If you are into film industry, then your lenses are your best weapons of war. The fact that you use them daily exposes them to dirt. You need to treasure them to keep their functionality at par. This means that keeping them clean is not optional if you need them to be durable and efficient. How can you do this? By using the best and affordable tools and methods that will not damage your gear. Forget about wet paper towels, t-shirts or pieces of cloth; they leave particle and scratch your lens. You don’t need to break the bank to get the work done; here are tools that you will need and can get them under $10.
7 Pro Lens Cleaning Tools Under $10
1. A Lens Brush
The only way to avoid scratching the substrate or coating of your lens is by using a lens brush. The best quality is one that is light and soft enough to brush of the dust and lint while delicately protecting the lens. You can even get one with a built in blower that will get rid of fingerprints too. You should not touch the bristles though, you risk transferring grime back to your lens.
2. Lens Wipes
You should always pack lens wipes with you just the same way you need wet wipes for your everyday use. They should be ammonia free to avoid leaving residue and streaks. They will help you get rid of any dust and dirt on the go without introducing new dirt on your lens. Thanks to the fact that they are well packaged, safe and effective.
3. Lens Cleaner Liquid
Sometimes a microfiber alone will not get the work done. Applying some lens cleaner liquid onto your microfiber clothing before wiping off your lens will allow you to get rid of dried water stains and stubborn grease. Always make sure to use professional lens cleaner and not just any glass cleaner. Do not spray the liquid directly onto your lens because it can enter the lens body and cause damage.
4. Microfiber Cloth
Hand up if you are guilty of using your vest to wipe off your lens. If you are just dealing with grease or fingerprint marks on your film lens, a microfiber cloth will get the work done. They are made of fine material that will not scratch. Don’t settle for just any; you have to make sure that is suitable for lens. This is because others could have solvents in them that can damage your lens. Just walk to your camera store and get one.
5. Cleaning Swabs
The edges of your lens can be hard to reach while cleaning. The cleaning swabs are made in such a way that they can easily clean the inside of your lens without much struggle. You can get them at the camera store.
6. Lens Pen
This is do-it all cleaner that will save you the space for storage and the cost of having to own a lens brush and a microfiber. The carbon cleaning system makes it safe and effective enough to get rid of grease and dust.
7. Air Blower
If you are fond of blowing air onto your lens with your mouth to moisten it while cleaning, then you need to stop. This is because you risk spitting saliva and it very unprofessional. An air blower will take care of the dust and specks without leaving solvents or residue behind.
Well, having the tools is not enough if you do not know how to do the cleaning right. Here is how:
How to Clean your Lenses Like a Professional
Don’t be tempted to over clean your camera lens, only do it when it is necessary. This is when you notice dust, grime, grease or fingerprints. The idea is to avoid worsening the problem. In that event, mark these off your checklist:
a) Lens blower
b) Lens brush
c) Cleaning tissue, cloth, or pre-moistened wipes
d) Cleaning fluid + tissue or cloth
The cleaning steps are in order of riskiness and mess, each preceding step can get all the work done but if it not enough, the next step will suffice.
Step1: Remove the Dust
Forget about blowing dust off your lens using your mouth; to avoid spitting on it. An air compressor can leave oil marks on your lens too. What then is the best way? A lens blower that is big enough will get the job done. You only need to squeeze a number of puffs on your lens to blow off any dust particles. This is the safest method. If you are only dealing with dust, your cleaning could end there.
Step2: Clean further using a lens brush
If after using a blower you still feel like your lens is not clean enough, consider using a lens brush. Always ensure that your brush is soft enough and has a cap that protects it from getting contaminated with oil and more dust. All you need to do is to gently brush your lens using a lens brush without touching the bristles. Consider a camel hair brush or a lens pen which will double up the carbon end for polishing and the brush end.
Step3: Use a cleaning tissue, microfiber cloth or pre-moistened wipes
The cleaning tissue will wipe off any smudge without leaving particles behind. These are good because they are disposable after use and you won’t risk contaminating them and transferring dirt back to your lens. You could also use a microfiber cloth to wipe off instead of your cotton t-shirt. They are soft and efficient enough to wipe off dirt without scratching your lens. You have to be careful though, because you will reuse them. Any oil or grime on it will go back to your lens. So you have to keep them clean always and wipe in circular motion. The pre-moistened wipes will function the same way and are safe because of the packaging. If your microfiber is contaminated, the pre moistened wipes will get the job done.
Step4: Get rid of stubborn stains
Some grease spots, food particles and dried water spots might not come off with the first two steps. You will need to use the cleaning fluid and a microfiber cloth or cleaning tissues. Ordinary tissues are not the best because they can leave particles behind. Instead, spray some of the cleaning fluid onto your micro fiber cloth then wipe off your lens in gentle and circular motions. Don’t be tempted to spray the cleaning fluid directly to your lens as this may get some of it into your lens and cause damages.
As long as you are using your camera, dust and dirt is inevitable. That is why you should always have the right tools for cleaning and know the best way to do it to avoid damaging your gear. The cleaning process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. All you need to do is to purchase the affordable tools and do it right. Good luck taking care of your gear. It is that easy.