Looking after your camera gear

Lehmann’s – camera maintenance
Two of the staff from Lehmann’s came along to the club one evening to talk about looking after and getting the most out of our camera gear.
247-249 London Road, Stoke, ST4 5AA
Telephone: 01782 413611
Website:  www.hlehmann.co.uk
E-mail: service@hlehmann.co.uk

They have been in the camera repair business in Stoke for 40 years, primarily Canon and Nikon Authorised service centre. They also now house Stoke Photo Centre producing prints with a Fuji Frontier and a large format A0 printer.

Care and maintenance
Impact damage is the most common problem. This ranges from full blown drops or submersion to gentle taps. The physical damage caused by a drop or knock to the appearance of a camera body or lens is easy to see. Faults to the optics / sensor are harder to see. Lenses can be very prone to damage from gentle taps with elements being put out of alignment. If this happens the lens might need optical realignment. Having a sense that images are not as sharp as they were from a lens can be a sign of misalignment. Dropping lenses can damage the focusing or zooming helicoids and also give a mis-aligned tilt. Any lens alignment issue, the problem will always be there unless re-aligned. No focus tweaking can compensate. Body knocks also often give rise to AF issues due to the sensor alignment being changed. Front and back focusing are issues that link to this and wear & tear etc. can also cause it. They can do the realignment and AF adjustment for Nikon & Canon bodies.

They do not advise people to use the camera body AF adjust. In-camera AF ‘micro adjustments’ only help to correct front / back focusing and only for one focusing distance and at one focal length. Some cameras do now allow for 3 focal length settings on zooms. The long-term solution requires the re-writing of the data tables in the lens chip. This then corrects for all focal length and distances. For Sigma Art lenses the USB hub enables rewriting of 3 or 4 points in these data tables. To change more requires a service by Sigma.

Dust bunnies
In-camera cleaning only works for dry dust. Anything with any moisture will stick to the sensor. ‘Dust bunnies’ are more visible the more the lens is stopped down so landscape photographers suffer seeing them more than sports / bird photographers. They see a lot of damaged sensors and shutters. Scratched sensors from cotton buds etc, shutters from battery failures whilst cleaning. Whilst it is possible to clean a sensor oneself with one of the available kits they do see a lot of damaged sensors / shutters / mirrors due to people getting it wrong.

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