Sunday, July 18, 2010

Service Reminder

The dog days of Summer often create challenges for Nature and Wildlife Photographers. The heat and humidity that we battle also affects the critters that we like to photograph. Add in the factor of being in a drought and we are already in an uphill battle. Rather than go out shooting in 100 degree temperatures, many photographers set the camera bag aside and opt for an afternoon indoors. While this may seem like a missed opportunity, there is something that we should be doing but rarely do. Photographers often talk about feeling guilty for not getting the camera out, but how often do you hear someone talk about feeling guilty for not getting the camera in? Cars are part of who we are and cars are mechanical. They require service and a little TLC to ensure they keep up with our hectic lifestyles. Most drivers would admit to feeling guilty at some point for running late on getting the car serviced. Well, it turns out that cameras and lenses are like cars. The big difference is that we as photographers do most of the maintainence on our camera gear. We blow off the front lens element, use high tech kits to clean our sensors, and wipe our camera gear down after a day in the field and that it usually where it ends UNTIL we have a problem. Most camera manufacturers recommend that cameras should be sent in for factory service once a year. Thanks to the quality of the camera gear that is being produced today we do not have to do this but it does not mean that we should not do it. We spend thousands of dollars on the newest body or the fastest lens but rarely spend the $300-400 dollars to have it serviced. Professional photographers are lucky because most of the major camera manufacturers have Pro Service booths at big ticket events where they can get on the spot service and repair. Most photographers do not have this luxury and have to spend quite a bit of time and money to send their gear off for service. Using the excuse that it takes too long is no longer valid. Camera manufacturers know that after spending thousands on camera gear the last thing a photographer wants to do is to go without a camera. The turn around time on service and repair reflects this and usually the camera is back on its way in days.

One of the first things you should do after getting new photography gear is to go online and read up on the manufacturers website about recommended service and the time and money involved. Then plan ahead so you can take advantage of using the lull in your shooting to keep your gear in top order.