Camera lens plays an important role in image formation. So, you should ensure that the camera lenses are kept neat, clean and well protected. Let us have a look at the 12 ways to take care of camera lenses.
1. Use a UV Filter
Always put a clear glass UV filter in front of your camera lens. This will protect your camera lens in two ways. In case you hit the lens accidentally somewhere then the UV filter would be breaking first, thereby saving the lens. In such situations, you will just have to replace the UV filter with a new one rather than repairing the entire lens, which would be costly. A UV filter also protects the camera from harmful UV radiations, which are harmful to the human eyes. Since a UV filter becomes the part of the front element during image formation, don’t buy a cheap UV filter. This will have an impact on the image quality. Invest in a good piece UV filter from companies like Hoya.
If you are really interested in learning more about camera filters, check out this article, Understanding Camera Filters.
2. Use an Air Blower for Lens Cleaning
It is always recommended to use an Air Blower to clean the lens. Slowly blow the air in the front and side of the camera lens to remove small dust particles and debris, if present any. Whenever you are travelling and shooting outdoor, it is recommended to carry an air blower in your bag to clean the lens. I have found this very useful since I shoot outdoors.
3. Use Lens Cleaning Brush
Always carry a lens cleaning brush in your camera bag. Believe me, this is a very hand tool to clean your camera instantly. It can easily remove the specks of dust particles in front of your lens as well as from the sides.
4. Use Lens Cleaning Pen
I always carry a Lens Cleaning Pen in my camera bag. Certain dust particles and fingerprints cannot be removed by using an Air Blower. In such cases, we can make use of the Lens Cleaning Pen for Camera lens cleaning. The lens cleaning pen will have two cleaning parts at the two ends. One end it will have a brush made of fiber. This can be used to remove the dust particles by just brushing them off.
Fingerprints and few specks of dust get stuck to the lens glass and cannot be removed by the brush part. In such situations, you can make use of the other tip which has a Carbon head. You need to place the tip on top of the fingerprint or dust particle area and gently wipe that area using the tip to clean the camera lens.
5. Use Camera Lens Cleaning Cloth
Always carry a few pieces of Camera Lens cleaning cloth in your camera bag. This is a very useful thing to clean your camera. If you accidentally fell somewhere along with your camera then a good piece of camera cleaning cloth can help you in cleaning your camera lens from the dirt.
There are many types of camera cleaning cloths available in the market. This includes a microfiber cloth and muslin cloth. I would always recommend going for a good quality muslin cloth rather than going for cheap camera cleaning clothes. The advantage of a lens cleaning cloth is that you can use it multiple times until it gets dirty. I recommend using it 2 to 3 times for cleaning the front glass part of the lens and then using it to clean the sides of the lens. Spots of water, grease, and small fingerprints can easily be cleaned by using a Camera Lens Cleaning Cloth.
6. Use Camera Lens Cleaning Wet Wipes
Camera Lens cleaning wet wipes are also useful in removing fingerprints, dust particles and debris from the camera. Usually, a packet will have a single pre-moistened tissue, which contains the camera lens cleaning solvent. You can make use of this Lens cleaning wet wipes to clean the camera lens. Since it is a disposable one, you can use it only once for cleaning. You can carry few such packets in your camera bag when you are traveling.
7. Never Use your Hand to Clean Camera Lens
I strictly warn you from using your fingers to remove the dust. This can make the situation worse. Imagine you have a sand particle in front of your lens. If you are trying to remove it using your fingers then you may end up rubbing the lens glass along with the sand particle as a result of which you may end up scratching the front glass element of your camera lens. So, don’t try this. Use an air blower first, followed by cleaning using a lens pen or lens cleaning brush. Take care of camera lenses so that you can enjoy the same image quality over the long run,
8. Use Camera Dry Cabinets
You may be wondering what a Camera Dry Cabinet is? It is a box that is fitted with a dehumidifier and temperature controller module. You can keep your camera lens and camera inside this Cabinet and set the Humidity and Temperature to the desired level. I would recommend you to set a humidity level of 42 % and a temperature of 30 deg C.
Camera dry Cabinet is highly recommended for people who live in regions where the relative humidity level is high (greater than 60%), especially for people living in coastal regions. This cabinet will prevent the fungus formation inside your camera lens. The fungus is the worst thing that can happen to your camera lens. The fungus grows on the inside glass elements and is visible in the form of spidery lines. You cannot clean this yourself using any of the methods mentioned in this list. You will need the service of an expert to clean it. So, you will have to take it to the service center.
Since Fungus attacks the inside lens elements, the service guy will have to disassemble your camera lens elements to clean them. So, this may result in the reduction of image quality after cleaning also. This is because these lens elements come with nano-coating for a better quality of image formation. Cleaning these glass pieces may result in the removal of this coating. Image quality is also affected while the reassembly of the lens after cleaning.
So, if you have a humidity level of 60 percent or higher, go for a Camera dry cabinet. They are available in various sizes like 25L, 40L, 80L, and 100L from various brands like Benro, Photron e.t.c. You can choose one depending on the number of camera lenses you have. This is one of the best ways amongst the 12 ways to take care of camera lenses.
9. Use Desiccants like Silica Gel Packets
Always put 2 to 3 packets of desiccants like Silica gel in bags or boxes where you keep the camera lenses, This will help to absorb the moisture if present. You should ensure that you change the packets once every 6 months. Once the desiccant riches its saturation stage of moisture absorption. it will not be able to absorb anymore. So, you should change it. The desiccants will be changing their color from one color to another when it absorbs moisture. In certain cases, you can reheat the desiccants and it will change back to its initial color and thus you can reuse them. Basically, you are removing the water content from the desiccant by heating it.
10. Always Use Lens Hood
Always use a Camera Lens hood. Lens hood not only protects your camera lens from Lens Flare, it also protects the lens from damage due to accidental hits against any hard objects. When you hit against any object accidentally with the lens hood on the camera lens then you will escape with a few minor dents on the lens hood. Otherwise, you may end up breaking the front glass piece of your camera lens. it also protects the camera lens from rains to an extent. If you are shooting on a rainy day with Camera lens hood on your camera then it will prevent water from entering through the front part of the camera lens. This is one of the best ways to take care of camera lenses.
11. Use Lens Cleaning Solution for Cleaning
Always use recommended Lens Cleaning Solution for cleaning the camera lens. It comes in bottles or in sprayer bottles. Spray few drops on the dry Camera Lens cleaning cloth and wipe the lens using the moist cloth for cleaning, Don’t pour too much of the lens cleaning solvent on the cloth or apply/ spray the cleaning liquid directly onto the camera lens. Also, never use water or any other non-recommended liquid or solvents to clean your camera lens as this can result in damaging your camera lens.
12. Don’t Over Clean
Avoid over-cleaning your camera lens. This will do more good than harm to your camera lens. If you start cleaning your camera lens every now and then you may result in removing the front element lens coating or scratching the front element. If you are not confident in cleaning your camera lens then you can always give it to the service center for cleaning.
ZEISS is a good brand supplying Camera lens cleaning materials
These are the different ways to take care of camera lenses. You can always buy a basic camera lens cleaning kit. It generally comes with an Air Blower, a Lens cleaning solution, a Lens cleaning cloth, and Lens cleaning brush.
You can share your comments and views.
I have always read that those lens cleaning pens were not necessary but I did watch a video with someone cleaning their camera lens using one, and the difference is amazing. I am going to order one tonight. The silica packet use is genius! I would have never thought to use those with my cameras. Is there a specific place I can buy them online or can I reuse ones I have? I know I have some in old shoe boxes. I don’t know if they actually have a “self-life” and need to be thrown out after a while or not.