How To Clean Your Camera Lens
Most avid photographers will have dealt with fingerprints, dirt, oil and dust on their camera lenses. Having dirty optics will ruin a great shot, but it can be avoided! Follow along with our guide on how to quickly clean your camera lens as well as prevention and maintenance.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
The most fragile part of the lens is the glass. Simple things such as using a lens cap between shoots, not touching the glass with your fingers, or using a high-quality filter on the front of your lens, will help protect you from dirt or permanent damage. But let’s be honest… when you use your gear, it’s going to get dirty.
That’s why we’ve put together this quick & easy guide on how to clean your camera lens:
Using a circular motion, working from the centre out, remove oil, fingerprints and grime from the surface of your lens.
Whilst cleaning might be quick & easy, avoiding repeat physical interaction with your lens works best! This includes frequently cleaning it! Repeatedly cleaning and coating your lens with chemicals will make it more vulnerable to scratches and damage. Keep this to maybe once a month or when needed. A lens that has sat on your shelf coated in dust for months will produce lower quality images; a little bit of dust, on the other hand, is going to be much less harmful than the repeated process of cleaning!
Recommended Cleaning Products
As the front lens gets the most exposure, it’s the place most likely to require cleaning. This is why we recommend using a filter. Filters are your first line of defence against scratches and the basic idea is that, if you were to drop your lens, instead of the glass cracking, it would break your filter instead.
Many different filters have various purposes for your camera lens. The one that we suggest for overall shielding is a protective filter. These are for general use and they help protect your lens from dust, scratches and moisture. You can get UV filters not only to protect your lens from damage but also to help block out the UV light as it enters the lens. Think of this filter as sunscreen for your camera as it absorbs the light, reducing the bluish cast of daylight.
An air blower is an essential tool for any photographer as it helps to remove any dust or dirt from your lens. It can be tempting to use your own breath to blow dust particles off the glass, however, this should be avoided! This can cause condensation, which can leave mineral deposits behind on optical surfaces when it dries. Air blowers are a must-have piece of kit in your camera bag and can sometimes be the only thing you need to clean the lens.
We recommend the INCA Super Jumbo Blower if you’re wanting to purchase it on its own. If you are after a kit that includes various other lens cleaning accessories such as a lens brush, cleaning solution and cleaning tissues, as well as the air blower, then we recommend the Sensei OC-CK Optics Care Kit.
Lens brushes are another great addition to keep in your camera bag. It’s best to use an air blower first before sweeping away any remaining particles with your brush. Make sure you don’t touch the brush bristles with your fingers. The oil can transfer grime to the lens whilst cleaning.
Lens pens incorporate a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning pad on the other. The brush removes any lingering particles that the air blower may have missed. Whereas the cleaning pad helps remove any oil or moisture. Just place the pad in the middle of the lens, then move it in widening circles out to the edge.
If you are after a full kit, we recommend the Sensei Deluxe Optics Kit as it comes with two brushes and two types of cleaning solutions. Alternatively, the Sensei Optics Care Kit as mentioned above in the air blower section is a more affordable option. If you’re wanting the lens brush on its own, we suggest the Parrot Padcaster Glass Cleaning Brush. Bonus… it comes with a cleaning cloth too!
Cloths, Tissues & Cleaning Solution
Camera lens cleaning solutions are specially designed to accommodate optical coatings. We advise you to NOT use household cleaning products as they can be damaging to the lens.
Specified lens tissues and microfiber cleaning cloths are recommended for applying cleaning solutions. But you need to ensure they are kept clean as you do not want to reapply dirt or particles that could scratch your lens. Avoid using liquid fabric softeners when washing as they may leave chemical residue on the cloths that will cause streaks on your lens.
If you are after a full cleaning kit, the one mentioned throughout this blog, the Sensei Optics Care Kit has everything you need. Otherwise, if you are after something on the go that is quick and easy to clean your camera lens, we recommend the Sensei Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes or the Sensei Travel Cleaning Kit. Both help to keep your optics clean of dust, fingerprints, or smudges at home or on the road!
The Do’s and Dont’s
Regularly clean your lenses.
Store your lenses in a safe, dust-free & dry space when not in use.
Switch your lenses out in a clean, dust-free environment where possible.
Touch the lens glass with your fingers, no matter how clean you think your fingers are.
Use a household cloth or tissue on your camera’s lens when cleaning. This can cause small, permanent scratches.
Use too much cleaning solution as it will leave streaks on your lens.
Spray cleaning solution straight onto the lens. It should be used on the wipes or cloth given in the kit.
Use household cleaning products to clean your lens.
For more information on any of the camera lens cleaning products listed above, contact the team at Rubber Monkey and we can find a solution that works perfectly for you!
Want to know how to clean your camera’s sensor? Click here!