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Do digital cameras need servicing and maintenance checks?


trivets12 11 1.3k
3 Jan 2012 12:24PM
Just asking this because I've had my Canon 5D for 5 or 6 years now and am wondering if I should get it serviced or checked over? Do other photographers generally do this, or is it unnecessary?
Thanks
Trudy

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mlewis 10 1.5k United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 12:29PM
If it still works ok why bother?
trivets12 11 1.3k
3 Jan 2012 12:39PM
Well, that was my thought too, but someone asked me recently how often I get my camera kit serviced and when I said I didn't, they seemed surprised!
KenTaylor Plus
10 3.0k 2 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 12:47PM
For a pro with it in use continuously in all kinds of conditions then yes as its a tool.

The service carried out generally is sensor cleaning when its needed, if not then leave it alone.
BobbieBoy 9 17 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 12:49PM
I would think the only thing that needs caring for is the sensor - keeping it clear of debris if you change lenses a lot, and the outside to keep it clean from the weather. Not many moving parts now to wear out now, except shutter. Don't fix what isn't broken. Smile
KevSB 11 1.5k 5 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 12:54PM
If you send it in for service they will clean and calibrate it but i doubt it will have a marked difference, You would be best waiting until something goes wrong and a part needs replacing as a full service is normally part of the cost of opening it up for repair anyway.
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
3 Jan 2012 2:01PM

Quote:If you send it in for service they will clean and calibrate it.


What is there to calibrate?
JJGEE 10 6.5k 18 England
3 Jan 2012 2:04PM

Quote:What is there to calibrate?


The metering system ?

I used to get my hand held Minolta Spot Meter done each year at Focus On Imaging.
JackAllTog Plus
5 4.0k 58 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 2:18PM
Maybe after 5 years the internal battery should be changed before it leaks, but this is something you can do yourself too - though all custom settings may be lost.
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
3 Jan 2012 3:35PM

Quote:What is there to calibrate?

The metering system ?

I used to get my hand held Minolta Spot Meter done each year at Focus On Imaging.



There's no mechanism on a digital camera to mess with the metering system AFAIK. I can't think of anything on a digital camera that can be "calibrated" except for the focus of a DSLR - and that's a specialist (and very expensive) job.
KevSB 11 1.5k 5 United Kingdom
3 Jan 2012 3:55PM

Quote:If you send it in for service they will clean and calibrate it.

What is there to calibrate?

/ http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorcalibration/a/cal_camera.htm
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
3 Jan 2012 4:29PM
There's nothing in there about calibrating the camera - it's about the monitor. Digital cameras have various colour controls in their menus (like the colour space) and they also have white balance adjustment for individual shots. You not seriously suggesting that when you send a camera off for servicing they're going to check the colour - are you?
3 Jan 2012 4:33PM
Nikon suggest every 2 years, or more frequently if very heavily used.
I am reasonably sure this advice is intended for professional cameras used mainly by pros.
Speaking specifically Nikon it is not likely to be economic to get something like a mid grade low (by today's standard) MP body like a D70 serviced.
Good though the 5D was 5 years ago only you can decide if it is worth probably 100 + for a full service.
66tricky 8 742 Scotland
8 Jan 2012 11:35AM

Quote:If you send it in for service they will clean and calibrate it.

What is there to calibrate?



The majority of digital SLRs have a mechanical shutter, albeit the speeds being electronically controlled. I can see no reason why this cannot drift from factory calibration nor why it cannot be recalibrated. Same goes for exposure measuring devices. AF systems also have mechanical components and sensors that could need calibration versus the control systems. Some cameras are designed to self-adjust by closed loop control system. However, this does not preclude them from requiring calibration at some time. There are also mechanical interfaces to the lens such as the aperture control lever. If this gets distorted during use, either by mis-mounting of a lens or wear and tear, then the exposure system could read different to the actual exposure. Again, this can be remedied.

So, to sum up, digital SLRs are not just a box with a sensor that has no mechanical dependencies that can veer from centre calibration.
Steppenwolf 3 1.1k
9 Jan 2012 9:20AM

Quote:The majority of digital SLRs have a mechanical shutter, albeit the speeds being electronically controlled. I can see no reason why this cannot drift from factory calibration nor why it cannot be recalibrated. Same goes for exposure measuring devices. AF systems also have mechanical components and sensors that could need calibration versus the control systems.


Like you say there are a lot of things that can go wrong on a digital camera (or can be wrong from new) but most of them can't be "calibrated" - i.e. you can check the shutter and find that it's running too slow but there isn't a mechanism to adjust it, to the best of my knowledge. Same goes for metering and colour accuracy. In the case of metering the algorithms used for things like pattern metering are so complex that it would be very dangerous for anyone to mess with it.

AFAIK the only thing that can be "calibrated" is AF (on a DSLR) where there are a few screws that can adjust the position of the AF sensor, but again this is a very complex job and best left to the manufacturer. I know people often mess with this and claim to get good results but I doubt that they do, because you need to reset data in the firmware and only the manufacturer knows how to do this. Lenses can be "collimated" - some people also claim that a lens can be "calibrated" although I've never seen a satisfactory definition of this. In most cases I think they mean that the lens has been rechipped (like in the case where a third party lens has been sent out with the wrong data in the ROM - think Sigma usually).

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