Gear Tip: How to Clean your Lenses Like a Professional
Learning how to properly clean and take care of your lenses is key to keeping them ready for any shoot at a moment’s notice.
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Lenses can be one of your biggest investments as a filmmaker, so protecting your investment means keeping your equipment clean. Effectively cleaning a lens requires some specific tools and products. (Fortunately, these tools are rather affordable.) While there are many tools on the market to clean a lens, I will break down the favorites of top cinematographers and rental houses.
Most often, the dust you see on your lens is typically just loosely resting on the front glass element. Using a simple manual blower will clear away most of this debris. You will also see people using canned air in this scenario, which is sometimes necessary, but canned air can emit freeon, which can damage the lens. To protect your costly investment, it’s wise to start with a manual blower.
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A lens pen is the second best tool to help clean your lens. The brush end will clean any debris the blower could not get. (By using very gentle sweeping motions, you can minimize the amount of contact the brush has with the lens.) Even though the brush is specifically for camera lenses, it’s always best to try to minimize the amount of contact between the lens and the brush.
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Kimwipes may be the most surprising lens cleaning tool. At first glance, Kimwipes may seem like something that you typically see in a science lab. That’s because you do. Kimwipes are delicate scientific wipes that are perfect for cleaning a cinema or photography lens. Yes, at first touch they seem rough, like something you’d want to keep away from your lens; however, they are specifically engineered for this task.
Pancro spray is the industry standard for cleaning a lens. If you walk into any major rental house, they will be using Pancro spray to clean all of their lenses. When using any spray, it’s very important to note that you never spray directly onto the lens. Instead, when using Pancro, it’s important that you always spray first onto the Kimwipe to avoid any unwanted spray affecting the lens.
Once you have sprayed the wipe, you’re ready to clean the lens. Gently wipe any smudges away with the damp portion of the wipe. Once you have thoroughly cleaned your lens, you can use your manual blower again to get rid of any remaining debris.
Learning how to effectively and professionally clean your lenses is a great skill to have. Utilizing these techniques will help to ensure that your lenses remain in top shape for any shoot, no matter where you are.