A cartridge-loaded home movie camera is easy to maintain. To keep dust and grit from damaging the film, whisk the camera’s interior with a camel’s hair brush; then blow any remaining particles away with an ear syringe (not your breath). Pay special attention to the film gate-the rectangular window between the lens and the film. Dirt and film emulsion collect in the guide channels in this area.
Remove hardened deposits with a round toothpick or an orangewood stick. For a stubborn spot, wrap a clean,lint-free cloth around the stick and put a drop oflighter fluid or rubber-cement thinner on it. Don’t scrape with a metal tool; it can create burrs that will scratch film.
Cleaning the lens too often or incorrectly may scratch it or wear away its coating. To keep the lens clean, point it downward and blowout any dust with the ear syringe. Gently whisk off any remaining dust with a camels hair brush that you use only for cleaning lenses. Keep a lens cap over the lens when you’re not using the camera.
If the lens does become smudged, clean it immediately with lens tissue and a few drops of lens cleaning solution; use photographic, not eyeglass, tissue and cleaner. To prepare the tissue, roll it into a tube and tear the tube in half; hold the torn ends side by side and apply a little lens cleaner to those ends. Wipe the lens with a circular motion from the center out, keeping the pressure very light. Don’t apply cleaner directly to the lens; it can seep inside and ruin the optics. Use each lens tissue only once.
Care during use
Always take care when using a camera. At the beach, screw a clear or ultraviolet filter into the lens to protect it from spray and sand. On cold days, keep the camera under your coat except when shooting. Don’t leave the camera in a hot or freezing car trunk or in direct summer sun. Before storing a movie camera, remove the batteries; otherwise they may leak.