Today we’re going to learn how to properly clean a camera lens. Nothing is worse than having bad optics. If you’ve been having problems with image quality, it’s possible that your lens is dirty. The ideal solution is to clean the lens fast and without harming it.
There is, however, a suitable way to clean a camera lens. You can’t just spit on it and rub your shirt over it. To continue capturing stunning images, you’ll need the necessary gear and methods for cleaning your lens effectively. Let’s look at how to clean a camera lens correctly and what instruments you’ll need.
How To Tell If A Camera Lens Is Dirty
Occasionally, minute grit or dirt particles on your camera lens can contaminate your images. You must run a soil test to determine this. This will indicate whether or not it is due for a routine lens cleaning.
The first step is to refocus the camera. Change your camera to manual mode, turn the focus ring to Infinity, and then use the viewfinder to look for microscopic specks of dirt and dust.
Taking a photograph of any plain surface is another approach to check for dirt. Take a photo of a plain light and a plain dark surface, and then look for dust particles in the pictures. Any dust particles will be plainly visible against a light or dark background.
You can even go through recent images for evidence of dust on the lens. Examine a few of your recent photos to check whether there are any blurry patches or visible dust particles. If you see any, your camera may need to be cleaned.
Finally, inspect the lens. Examine the back element to determine whether it has any dust. If you notice something that does not belong on the lens, it should be cleaned.
How Frequently Should You Clean Your Camera Lens?
Only clean your camera lens when it is dirty. We’re not talking about ordinary glass here; we’re talking about customised glass with extremely sophisticated coatings that generate a surface that is very prone to scratches and even damages from cleaning chemicals at the slightest contact. As a result, you should touch your lens as little as possible.
Keep your lens free of fingerprints and avoid washing it with a random cloth if it appears filthy. While your equipment is being stored, the front and rear lens caps will keep the glass clean. When you’re filming outside, however, it will inevitably get dirty. It’s an unavoidable reality. After a long day of shooting, it’s a good idea to sit down and properly clean the lens. However, you do not need to clean it every time you pick it up; otherwise, you may be causing more harm.
Aside from that, it’s also critical to keep your equipment clean, including your camera case and all attachments. Don’t forget to wipe the lens caps when they’re not in use, as dust can get inside when they’re not. To maintain a hygienic environment for your pricey lens, everything that comes into contact with your camera should be completely cleaned.
What Causes Dirty Camera Lenses?
When it comes to what causes a lens to become filthy, dust is the biggest offender. Dust is literally everywhere, and it will inevitably get onto and inside your lens. Your lens is created in a highly clean atmosphere at the manufacturer. However, the moment the lens leaves the factory, it is inundated with dust.
The good news is that a few grains of dust will not have a significant impact on your images. It’s more of a dust buildup from storage that can seriously harm your equipment. A once-in-a-while cleaning should be adequate to ensure that dust is never an issue.
Finger smudges are a much bigger problem. Your fingers are smeared with nasty oils, and when you touch the lens’s back element, you dirty the glass. The way light enters your lens, has a significant impact on the quality of your photographs. Smudges can distort the light, causing issues.
How To Clean A Camera Lens
There is a single method for keeping your camera lens clean. You may remove the majority of the dirt and dust using a blower or brush, then scrape out the oil, fingerprints, and any other crud that has been caught on the lens with several drops of lens cleaning solution with a specialist cleaning cloth.
Cleaning your lens is actually pretty simple, even while you’re out in the field. Always keep cleaning supplies on hand and come to a halt if you notice excessive grime on your lens. It is acceptable, though, to not clean in the field and instead waits until you get home to clean all of your glass at once.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to wear rubber gloves or work in a particularly clean environment. You can clean your camera lens wherever you like.
- Using a Blower:
We recommend using a blower to wipe the dust off your lens. This is a little device that you squeeze to spray air onto your camera lens. It’s similar to blowing on the lens, however, the jet of air is stronger and works to get the tiny bits of dust out from around the corners. Just don’t use compressed air because it’s just too powerful.
Instead of a little blower, why not use your own lungs? It’s because when you blow on your lens, you’re also spitting on it, coating it with your sticky saliva.
- Using a Brush:
Quality is crucial when it comes to choosing the correct brush for cleaning your camera. Camel or goat hair is the ideal material for a brush. Don’t skimp on this one, as the brush is essential for removing microscopic particles from the glass. Because your camera lens is so delicate, it is easily scratched with a regular brush. Camel or goat hair will not harm the lens.
As an aside, avoid touching the bristles of the brush with your fingers, especially if they are oily. Because the oil will travel from your fingertips to the bristles and then to your lens, you will smudge the glass when you use the brush.
- Cloths and Cleaning Solution:
The most important thing to remember while washing your lens using a cloth and cleaning solution is that these items are not reusable indefinitely. A microfiber cleaning cloth can be used for numerous cleanings, but it will ultimately become discoloured with grime, damaging your lens.
Another option is to use lens tissue. Lens tissues should only be used once before being discarded. These are relatively affordable, yet some people think they are wasteful. If you want to wash your microfiber cleaning cloth, avoid using any fabric softener or chemical that may leave a residue that will stain your lens afterwards.
Another thing to keep in mind is that in a pinch, you can use your shirt. It should be clean and made of 100 per cent cotton. If you don’t have any cleaning supplies, your hot breath and the tail of your shirt will do.
But what is the finest cleaning solution for a camera lens? Almost every lens maker produces a specialised lens cleaning solution intended exclusively for cleaning their own glass. It’s also not as costly as you may assume. A tiny 60ml bottle of cleaning may be purchased for a few dollars and will last for quite some time.
To use the cleaning solution, simply dab it on a tissue or a cloth rather than the lens itself. This is because you don’t want streams of liquid running down the lens’s edge and into the lens’s main body. Spray directly onto the cloth at all times.
Wipe in circles with a moist towel to reduce streaks. Begin in the middle and work your way out to the edges. Above all, this will ensure that the centre of the image circle is clean. Also, simply apply enough pressure to the cloth to remove smudges, not to create new smudges.
With these wonderful techniques, you can now keep your lens clean and clear so that you may always take the best photos. The blower and brushes for cleaning lenses are inexpensive and compact enough to fit in your equipment bag. In addition, the towel and tissues, as well as the cleaning solution, are inexpensive. You can even use cotton swabs to clean your camera lens, making it one of the most cost-effective aspects of being a photographer!
Make sure you don’t wipe your camera lens too frequently, don’t blow on it with your mouth, and keep all of your equipment clean. And remember to use lens caps whenever feasible, even if you’re just roaming around the city looking for photo chances. You want to keep as much of the lens covered as possible.