How to Clean Your Camera Lens the Right Way with These 5 Tips
You don’t invest in a smart pair of eye glasses only to let the fingerprints gather. Nor do you walk around all day with cloudy vision because you can’t be bothered cleaning off the smudges. And you certainly don’t (we hope!) rub those delicate lenses with sanitary tissues or your grubby shirt sleeve.
Since camera lenses are just as fragile and do just the same job as eye glasses – delivering crystal clear images to the viewer – why would you treat them differently?
Lenses are, after all, often more expensive than any other piece of camera equipment. A dirty lens will produce cloudy, dim images. So it pays to enforce a bit of regular – but not too regular! – camera care. Here are some quick, easy tips to clean your lens the right way.
Use proper equipment – not your sleeve!
There’s a reason you shouldn’t clean your glasses with the corner of your shirt. Minute specks of dirt on your shirt sleeve can scratch the glass.
But you don’t want to leave fingerprint smudges on the lenses either. For one thing, they’re pesky. But for another, fingerprints contain oils and acids that can damage the anti-reflection coating of your glasses. Dried water and sea spray are just as damaging, containing salt crystals that can damage the coating.
And so it is with your camera lenses too. Wiping off imperfections with improper materials can result in devastating scratches and trapped granules of sand and dirt around the edges.
In fact, before you wipe even the right cloth – microfibre cloth or lens cleaning tissues – over your lens, you should make sure there’s no loose dust or granules remaining to scratch the surface.
Rubber air blowers and soft-haired brushes are designed for this purpose. Brush or blow the grit from the middle to the edges of the lens, then shake the lens with the glass pointing down to remove remaining dust.
Once the glass is clear of grit, wipe the microfibre cloth in a circular motion from the middle to the edges of the lens.
Don’t leave home without cleaning fluid – but use it sparingly!
If you have really pesky stains, a microfibre cloth on its own isn’t going to do it. In these cases you need lens-cleaning fluid – but not too much, and not too often!
While lens cleaning fluid is ultra-handy to remove stubborn smudges, it can cause streaks across your lens if you use too much. And if you use it too often, it can wear off your lens protective coating and scratch the glass.
Never apply the fluid directly onto the lens surface. Instead, tip a drop onto your cleaning cloth, then rub it in a circular motion, as before, to the edge of the lens. And only use it when you need to.
Keep cotton buds handy
Cleaning your lens doesn’t always require fancy equipment. In fact, some of the most valuable lens cleaning accessories you can have are cotton bud tips. They’re handy for getting into tight spots – especially the viewfinder and the grooves around your lens.
But as always, make sure you’ve removed dust and grit with a brush or blower first, otherwise you risk scratches or trapping the dirt.
Keep camera bag clean and dry
Cleaning your lens isn’t always about cleaning after the havoc either. In fact, one of the easiest ways to keep your lens clean is to keep it stored safely in a clean camera bag.
While you should always have a lens cap covered the lens surface, it still pays to keep your camera bag free of dirt and dust so there’s not risk of dirt accessing the lens.
And to keep humidity out too, throw some fresh silica gel sachets in the bottom of the bag. These nifty sachets will capture any moisture so your lens won’t be impacted by it first.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a filter
Our finally tip is about being pro-active. If you can prevent your lens from becoming filthy in your first place, why wouldn’t you do it?
A filter is essential to protect your lens. Not only does it limit UV light, and protect your lens from scratches and breakages, it also reduces the amount of actual lens cleaning you need to do. Instead, you simply need to clean the filter, which is a far easier task!
Make sure all your lenses are protected with one of these nifty devises. Lens hoods and, of course, lens caps are also useful tools for protecting your lens glass from scratches and dust.
Lens filters do come in varying quality so make sure you get a trusty brand, such as ProMaster.
For lens cleaning kits and other cleaning and protection products, browse Camera House’s full range of products today.