Wednesday, 3 July 2013

De-scratching a camera LCD screen

Recently I bought a cheap compact digital camera to keep in my handbag for instant use, as the camera in my phone is pretty useless, and of course, I took it into the field last week to photograph whatever needed to be photographed.  I have a protective pouch for it, and when we were working at the new site shown in the middle photograph in the previous post, I kept it, in its pouch, in the breast pocket of my jacket.

After a while, I got fed up with constantly unzipping the pouch, so started just dropping the camera straight into my pocket.  This was a mistake, because I also stored a toothbrush in there, which I used to gently brush away loose dirt from the fossils we were trying to extract from the cliff.  Said toothbrush was of course, contaminated with dirt from the cliff.

On Friday afternoon I took some photographs in Burnmouth Bay in quite bright sunlight, and was horrified to see masses of scratches all over the LCD screen on the back of the camera.  They were so bad that in the bright light they partially obscured my view of what I was trying to photograph.  It took me a while to work out how I had scratched the screen so badly, and I was mortified when I realised how stupid I'd been.

On Monday, not wanting to throw away an otherwise perfectly good camera, I googled for ideas on how to remove the scratches and immediately found suggestions to use toothpaste.  Now as an amateur silversmith, I know that you can use toothpaste to do a little emergency polishing of silver jewellery, but that it's actually a bit aggressive, so I polished my LCD screen with Silvo, of the sort that comes as pink cotton wadding in a tin.

I rubbed away with the Silvo wadding for a short while, polished it up with a soft cloth and examined the results.  Seeing an improvement, I repeated the exercise several times until I felt I'd got rid of enough of the scratches. I did it in lots of short stages, for fear of doing some irreparable damage to the screen, but as it turned out, all was well.  There were still a few really deep scratches, but they were actually not the ones that had caused me so much trouble on Friday afternoon in the sunshine.  The masses of tiny ones were what had made life so difficult.

I also found some cheap, cut-to-fit protective film in my local supermarket in the mobile phones section (there was nothing in the cameras section) so once I'd got rid of the majority of the scratches, I cleaned the screen with the alcohol-impregnated cloth you get with the film, dried it off, cut the film to size and stuck it in place.  And it all seems to have worked rather nicely.

I did try the same trick on the 'big' Panasonic, which also has a three inch LCD screen, but first, that screen was rather more badly scratched, and second, I forgot to clean it with the alcohol-impregnated cloth, so when I applied the protective film, there was a speck of dust, which is still there.  I think I can still use it OK, but I might get irritated enough to rip the current film off and have another go. You get quite a lot of film for your £4.