The more you shoot, the more your gear tends to get dirty. Even though you are using the best settings for your subject that you can, dust or smudges can lower a little the image quality you get from your equipment. And in commercial product/still life photography, lens cleaning is a little time lost that you can definitely afford every time it comes up and the best image quality is always wanted. So, here are a few tips on how to effectively clean your lenses.
I - Clean As Less Often As You Can
You might be tempted to immaculate your equipment at every shoot but I would suggest against that. The fact is that modern lenses have crazy coatings on the elements that help to reduce ghosting, flare, chromatic aberrations and other optical flaws it has. By using a microfiber cloth - or even worse, your shirt - you are removing a little bit of that special coating. So, if there are only a few dust particles on the front or back element, use a air blower (and don’t blow on it yourself because some of your saliva will find its way onto the glass).
II - Use The Lens Cap As Much Often As You Can
This one seems to be a no-brainer but we are all guilty of this. We should use the lens caps as much as we can to ensure that less dust gets inside. This will directly result in you cleaning your glass not as much.
III - Use A Special Lens Cloth
The best way to render your cleaning technique as inefficient is to use the same lens cloth for everything. It might serve to clear up the product you shoot, your vision glasses, your phone and the back of your camera in addition to your beloved lenses. You don’t want that because it will pick up grease from your face and transfer it to the optics’ surfaces. That’s yet another way to make the coatings less effective and degrade the image quality of your work. I think it’s well to have a microfiber cloth for your photographic lenses and one for the rest.
IV - Store Your Cloth Smartly
Even though you have a wipe used only to un-smudge photo glass, if it’s not properly reserved, it will accumulate dust particles that will probably get transferred to the item you’re trying to clean. So, the best cloths are the type that come with a little pouch and an elastic attached. You can store the actual cloth into it so that no dust gets onto it while it is not in used. This Monoprice one is perfect!
V - The Procedure
So, how do you actually clean your glass? I always start by determining if a clean is needed (remember, you want to do it as less as possible). Then, if I come to the conclusion that one is indeed required, I will take my air blower and press it a few times away from the optic in order to remove any dust or debris that could have gotten in there. After, I will try to remove as much dust as possible on the lens using the blower. There will be some that stays on the outer edge of the glass element; don’t worry this one is not picked up in the image. Finally, I will dash out the precious lens tissue and proceed to cleaning by doing repeating circular movements. The goal of the cloth is to be the last step that removes the smudges and fingerprints. After that, everything should be neat and spotless.
This article showed you a five tips to help you effectively clean your optic. Wouldn’t it be nice if they automatically watched for themselves? Anyway, what tips on lens cleaning do you have? Tell us below!