The Big Q
With all the traveling you do, you must get a lot of crud on your gear. What would be your gear cleaning routine? I’m often troubled from shooting at family dinners (kids spit, pets lick, food splatter…), and also blown dirt from coastal areas. Often a big air blower bulb doesn’t dislodge anything that’s been wet, but i hate to wipe filters and bare glass (often forced to take filters off at night) from fear of scratching the coating, even with 3M micro fibre cloths. What should I be doing? What would you do?
The Big A
Well, first of all, what I do and what you (or I) should do, are two different things. Some of you aren’t going to like this. In fact it reminds me of a conversation I had with Karl Grobl recently. We were laughing about the difference in ways that hobbyist and professionals treat their gear and this exact thing came up. Truth is, we generally don’t treat our gear so well. We protect it, but we don’t baby it. When I’m at home I clean my gear with canned air, inside and out. I know, I know. Some of you are gasping, muttering oaths and curses. But my gear is to be used and I use it well. I don’t own a lens pen or lens brush. I own several lint-free cloths, a rocket blower and an Arctic Butterfly sensor brush, and that’s it. Can’t even tell you when the last time I used the Arctic Butterfly was. Of course looking at one of my 5D sensors you can tell that this is the case and prompted by this question I’ll dig it out and give it a proper cleaning, might even pack it up and send it to Canon for a fill cleaning and lube.
Don’t get bent out of shape about this sensor stuff. I’m sure if you try really hard you could damage the thing, and I don’t suggest you lick off the grime, but photographers have been fighting dust forever and we’ll keep fighting it. Get too bent out of shape about it and you’re really fussing about the wrong thing. Blow it out, swab it off, move along. I wipe my lenses with a cloth but have wiped them with everything from a t-shirt to a kleenex. Again, I know, and I’ll probably get kicked out of NAPP for saying so, but I have yet to scratch a coating. I put the highest quality B+W filters on the front of my lenses when it’s really crappy out, and that helps.