Essential Camera Care and Maintenance Tips - By Maria Munn
Spring is finally here and it’s time to get out your cameras from those dusty cupboards and give them the good old spring-clean they deserve all ready to go diving with you this year and capture those fabulous memories. So I thought it appropriate to share some tips with you to help look after your trusted kit this year.
If you are travelling by air, then it is always a better idea to take the o-ring out of the housing and pop it inside to avoid the housing sticking which can be caused by cabin pressure. Don’t forget to take a spare o-ring with you, it is always better to have extra kit just to be on that safe side.
The best time to prepare your housing is the night before your dive to avoid rushing. Hold up the o-ring to a light source and grab a magnifying glass to make sure that it is absolutely free of any hair or grit which may be lurking on the surface. Just the teeniest hair can cause that dreaded “flood” word …. Next grab a foam-tipped applicator sponge, (guys, you may need to ask your partners for these!) and check the groove of your housing for surplus silicone grease or more of those dreaded hairs and grit. I’ve been surprised many a time at what has been lurking, even after a pool dive!
O-ring grease is always a huge dilemma, especially for a newcomer. Too much or too little can cause a flood. Always make sure that you use the correct grease for your particular housing, so as not to degrade the o-ring itself. Simply place a small blob on your finger and gently lubricate the o-ring making sure that it is moist and nicely shiny. When placing it back into the housing’s groove, make sure that it fits nice and snug – even if it is a tiny bit loose, this could be that all important sign that it is time to replace it.
Finally, never forget to clean the front of the lens port – the number of times I have seen little fingerprints all over the front of the camera’s port, which in turn makes it even harder for the camera to capture your underwater subject in focus!
Now you have your housing all prepped, it is always a good idea to take it for a dive without the camera just to double-check that there are no dreaded leaks. Placing some sturdy tissue paper is always a good idea just to be sure. And none of those acrobatics please when entering the water! A slow, gentle entry with the housing firmly placed in your BCD or better still passed down to you will always help to protect that delicate seal from any nasty water droplets entering … Always descend with your port facing downwards and if you do encounter any dreaded water entering, then it is time to re-ascend to start a mission to save it, but never forget to do your safety stop.
If the worst happens, then take out the battery and the card. 99% of the time the card will always be safe. Grab a hairdryer and blow-dry the battery compartment. Leave the camera in an air-conditioned place or in the sunshine to dry out. My beloved Canon Powershot 570 flooded whilst in Lembeh and it took 4 months to recover, so don’t give up on your camera straight away … there may be life there just needing a little more recuperation time than you think ….
Touch wood, this isn’t going to happen and you are going to return as a very happy diver with lots of beautiful pictures … Make sure that you rinse your housing in a rinse tank to make sure that no salt residue is trapped in the buttons causing them to stick. Gently press each button and grab an old toothbrush for any difficult areas!
These are just a few tips to help you keep your camera safe on your underwater adventures. More are covered in my book “Underwater Photography for Compact Cameras” or DVD, both of which are available from Simply Scuba.
Of course if you have any extra tips, you are very welcome to post them here too!
For more camera information and to purchase underwater cameras, please click here.
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