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Old September 1st, 2004, 03:38 PM   #1
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Cleaning the outside of a camera.

Greetings, all.

My Sony VX2100 and I just got back from a shoot at a company that makes wire mesh screen for mining and excavating. Much of the shoot was up on a mobile catwalk that moves from one end of the warehouse the other above the machinery.

The entire place was covered in a fine black dust, conceivably from the metal shavings, and after crawing around for two hours my camera and I were pretty dirty. I cleaned up pretty easily, but what is the best way to clean this stuff off the body of the camera? Is a wet washrag going to do the job or would you recommend something a bit harsher?

Thanks much.
Chris
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Old September 1st, 2004, 05:20 PM   #2
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I would start with compressed air like the kind you use on computers and a soft dust rag after that. Anything harsher could scratch the finish.
Don B
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Old September 1st, 2004, 07:51 PM   #3
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Please do not use compressed air. It can blow the dust inside the camera where you really don't want it. Dust-off maybe on the lens surface to blow the chunks off before you clean them with something else. Hopefully you had a filter over the lens.

Use a soft brush to first brush the camera down. Or use a vacuum cleaner to suck the stuff away. Or use a brush to move the surface junk towards the inlet to the vacuum cleaner.

Usually the camera manufacturer will give you some guidance about what cleaning fluids you can use on the outside

Another option is to use one of those strange cloths that xerographic repair folks use to prevent the disbursion of toner while they work on the internal bits and pieces. These are super in capturing the stuff and wiping it off of the outside of the units.

Always carry a plastic bag or plastic wrap with you just in case you run into these environments.

To keep junk out of the transport, you can use the paper tape so loved by Hollywood to seal the film canisters. It pulls right off without leaving any residue. Markertek sells it.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 11:32 AM   #4
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I agree with that--don't blow the dust off with compressed air because it will head for the interior of the camera. It would have been better if you had used a plastic bag for that shoot, but now I'd just wipe down the camera good with a dry cloth or brush as suggested above. Then maybe use a cloth and Windex if you have ugly smudges. Hopefully you didn't change tapes in that environment and let the crap get inside the camera. Might be a good idea to use a head cleaning tape.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 03:33 PM   #5
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Thanks, all.

I had no idea what the place was going to be like. Lesson learned - investigate before you head in with your equipment. I had a filter over my lens to protect it, and I didn't need to change tapes, so those were a couple of good points.

I did drag a damp rag over the body to clean off the smudges from my hands. Basically I was touching a railing and ladder to get to the top of the catwalk and then touching my camera, so I think it's more my hands making the camera dirty than then environment. But thanks for the cleaning tips. I'll be putting a plastic bag in my camera case for the next "you never know."

Peace!
Chris
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 07:30 PM   #6
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Years ago before the days of camcorders, I shot a lot of industrial air pollution control equipment. There was a photo of me standing in powder-fine dust up to my waist, holding a video camera. That's how bad it was. I shot in 3/4 then, and while the dust didn't bother the cameras, other than getting in the lens, it would eat the heads of a deck really fast. I ran the deck via a 26 pin cable and kept it sealed in garbage bags as far away as possible. If I were unfortunate enough to have to do that kind of thing today, I'd probably use an underwater housing.
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