Although digital cameras don't have obvious holes and entry points in their cases that could allow particles and other items inside the case, the seals around some digital camera bodies aren't tight enough to protect from every potential substance that could harm the electronics inside the camera. Here are some of the substances and particles you need to be especially wary of when you're using your digital camera. If these substances are in the area where you'll be shooting, take extra care to protect your cameras and avoid damaged cameras.
- Condensation. If you're going to use your camera in areas with heavy humidity, or if you'll quickly be switching from warm areas to cold areas, you could end up with condensation inside the camera lens. To battle condensation, use silica gel packets inside a plastic bag you can seal. When you aren't using the camera, store it in the bag with the gel packets, which will absorb stray moisture.
- Insect repellent. Because insect repellent tends to be a little sticky, it can cause grime and dust to stick to the camera, if the repellent ends up on the camera. Be especially careful that no insect repellent ends up on the lens or LCD screen.
- Sand and dust. Sand and dust particles are especially dangerous for a camera, because many are small enough to penetrate areas of the camera where they can do damage, such as the lens housing or the seal on the camera body. Be careful in areas where sand and dust is blowing around in a strong wind. Use a soft brush to clean your camera lens and LCD from sand and dust particles, before they cause scratches.
- Sunscreen. This greasy substance is a common problem with digital cameras, as many people use their cameras outdoors in the summer, where sunscreen is often used, too. Sunscreen can place a greasy film on the lens or LCD, which can be very difficult to clean. It can make your camera body slippery, too, which may lead to a dropped camera. Wash your hands thoroughly after using sunscreen and before using your camera.
- Water. Unless you have a camera designed for underwater photography, avoid water at all costs when using your digital camera. Dropping a camera into a pond, pool, or river will ruin the electronics very quickly. If you know you will use your camera near water, purchase an underwater housing or, at the least, protect the camera in a plastic bag you can seal.
One final tip: Do not store sunscreen and insect repellent or even a bottle of water inside the same bag as your camera. If one of the containers leaks, it could damage your camera.