling bag, is both.
The Ranger is made of genuine Cordura on the outside, which is 100% waterproof, and faux-fur lined pockets on the inside, which prevents your gear from being bumped around as you’re heading to and from your location.
But, since a sling bag lies across your body, it also provides easy access to your gear when you need it, while keeping your camera close enough to your body to prevent it from getting stolen.
What’s more, this bag hugs your body (unlike lesser sling bags), so it doesn’t flop around as you move. It’s an excellent carrying experience!
On top of all that, this bag can accommodate eight liters of gear and do so without feeling bulky or unwieldy. There’s even load straps so you can carry your tripod on the bottom of the bag.
Having a comfortable and functional bag like this is of the utmost importance for your workflow. But add in all the protective features, and you have the makings of an ideal bag for on-the-go photographers.
Cover Your Camera and Lens
There are so many ways to protect your camera from bad weather, but they all require an uncomfortable plastic bag that you have to throw over yourself and your equipment, except for the Camera Canopy.
The Camera Canopy works by mounting directly to your camera’s hot shoe; it also features multiple layers of hard plastic protection so that even if the rain is coming down especially hard or at an angle, your camera will still be protected.
There is no better rain protection for cameras available on the market today.
What’s so great above this device is that you get all the protection you need for your gear but without all the fuss of having to reach into a plastic bag to access the camera controls.
Instead, the Camera Canopy sits above your camera so you can easily change camera settings on the fly and review images on your LCD without issue.
I’ve tested this thing in rain, wind, and snow, and it has proven to be a valuable protective device for my gear time and time again. It’ll do the same for you, I’m sure!
Keep Your Lens and Camera Clean
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
There’s no point in learning how to protect your camera gear if you’re not going to then keep this camera gear in good shape.
Not only will this help you to resell your gear when you’re ready to upgrade, but it will also help you keep your workflow much smoother.
Ezvid Wiki outlined the best camera cleaning kits earlier this year, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a ton of money on a store bought camera cleaning kit, especially when you can DIY your own for less than $20.
My DIY camera cleaning kit includes:
It’s that simple!
Taking a little bit of time to properly protect your gear will help you be more productive, keep your gear in working order, and will benefit you when it comes time to sell your gear.
It’s the best of all worlds!