How to build or buy the best lens cleaning kit

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.

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 is a good kit for getting started
This lens clean­ing kit from Movo has every­thing you need at a fair price.

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.

Leave a Comment