Gear Clean and Check

Autumn has come and gone and winter is just around the corner. With the seasons and weather in limbo, it's the time of year to clean and check your gear. What does this entail? The first thing is the camera and lenses get loaded in a box and shipped off to Canon. Canon will do a Clean and Check on my cameras and lenses. If you are a professional photographer and have a Canon Professional Services (CPS) Gold membership they will be included in your membership fee. All you have to do is mail them the gear, they clean and check it, then ship it back. They do so rather quickly. If you do not have a membership with CPS, or you aren't a professional, they will also clean and check your gear. My advice is to call ahead and get a quote, but I must say it's worth every penny.

So what does Canon do for their clean and checks? For cameras Canon will do the following 18 point service:

  • Clean Image Sensor
  • Clean External Viewfinder
  • Clean Camera Body
  • Check Operation of Hot Shoe
  • Check Lens Attachment and Removal
  • Perform Image Test
  • Perform Pixel Mapping for Hot or Dead Pixels
  • Verify Firmware and Update if Required
  • Tighten External Screws
  • Check Operation of Terminals and Jacks
  • Check Internal Error Messages
  • Verify Camera Shutter Count
  • Check Camera/Lens Communication
  • Check Memory Card Insertion and Removal
  • Check Moving Parts (buttons/ doors/ latches)
  •  Clean External LCD Surface
  • Clean Focus Screen
  • Clean Mirror

As you can see they do quite a bit to get your camera looking and working as good as possible. They also state on your invoice your shutter count. When I receive my camera back from Canon, The first thing I notice is that the camera is very clean. The next thing I notice is the lens mount is tight and sturdy. One word of caution, check your settings after you get your camera back! Some of my menu settings were changed. I went through and changed them back to fit my shooting style, not a big deal, but they do go through the menu system. As for lenses, they do the following 11 point inspection:

  • Clean External Lens Optics
  • Check Aperture Function
  • Verify Firmware Version and Update if Needed
  • Tighten External Screws
  • Perform Image Test
  • Clean External Lens Body
  • Check Lens/ Camera Communication
  • Check External Lens Barrel
  • Check Operation of Focus
  • Iris and Zoom Rings
  • Check Lens Attachment and Removal

Again the gear comes back spotless and beautiful. Part of the clean and check process is to catch minor problems before they become major problems. As far as my other gear, such as accessories, I change batteries, clean out any sand or dirt, and check operations. I take my tripod completely apart, clean it is some warm water, then I use some oil on the threads. I use Phil Wood Tenacious Oil. This stuff is awesome! It only takes a drop to keep your threads and locking knobs silky smooth. I think it was originally made for bike chains but works great on twist lock tripods!

It's important for gear and photography tools be operating optimally. The last thing we need to happen is for a failure in the field during an important shoot. I get cameras and lenses checked out once a year, and clean other accessories as needed. To learn  more about clean and checks for your specific camera gear, check the manufacturer's website. Most likely they will offer a similar service as Canon.

Click image to find out more about Canon CPS