Use these tips to be ready for summer-picture taking.

Spring is the perfect time for an annual tune-up of your camera.  Let’s look at some simple steps to guarantee you’ll be ready for summer adventures.

Battery Checkup

Rechargeable batteries for digital cameras eventually lose the ability to hold their charge. You will need to replace them every few years. Also, consider buying a second battery for your camera. If you are taking a long trip, don’t forget your charger. Some cameras now let you charge the battery by simply plugging in a cable; bring those cables with you!

Memory Cards

If you have plans for 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. 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.

On the other hand, don’t trust your entire trip to one card. Memory cards can occasionally go bad, so spread the picture-taking around. Check this link for more ways to keep your memory cards healthy.

Keeping Your Camera Clean

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 one part of the camera exterior you must keep clean is the lens. Dust and fingerprints will compromise the optics of your lens. Use just two tools: a microfiber cleaning cloth and a rubber squeeze bulb.

A microfiber cleaning cloth makes it possible to remove dust, grit, and even the oil left by fingerprints without the use of any solvent. These cloths are inexpensive, and can be washed and reused. 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, we recommend contacting your local camera shop or sending it to the manufacturer for cleaning. There are tools to do this yourself; but be careful not to damage anything, or you will void the warranty.

A 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.

If you keep your camera in a bag, there’s one other very inexpensive accessory – a plastic bag big enough to hold your camera and accessories. If you encounter a sudden summer thunderstorm or find yourself on a speed boat that catches a wave, just pop your entire camera bag into it.

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