Even though it might be the end of the season for flying your UAV, and your batteries are prepped for storage, but have you taken care of your cameras?
No matter how careful you may be, through normal use, cameras (electronics) attracts tiny bits of dust. Landing your UAV poses the greatest risk of dirt, dust, or moisture residue ending up on the lens or camera body. Keeping your camera & lens clean will help keep specks of dirt, water spots from showing up on your images, remove chances of noise when processing data, and protect your investment.
Older senseFly cameras like the Sony, Canon ELPH/S110, G9X and those with retractable lenses are susceptible to dust entering the body of the camera.
Newer cameras like senseFly’s SODA RGB camera, which is the first camera built from the ground up for senseFly drones. This camera has improved hermetic sealing but still requires proper cleaning & maintenance.
We like to follow the same procedure for cleaning as used for pro-consumer/professional DSLR or point and shoot hand cameras. Supplies needed: air blower, lens pen with brush, microfiber cloth, lens cleaning fluid
- Air Blower: I use a bulb blower purchased from a camera /art shop. I don’t use pressurized air as this can be too strong and could potentially push microscopic dirt into connection ports or the camera itself. Start with the air blower to dislodge loose dust/dirt from both the camera and the lens before using a lens brush or cloth.
- Soft Lens Brush: Next use brush on lens pen to get rid of dust/dirt not removed by air. A camel hair or soft bristle brush from a camera or art supply shop.
- Microfiber Cloth or other soft lint-free cloth: If needed use a small amount of lens spray on the lens cloth(don’t spray camera directly) to finish cleaning the camera. You can use cheap microfiber cloths for this purpose.
- Separate microfiber cloth for lens. Begin with bulb air blower to remove loose dirt on lens, followed up by lens brush. Next, carefully wipe the lens with microfiber cloth used just for the lens. If needed use a spray of lens fluid on the cloth to remove smudges.
- Lens pens: Usually included on the opposite end of a lens brush, the pen has activated carbon cleaning compound for removing tough smudges. Designed for photographers, we use this very infrequently, but it is great for cleaning tough spots without risk of scratching.
Cleaning your gear should be a part of your standard operating practice during the season and at the end of the season. Try doing this once, and the amount of dirt you remove will convince you how important regular cleaning is.