Camera Care

I am just back from having had my Canon 1Dx repaired: there was an important recall, so I bit the bullet and had it done. At the same time, I had my 70-200 2.8L lens looked at, and Canon Canada kindly did it all in 48 hours for me, and they replaced some bits and tightened all internal lens elements – and that brings me to a small blog post on maintenance.

In particular, preventive maintenance. Which can be very useful so you can keep making, say, cat pictures:

(I know – I just had to get a cat picture in there).

Just like for your car, preventive maintenance is not a bad idea for your camera gear either. Changing gaskets every now and then; tightening screws (they come loose, see this previous post); cleaning; replacing internal filters; adjusting and calibrating: all these can be worth the effort.

When to service? I would do this when:

  1. An expensive “pro” lens is ten years old, say.
  2. Especially when there has been any hint of a malfunction or a deterioration in its performance.
  3. You see dust on a camera sensor, or you see a lot of dust in a lens (a little dust is normal in non “pro” lenses; dust sealing is one of the benefits of pro lenses).
  4. You see visible signs of wear in rubber or plastic bits.
  5. There’s play; i.e. anything is loose. (This is a very good indicator for quick service, since loose bits will fall off, and play will affect focus)
  6. You have dropped the equipment hard.
  7. You hear unusual sounds when shaking the equipment.
  8. Equipment has not been used for a long time (years).
  9. You depend on the lens/camera for a living.
  10. You live in a tough climate and it’s been a few years.

You can do the simplest parts yourself, but for anything that involves opening up the equipment, I would go to the pros. That can be Canon, Nikon, i.e. the maker, especially for newer equipment. It can be worth joining the pro program; free for Nikon and in many cases free or cheap for Canon (alas, not in Canada). You can also use third party repair shops, but in that case it is wise to only use specialized shops.

In any case: preventive maintenance is often the difference between failure and success, so don’t ignore it. TIP: put dates in your calendar now, even if it is for years hence, that way you will have one less worry.


Yes, I talk about equipment also, during all my courses. That, and photos… Have a look at the “featuring Michael” video for August’s Niagara School of Imaging Course. And do check out the expanded schedule, online now – book soon to assure your place!

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