Roger Cicala, founder of leading US photographic equipment rental company Lensrentals (and a former physician), has published what must be the definitive article to date on Covid-19-era hygiene for photographers.
The article is more detailed than the usual community service instructions and provides a bit more of the ‘why’ than we are currently receiving from most sources.
So for instance we all know that the key protective measure against Coronavirus is to wash your hands regularly, and for at least 20 seconds each time. Roger explains that ‘it works by dissolving the lipid (fatty) capsule around the virus’. It takes 20 seconds or so for the fat to dissolve in the soap. Who knew!?
He also provides the chemical names behind a range of cleaning/disinfectant agents and lists their effectiveness – including the ones which are useless against the virus. While not all are brand names in Australia and New Zealand, the chemicals can be identified from product labels.
He makes the reassuring point that, ‘if your gear has been sitting away from people for a couple of days, it’s safe,’ but advises photographers simply not to share cameras.
When it comes to isopropyl alcohol as a camera and lens cleaning agent, he questions whether manufacturers’ warnings regarding lens damage are valid, noting that, ‘despite what some manufacturers have said, we, and every repair shop I know have used isopropyl alcohol in 60 percent or greater concentrations on camera equipment for a long time and haven’t seen any adverse effects.’ He goes so far as to say concentrations up to 99 percent are not harmful, but soaking a lens in a solution of the stuff would be unwise, as would vigorous rubbing of the lens surface.
He concedes that cameras are a real problem because they are more likely to collect a big load of virus from a users face and hands; they are replete with loads of nooks and crannies which are hard to get to; and some of the cleaning agents may have a damaging effect, especially to LCD screens. So not sharing cameras – or memory cards – is the best alternative. ‘If you do share, disinfect it carefully with a minimal solution and set it aside for 24 hours; 48 hours if you are paranoid.’
Access the full article here: https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2020/03/how-to-disinfect-camera-equipment-and-spaces/