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Camera Lens Cleaning

Updated on March 30, 2018
RuthCoffee profile image

I've been writing for 12+ years and like to share useful information from projects I've done, experiences I've had, and things I've learned.

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The Camera Lens

The lens on a digital camera is one of the most critical and expensive parts of your equipment. If the images you create are to be sharp and clear, the camera lens must be clean and scratch free. If debris cannot be removed or significant scratching occurs, it is often more economical to replace the entire camera rather than just the lens. Learn about proper camera lens cleaning and overall care here.

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Protecting Your Camera Lens

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoiding damage and dirt reduces the need for drastic measures related to camera lens cleaning.

  • Hands Off
    The oily residue from your fingers can damage the optical coating on your camera lens and perhaps show up in the images you capture.
  • Use Proper Protection
    Lens covers, camera bags, and even inexpensive filters can go a long way in protecting a camera lens from unwanted contact with objects that can harm them and from the accumulation of dust, moisture, and other dangerous elements. Many simple point and shoot cameras have automatic covers that need to be kept in working order as these compact devices are often tossed into purses, pockets, drawers and other areas without attention to the other objects lurking nearby.
  • An Inexpensive Shield
    Many photographers recommend attaching an inexpensive UV filter that will help shield the lens from UV rays and take the brunt of any contact by foreign matter and sharp objects.
  • Avoid Environmental Hazards
    Moisture is dangerous; potentially it can fog the lens or even cause warping in the housing. High temperatures can breakdown lubricants in the lens barrel and moving from temperature extremes can create condensation. For these reasons, leaving a camera in the car can be hazardous. Windy environments and beaches can also kick up a large amount of particles which can find their way into nooks and crannies. Keeping the camera covered and shaded are minimum precautions.
  • Keeping a Grip on it
    Camera bags are good for assuring you don't drop and damage your camera and it's lens when you are transporting it. When you are cleaning it, it's best to have the camera (or the lens) resting on a clean, flat surface so that it doesn't get dropped and damaged during the cleaning process.

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Camera Lens Cleaning Hints

Camera lens cleaning should be performed only when visible deposits are noticed. Despite your best efforts, dirt and smudges will occur over time. Proper cleaning techniques are important in order to avoid damaging the lens during the cleaning process.

  • Blower Brushes
    Dust and other particles are best removed from the lens without making contact as there is always the risk of scratching the lens. A blower brush or ear syringe can be used. In general, canned air is not recommended, there are chemicals involved that you don't want to have in contact with your camera and the sheer force of these can blow dust into various nooks and crannies where you don't want it.
  • Soft Bristle Brushes
    Soft brushes are also a good possibility for camera lens cleaning but it's important that the brush be clean and care taken to avoid scratching the lens surface.
  • Cloth and Cleaners
    Fingerprints and smudges can often be tackled with a microfiber cloth and perhaps a lens cleaning fluid. Making contact with the lens should happen only after you have brushed or blown off any visible debris.

    No solution should ever be applied directly to the lens; instead it should be applied to the cleaning cloth first. Only approved camera lens cleaners should be used. Any abrasive cleaner should be suspect as they can remove the optical coating of the lens.
  • Take Care When Wiping
    Even when using an appropriate cloth, it's wise to blow the lens off first and to then wipe in a circular motion working from the center outward.
  • Lens Pens
    Lens pens are also a popular camera lens cleaning tool as they're easy to tote along and are quite effective in removing both dust and smudges.

How To Clean a Camera Lens - Demonstration

© 2008 Ruth Coffee

Camera Lens Cleaning: Was This Page Helpful? Let Us Know!

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    • TeamDealStartsH profile image

      TeamDealStartsH 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the awesome Lens! I was afraid to clean my Digital Cameras Lens! I thought I might scratch it or something! They are expensive after all!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I really enjoyed this lens.

      The joy of taking photos and sharing is long lasting.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      Yes, proper lens cleaning is essential for great pictures.

      Thanks for sharing this information.

    • profile image

      Sonaprint 

      9 years ago

      Another Great Lens...I'm glad I am a Fan!!!

    • profile image

      Andy-Po 

      9 years ago

      Very good advice. It is so important to keep your optics clean.

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      annetteghallowe1 

      10 years ago

      There is nothing worse than looking at a scratch on an expensive lens. Using the proper equipment to clean lenses is such a simple way to prolong the life of camera equipment.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 

      10 years ago

      Very helpful, good things to know.

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