This might seem like a really simple tip, but it is a very common mistake. I often notice this first about point and shoot cameras. The lenses are usually really dirty. Clean lens can make all of the difference in an image. Yesterday I brought our point and shoot to the beach. About half way through our beaching I noticed that my camera lens was really dirty. Today when looking at the pictures the ones that I took before I cleaned the lens were really muddy, lacked color and were just plain bad.
Dirty lenses get in the way of clean images. They smudge up the image, they block light and your camera has to turn up the ISO, lower the shutter speed and open the aperture–all things that can make your images blurry, out of focus, grainy and blah color.
Here are 2 pictures that are straight out of my little camera. I set my camera on auto, I took a picture before I cleaned my lens and that again after. Can you tell which is which?
Before you drop a couple of hundred on a new camera try this. Get out a clean, dry, soft cloth. Spray the cloth with a little windex. Then clean the lens, don’t push too hard. Just gently wipe with the damp part of the cloth and then again with a dry part. Treat that little lens like you would treat your eyeglasses. If you are out and about just clean it with a clean part of your shirt. Don’t be too scared. You can scratch the lens, but it is more difficult than you think. It is well worth the risk if you can get sharper, more colorful, nicer pictures from your existing camera.