How to properly and safely clean your camera lens
Camera lenses are delicate instruments, and need care and attention while cleaning
Camera lenses have a tendency to get dirty quickly, especially in the dusty conditions of India. The lens and its components, particularly the glass on either side of the camera lens, therefore need to be kept clean, since dust or scratches can affect the performance of the lens. The delicate nature of these components means that lens cleaning needs to be done with care, and often using special tools and equipment to ensure that the lens does not get damaged.
There are a few ways to ensure your expensive and important camera lenses are kept clean, over and above the key point of ensuring that everything is properly stored in protective cases or storage kits. We’ve outlined a few points here to help you keep your camera lenses safe and clean.
Use a blower and lens brush for dust
Using your breath to blow away dust can cause moisture build-up and condensation on the lens which can damage it, so it’s advised to use a blower tool instead. This is a simple and inexpensive tool which can be used to blow ordinary ambient air onto the lens, thus pushing away accumulated dust particles and other impurities without the risk of moisture exposure. This is ideal for everyday cleaning, and can safely be done even multiple times a day to keep your lens clean.
For stubborn dust and dirt particles, a lens brush might be necessary. One with soft bristles will be able to dislodge the dust particles, without causing damage to your delicate lens. However, this isn’t something that should be done too often, since any contact with the lens, even by the soft bristles of the brush, can be detrimental in the long run. Similarly, avoid touching the bristles with your fingers, since the oils on your fingertips can transfer onto the lens and do damage to the glass.
Use lens cleaner and microfibre cloth
For slightly more demanding cleaning, it’s advised to use lens cleaner solution and a microfibre cloth to clean the camera lens. Just a couple of drops of most lens cleaners is enough to ensure you won’t leave any marks, and this will effectively remove any grime or semi-solid accumulation on the lens. You should use a soft microfibre lens cloth to spread and wipe away the lens cleaner solution.
Remember to wipe in circles, and start at the centre while moving towards the edges when wiping. This will ensure that even if any microscopic quantities of grime remain on the lens even after cleaning, it’s at the edge and will therefore not likely affect the quality of your pictures. Its advised to use lens cleaner and cloth to clean your camera lenses only occasionally, as this could be detrimental to the equipment over time.
Remember to clean the lens barrel, camera and viewfinder too
The glass elements of the camera lens are the most important component to keep clean, but there’s more to the lens than just that, including the lens barrel, camera body, and viewfinder. The lens barrel and camera body are much more study than the glass of the lens and can thus be cleaned using any cloth or tissue, while a microfibre cloth is suitable for the viewfinder.
While cleaning of your camera lenses is important, the best way to keep them safe and in good condition is to minimise the need to clean altogether. Store your camera equipment in proper camera bags, use lens caps and pouches, and generally keep your equipment properly covered when not in use, to ensure they remain clean and in good condition.