When you expose your camera and lens to cold weather, and they develop condensation, it’s probably better to wait until they dry naturally. When dust, dirt, grease, or other substances gather on your lens, removing it as soon as possible is better. For this, you need a camera lens cleaning kit or a few specialized photo gear cleaning products. Most of all, you need patience and attention to detail. Check out the following steps to clean camera lenses and take care of your equipment in the best possible way.
Step 1: Air Blower
An air blower is a small rubber pump that blows air when pressed. It works well when dust or dirt isn’t glued to the glass surface. The air blower removes dry particles without damaging the lens in any way. Furthermore, it can reach and clean inaccessible spaces, such as the lens’ rim, the space around buttons and cogwheels, the filters’ edges, and others.
Step 2: Brush
If the air blower is not strong enough, you can use the brush from the camera lens cleaning kit. It’s more efficient and can quickly remove dust, sand, and dirt from the entire lens surface. You can give a quick brush to the camera body as well. The brush is soft and doesn’t scratch surfaces. However, don’t use it on the camera sensor unless it is clearly mentioned in the kit’s instructions. And don’t press too hard, as it may leave brush bristles or marks.
Step 3: Lens Pen
Sometimes lenses and filters get stained. Maybe you leave a fingerprint, or something splashes the glass. For removing small, localized stains such as a fingerprint, a lens pen is the best choice. A lens pen looks like a regular pen, but it’s filled with cleaning solutions for optical glass elements and has a small pad on top. It erases the stain without affecting the rest of the lens and controls the amount of moisture you apply.
Step 4: Cleaning Solution and Microfiber Cloth
Resistant dirt and oily stains require more attention and professional cleaning products. Air blowing and brushing don’t work anymore and can even do worse. Professional photo cleaning solutions come in spray or drop bottles to give you control over the amount of moisture spread on the lens. They contain chemicals that don’t affect the glass quality but are able to remove persistent stains.
However, solutions need good quality fabric cloths, and microfiber ones are the best for this purpose. Start wiping from the center of the lens, using circular movements, and work your way to the edges. Again, don’t press very hard.
Be thorough when it comes to cleaning your gear because it prolongs the life of your equipment. Have patience, be gentle, and invest in high-quality products. A cleaning solution bottle costs less than a new lens. So take your lens cleaning items with you anywhere and dare to take a break in the middle of a photo session to clean your gear.