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Another bad piece of advice we recently found: Never leave your camera equipment in your car overnight. The reasoning behind this is not about theft, although that would probably be the only good reason for not leaving your camera equipment in your car. However, the author of this little gem, argues that your camera equipment is very sensitive and should be cared for. No one can argue with this, but he argues that if the weather is uncomfortable for you, then it is bad for your camera. Let's ask a simple question, "Have you ever taken photos while the weather was uncomfortable for you?" If your answer is "No", you are not taking nearly enough photographs! Please stop reading this blog and go outside and take some photos!

By leaving the camera equipment in your car overnight the author is presuming that the ambient temperature is going to be very cold and may cause problems. However he fails to consider leaving camera equipment in your car during the day. What about the heat of the summer? So let's discuss the larger issue of camera and battery operation in various temperatures.

Most camera manufacturers rate the working temperature of their cameras between 0°C - 40°C / 32°F - 104°F. But upon closer inspection, this is clearly the working temperature of the battery and not necessarily for the camera itself; however, without a battery the camera is effectively non-operational! For best use, manufacturers recommend that you do not operate your battery outside these this range. After some research ( ) it would seem that there is a difference between the working temperature of a battery during charging and discharging. For Lithium Ion batteries, they indicate that you can charge your battery between: 0°C to 45°C / 32°F to 113°F - which is a little bit higher than the manufacturers' recommendation for actual use. However, you may use a battery between –20°C to 60°C / –4°F to 140°F. As you can see there is a considerable difference between charging and discharging the battery itself. We believe that manufacturers have used the lower set of numbers to help ensure users always use or charge their battery correctly. There definitely seem to be problems with charging a battery outside the recommended temperature range.

So you can use your battery in fairly extreme conditions. It should be noted that at the extremes you can expect a significantly shorter battery life, but it will still be operational. This does not however address the issue of the camera itself. What is the operating temperature of the camera equipment? At this time, no manufacturer's representative has been willing to indicate a number beyond the this range: 0°C - 40°C / 32°F - 104°F. It is clear however based on the personal experience of many photographers that it is possible to use your equipment –20°C to 65°C / –4°F to 149°F. The question is whether or not you personally want to be in out in those extreme conditions!

One more issue you should be aware of is condensation. If you are using your camera in extreme conditions, moving your equipment from indoors to outdoors and vice verse may cause condensation within your equipment. Good luck trying to dry that out in less than 10 hours! Sometimes it may be advisable to actually leave your equipment in your car. However if it is really extreme out, bring a cooler (ex. with you and put your equipment in it so that it stays a moderate temperature when you are not using it. This is good for both cold and hot weather.

Cleaning camera lenses

It is amazing how often the cause of a low quality image is nothing more than a dirty lens. The simple act of cleaning off your lens can help immensely. Clean it often, but only clean it when you must. When you do clean it, be sure to clean both sides of the filter and both sides of the lens, so both the front and back elements as well. Even when you have a UV filter on your lens over time the inside will still get dirty as it is not 100% sealed.

How do you clean a lens? There are many products out there for this purpose but the simplest thing is to simply breathe on the lens and then to wipe it clean with a CLEAN lens cleaning tissue or a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is reusable, however, it gets dirty over time so be sure to wash it very regularly. When it sits at the bottom of your bag it is collecting all kinds of dirt and grit which can scratch a lens permanently. On the other hand, lens paper is meant to be single use and therefore should always be cleaner, but it too it tends to live at the bottom of camera bags where it attracts all kinds of dust. Be sure to keep your packet of lens paper and microfiber in a sealed ziploc bag. Lens tissue is the preferred product for cleaning your lens because it is meant to be used only once and is likely to be more clean.

One last piece of advice, never use the product below. Why? Because once it is used, you can not clean the surface again.

how to clean a camera lens - photo tips