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Wilderness Photography The Wilderness Photography forum is for the discussion of photography (videography) gear, experience, and technique as it directly relates to wilderness photography. PBF members may also post self-owned photos that have been uploaded to the PB Gallery or as post attachments. Offsite links and offsite photos are prohibited. Please see ("sticky") instructional post located at top of threads.


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  #1  
Old 01-05-2012, 02:46 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Field Camera Equipment Cleaning Kit

What's in your camera equipment cleaning kit for use in the field?

Reality
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  #2  
Old 01-05-2012, 08:01 PM
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big_load big_load is offline
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I usually carry just a lens cloth, but sometimes I bring a Nikon lens cleaning pen. What I use most of all is a blast of lung power.
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  #3  
Old 01-05-2012, 08:41 PM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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I use a Nikon pen and one of the microfiber cleaning cloths (mostly for my eyeglasses).
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:05 AM
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Bushwalker Bushwalker is offline
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I like the look of those Nikon brushes, too - but up to now, I've simply kept the lens cloth, and one of those cheap-and-basic cleaning kits (lens "tissues", alcohol and blower-brush) in the camera bag...
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  #5  
Old 01-07-2012, 02:29 AM
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garethw garethw is offline
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If you are careful with your gear you don't really need to carry a lens cleaning kit. Over cleaning of the lens is more likley to damage them than anything else. After 20 years as a professional photographer I've only ever used a lint free cloth or chamoix leather.
I would suggest that all lenses are fitted with UV filters to help protect from stratches. These can just be wiped with the said cloth and if they do get scratched, simply replaced.

I was never very good at hanging on to my lens caps so I used to roll my lenses in the cloths when storing in the good ol Domke bag.
cheers
Gareth
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  #6  
Old 01-07-2012, 03:07 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Good comments thus far - thanks for the participation.

Caring for (cleaning) a camera may involve more than lens cleaning. I've carried cameras in desert and coastal areas in which blowing sand/salt/... would have caused certain damage if not cleaned/removed (and a cloth can easily turn to sandpaper). Moreover, it's not always practical to protect from or prevent such elements from reaching the components (even with plastic covers and other products/gimmicks).

That said, it's best to avoid overdoing it - which basically means don't do what isn't needed. Protection of equipment is paramount, though many experienced wilderness photographers knows what a challenge this can be in various conditions/locations. [I know of photographers who have had great challenges in the rainforest jungles.]

By the way, "kit" doesn't necessarily mean something sold on shelves, involve any certain number of items, and is not defined by any one person's idea of what one is or what s/he includes in it. It's all about what the individual person carries and uses (whether it involves spit and a shirt tail, or a swatch of microfiber and a irrigation [air] syringe).

Reality
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2012, 03:09 AM
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garethw garethw is offline
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I think extreme conditions are a different kettle of fish and need to be addressed. My comments were for the average photog out shooting in normal conditions. A simple 20-30$ filter can protect your lens nicely.

Sand and water are naturally arch-enemies. although you'd be surprised how wet a digital SLR can get before it stops working. Trash bags and duct tape can be very useful though.

If you are seriously going to shoot a lot in jungles or deserts, probably a housing is your best bet. But here we are talking specialist gear and a rare situation for most.

On certain assignments we were obliged to wear ties.. these make very neat and convenient lens cloths... just get a nice soft silk one et voilà!

The worst thing with the recent digital cameras is dust on the sensor. This can't really be dealt with in the field as its a delicate process to clean it, with one of the specialised kits, brushes or wipes, or eventually a professional service. Most of the most recent bodies, however have auto sensor cleaning, which goes some way to getting rid of this dust, but not the whole way. If none of this works its a lot of retouching in photoshop.

cheers
Gareth

Last edited by garethw : 01-08-2012 at 03:17 AM.
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:46 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garethw
Sand and water are naturally arch-enemies. although you'd be surprised how wet a digital SLR can get before it stops working.
My personal objective is to avoid getting my camera gear wet, and to, at the very least, dry it when it does get wet. I'm not one to see how far I can push it -- i.e. how wet it can get before there's an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garethw
Most of the most recent bodies, however have auto sensor cleaning, which goes some way to getting rid of this dust, but not the whole way.

Yeah one of mine has this auto sensor cleaning. So far, so good.

Reality
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:17 PM
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big_load big_load is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garethw
If you are seriously going to shoot a lot in jungles or deserts, probably a housing is your best bet. But here we are talking specialist gear and a rare situation for most.

I spend about three weeks every year hiking in the desert, as do a lot of my buddies, so it's not all that rare. Nobody wants to carry a housing for that, although it would reduce the risk. Keeping your camera covered when not in use and knowing when to blow it is usually protection enough.

My biggest pet peeve isn't sand, but water spots. I don't inspect for them often enough and a minor one is easy to overlook for too long.
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2012, 11:25 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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For lens cleaning, I carry a retractable make-up brush and a lens pen. The retractable feature is important in keeping the bristles free of oil or dirt between uses. Usually just the make-up brush does the job fine. I think I've used the lens pen in the field only once or twice. I usually have a microfiber cloth for my eyeglasses, but I don't use it on camera lenses. I've occasionally had microfiber cloths pick up dirt or oils and transfer them to my eyeglasses. I think the lens pen is safer for the really expensive glass.

I don't carry anything special for cleaning a camera body. I tend to rely on protection from the elements rather than field cleaning: dry bags and cases in the pack and garbage bags or rain hoods outside the pack when needed. My own experience has been that a failure related to extremes and dirt will probably need professional attention anyway.

As far as water is concerned, I agree with both Garethw and Reality: cameras - digital or otherwise - can take more wet than you'd think, but it's really important to let the gear get dry as a bone before storing it again if at all possible. I remember setting a camera up in the mist from a large waterfall. I protected the camera and lens body, but the glass had to be cleared of mist several times in the 10 minutes it took me to shoot. I let the gear dry thoroughly and I got no fungus or other damage. The photo was exactly what I wanted, so the risk was worth it. But fungus damage to lenses left wet is a real issue. Maybe dry in the field is more important than clean in the field as long as the optics are unaffected, but desert photographers may take issue with that...

A quick word of caution to SLR users, film or digital: be very careful before trying to clean the flip-up mirror that lets you look through the lens - in the field or at home. Most such mirrors do not have any protective coatings, and will be damaged by even light brush strokes. Dirt on that mirror won't affect the photo, since it flips up prior to exposure. But large, Van Gough-like brush strokes in the middle of the mirror could make it very hard to check focus!
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