DSLR maintenance tips: How to protect & care your lens?
A DSLR lens is prone to dust and dirt. Lenses are exposed to the elements when they are in use. If you are a landscape photographer, or a wild life photographer, your camera lenses are prone to catching dirt and dust. Even though some high end DSLR lenses comes with anti-dust coating, it is best to keep them cleaned and covered when not in use. Being a photographer and having spent a fortune on your photography gear, this is an advice that should be more than welcome. It is not uncommon to see photographers using gear that are at best shoddy and resembles a barn door that has not been maintained properly. At the end of the day, however, your equipment tells a story both with what they shoot and by how they look. How you keep your gear tells quite a lot about you too.
First tip to keep your lenses clean is to keep them inside their accompanying pouch when not in use. Most lenses from reputed manufacturing companies will come with a lens pouch. If you have decided to go for a second hand lens or purchase one from the gray market insist that it comes with a lens pouch too. Always ensure that the lens cap is on when the lens is not in use, even when the lens is mounted on your camera body. In addition to a lens cap the lens should always have a UV filter on. This is not only to protect the glass at the front end of the lens but also for reducing false coloring when shooting.
Some photographers use cleaning cloth made out of flannel which are both soft and extremely suitable for cleaning delicate surfaces such as lens glass. While it is not always easy to reach the crevices on the body of the lens with a cloth, there are clever ways to do it. Imagine you are polishing a shoe with a piece of cloth held with two hands. You can mount the lens on the camera body and then set it up on a tripod. Now place the piece of flannel cloth on the lens barrel and in a slow left to right motion clean the lens. The crevices can be reached if you slide the cloth by gently pressing it against the lens body.
Alternatively a stiff bristle brush is a simple tool to have for cleaning your lenses. The crevices, edges and narrow passes on the lens body which are normally difficult to reach can be easily reached with a stiff brush.
The lens cap also needs to be kept clean. So before putting it back on use the stiff brush to clean it properly. You can also swipe it with a piece of clean flannel cloth and then put it back on. Now let’s move on to the lens and the lens filter. We had a UV lens filter on the lens. Let’s clean it up now. There are special lens cleaning tissue papers available at camera stores which are great for cleaning filters, polarizers, and of course the lens glass. Simply breathe out on the surface of the filter and then wipe it with the lens cleaning tissue.
Finally we come to the actual surface of the lens. Do not use the same stiff brush which you use for the lens body. Use a specialized brush that is made for cleaning the lens glass. Very gently wipe clean the surface and then if the lens glass is really dirty use a specialized lens cleaning solution and lens cleaning tissue to wipe clean the surface.
Remember if you are a professional photographer making your living out of your camera gear, you need to spend some time to maintain them.
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