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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich Harrington: Starting with a clean lens. Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: Goes a long way. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And, couple things, you know, first off a lot of people forget about the hood. Robbie Carman: Mm. Rich Harrington: The use of a lens hood is going to cut down on light hitting the front of the lens. Robbie Carman: Of course. Rich Harrington: And that's one of the first times you're going to actually really see that dirt or that dust and it makes it even worse. So make sure you, I see so many people, they have this reversed, because that's the way it ships. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And you see' em out shooting with it turned around. Robbie Carman: Well, it's like wearing your baseball cap backwards, right? It's kind of cool. Rich Harrington: You know, if it looks like this, it's designed so you just turn that.
Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: Flip it around. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: Now, you'll notice as I lock that in, you know, good idea. I do have the front cap on there. I do have the back cap on there. Now, this cap here that's on the end, the butt cap, I always keep extras of that. And later on when we're talking about the camera itself, I'll keep an extra body cap. The cool thing is, is that you can usually lock those two together. So go ahead and keep an extra one of the butt and the body cap in your pocket on the shoot, so you don't have to go, oh, well where is that? Oh I'll just set the lens down here on the table.
Bad idea, always cover those parts. Robbie Carman: Now Rich, obviously the caps are great for storing. The lens hood, obviously when you're out in the field, protect from dust, or other things. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: You know, water, rain, coming in there. But the other thing I'm a really big fan of is using just a general purpose haze or, or UV filter. Now, obviously it has a practical purpose of cutting down haze or UV, but from a protection and sort of maintenance standpoint, especially if you're going to find yourself in dirty or wet environments, or other environments where there's potential to get smudges or dirt on the lens, I'd way rather clean a 50 or 60 dollar lens filter that I can replace and mess that up than actually ruining the front element of the lens, cleaning it improperly.
Now there's some people that might argue, hey another piece of glass in front of the lens is not something that you want. Well, I'll leave that choice to you. In my personal opinion, especially if I know if I'm going to be in a hostile condition you know, where things are going to be blown all around, I'll make that decision because I'd rather have a nice pristine, front element of my actual lens and simply replace or, or clean the the UV filter. Rich Harrington: Now, I noticed you said a 50 or 60 dollar and not a $5 UV filter. Putting cheap glass in front of your lens is always a problem.
Robbie Carman: That's true. Rich Harrington: So, you know, it's going to be about anywhere from, you know, 30 bucks to $100 for that UV filter. Depending on the quality, the size, the brand. Robbie Carman: Now, I want to make one really big key point. Natural puff of air, right? You do not want to, under any circumstances, use compressed air to clean your lenses or your body. Now, compressed air is great cause it works quick. But the problem with compressed air is that those cans get really cold and if you hold them at slightly weird angles they can actually spit out liquid onto your lens or your camera.
That can potentially do things like ruin lens coatings, or worse yet, if you were shooting it into your camera to clean out the sensor box, actually damage your sensor. So you're better off using a natural little burst of air with a device like this. And that's the first step that I always do before I get any cleaning liquid involved, or a cloth involved. Rich Harrington: Yes. Robbie Carman: I'll simply just take all the lens hood so I have a nice access to it. And I find that holding the lens at a little bit of an angle, so you're not just, you know, blowing it up and having it come right back down. Simply just shoot some of that dust off to get the big part particles off the lens.
And now I can start cleaning and without the fear of sort of using a cloth where I might rub some of that dust that's still sitting on the lens back into the lens and potentially scratch it. Rich Harrington: Now do you ever use this on the back side of the lens too? Robbie Carman: I do. I do. Yeah, I mean, I'm a little, I'm a little more careful about the back element because obviously that's the part that's closest to the, to the, to the image sensor inside the camera. So, when I do that, I'm really particular about making sure that I have all of the dust off here. Because the last thing I want to have happen, is that dust off the back, the rear element, fall into the actual camera body itself.
Another little tip that I find that's often useful, is angling like a lamp or a desk light, or something like that. Where you can actually see the light going across the lens or, or the elements, there, because it's much easier to see small pieces of dust, and so on. Rich Harrington: Okay, so go ahead and put that cap back on. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: You've blown the front. I've got a microfiber cloth, pretty easy. Now when you take the microfiber cloth, some people will use a lens cleaning fluid on it, but essentially you can take this here and just gently pull across. Robbie Carman: Gently is the key word. Now, one other thing about, using microfiber cloths.
Not all microfiber cloths are equal. You can go to Target, or your local, you know, supermarket and find, a microfiber cleaning cloth these days. It is not, or those aren't, lens quality microfiber cloths. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: They can still potentially scratch your lenses. So, it's always a good idea to go to a reputable camera store or online camera store and buy a lens, you know, a dedicated specialty lens cloth. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: Because the other thing that, sort of those off-the-shelf, you know, kind of cheap microfiber cloths are going to do is they're actually going to shed a lot of lint off of the microfiber cloth onto your lens, which is not, not good.
Rich Harrington: And I have a nice one from Nikon that actually clips right onto my camera strap, making it really easy to do this. But just gentle rubbing, pull that right off. You know, and it's pretty good. Now, if that's not enough for you, some people will take a, a blower brush, you know, and blow that across. Robbie Carman: Yeah. Rich Harrington: Gentle strokes. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: Or I really like these. This is a lens pen type system. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: Two ends. One end actually has, sort of, this little cleaner. Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: And it's kind of like a microfiber itself. So if you have a spot on the lens, like a water spot.
Maybe you're out shooting. Robbie Carman: Or like a fingerprint or something. Rich Harrington: Yeah, you could rub that right across the surface of the lens there like that, and then you, the other side you just push that and it has a brush built in and you just brush that right off. Robbie Carman: Yeah. I just want to say one thing about the sort of the, the tip or the felt side there. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: Is that these guys do get dirty don't think that you can have it into perpetuity and for the rest of your life. Sometimes when they get dirty, because they're kind of statically charged where they sort of attract a lot of dust and debris, and as that gets trapped on that end of the pen, it builds up.
You can potentially scratch your lens. So I find, every, you know, I don't know every three months, four months, five months, something like that, Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: I'll replace them, and you can find them for five, six bucks online. Rich Harrington: Yeah, not bad. Pick up a couple, throw them in your kit, you know, swap them out as they get worn out. Robbie Carman: Now Rich, we've talked about the cleaning cloths. There's one other thing that some people tend to combo with a cleaning cloth. And that's lens cleaning fluid. Now I want to make one big point. It's very tempting when something's very dirty. To make it very clean with big squirts. Bad idea.
Use small, tiny little drops. The less the better. Start with the minimal amount that you possibly can on the actual lens, and clean it, and see how things are, how, how things are looking. Don't be tempted to just do a big long squirt on the lens, because, a) you'll create a mess, and b) you could possibly damage the lens it it's not weather sealed and some of that liquid could get into the lens itself. Rich Harrington: And what do you think Rob about squirting the cloth about squirting the lens itself? Robbie Carman: Oh, this age old question. Rich Harrington: Chicken, egg? It, it's one other way. I personally just put a little bit on the lens itself. Robbie Carman: Yeah.
Rich Harrington: And get it, but if you're concerned, you could just put it right on the cloth, to get the cloth dampened, rub that. Robbie Carman: Yeah and either, either way, minimalism again, is going is going to go far. Rich Harrington: Alright, well, sometimes a clean lens is not enough, because you get dirt Inside the camera. Maybe this is because of a lens change in the field, or some cameras, like for example I've been shooting a lot with a D600. There's been reports of dust getting in them even in sealed environments. Like just the way the cameras are made these days. Sometimes dust gets sucked into the body from lots of different ways, so when we come back, we're going to talk about some strategies of getting the inside of the camera clean.
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