Do digital cameras lose picture quality over time?
For some reasons when I look at my first pictures from my camera (DSLR), they look stunning. I know it could be just psychological. Another friend told me that her camera was really good when she bought it fours years ago (10 MP), but now it is just ok. I see her P&S very blurry in indoors (almost like phone quality pictures).
A quick search yielded this yahoo answer, which actually does not seem bad to me. That answer can be summarized as: not really, but some things make image quality worse. Listed factors include:
- Dust accumulation on the sensor (blamed for "resolution loss, pixels of false colors, noise, spots")
- Worn-out moving parts leaving the sensor out of alignment ("focus images, blurry and distorted images")
- Improper maintenance leading to "blown-out receptors on the sensor" (which lead to "blank spots on the image, false-color pixels and resolution loss")
- Dust in the lens ("noisy, blurry and distorted images")
- Scratched or destroyed lens coating ("distortion or false colors due to ultraviolet and infrared radiation reaching the sensor")
Is there any truth to it? What should I be careful for proper maintenance?
Practically speaking, digital cameras do not lose quality over time.
Some factors can come into play such as:
- Equipment can wear causing it to be out of spec
- Environmental factors such as dirt, sand, dust, moisture can degrade quality
- Heat or excessive use(causing heat) can cause all electronic devices to experience wear
- Other regular use issues from dropping, lack of cleaning, etc
But overall, these things should hardly turn a great looking 10MP point and shoot camera into a 640X480 resolution cell phone.
Maintenance, is an entirely new question if you would like to ask or search for that.
I'd add degrading electronics, leading eventually to dead pixels in the sensor, to that list. It's not just heat and excessive use doing that, it can happen even if the device is idle and in storage, though the process will take much longer in that case.