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1-4  Inspecting the Camera 

Besides knowing how to operate the camera, it is important that you know how to take care of the camera.  Before going on an assignment you should thoroughly check your camera.

The Lens

Remove the lens from the camera in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and inspect it.  Check the glass for dirt, smudges, fingerprints and scratches.  Dirt can be removed from the lens by carefully using a blower brush.  Dirt, smudges and fingerprints can and should be removed from the glass as soon as noticed by gently wiping the glass with lens-cleaning tissue moistened with a couple of drops of lens-cleaning fluid (don't use more than that).  Minor scratches may not alter lens performance so as to deem it unusable, still, scratches should be duly noted and brought to the attention of your supervisor.  Deep scratches probably will affect lens performance.  In this case, notify your supervisor and seek a replacement lens.  If in doubt, attach the lens to the camera body, look through the viewfinder and focus on a subject.  If any part of the field of view appears blurred or obscured, the lens should be replaced.  Check the lens exterior for dents and other damage.  Lastly, make sure the lens is mounted with either a UV (ultraviolet), haze or skylight filter to protect the front glass surface and its delicate coating (this ultra-thin coating on each glass surface reduces reflections).  Perform similar checks on other lenses in your kit.

Check the lens aperture control ring, or the f/stop ring.   The f/stop ring should firmly click into each position.  Check the focus ring.   It should move smoothly, without interruption. 

The Camera Body

Inspect the camera body for dirt and defects.  Dirt should be removed from the camera body with a blower brush.  Hard to remove dirt can be removed with a silicon cloth or a soft chamois.  Do not use liquids to clean the camera body.  Liquid cleaners, including water, can damage the camera.  Camera body damage should be reported to your supervisor. 

CAUTION:   Because digital camera systems include electronic components which can be damaged by static electricity, special precautions may be necessary.  Inspect and clean digital cameras and their associated peripherals in accordance with the instructions provided in the owner’s manual.

Inspect the Camera Optics

Look through the camera's viewfinder.  Focus on an object.  If the field of view is blurred or obscured, you may have a damaged lens, or perhaps the viewfinder is dirty.

If the mirror is dirty, very carefully clean it using the blower brush.  Do not use lens-cleaning tissue or fluid on the mirror.  If smudges remain on the mirror, consult with your supervisor prior to taking the camera body to an authorized dealer or repairman for professional cleaning.

Inspect the Light Meter

Check the camera battery/internal light meter.   Consult your manufacturer's instructions for the proper method of conducting this very important systems check.  A weak battery can affect your light meter readings and, ultimately, your exposures. 

Inspect Straps

Inspect the neckstrap for cracks and wear, especially at the pressure points -- the clips which attach it to the camera.  In wet and humid climates, leather neckstraps have a tendency to rot and should be checked daily.   Adjust the neckstrap to your needs.  Always use the neckstrap as a safeguard against dropping the camera. (Caution:  You can be held liable for any damage to the camera.)

You should clean the camera equipment as required.   Always store the camera in its case with the lens cap over the protective filter.


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