Photography Tutorials

How to Clean Your Camera Lens (and How Not To)


We show you how to clean your camera lens.

The question, how to clean your camera lens is a good one. Cleaning your lens will maximise the quality of the images your camera can produce. On one of my videos recently someone pointed out how dirty my lens was with large finger print marks on it.

This sparked some thoughts which have led to this video. Firstly in the video I show yo  how to clean your camera lens properly. I then show you how to clean your camera lens in a non-recommended way. I also share a few thoughts on this subject and why I think is often preventing people from taking their photography to the next level.

Firstly take your lens and inspect how dirty it is. Roll it around in your hand catching all the different light so you can see all angles of the front element. If it's not dirty, don't clean it. Excessive cleaning can potentially cause damage. Especially to the coating.

If you think it needs cleaning, first remove dust and specs using either a lens cleaning brush or a blower. Use a lens pen or microfibre lens cloth and start to clean your lens in circular movements starting from middle and working your way to the edges until any marks or finger prints are removed.

If there are any stubborn marks place a small amount of lens cleaning solution onto your cloth and then repeat. Avoid putting it directly onto the lens, or using the lens pen, to prevent excess solution getting on your lens. Don't forget to check the rear element as it is much more likely to show marks in your image.

So that's that. For me though cleaning my lenses is just not that important. Fingerprints, dust and many marks simply do not show up in your images. I am certain this obsession with clean glass and gear is holding many people back. Your lens is a tool, use it like one rather than giving it more love and attention than you do your friends and loved ones.

If I notice some dust or a blotch on my lens I generally just blow on it and then take a scruff of my t-shirt and give it a wipe. This is easily suitable in 90% of situations including weddings and in the field. I never want to be in the field where I miss a shot because I am faffing around with lens cloths, blowers and lens solution. Some photographers become vicious about this subject and will likely attack me for this. For the record I recommend you use the first method. I just think too many of us are wasting time focusing on the gear. We're all intelligent people, be sensible, do what's right for you, but really focus on capturing the moment and capturing beautiful images. In the highly unlikely event that your lens gets scratched, is it the end of the world? No, when you spend less time worrying about your gear, when something does go wrong, it's annoying for a moment but it won't cause you loads of stress. It just won’t.

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