Springtime Camera Tune-Up

Do a Battery Checkup
Rechargeable batteries for digital cameras eventually lose the ability to hold their charge. You will need to replace them every few years depending on how you use them. If you run out of charge on your battery often, consider buying a second battery for your camera. If you are taking a long trip, don't forget your charger. If you travel frequently, you might consider getting a Go Charger which stores power for charging batteries without having to plug it in.

Check the Memory Cards
If you're planning a summer vacation, family reunion, or other big events, stock up on memory cards ahead of time. Don't wait to buy them at airports or expensive tourist stores. You'll pay much more than you would from us. The price of storage continues to drop; so if you've been eyeing a bigger card, perhaps it's time to splurge and get that added capacity. Also, consider getting a faster card. Newer cameras now are able to record HD video clips. In order to record HD video most manufactures require a high speed card. For SD cards you want at least Class 6 rating.

A Clean Camera Will Serve You Better
We usually recommend only minimal cleaning. The most important thing is to try to avoid the need to clean in the first place. Try to keep your camera away from elements that cause the most harm: dirt, dust, sandy grit, and saltwater spray are the mortal enemies of most types of cameras. Keep your camera protected if you're on a windy beach and the sand is flying. Don't get too near those big waves; use your zoom lens instead. If you want to take pictures in the surf, poolside, or even underwater, you may want to consider purchasing a waterproof point-and-shoot model. It's best to keep your camera off the picnic table or other spots where it may be vulnerable to a spilled soda or a glob of jelly.

Cleaning Your Camera
The most important part of the camera you must keep clean is the lens. Dust and fingerprints will compromise the optical efficiency of your lens. If you notice hazy pictures, check the lens. We suggest using just two tools: Lens tissue, and a rubber squeeze bulb. A lens tissue makes it possible to remove dust, grit, and even the oil left by fingerprints without the use of any solvent. These tissues are inexpensive, and you just throw them out after use. A rubber squeeze bulb helps blow away dust and grit from the camera body. With DSLRs, be careful not to get dust on the sensor. Sensor dust (the dust is not on the sensor itself, but rather on a filter in front of the sensor) is a fact of life when using a DSLR. If you think you have a problem with dust on the sensor, do not try to clean it yourself. It is very easy to damage the cover on the sensor. We recommend sending it to the manufacturer for cleaning. There are tools to do this yourself; but if you damage anything, you will void the warranty.

A Camera Bag Helps
A camera bag is likely to provide much better protection for your camera and other equipment than if you keep your camera loose in your suitcase, handbag, or briefcase. There are plenty of attractive, soft, compact bags you can use to protect your camera.

Follow these simple tips, and your camera will be ready for all the great photo opportunities summer has to offer.