I will be the first to admit that I'm a camera gear junkie. I love my camera gear, old and new, and I totally baby it.
Just like your monitor, your TV, or your glasses, sometimes, you need to clean your camera lenses. Unless you have a filter on your lens, the glass is going to get dusty, and eventually it may even get some filmy grime on it (yuck, but pretty normal, too). This is a short tutorial on one way to clean your lenses!
STEP 1: BUY A LENS CLEANING KIT
There are a variety of lens cleaning kits, but I love this kit because it has a small amount of everything I need and is reasonably priced. I am pretty careful with my gear, and do not find myself shooting in a lot of dust/sand/dirt, so I do not need a lot of cleaning products. It is listed on B&H: Giottos Lens Cleaning Kit with Small Rocket Air Blower.
"with small rocket air blower." I was sold.
Here is what's inside:
- Retractable Goat's Hair Brush
- White Microfiber Cloth
- Spray Bottle of Cleaning Solution
- Pointed and Blunt End Swabs
STEP 2: CLEAN YOUR LENS!
If there is a filter on your lens, remove it so that the lens is bare.
Try to do this in as dust-free of an environment as possible. Also, make sure not to use any paper towels - they have loose fibers that will stick to your lens. Only use the lens cloth!
Dip the pointed end of the swab in the solution (hint, I've also used this solution to clean my glasses and didn't regret it) then dab it on the back of your hand to remove the excess solution. You want the swab to be barely damp:
Gently swab the lens, especially near the edges of the glass where dust and dirt tend to build up:
After swabbing the lens, I like to use the microfiber cloth to remove any leftover dirt - this cloth is what gets the lens super clean, and it is a good thing to carry in your camera bag if you don't already have a lens cloth. I also use it to wipe the dust off my scanner:
Use the brush for one last sweep to catch any remaining dust. You can also use the rocket air blower, but I have found that I can be more precise with the brush than I am with the rocket:
You can also remove your lens to see if the back/bottom needs to be cleaned, but it really shouldn't need cleaning if you are taking good care of your camera and lens. If, for some reason, there is a bit of dust on the back of the lens, gently remove it with the brush.
I can't stress enough how important it is when you remove your lens to either a) put a body cap on your camera (preferred) or b) put another lens on your camera so that it isn't sitting open and getting dust in it. Even if you can't see them, there are dust particles floating in the air, and they will magically find their way to your camera's sensor.
Note: I would not advise using any of these items to clean the inside of your camera. EVER. The sensors on DSLRs are extremely sensitive, and one misstep can cost you your camera. I would err on the side of caution and have your camera professionally cleaned.
This is a nice little accessory to have, and cleaning your lenses when they need it (I clean everything once a year) will help ensure that not only will your images be sharp and clear, but your gear will last you much, much longer.
To finish off, here are some tips to help you keep your camera and lenses clean. Take the extra step and avoid headaches later down the road:
- Always keep your camera in a camera bag when you aren't using it - don't leave your gear out on a shelf or on your desk.
- Put a lens cap on your lens when you aren't shooting
- If you remove your lens from your camera, make sure to either put a different lens on the camera, or to put the body cap on the camera.