February 22, 2009

Cleaning Your Camera's Lens

Microfiber cloth, blower brush, lens tissue, lens fluid

Keeping your camera's lens free from smudges, fingerprints, water spots and dust makes your images sharp and clear and saves you the time of later trying to remove the flaws they create in the picture. You need only a few simple supplies to manage this: a blower brush, a microfiber cleaning cloth, lens cleaning fluid and lens tissue. You can often buy all four of these in a kit from your local camera store.

Start by using the blower brush to dust off any dirt, sand or other debris on the lens. You don't want any grit on the lens when you use more vigorous cleaning methods or you could make a scratch in the lens coatings.


Then use the microfiber cleaning cloth to polish away any smudges or smears on the lens.
Do not use the cleaning clothes designed for eyeglasses. They may contain solvents that could damage the coatings on your camera's lens. Use light pressure and a circular motion. You can also breathe on the lens to fog it before wiping with the cloth. Check your results by holding the lens at an angle to see if any marks remain.

These two steps are usually sufficient to make your lens clean and sparkling. Occasionally, though, you will end up with a stubborn water spot or a greasy fingerprint on the glass which won't come off easily. Now it's time for the lens cleaning fluid and lens tissue.

First, tear out a piece of lens tissue. Do not use regular facial or bathroom tissue or paper towels; they are too harsh and may scratch your lens. Gently wad up the tissue. Then squeeze a single drop of lens cleaning fluid on to the tissue. Carefully wipe the lens in a circular motion from the center outward, paying attention to the spot you are trying to remove. If necessary, use a second piece of lens tissue to dry off the glass. When you are finished, your lens should be pristine.

Only clean your lens when it needs it. Too much "polishing" can wear away the coatings on your lens over time. Generally, a simple dusting and occasional wipe with the microfiber cloth will be enough to keep the glass clean and shining.