Keeping Your Equipment Like New January 31 2010, 0 Comments

Unless you are heading out to a distant land for an after the holiday adventure, January is a great time to have your camera equipment cleaned and checked. Most don’t think of having their cameras and lenses cleaned and inspected until something goes wrong. That is generally when big dollars are lost, when a camera cannot be repaired, or for the cost of the repair, one can purchase a new camera. Likewise, little attention is given to having those SLR lenses cleaned and inspected.

Canon, in addition to being the leader in photographic technology, has the best customer service I have ever encountered and as a 20 year Canon veteran, I can say that their service is as good or better than when I began using their products some two decades ago.

There are several ways to go about having your basic camera or SLR camera body and lenses cleaned and “returned to factory specs.” Canon has systems in place for professional camera products and non-professional products. Located in New Jersey and California, your camera can be sent directly to Canon.

First, determine if you will need the consumer division or the professional division. Consumer products generally range from point and shoot cameras to beginning SLR’s up to and including the Rebel. If you are in the consumer division, securely pack your camera noting the serial number, and canon camera model. Enclose a quick letter including your name, address, phone number, email address, camera model and serial number and type of payment. Ask that your camera sensor be cleaned and that the camera be inspected for potential problems. You will receive by email usually, a confirmation that your camera has arrived and then an estimate for cleaning and inspection.

If you are in the professional division, chances are you have your equipment cleaned and checked two to three times a year. But if you are new to the professional world, do the following. Securely pack your camera body. I tend to use the original box and then pack it in a second box. Keep a record of your camera body serial number. In your letter to Canon, ask them to clean the camera sensor and return all functions to factory specs after inspecting the camera. In some cases, you will need to check with Canon, this can extend your warranty. You want all functions checked because you want your camera body returned to you as though you just purchased it. Be sure to include you name, address, phone, email address, make and serial number of your camera. On the outside box for professional cameras only, write the letters “CPS” (Canon Professional Services)along with the address. This will ensure that your camera/lens gets to the right division.

While some of the newer Mark II series camera bodies have a sensor cleaning function, you can still get dust on the sensor, which when it happens, looks like spots on your images. Using only “L” series lenses can cut down on the dust, because the seals on those lenses are a better grade than less expenses lenses.

Canon works quickly to get all cameras back to their customers, although the professional cameras tend to come back more quickly because professionals need the equipment to make a living. Don’t forget to send in your lenses. They too need to be cleaned and inspected. Your images are only as good as the glass you have on your camera!

I recommend sending your camera body and upon its return sending a lens or two. I also send my equipment overnight via UPS with the highest amount of insurance available for the item. This means that a camera body I paid 5K for will have a signature required every time it moves from driver to driver with UPS. It is a bit more expensive but gives better tracking information.

Canon’s address in New Jersey is: Canon USA Inc. Factory Service Center 100 Ridge Road Jamesburg, New Jersey 08831. Phone: 732-521-7007.