An Essential Guide to Cleaning Your DSLR Camera Lenses for Beginners
The quality of your images largely depends on the cleanliness of your DSLR camera's lenses. However, you have to be careful not to clean your lenses too much, because if you do, you might end up scratching them, which could mean total replacement. That's why we have taken it upon ourselves to compile for you the best lens cleaning solutions for your camera.
Let's get started!
What do you Need for Cleaning Camera Lenses?
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Avoid using regular tissue on your camera lens. They tend to leave traces of fiber behind, which is not a good sight and can greatly interfere with clarity. Instead, go for specific lens tissues, made from tight weave fiber which doesn't detach. There are various options in the market to choose from.
Leans Cleaning Liquid
A lens cleaning liquid is the best way to get rid of those annoying fingerprints from your lens. It will also come in handy when cleaning water stains, and other related marks. Most of these liquids can either be alcohol-free or have some traces of alcohol. Be careful whenever using alcohol-based cleaning solutions because they can easily tamper with the leans coating. To be on the safe side, it's advisable as a beginner, to consider using alcohol-free liquids, until you find the one that works best for you.
Cleaning Kit Pouch
If possible, invest in a camera lens cleaning kit to store all the things you need for your lens cleaning session. But, if you're working on a tight budget, you can use a clean plastic container or pouch. The kit is the best way to maintain the best lens for studio photography, and to keep all your gear safely, away from dust. Plus, it offers convenience whenever cleaning.
Sometimes, large specks of debris and dirt can get stuck up in your camera lens. For such times, you will need a dry blower to blow everything out before wiping it off with your tissue/liquid. Get a compact one for your lens care kit, and have all the solutions you need within reach.
Camera Cleaning Spray
Yes, we know this might not be meant for the lens, but what's the need of getting your camera sparkling when the rest of the body is dirty? Get a non-alcoholic spray for your camera body and get everything glowing.
Soft Lens Brush
Sometimes, the dry blower might not be your cup of tea. In such a case, get a soft lens brush to help you get the dust off the lens. Always ensure the bristles are fine and gentle.
Always ensure you have a top-quality microfiber camera cleaning cloth in your kit or camera bag. It will always come in handy during the cleaning process.
When your Camera Lenses need cleaning?
The best way to know if your camera lenses need cleaning is by checking them out. Think of it as a guard inspection to determine what kind of "straightening" is needed.
Remember, it's always important to visually confirm your lens' cleanliness before any vital shoot. It will give you the confidence you need to keep shooting knowing very well the image quality will be amazing.
So, if you take a photo and notice a few or more spots/marks, it could be because your lenses are dirty.
Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash
However, there are various ways to check out if your DSLR camera's lens is dirty and they include:
Look-out for Spots: Zoom in the images either on your camera's LCD or your computer and see if you will find notice any spots on each end of the frame.
Infinity Focusing: first reset your camera settings into manual, and then try focusing on the furthest object without touching the focus ring. You can also try locking the focus and see how clear the image is.
Take a Photo: as mentioned earlier, the easiest way to find out if your lens requires cleaning is by taking a photo. But this time around, let your lens face a white surface or sky. The clarity of the image will direct you if you need to clean it all not.
Visible Spots: if you see spots or lines on your lens it could be an indication of a dirty sensor.
Reset your Lens Aperture to Narrow: this will help let the light through exposing any dust/dirt.
How to Clean Camera Lens
When it comes to great investments such as your DSLR camera, you need to keep it at optimal functionality at all times. That means you need to maintain it well, which includes cleaning the lens whenever necessary.
Since dust is almost inevitable, especially when you're always shooting outdoors, it will always find its way into your camera, no matter how much you try to protect them.
Photo by Abhishek Rai on Unsplash
Here is a step-to-step guide on how to clean your lens like a pro:
#1: Always Take Preventive Measures
Adopting good camera-caring habits will help you significantly reduce the number of times you need to clean your lens.
Remember, DSLR camera lenses are generally expensive. So, if you don't want to dig deeper into your pockets for a new set sooner than you expected, invest in a UV filter.
You can also get a protective filter, which serves the same purpose. Just choose the perfect size to cover your lenses as soon as you get them out of their storage bag.
If by any chance the protection filter gets damaged, replace it as soon as possible. It's much cheaper than replacing your lenses.
Also, always remember to keep your rear and front camera lens caps on to protect them against, fingerprints and other forms of dirt.
#2: Blow that Dust
Before reaching out to a camera lens cleaning cloth or tissues, consider using the blower first. It will help get rid of most of the dirt, leaving less or no work for the next cleaning steps.
Also, it's the best way to ensure the safety of your lens glass. Because, if you wipe with a cloth, you might end up causing scratches as you wipe off so much dust.
Select a place with good light to work in. Set your camera lens to face upwards, then use the blower to blow across them.
For best results, the blower should be at a 45-degree angle from one end of the lens to the other.
If you don't have a blower, avoid blowing using your mouth as saliva can easily get into the lens, and damage them.
#3: Brush away those Stubborn Particles
If you already have a soft-bristled brush-which you should, use to brush away dirt from various parts of your lens.
For example, your blower might not be able to blow away all the hidden debris at the edges of your lens glass. The brush will come in handy here.
Also, if you love shooting in wet weather, you will appreciate the ability of the lens brush to sweep away the specks.
Set your lens on an upward position and then use the brush to sweep through them (end-to-end)
However, remember to be gentle at all times. Too much force can damage/scratch the lens.
#4: Use your Cleaning Solution
Once you're done blowing and brushing off your lens, it's time to move to the next step. The "serious" cleaning stage.
For this, you will need a lens cleaning tissue/paper and a lens cleaning liquid.
Once everything is ready, fold your lens cleaning tissue/paper and add a few drops of the cleaning liquid.
Now, reach out to your lens, and with one hand, hold them tightly facing upwards.
Next, use your other hand to hold the damp lens cleaning cloth or paper, and gently wipe the lens. From one side to the other.
Once you're done, take a clean piece of lens tissue and wipe off any remaining moisture. Then place the lens aside to dry.
Afterwards, check for any remaining smudges, oils, or fingerprints, and repeat the process until the lens surface is stain-free.
You can use a microfiber cloth if you don't have lens cleaning paper or tissue.
#5: Use a Microfiber Cloth
Since your lens is now clean, the next step is giving it a final polish.
Get your microfiber cloth to wipe it clean. Remember, you want to achieve a sparkle.
Fold your cloth into a triangle or square shape, and use it to gently wipe the lens glass to clear any remaining traces from the above steps.
Use one hand to hold the lens upwards, and the other to gently wipe.
Afterwards, you will have best lens for portraits.
Other Tips You Must Remember for Maintaining and Storing Your Camera Lenses
- Always store your lenses in a dry and well-contained space
- Never keep your lenses on open shelves, they can easily gather dust, making cleaning difficult.
- If you can, always have a couple of microfiber cloths within reach. For example, you can keep a few at home, and carry others with you in your portable camera bag.
- Consider investing in lens cleaning gear such as the cleaning liquid, tissues, and blower. They will make the cleaning blissful.
- Always be gentle when cleaning your lens.
- Never wash your lenses with other dishes in your sink.
- Ensure the insides of your camera and lens bag is always clean.
If you can spend hundreds of dollars to get the best quality camera lens, caring for them should come out naturally.
You don't even have to be an expert to do this right. With some useful prevention and maintenance measures such as the ones mentioned above, your lens can serve you a lifetime.
We hope the above tips and measures give you a clear understanding on how to clean camera lens.
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