If you wear glasses, you know how difficult it is to see and how blurry your vision becomes when you use unclean lenses. You would know the importance of cleaning them regularly. Your camera lens acts in the same way. It also requires cleaning from time to time. Dirt on your lens can result in scratches on the lens glass, which can greatly dampen the quality of the photographs taken. Once you develop scratches on the lens, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. However, if you learn how to clean your camera lens and take its proper care, you have nothing to worry about.
It is quite obvious camera lenses do get dirty and need cleaning from time to time. When you use your camera and change lenses regularly, they will attract dirt and dust particles and there isn’t much you can do about it. However, what you can do is properly clean your lens and sensor so that you can click some amazing pictures. You probably won’t even realize the impact an unclean and dirty camera lens has on the quality of your photographs. So, in a way, properly cleaning your camera lens is one of the easiest ways to improve to quality of the photos you click.
As a photographer, camera cleaning is something you must know about, it’s a basic skill for every photographer. While you need to be careful and keep certain things in mind while cleaning your camera lens, it surely isn’t hard. We have listed down all the steps and the correct way to clean your camera lens & sensor below.
Safety First – Use UV or Skylight Filters for lens protection
UV or Skylight filters are used to physically protect the front part of the lens. Lens glass is vulnerable to fingerprints, smudges, dirt, and dust, hence, it is advised to keep off any material from direct contact with the lens glass.
Therefore, you should always keep them attached to your lens so that you don’t always have to clean your actual lens glass but just your filters, which is less precautionary. UV or Skylight filters also protect your lens from physical damage. It is very inexpensive to replace a lens filter than the lens itself. Besides preventing any dirt or dust from entering the lens, UV or Skylight filters also absorb UV rays. This results in sharp photographs. They’re also quite easy to install and remove when you’re on the go.
Now let’s talk about the how to clean your camera lens easily and properly!
Things you will need in your lens and camera cleaning kit
There are many cleaning kits available in the market. They are easy to find and you can buy something that has good quality of brushes and cleaning solution, more on that later. These are the most common items found in every camera cleaning kit:
- Lens Brush
- Lens Blower
- Microfiber Cloth
- Lens Cleaning Paper Tissue
- Lens Cleaning Solution/Liquid/Fluid
- Silica Gel
How to clean your camera lens properly
Step 1: Use a lens brush to wipe off bigger dust particles.
If you have any big dust particles on your lens glass, it is advised to first use the lens brush for cleaning. Gently wipe off the dirt and dust particles from the middle to the edges of the lens. Now, hold your camera upside down so that the lens glass in facing downwards while you brush off the dust.
A recommended item for cleaning the lens glass is the lens cleaning pen with a retractable brush at one end and lens cleaning pad at the other end. Always use a brush with soft and fine bristles, preferably look for kits that include camel hair brushes, they’re the best.
- Never touch the hair of the brush with dirty or unclean fingers. That will lead to transferring oil from your fingers to the brush which will make the brush unusable. Brush should not touch anything other than the lens itself. Cap and lock the brush immediately after use.
- Don’t stab or hit the brush on the lens, it must be used gently on the lens surface.
Step 2: Blow off the remaining dust particles on lens glass using a Lens Blower.
It is highly recommended that you use lens blower instead of compressed air, canned air or your breath to blow off dust particles. Canned air carries too much force than required which can move the dust particles into the lens housing. Compressed air will have the condensation issue. Using your breath to clean the lens can cause some saliva to be blown on the lens.
Hold the blower as close as you can to the lens without touching the lens, and blow a few puffs. The blower can also be used to clean the outside of your camera.
- Before using the lens blower, blow few puffs away from the lens to clear the dust inside it.
- Ensure that the size of the blower is not tiny or small. Prefer the big blowers as they are very effective in cleaning your camera lens.
Step 3: Wash off using lens cleaning solution and microfiber cloth.
If you have fingerprints and smudges on the lens glass, cleaning it with a microfiber cloth is the perfect solution. It might be a little tricky. Firstly, spray the solution on the cloth. Now, use the wet side of the cloth to gently clean the lens by applying very little pressure and give it an outward circular motion. Use the dry side of the cloth to clean the moisture on the lens glass.
Alternatively, you can also use lens cleaning paper tissue to wipe off smudges and fingerprints. These are relatively inexpensive than microfiber cloth and are to be used only once, so they don’t need regular cleaning like the microfiber cloth. You use a new tissue each time. So, it ensures dust free cleaning every time with any extra effort.
- Never spray the solution directly on the lens glass. Clean the moisture before it evaporates to avoid streaking.
- Ensure that your microfiber cloth is properly cleaned before you use it.
- Do not use facial tissue as they contain chemicals that can harm your lens glass.
Cleaning lens from the inside
The inside of the lens can also attract dirt and dust particles while switching or when kept open. It can be cleaned in the same manner as the outer side of the lens. Repeat the above steps to clean the lens from the inside. You can use the same method used to clean your filters.
Cleaning your sensor
Cleaning the camera sensor is a lot trickier than cleaning the lens. It is highly recommended that you let the professionals clean your camera sensor. You only need to do this if you are sure that sensor is dirty. There is one tip you can follow to clean the sensor.
First, you have to put your camera in the cleaning mode. To do that, you can find an option in settings under something like mirror lock or sensor cleaning. Opt for clean manually and click ‘Okay’. Once you do that, the mirror will be flipped and the sensor will be exposed. Now, use the blower to blow off the dirt and dust inside.
This is the only thing you should do yourself. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use any more of the steps to clean your sensor. You’ll probably do more harm than good if you’re not an expert in cleaning the camera from inside.
Silica Gel is not something that is used to clean your camera or lens usually, but it is fairly important and still many photographers forget about it. It is used to absorb any moisture present in your camera bag and keep your camera and lens moisture free. Therefore, keep a few silica gel sachets in your camera bag.
Remember to replace them after they have absorbed too much moisture.
Regularly clean your camera lens, filters, and sensor using the steps above. It isn’t that hard, right? You just need to be a little careful. Follow these steps for cleaning: Clean with a brush -> Clean with blower -> Clean with Wipes -> Clean with microfiber cloth using cleaning solution
Most of the things used to clean your lens are already low cost so you don’t need to compromise on quality. They are available at almost all camera shops. Make sure that you buy quality products because these are the gears that will be protecting your camera lens. These kits when used properly last many years, so it’s better to invest in a good kit as you’ll use it for a really long time.
Happy Cleaning and Happy Clicking!
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