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How To Keep Your Camera Lens Clean

I've always said to How-To Geek: the lens is just as important, if not more important, than the camera to which it's attached. If your photos are blurry because there are stains on the lens, you can not do anything to repair them by mail. Even removing dust spots is painful. Let's see how you can keep the lenses of your camera clean.

Hold the lens cap

If you are not using your camera, release the lens cap. If the lens is not in the camera, make sure both lens caps are attached. It's really that simple: holding the lens caps on the lenses means they are not exposed to any dust particles in the air, and you can handle them without worrying about getting your fingers dirty.

That does not mean you should protect your lenses jealously and only remove the lens cap when you have the perfect shot lined up. Lenses are surprisingly durable – as long as you do not practice your field targeting technique – and, as we'll see, are easy to clean. If you're wandering in a city with a few photos, the camera should be on and the lens cap should be off. It's just that your camera should be at home or in your pocket, and you should leave the caps on.

Think while shooting

Dust and stains will come from two sources: the outside environment and you. If you think a little bit about where to take photographs and how to handle your lenses, it is much easier to keep them clean.

Seaspray is known among landscape photographers for blurring a lens. A small drop lands on the front element and even if you wipe it off or the water evaporates, it leaves the salt behind. It's just a matter of wiping, you just have to think to do it.

If you work in a dusty, wet, or otherwise particle-filled environment, ignore my advice about lens caps and stop them. Also, avoid directing your lens directly into the wind / spray jet or something else until you can start taking photographs.

Do not touch the front element when changing the lens or otherwise handling the camera. Keep your dirty paws away from the glass and it stays clean! You should also show no exposed lens up: dust particles in the air settle on it.

Wear a Microfiber Cloth

Most landscape photographers have more microfiber clothing than underwear. They are really cheap and super handy. If there is dirt or stains on your lens, simply remove a cloth from the bag and wipe it off. If a cloth gets dirty, just grab another one. After setting up my camera for a landscape shot, I usually wipe the lens off quickly just in case.

Pretty much every microfibre cloth. I would suggest buying a bunch of them – like this 30-pack at Amazon for $ 19 – and treat them as almost disposable. Drop a few in your pockets, leave one in the car (it's also good for that Cleaning your sunglasses) and otherwise keep them ready. From time to time they will all go through your washing machine.

Occasional Thorough Cleaning

No matter what you do, your lenses occasionally need proper cleaning. The good news is that it's really easy, and you only need a few things: an air blower, a soft brush, a microfibre cloth and a lens wipe or lens pen.

The process is simple:

  • ] Use the blower, a microfibre cloth, and a soft brush to remove any particles adhering to the lens.
  • Take the mop or lens pen and rub the circles outward from the center of the lens.
  • The last step is to take the air blower and brush and also clean the inside of the lens caps. It makes no sense to clean the lens when the lens cap only casts dust directly onto the lens once you're done.

Keeping the lens clean will require very little effort and your photos will look better. You should also consider cleaning the sensor of your camera – although this process is a bit more complicated.

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