If you’ve ever had to take your camera apart to clean the lens, then you know it’s a challenging task. In this article, I’ll teach you how to clean the camera lens inside without taking it apart.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to keep your camera working at its best and avoid any unnecessary damage.
How and Why Lenses Get Dust?
Dust gets inside lenses for a variety of reasons. Here are a few things you need to know about lenses. Lenses “breathe” every time they focus or zoom in and out. It’s not the effect of a lens “breathing” when an image appears smaller or bigger as the focus is adjusted – I’m talking about inhaling and exhaling.
When focusing and zooming, lens elements constantly move inside them, causing lenses to breathe. When a closed plastic container is under pressure, what happens?
Trying to reduce the container size will only allow you to reduce it to a certain level before it pushes back. In physics, air pressure is a simple concept. Consider lenses as an example of the same concept.
If all sides of the lenses were sealed, what would happen? Due to pressure, you could only zoom in a few times before the lens would force you back to its original position. Focusing on a lens would be similar.
Movement lens elements must inhale and exhale air for camera lenses to function properly. Different lenses manage airflow better. The camera chambers of some expensive lenses are sealed against dust (but not completely).
Conversely, the cheaper consumer zoom lenses are worst at sucking air and blowing it into the camera chamber – they might suck the outside air in and blow it out.
Camera Lens Cleaning Tools: What Do You Need?
Lens Cleaning Liquid
It is necessary to use a liquid cleaning solution to remove fingerprint oil and rain watermarks. They either contain alcohol or are alcohol-free – some alcohol-based solutions can damage vintage lenses’ coatings.
Any lens care kit must include a high-quality microfiber cleaning cloth – I recommend keeping one in your camera bag at all times.
Normal tissues leave fibers behind. There are special lens-cleaning tissues that have a tight weave of fibers that do not fragment.
Large dust specks can be easily removed with the help of a dust blower.
Soft Lens Brush
To remove dust without using a blower, use a soft bristle brush.
Camera Cleaning Spray
Although it is not specific for lenses, an antistatic, non-alcohol-based spray for cleaning camera bodies is worth having.
Cleaning Kit Pouch
Find a clean, sealed plastic container or pouch to store all of the above gear. It will get dirty and dusty if it rattles around in a drawer. So that it can be used to clean your gear every time, please keep it clean.
How to Clean a Camera Lens?
The following tips will help you maintain the pristine condition of your camera lens. Whenever you get back from a photoshoot, try this lens-cleaning routine.
Step 1: Be proactive
Taking precautions and adopting good habits are the two best ways to care for your lenses. Protective or UV filters are worth investing a small fraction of the cost of camera lenses. Various sizes are available to fit different lenses. Place a cheap protective filter on the front as soon as you get your lens out of the box.
The cleanliness of a lens filter is no different from that of a fixed front lens element.
Using one gives you the advantage of being able to throw it away if you scratch or damage it beyond repair. If you damaged a lens once, you’d do it again if you failed to immediately replace the UV protection filter. Keep your front and rear lens caps on your lens at all times. They perfectly protect dust, dirt, oils, and sticky fingers.
Step 2: Blow Away Dust
Before using a cloth or lens tissues, use a blower to remove loose dust and debris from the lens glass. When wiping dust pieces away with a cloth, you may scratch the glass, so we do this step first.
In good light, blow from one side of the lens to the other from a 45-degree angle with the lens facing up. You may accidentally blow saliva on your lens when you blow with your mouth. A lens blower is better than blowing with your mouth. Moreover, a blower allows you to quickly blow air from one side to another.
Step 3: Remove Stuck-On Particles with a Brush
Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dust – if you’re unlucky enough to have sticky dust or dirt on your lens, a blower won’t work. You will likely see plenty of these specks if you have been shooting in wet weather.
The edge grooves of the lens glass can also be cleaned with a lens brush. Sweep the lens from one side to the other with your lens facing upwards. You may scratch the lens if a large piece gets stuck in the bristles.
Step 4: Use A Cleaning Solution
The larger dust and grime particles have been brushed and blown away, so it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Cleaning tissues or paper and lens cleaning liquid are needed for this step.
You want to ensure you don’t damage the protective coatings applied to the lens by using a suitable lens cleaning fluid. No matter what you do, don’t use chemical cleaning fluids such as Windex, Glen20, etc.
Apply 3-5 drops of lens cleaner to a folded lens cleaning paper or lens tissue. Hold the lens firmly with one hand while it is upright.
On the other hand, wipe the lens surface gently with the damp lens-cleaning tissue. Move from side to side rather than spiraling. After wiping the entire surface with a clean and dry lens cleaning tissue, gently wipe away any remaining moisture.
After completely drying, all smudges, oils, fingerprints, and stubborn grime have been removed from the lens. For streak-free glass, repeat this step if necessary. Use a microfiber lens cloth if you don’t have lens paper.
Step 5: Use a Microfiber Cloth
After cleaning the lens, polishing it is the next step. You can achieve a sparkling finish by using a soft and fine-weave microfiber cloth once you’ve completed steps 1 – 3.
Performing this step before steps 1 – 3 may cause the lens to get scratched. Fold the cloth into a padded square or triangle, depending on its size. Keeping the lens upright with one hand, hold the folded microfiber cloth with the other.
Remove any remaining streaks from Step 3 by gently wiping the glass. Use the microfiber cloth to remove all dust and grime in a circular or left-to-right motion.
Step 6: Clean The Rear Element
Take a moment to think about your lens’s rear while you polish your front’s glass element. I’m talking about your lens’s rear, not your own! It is possible to clean some rear elements easily while others are recessed into the lens body. As the rear element will be much smaller, you may need a Q-tip, a corner of lens paper, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
Step 7: Don’t Forget the Barrel
Let’s finish the job now that the front and rear glass elements sparkle like new. A good lens barrel clean is likely necessary if the glass needs to be cleaned. Clean the gap where the zoom regularly extends to prevent dust from being pushed inside zoom lenses.
Liquids should not be used when cleaning lenses that are not weather-sealed, as they may damage the lens. Using the blower and brush, clean out all the corners and crevices of your lens with the rear and front caps.
Use it if you have access to a liquid solution for cleaning the outside of lenses and cameras.
Alternatively, you can dampen the corner of a microfiber lens cloth with water and carefully clean the lens. After cleaning your lens, store it in a clean camera bag, lens pouch, or cupboard rather than on an open shelf.
How to Check if Your Camera Lenses Need Cleaning
Performing a military-grade inspection is the first step to determining if your lenses need to be cleaned. The habit of visualizing your lenses’ cleanliness is an excellent one to have, especially before a big shoot. You’ll know you’re getting top-quality images that way.
A dirty lens may cause spots and marks on your photos when you’re reviewing them. Cleaning DSLR or mirrorless camera lenses can also be done by using the following methods:
Then lock focus or refrain from touching the focus ring again after focusing on the furthest object.
Narrow the aperture:
A narrow aperture, such as f/16, should be set on the lens.
Take A Photo:
Take several shots of a plain white surface or a clear blue sky with the lens pointed at it.
Check For Spots:
You can zoom in on the image either on the LCD of the camera or on a computer and look at all the areas of the image.
It is important to clean the sensor if you see dark spots, streaks, or lines on it.
It would help if you bookmarked this guide on how to clean a camera lens on your phone. You’ll be able to refer to this guide the next time your lenses develop dark spots or streaks.
How to Keep Your Camera Lenses Clean?
Preventive medicine is said to be the best medicine. Preventing your camera gear and lenses from getting dirty will reduce the time you have to spend cleaning them.
Dust, however, is everywhere. Whatever you do, it will get on your camera and lenses. You will also get dirt on your lenses if you take them outdoors.
We touch things with our hands more often than we realize because of the great pandemic of 2020. Keep your camera gear clean by avoiding fingerprints, one of the biggest enemies. Here are some tips for keeping your camera lenses clean:
- Keep your lenses dry and contained.
- Keep your lenses off shelves as they attract dust like a magnet.
- Maintain a clean, dirt-free camera bag inside.
- Keep a microfiber cleaning cloth at home and one in your camera bag.
- Make sure your lenses are clean by purchasing lens-cleaning equipment, such as cleaning liquids, brushes, and dust blowers.
- Lenses should be protected from deep scratches at all costs. If you want to protect your lens, consider using a lens hood.
- Be gentle when cleaning your lenses.
- If your lenses aren’t attached to a camera, make sure to keep their lens caps on.
- It would help if you always placed the rear lens element of your camera facing down when changing lenses.
- When you get your lens out of the box, put a protective UV filter on it and never take it off.
- Even if your lens is weather-sealed, don’t wash it in the sink.
How often should you clean your camera lens?
Lenses should be cleaned according to how often they are used. You should clean your lenses every Friday night if you go out shooting every weekend. It would help if you cleaned your lens when you think it needs it – don’t leave sticky residue on it for a long time.
Now that you know the step-by-step process, it’s time to clean your lens! Remember not to drop anything down inside, and keep a safe distance from electricity. A clean camera lens will ensure the picture quality stays at its peak. Since I have given you how to clean the lens inside without taking it apart, now you need some patience and time.
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