Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I think if I had my way, cameras would not be allowed on any beaches.
Sand in cameras ranks very near the top in the amount of time required to repair a camera. Of course, getting your camera wet, or spilling suntan lotion on it would be worse, but sand is really a pain.
When sand gets in most modern cameras that are made mostly of plastic materials, it has a tendency to stick to all the plastic by static electricity. You can't simply open the camera up and dump all the little particles out. They tend to get stuck in all the nooks and crannies inside the camera and get jammed in the little plastic gears that most cameras have. Getting sand in the plastic zoom barrels on a Point & Shoot digital camera causes the sand to act as an abrasive compound, quickly wearing out the plastic zoom guides.
When we repair a camera with sand it it, we completely disassemble the camera and use a special vacuum system to suck the sand out of areas that we can't reach into with tweezers. It is time-consuming, but it beats having a piece of sand reappear later and jam the camera again.
If you need to take your camera to the beach, try to keep it in a plastic zip-lock bag whenever possible and don't set it down anywhere it can come in contact with sand.