We often overlook the simple things that are necessary to take care of our equipment and get so caught up in the act of just shooting that we don’t pay much attention. We just stuff our lens in our camera bag along with our camera and other gear and blast through the door to complete another session of photography.
Our lens is as important as our camera sensors and should be cleaned accordingly to achieve the best quality images from your camera. A dirty lens can actually decrease the quality of your images as well as provide smudges and other annoying things in your frame that you will then have to edit out during your post-production process. This article will provide some key information as to how you can care and clean your lenses at home in your spare time as well as how you can continue to take care of them while in the field.
Depending on the number of lenses in your collection, you might want to create a designated space to clean your lenses. I usually just clear off my desk and start from there but if you have extra working space than that might also work to your advantage. You will need this space to not only give what you’re doing your full attention but to also prevent anything else from making an additional mess to the lens you’re cleaning. I usually spread a microfiber cloth on the table for the lens to rest on and have my cleaning tools to the side.
If possible also have a lamp or light to help you see a little better when cleaning your lens. If you’re not in a bright enough environment then you might overlook some things and find yourself not cleaning the lens as good as you thought. If your table is by a window and you have adequate light coming in then you should be fine and there’s no need to get a lamp or light unless you want to be extra careful.
Many of us have a bad habit of using our shirt in the field to clean or camera lenses and this is not the best things for our lens or even our shirt .. more so the lens but you get the point. Our shirts are not delicate enough to clean a camera lens in the way it should be cleaned.
If you are in the field and know there is a possibility you might need to clean your lens then make sure to have a microfiber cloth in your camera bag, pocket or back pocket. This cloth will be the best thing to take care of your lens in the field along with some other tools. Some of these tools are a squeeze bulb, alcohol-based lens cleaner, and a soft bristled brush. These simple tools will ensure your lens is shiny and looking new like the first day you got it.
Each tool in your lens cleaning kit will serve a specific purpose. They might not look like much but I can promise you they do a lot and get the job done very well. As opposed to cleaning a camera sensor, a lens is much simpler and doesn’t really require you to be much of a professional or expert. It’s so easy a little baby could do it .. just kidding, please don’t try that at home. To start off we have our Squeeze Bulb.
The Squeeze bulb is pretty much used to get rid of those little dust bits in the corners of your lens. There are other tools that could be used to get this done but the Squeeze bulb is the perfect thing to use at home and in the field.
The next tool would be your alcohol based lens cleaner. I’ve seen photographers like myself use pure rubbing alcohol and a cloth to clean their lens and this is very harmful to the lens itself. A lens is made up purely of glass and is relatively durable however an excess of chemicals can make the glass more vulnerable to scratches and damage from these chemicals itself. With that said, be careful as to the products you’re putting on your camera lens as too much of a chemical can make your lens worse than it was before. We use an alcohol-based solution because it helps to clean the glass a lot quicker and doesn’t attract dust as a soap-based solution would.
Last but not least the soft bristled brush will help you in your efforts to get any additional dust particles that may be left on your lens that the squeeze bulb hasn’t already gotten. All of these tools combined with a microfiber cloth of your choice will help to keep your lenses in immaculate condition for whenever you have a session.
Make sure to not clean your lens unnecessarily too much as that will also damage the glass as well. Taking care of your lenses will ensure the best quality images as well extend the lifespan of your lenses themselves. I hope this article has truly been a help to you in how to manage and clean your lenses properly. Until next time, take care.
You mention using alcohol to clean lenses and are concerned about it weakening the glass. What you don’t mention is the coatings. What might alcohol do to them?