This is a short review of the "Hama 5610 bellows blower 55mm bulb" (dust ex for cameras), as it is a very simple gadget there is nothing much exciting that you can say about it, however I'll try and make this review as informative and interesting as I can.
I was reading an excellent review about the Hama digi-clear lens cleaner, and decided to get one, so I clicked on the Amazon link at the top of the review page and ordered one, but then, 'as Amazon always do', they chucked up a few more similar items to tempt you to spend even more of your hard earned dosh, one of the items they threw up was the Hama 5610 bellows blower 55mm bulb, when I saw it, I thought to myself, Ah! I could do with a new one of those, so I ordered one of these as well, and as I use the Amazon prime free next day delivery they arrived very quickly.
Who is Hama?
Hama are a company based in Germany, they are well known to photographers because they specialize in making photographic accessories & electronics, inc. tripods, digital photo frames, monitor covers, camera bags, filters and lens cleaning products, amongst many other things, and there will be very few photographers that do not have at least one of their products in their camera bag, I also use the Hama rechargeable AA batteries for my bridge camera, I have tried other makes but they do not seem to last as long, so now I just stick to these.
What is it?
The Hama 5610 bellows blower, is a hollow black rubber bulb, which is about the same size and shape as a lemon, with an intake valve at one end, and a long red plastic nozzle at the other, when the rubber bulb is squeezed it emits a jet of air from the end of the nozzle, and on releasing the pressure it quickly inflates again via the intake valve at the back ready for use again, so it can be pumped continuously to shift stubborn specks of dust.
What types are available?
There are two different types available, one type incorporates a brush on the nozzle to sweep away dust as you blow, the problem with these is that the brush can become soiled or contaminated with grease etc. which could soil the return mirror or sensor of your camera, but they are fine for the non-essential parts of the camera or lens.
The other type is the one being reviewed here, it has a plain nozzle that just emits a jet of air and makes no physical contact with the inner workings of your camera, so you are not transferring dust from one place to another, as can happen with a brush.
There is also the option of a can of compressed air, this provides a more powerful jet of air, but it is expensive, not very environmentally friendly, and as compressed air (or any gas for that matter) expands it cools, and sometimes ice crystals form on the nozzle, which can be blown into the camera mechanism, this cooling effect can also cause condensation, and is not recommended for use on camera sensors.
What is it for?
Its primary use is to blow troublesome dust from the inner workings of a camera, or from a lens front or back element, when you change lenses, batteries, film or memory cards it is difficult to exclude dust altogether no matter how careful you are, if you are pet owner you will probably end up with a cat or dog hair inside as well, and with this blowers long nozzle you can reach all the inner workings of your camera that you need to.
What is it like in use?
It is made from fairly soft rubber so it is easy to squeeze out a jet of air, but springy enough to inflate again immediately, you get quite a powerful jet of air which is strong enough to dislodge all but the most stubborn specks of dust, and because it is a brush-less design there is no chance of cross contamination as the nozzle does not make physical contact with your camera, so it is suitable for cleaning the return mirror and the sensor of any loose dust or hair, it can also be used to clean the front and back elements of your lenses, it will remove any sharp gritty dust from your lens prior to cleaning to prevent it causing scratches.
Please note: - if your return mirror or sensor become too soiled to be blown clean, take your camera to a service centre to be professionally cleaned, as they are delicate and easily damaged.
What else can it be used for?
It can be put to many uses other than photography, you could use it to dust delicate ornaments, or blow out dust from places that are inaccessible to a normal duster such as the nooks and crannies in electrical equipment, I used mine to blow the dust from the keyboard of my laptop and the metal grille on my TV speakers, it can also be used to blow dust off CD's and DVD's before you play them, model makers use them for blowing away small filings etc as they work on their models, watch makers/repairers use them to blow out dusty old clocks and watches prior to repair, and many other uses.
Although it is still new, and I haven't broken it in properly yet, it feels well made and is easy to use, the rubber bulb is not so thick that it is liable to crack over time, but neither is it so thin that it would tear, and after my previous experience of owning Hama products, I am confident that it will last for a long time to come, it is bigger than my old one and has a more powerful jet of air.
It comes in a blister pack that is not excessive and has a removable cardboard section in the back, which just slides out and is easy to replace again, so when not in use it can be stored safely in its original packaging, the instructions, (such as they are,) are printed on the reverse of the cardboard packaging in sixteen different languages.
It is 150mm long including the nozzle, and the bulb is 55mm in diameter at its widest point, so it is big enough to be useful and easy to handle, but is still small enough to fit in your gadget bag.
At the time of writing the Hama 5610 bellows blower 55mm bulb is available for £4.89 direct from Amazon, (free next working day delivery with Amazon prime) or for as little as £3.99 from the Amazon market place (third party sellers) but that comes with a hefty £4.50 postage charge, so it is still cheaper direct from Amazon.
This is an excellent accessory for any photographer, it is well made, it does exactly what it says on the pack, and it is ideal for blowing out any dust from your camera or lens, and is much better than just blowing on it with your mouth, as that introduces moisture into the camera workings, it costs less than a fiver and could save you from ending up with an expensive repair bill, it can also be put to many other uses as well, I am looking forward to getting many years of service from this useful gadget, and being made by Hama, it should last.
Thanks for reading - Mark.