Quit using your t-shirt! These seven lens cleaning tools are essential for keeping your glass clean.
There’s really nothing worse than finding out in post that you had a smudge on your lens. Proper lens maintenance will increase the longevity of your lenses and ensure crystal-clear images. But it takes more than your breath and a t-shirt to keep your lens clean. Let’s take a look at seven essential cleaning tools under $10.
1. A Lens Brush
You run the risk of scratching the surface of your lens if you use a cloth to remove dust particles from its surface. Instead, it’s a much better practice to use a lens brush to lightly sweep away the dust particles. A lens brush is typically made out of a light synthetic material. Some brushes have built-in blowers so you can quickly blow away any static-charged fuzzies on the lens.
2. Microfiber Cloth
It probably goes without saying, but you should NOT wipe off your lens with just any cloth (that includes your undershirt). Microfibers have been created specifically with glass elements in mind. However, you can’t just use any microfiber cloth on a lens; a microfiber cloth needs to be ‘lens’ grade. Every camera store will sell microfibers and you can pick them up for really cheap. Microfibers are more for taking off fingerprints and grease marks from your lens. Don’t ever wipe off dust or sand with a microfiber or you run the risk of damaging your lens.
3. Lens Cleaner Liquid
Liquid lens cleaner is great at getting rid of those annoying oil spots and streaks that can’t be easily eliminated with a microfiber. It’s very important to only use professional lens cleaner, as regular glass cleaning products like Windex can strip coatings off the front of your lens. A little lens cleaner goes a long way. Don’t spray your lens cleaner directly onto your lens, spray it onto your microfiber. Lens cleaner is really good if you have dried water spots on your lens.
4. Lens Wipes
Lens wipes are an essential tool for a photographer or filmmaker on the go. One distinct advantage to using a lens wipe over a microfiber is the fact that lens wipes come in individually wrapped packages. This means you don’t run the risk of your lens wipe getting dust on it during travel. I personally use lens wipes more often than any other item on this list.
5. Cleaning Swabs
A lens cleaning swab is essentially a long Q-tip with fibers specifically designed for cleaning lenses. Cleaning swabs are great if you have smudges around the edges of your lens. Cleaning swabs can also help with maintaining the inside of your lens.
6. Lens Pen
A lens pen is a multitool that essentially works as an all-in-one lens brush and hybrid microfiber. They can be helpful tools in the field for big time clean-up duties. Plus, if you have a lens pen, there’s really no reason to own a separate lens brush.
7. Air Blower
An air blower can easily blow dust or specks off your lens without having to use microfiber cloths. An air blower is far superior to simply blowing on your lens with your mouth, as the tool eliminates the risk of getting spit all over your glass.
Cleaning Your Lens
This tutorial from CNET is a great beginner tutorial on cleaning your lens. The tutorial showcases how to use an air blower, lens pen, and microfiber to get crystal-clear glass.
How do you keep your lenses clean? Share in the comments below.