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by garik

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I used to carry my point and shoot with me almost everywhere, and now that I've "upgraded" to a Canon 60D, I've been carrying it around. What I'm wondering is whether I'm likely to damage it or if there are any special precautions I should take.

A few more details:

  • The camera and accessories live in a MEC Gadabout Camera Bag, which I've adjusted so that it fits the camera quite closely
  • The camera bag stays inside my backpack, which is a laptop bag, so it's well padded. The camera ends up with the lens pointing at the bottom of the backpack.
  • I don't do anything too active with the backpack on (it's pretty heavy with the camera, a few files, wallet, notepad, etc.), but I sometimes ride my bike with it on.
  • The camera bag has a "quick-draw" opening at one end that I usually leave unzipped but with the flap in the closed position so that it covers the LCD and controls.

One thing I'm particularly wondering about is dust - I use just one lens, and it stays on the camera, but I do notice some dust collecting on the eyepiece and wonder if that's going to work it's way into the camera. Would it make any difference if I made a point of zipping the quick-draw flap closed?

Are there any special precautions I should take to minimize the chances of damaging my camera?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 27 down vote accepted

My advice would be to take your camera everywhere you might potentially take pictures. Take reasonable precautions to avoid shocks. If it gets damaged have it fixed.

You could keep the camera in its box for ten years and at the end of that period you'd have a pristine camera that would still be worth nothing. So you might as well use it as much as possible before it becomes obsolete.

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Ok me, listen to Matt and just do this! Your camera was meant to be used! –  Xeoncross Jun 26 '12 at 16:06

Jay Meisel maintains that it is hard to make good images if you don't take your camera along. So which do you optimize for? Longer lasting equipment you don't use or a possibly shortened lifespan of equipment you use regularly?

Here is a quote from one of Jay's students:

I haven’t left the house once without a camera and realize it’s impossible to be a part-time photographer and get better.

1 http://www.jaymaisel.com/workshop/feedback/

The short answer is take your camera everywhere you can and treat it with the normal amount of care you would any piece of gear you use a lot (a car, a bike, etc.). It does you no good sitting on a shelf.

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I used to really worry about whether my camera would be alright if I was carrying it everywhere, then I remembered something, our little mid-range DSLRs are children of the big high end ones that are taken into warzones in the middle of a desert. Be careful with it, but it's made to be fairly sturdy!

As long as your lens is securely fastened onto your body I wouldn't be too concerned about dust, as long as it's no where near your sensor it won't impact your shots, you might just get a bit behind the viewfinder which whilst annoying (mines got a tiny tiny hair that just looks huge through it) doesn't have an effect on image quality.

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2  
Note: do not take a 60D into a dessert. –  dpollitt Sep 30 '11 at 20:02

With a lens in place your camera is reasonably well sealed against getting dust inside but it will not be immune. The 60D does not the same level of environmental protection as high end cameras but having said that you are unlikely to have problems in everyday environments where there isn't a lot of dust about. The biggest chance of getting dust into your 60D body is going to be while changing the lens which is something you don't do too often.

The 60D should be pretty robust and able to take the odd knock but again is not as strong as the higher end bodies which are typically of magnesium alloy construction, not plastic like the 60D. Though just carrying it about with you its unlikely to get knocked about too much.

Dust gets into all cameras over time and if it becomes a problem you can take your camera and lens to a Canon dealer and they will be able to quickly clean the internals for you. This is not expensive to have done.

Your biggest concern should be keeping your camera dry as long as you do this you shouldn't have any problems, dust and a few light knocks aren't going to do it any real harm but water will.

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An unused camera is just an expensive paper-weight.

Use your camera, and you will get photos that you can never put a price tag on.

I have photos that are extremely important to me, as a piece of my life, my memory and people I loved. I would be extremely sad if those photos were destroyed, and obviously I cannot say the same if one day my camera breaks.

I can simply buy a new camera, in the end its the photos that are priceless.

For example, taking photos of the newborn baby in our family is something money simply cannot buy.

Moreover, I believe there really is no reason to baby-sit a camera, especially a DSLR.

I am not asking you to trust my words, in fact, there is a video showing just how durable a DSLR is : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1tTBncIsm8

In the video, DSLRs are dropped, burned, splashed on, used as a hammer, knocked off a tripod, clamped by an elevator door, dropped down a 3 stories escalator. Oh and worn as shoes too.

Watch for yourself, these are just entry level DSLRs made with plastics. I am 100% sure that my Canon 60D will work just fine even if I drop it on the floor a dozen of times.

So, its a good idea to stop baby-sitting your DSLR and actually use it as a tool.

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Modern dslr's are amazingly reliably and sturdy for such complex pieces of electronics.

I can only add one point to the answers above (keeping the camera dry being the most important point made, salt water being the worst kind of 'wet'!), and that is to use a filter on your lens. the front element of the lens is the weakest point in my opinion, and spending £20 is a cheap way of protecting this weak point. i have this filter, but note "other brands are available...."

http://www.hoyafilter.com/products/hoya/pro1d-03.html

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