How to protect your digital camera at the beach

If you’ll be tanning at the beach this summer, make sure your digital camera doesn’t also end up getting toasted. Though many camera manufacturers now make waterproof digital cameras or accessories, not everyone can afford to buy new gear just for a beach trip.

I checked in with Lindsay Silverman, Nikon‘s senior technical manager, for advice on how to protect your digital camera while at the beach.

Whether you own a SLR or a point-and-shoot, these five tips can help make sure your camera survives a day on the sand. Best of all, none of Silverman’s tips require buying a lot of fancy accessories.

What should you do if you get sand in the camera?

Use a blower device, like the ones that you would find in a pharmacy for getting mucus out of a baby’s or child’s nose. It works great for blowing off moderate amounts of sand. If the camera really took a “dusting,” send the camera in for servicing and let the experts take a look.

What do you do if the camera gets wet?

If it’s a moderate amount — let’s say from a drizzle of rain — I would just wipe the camera clean. If the camera has severe water damage, send it in for servicing.

What do you do if just the lens gets wet or gets sand on it? How do you wipe it without scratching anything?

Same as above; try using a blower to remove grains of sand.

Should you store your camera under the shade of a beach umbrella? What if you put it under a towel? Is that good because it’s out of direct sunlight, or will it overheat if it’s also in a bag?

Leaving the camera exposed on the beach can make the camera really hot. Not only will the camera get hot, the battery will also get very hot, so this is not a good idea.

Protect the camera as much as possible. What I like to do is bring a protective bag for the camera, and then I put it in a dry spot in my cooler. If you can’t do this, keep the camera in its case and put that under a towel — anything to keep it out of the sun and heat.

Should you leave your digital camera at home and take a cheaper one to the beach instead (or just use your camera phone)?
Leave a camera behind? Never! Just use common sense, and have a good time.

[Image Credit: Amy Chen]