The real world is a dangerous place for cameras and lenses. Dust, dirt, and water are everywhere, leaving photographers without a safe area to set down their camera or change lenses. PetaPixel reader and photographer Alex Stammers has developed a solution to these woes, the Camera Mat.
“The Camera Mat will give you somewhere clean and dry to work on and to maintain or just change the lens on your beloved camera whether at home or out in the field,” explains Stammers.
It is a simple product for a severe problem. The Camera Mat is designed to be taken anywhere and promises to occupy minimal space inside a photographer’s bag. The mat has a smooth surface and a non-slip base and Stammers says the mat will last a long time without fraying or piling, and the polyester surface is easy to wipe down.
The Camera Mat comes in various colors and styles, including many inspired by different maritime flags and camera brands. All mats are 31.5 inches wide and 15.5 inches tall (about 80 x 40 cm).
The ocean-themed mats hint toward one of the most obvious use cases for the Camera Mat — working on the beach. Sand is horrific for cameras and especially lenses, and even a single grain that works its way inside your lens can destroy it in short order.
“Sand can do damage to camera bodies, but destroys lenses with ease. To put it simply, no rubber gasket is perfect, and those little imperfect gaskets line just about every seal in your lenses. A quick drop in the sand and just about every lens will suddenly have a crunchy focus ring, no matter how ‘weather-proofed’ the lens claims to be,” explains Lensrentals, a company that is all-too-familiar with what kind of hazards befall photo equipment in the real world.
The Camera Mat creates a safe space to place your gear at the beach, but it should work well in any environment. For example, putting gear down on wet grass is a risk that is best avoided, even when working with weather-resistant equipment. The story is similar when shooting in the snow.
Suppose a photographer is happily shooting away outdoors when they realize their sensor has a dust spot. Removing these spots when editing photos is straightforward but tedious. It is much better to clean an image sensor and attack the issue at its source. That is something a photographer will want to undertake with a clean work surface. The same goes for cleaning lenses.
Pricing and Availability
The Camera Mat is available directly from the Camera Mat website for $29.99 in numerous designs and colors, including colors inspired by camera manufacturers, like Canon (red), Nikon (yellow), Sony (orange), OM System and Panasonic (blue), and Fujifilm (green). The Camera Mat is also available in “white balance gray” and “camera black.”
Image credits: The Camera Mat