Something that photographers tend to ignore, especially when we are beginners, is how to take proper care of our photo kit. And by that, I do not mean only protecting it from shocks or environmental factors, but also performing a correct equipment cleaning from time to time.
It is a simple process that does not involve any great risks to the equipment, considering that it is done properly. In this guide, we will explain how to clean our photography equipment and why it is so important, as well as review the 8 best cleaning kits for DSLR cameras.
Intended as a comprehensive solution, it may seem a little expensive at first, especially when compared with other products that are out there; however, it is intended as a long-term investment for photography enthusiasts who do not want to take their photo kit to a shop for warranty work whenever they need the sensor cleaned.
This bundle contains three main elements: SensorScope, SensorVac, and the set of cleaning wands, in addition to the cleaning solution.
The SensorScope looks like a short lens - and the first impression might be: "why would I need another lens?". Here is where the wit wins: this lens, that sits rather loosely on the lens mount, contains 4 high-power LEDs, with a magnification system, which will give the user a perfect view of what is going on inside of the camera sensor.
SensorVac is a USB vacuum cleaner with a built-in LED illuminator, designed to suck up any kind of dirt in the interior of the sensor. Personally, I haven't had particularly good experiences with this style of device (from either keyboard USB vacuums or the ones intended for cameras). Perhaps it is just my own case, but they don't seem to catch as much debris as promised.
The SensorWands are designed to capture any remaining dust that the SensorVac was not able to capture; given their different sizes and shapes, you can capture elements of dirt throughout most sensors.
It is, first and foremost, a considerably economical solution: for the same price that you would expect to pay for a liquid cleaner, this kit gives you an air blower, cleaning cloth and lens pen. The downside? Yes, it doesn't include a cleaning solution.
This kit is meant for photographers who prefer to work at their own pace, and not be necessarily tied to an expensive brand. Fits all kinds of cameras, however the quality of the contents are not really of professional grade. The most noticeable difference can be seen in the kit's lens pen (especially if you compare it with pens as the Nikon lens).
This is a basic cleaning tool that gets the job done good enough, although I would not recommend this for sensor cleaning.
Being a Polaroid product, I don't believe that I need to convince any of you about the quality of this product. This is a kit containing two lens pens, each in different sizes (one for a lens and one for the sensor), with two microfiber cloths, all in a fashionable carrying case, makeing it a must-have accessory.
The downside of this product is that it does not include an Air Blower (some primary), as well as no cleaning liquid solution. Consider it as part of the kit that you would build onto yourself, so you would have to buy both of those items separately to have a complete camera cleaning kit.
Out of all models that we have taken a look at, this is, without a doubt, the choice I would go with. For starters, This kit is Economic; It includes everything that you might need to clean both camera and sensor, without compromising the quality of materials in the process.
Maybe the lens pen initially may seem like it is a little too big to be used to clean the sensor; however, it is capable of performing the task without any major annoyances.
The liquid cleaning solution contains no detergents, no alcohol and no unpleasant odors. It does a sufficient job of safely getting your equipment clean, without increasing the price of the product, and in a practical size which portable for travel.
CamKix offers us another full kit of tools for cleaning our photographic equipment without affecting the gear's performance: includes two lens pens (actually a lens pen and a brush), an air blower, 5 microfiber cloths, liquid cleaning solution and lens cleaning tissues - all you need to clean your camera and its lenses.
One of the most noticeable aspects is the CamKix lens pen, being double-ended with a brush tip on one end and a sticky solution on the other flat end, which is similar to some other competing models. However, CamKix guarantees that it will never dry out. I have not tried the product long enough to back up this claim, although, as an element to remove annoying grains of sand or other dirt that could damage the lens, this product does seem to work quite well.
The liquid cleaning solution is non-aggressive because it does not contain any detergents or alcohol. This is pretty reassuring that it won't damage your gear when you go to clean it.
When we think of the traditional cleaning kit for cameras and lenses, what comes to mind is an air blower, lens pen, cleaning solution and various cleaning cloths; however, their Lenspen offers a different solution: an air blower, with a lens loupe for magnified view of the inner workings of the sensor, and combine that with a lens pen and a flashlight. That's what SensorKlear offers with their cool cleaning aid.
The kit may not include items such as a cleaning solution, however, it is considerably more cost-effective than the Delkin for professional cleaning of our sensor.
The only downside that it has is that in some situations, depending on how the dust is built up, it is not so easy to get a perfect view of what is happening in the sensor, since the leds are independent of the loupe.
Jumping into the market with their own camera cleaning kit, Nikon decided to add their own take on cleaning aids for photography gear, offering up this great product for purchase.
It isn't really too pricey, given all that their kit includes (considering that if you buy only the Lens Pen, it would cost around half of what this entire bundle does). And, you can use the kit with the confidence, knowing that that both the lens pen and the cleaning solution were specifically designed for cameras by a company that knows the field.
The air blower is more than acceptable, even though it is not quite made of the same quality as the air blower made by Giotto.
If your idea is to build your own cleaning kit, it is essential is to have sufficient strength to remove dust particles or sand that may be affecting your photographic equipment. If simple Air Blowers do not give you an optimal amount of output, or are just not your style, then it is time to move on to something stronger: cans of compressed air, serving for cameras or any other electronic device that needs to be kept clean.
I have used these types of cleaners for my computer, because it is a way to quickly and efficiently get your equipment or device suitably clean, especially in those hard to reach places. This is perfect for cleaning a camera sensor or lens in general, you will have the sufficient power to remove any small particles such as sand, dust or dirt.
The only downside with this product is that each can doesn't last very long. But, you can usually find them in convenient six packs.
Why clean our photography equipment?
In addition to the obvious answer “because it is dirty”, there are a lot of reasons why we should schedule a periodic cleaning of our photography gear. First of all, just by handling the equipment, we tend to leave fingerprint marks, dirt, grease, and other substances, especially when shooting outdoors among various different elements. Even indoor photography sessions can get a little messy, maybe in a situation where we are photographing food. And of course, those who have children in the house that like to get their hands on our camera and lenses, it makes it even more necessary to clean everything more frequently.
Another main adversary of many photographers is dust. In fact, it can be a problem for any type of camera, even ones installed inside your car like backup cameras with night vision. For a photographer though, it can result in much greater hassle. From a photoshoot done in the Studio of a sculptor, where there may be a significant amount of dust present, to everyday events or even more extreme situations like shooting in environments with excessive amounts of sand (such as beaches or deserts); dust tends to cause unwanted effects in our photographs from effects similar to bokeh (for having dust particles in the rear element), and can even damage our gear if we work with manual focus.
Dangers of the cleaning process
Not exactly too sure about the proper way to clean your photography equipment? A good way to start is by paying a visit to a representative of the specific brand of equipment that you are using. They will usually be able to instruct you on how to do so, and probably even sell you specific tools for the process. If such an option doesn’t appeal to you, you can always seek help from a more experienced photographer, find a training course somewhere, or you can even find some help in YouTube videos, where there are plenty of people that will take you, step by step, through the correct process.
It is essential to identify the reasons why your equipment may be dirty, as lenses have shared a similar behavior to any pair of glasses or sunglasses. If your camera was exposed to sand, never, and I repeat NEVER think of passing a cloth over it to remove the existing dirt. In doing so, the sand particles will be dragged along the surface of the glass lens, scratching it, which will result in permanent damage.
Pay particular attention to those cleaning liquids you use, since some of them can be abrasive on the lens coating. In these cases, paying more is a guarantee of reliability, since you’ll buy a product certified by the brand of the manufacturer of your camera or lens – and I do emphasize this mostly in foreign markets to the United States or Europe, where it can be difficult to find alternatives to manufacturer-approved cleaning fluids.
Another aspect to consider is the amount of liquid to be applied and where to apply it, unintentionally, we could damage the interior of the camera by flooding it with the cleaning solution.
How to clean your camera lens + body
Always starts from the outside inward, since probably the greater part of the dirt will be present on the outside of the camera lens.
1) Start on the outside of the lens + camera body, including lens hood: With a damp Microfiber cloth, remove dirt that is more pronounced. You can work with distilled water for removing considerable dirt, or with a formula designed for the cleaning of optical elements. For the rubber zoom or focus ring, those old toothbrushes that you may have around the house for cleaning work great!
2) Cleaning the lens mount: Apply the same cleaning solution you used in the previous step, on a cloth and rub the lens mount, removing all the dirt or grease present.
3) Front and rear optical elements: As a measure of caution, always start with a rocket blower, in the event that there is any particle of sand that we have forgotten. After that, with another cloth (of preference, more delicate), clean the finger marks that may have been left behind.
You can buy a camera lens cleaning kit at big-box retailers, like Target or Walmart, local photography supply stores, or hobby stores. You can also try looking for a cleaning kit online. In some ways, online shopping can be more convenient and reliable than in-person shopping. It allows you to read reviews from other purchasers, see videos of the product in action, and comparison shop for the best deals.
When using sites like Amazon or Best Buy to find a camera lens cleaning kit, be sure to sift through new and old reviews. Sometimes, manufacturers will update a product, and reviews will indicate whether the update helped or interfered with the efficiency of the camera cleaning kit. Also, look for photo reviews if available to see if the product description matches what people actually get in their cleaning kit.
If you find a lens cleaning kit you like online, be sure to also search for it on other sites to get the best deal.
A camera sensor captures light when you snap a photo. Without this sensor, you wouldn’t be able to take a photo. Light-sensitive spots live inside the sensor, allowing it to pick up your subject’s different variations of color and shading. The sensor then sends that information to the camera to process into an image.
The camera sensor is also the primary source for bringing light into a picture. Of course, you can use Lightroom presets to alter and play with lighting in your photos. Still, you need some basic light to start with, and that comes from the sensor.
Online photography classes can help you become a better photographer by teaching you angles and camera tricks so you can launch a career as a freelancer. But whether you shoot wildlife, weddings, or specialize in non profit event ideas, you still need to have high-quality camera equipment and an excellent camera sensor to give you quality images.
Consider camera sensor sizes when deciding on the right sensor for your camera. Generally, larger sensors can capture more image information. Larger sensors can typically produce less noise and better low-light performance than smaller sensors.
Did you run out of lens cleaner in your camera lens cleaning kit? You can make your own lens cleaning solution as a refill in a pinch.
To do it, fill your lens cleaning fluid bottle with 99% isopropyl alcohol to the halfway point. Then, fill the rest of the bottle with distilled water. Gently shake the bottle to combine both ingredients. You now have a DIY solution for cleaning lenses that should work just as well as a store-bought lens cleaning fluid.
You can also use a cleaning liquid made for eyeglasses or sunglasses if you don’t have the ingredients necessary for a DIY lens cleaner. Eyeglass cleaners are gentle on lenses but tough on dirt and grime buildup, just like lens cleaning solutions.
The right camera lens cleaning kit contains everything you’d need to clean your camera lens quickly and reliably, no matter where you are. A good camera lens cleaning kit should include:
Cleaning solution: Lens cleaning fluid is the primary staple in a camera lens cleaning kit. A lens cleaner should be a gentle formula that’s also powerful enough to cleanse away smudges and fingerprints without leaving streaks behind.
Dust-free microfiber cleaning cloth or cleaning wipes: A microfiber cleaning cloth is the best way to go for a camera lens, as it wipes dust off easily without scratching the lens. Alternatively, you can use gentle cleaning wipes that contain a cleaning solution for simple, on-the-go cleaning.
Lens cleaning pen: A lens pen looks like a chunky writing pen, but it’s designed to remove fingerprints, smudges, and dust particles on the camera lens. Some pens come with a retractable brush for extra cleaning help.
Cleaning brush: A lens cleaning brush has soft bristles that gently remove debris and dust particles from the camera lens.
Sensor swab: A sensor swab has a soft surface and narrow profile, perfect for sensor cleaning and getting into hard-to-reach areas.
Before you buy Photoshop actions and build your photography and editing skills, you should know how to properly care for your camera.
Your camera lens is one of the most important parts of the camera to take care of because it’s delicate. If it gets scratched or dirty, it could affect how you shoot cameras. The best way to consistently maintain it is by getting a sensor cleaning kit with everything you need to keep it clean.
Use a microfiber cloth and cleaning fluid specifically designed for a camera lens for regular sensor cleaning. Gently wipe it down with the solution and use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess cleaning fluid. Use a lens pen to remove any stubborn fingerprints or smudges and a lens brush to get rid of debris and dust.
The rest of the camera can also use a good cleaning on a routine basis. A microfiber cloth is always good to have on hand to get rid of any debris or dust that makes its way to your camera. Be sure to keep your camera away from moisture or humidity. When you’re not using it, store it away in a protective camera bag.
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