As photographers we have all deal with dirty lenses on a routine basis. Whether you work primarily in a studio setting or travel with your camera, you probably do not clean your lens often enough. There’s nothing more annoying than shooting a set of photos only to find specks of dirt or hair when editing in Photoshop later. This is why every photographer needs a camera lens cleaning kit. Here’s we’ll advise you on how to build your own lens cleaning kit and offer suggestions for the best off-the-shelf kits.
- 1 The best lens cleaning kits right now
- 2 How to build your own lens cleaning kit
- 3 Why it’s so important to keep your lens clean
The best lens cleaning kits right now
As with any piece of photo gear, you get what you pay for with cheap lens cleaning kits. The author has experienced that lower-priced kits often fall apart after just a few uses. So this is absolutely a situation where you should invest in good quality. Here are some battle-tested suggestions for lens cleaning kits that will keep up with you and your photography:
1. Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit
Zeiss is well-known for their quality lenses. The same can definitely be said for their lens cleaning accessories. This basic kit is available in most countries and includes a blower brush, lens pen, lens tissue, and cleaning clothes.
2. Sensei DOC-CK Deluxe Optics Care Kit
This set comes with a lens cleaning pen, air blower, lens brush, cleaning solution,lens cleaning wipes, a microfiber cloth, and a durable case. It has a decent price-value ration and is currently available from B&H.
3. Movo Deluxe Essentials DSLR Camera Cleaning Kit
This kit from Movo on Amazon comes with all the essentials for cleaning both lenses and camera bodies.
How to build your own lens cleaning kit
The advantage of building your own kit is you can choose the best of each item and buy only exactly what you need. Camera accesory kits in general usually contain too many items of low quality, though they can be a good way to get started. Here’s what you need to build your own kit:
1. Lens Pen
When I notice that the front lens of my camera is dirty, the first thing I usually do is grab my lens pen. This handy tool looks like a thick pen and has two different ends. One end has a brush, which you can use to wipe away dust particles. At the other end is a slightly curved velvet pad. A carbon powder is applied to this pad. When I see fingerprints or water stains on the front lens of my lens, they can usually be removed well with the velvet pad.
2. Microfiber Cloth
You can use a microfiber cloth to clean any glass components on your camera, including the LCD display and front of the lens. I usually add a bit of water to help remove tough stains or caked-on dirt. Just be sure to store the cloth in a camera bag or other area free of dust. The last thing you want to do is clean your dusty lens with a dusty cloth!
Tip: You can also clean the metal lens and camera contacts with the cloth. This often solves autofocus problems and other lens errors.
3. Blower Brush
Blower brushes are useful for quickly removing surface dust on the front of the lens or for removing dust from ND filters. They can also blow dust out of the area along the outer edge of the lens. I sometimes have to explain that this item is for cleaning cameras and should not be filled with water for other uses.
Tip: You can also use the blower brush to remove dust from your camera’s mirror and sensor. It’s great for cleaning photos prints and negatives prior to scanning, too!
4. Lens Tissues
If you buy a camera cleaning kit, chances are good it will come with a set of lens tissues (also known as optical paper) and perhaps a cleaning solution. I have never needed lens tissues and my set is currently sitting in the closet somewhere. So my advice is to skip on this item if you are building your own kit. A microfiber cloth should be more than enough.
Why it’s so important to keep your lens clean
The answer is simple: image quality. Why spend several hundred or even several thousand dollars on high-end gear only to let dust, dirt and particles get in the way of your image?
A more technical explanation: On its way to the sensor, the light has to pass through all the layers of the lens. A lens usually consists of at least 5 different lenses, each of which has its own task. If the front lens, with which the lens ends, is grossly dirty, it will have a negative impact on your image quality.