Is This Rechargeable Blower the Solution for Cleaning Your Gear?

Handheld air blowers are the type of accessory literally every photographer and filmmaker should have in their bag, as they allow you to easily get rid of grit or debris on your camera sensor and lenses without physically touching them and risking a scratch. The Nitecore BlowerBaby upgrades the standard handheld blower by adding a powerful motor and rechargeable battery. Is it worth the higher price? This great video review takes a look at what you can expect. 

Coming to you from Wes Perry, this awesome video review takes a look at the Nitecore BlowerBaby rechargeable air blower. Blowers are the kind of accessory you should always have in your bag, as they allow you to get rid of dust or dirt without touching the lens. Blowing on the lens with your mouth is something you should avoid, as the moisture in your breath can break down lens coatings. Handheld blowers generally do the job just fine, but there is something intriguing about a powered blower that can not only provide a more powerful air stream for stubborn debris, but also one that can provide a sustained airflow for easier cleaning of multiple pieces of equipment. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Perry. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Experienced camera repair techs will tell you to avoid the advice in this article because it can easily pressure debris deeper into your equipment. Its tempting, but dont do it.

Ignore this Fstoppers ad and avoid blowing debris deeper into your equipment.

I've used a device similar to this (bought it at a third of the price) to clean computer components for some years now. Works perfectly. I haven't had the need to use it on my camera equipment though. The rocket blower is sufficient.

I'm going to need a source for the claim that "the moisture in your breath can break down lens coating" because i have hard time believing that lens coatings are that delicate. That claim seems like nothing more than a lie to sell a product.

So Nikon claimed in 2012 that there are "harmful acids" in breath, but removed that claim from their website by 2016, or possibly sooner. So are we now just spreading myth and rumor? Is it sufficient to back up a claim by posting a link to a decade-old claim that was itself never backed up and then retracted?

I have no issues with breathing on a lens, but breathing on a sensor is Always a terrible idea. There is always Some amount of spray in your breath that lands on the sensor.

Yeah, there's water droplets in your breath that you dont want on the sensor cover glass because it will leave spots, but it won't damage it. It's just glass. Human breath is slightly alkaline, and there are some acids in it, but in most cases there are higher concentrations everywhere all around in the air. So the suggestion that it will damage the coatings on a lens is unscientific nonsense that is irresponsible to spread around unsubstantiated.

For air dusting, the overall airflow is less important than how focused the air pressure is. To determine the effectiveness of air pressure on an object, a test setup of a pressure sensor or a smaller airflow measurement tool placed behind a flat surface with a tiny hole in it. That will give an idea of how much airflow can be focused on a smaller point, and that will determine how effective it is at dislodging a piece of dust or other debris.

High volumes of air on a sensor is one of the worse things you can do, since you will greatly shorted the life of the shutter mechanism due to the mechanical stress that will be placed on it.

While not for camera gear (due to the issues with air compressors), I will often use an air compressor (150 PSI), and one of those basket ball inflation nozzles (the cheaper ones that lack the additional hole on the side of the nozzle), They work really well on less sensitive devices, as well as when cleaning case fans, and cleaning thew fan hub without using a ton of air.

It also allows for more precision dusting when repairing larger equipment, where a larger blower would dislodge a ton of dost from a wide area, and then a ton of dust in the air will re-settle on the component you are trying to repair.
Less air but higher pressure in a very focused area is ideal when dealing with a tiny amount of dust or a tiny spec or 2.

Then when you need to do an overall dusting, (especially for larger equipment), get a ton of really cheap 20x20x1 filters, Tape it to the back of a box fan, then run it at full speed, close to area you want to dust, (filter side facing the area being dusted). Then use your higher powered 500-700 watt duster to clean the components.

Overall, I have rarely seen a need to airflow like that when cleaning. It is often either a very concentrated stream of air to pinpoint a tiny spot, or tons of air and pressure across a wide area.