Now that you have picked the perfect camera lens to fit your needs, it is time to start caring for these precious photography accessories.
Professional photographers know how important lenses are for getting that elusive, award-winning shot, but they also know that camera lenses can get dirty and/damaged while chasing the perfect photo.
Using a few preventive measures, you should be able to make your camera lenses last longer and perform better. In this article, we’ll show you how to take care of your camera lenses.
The Main Enemies of a Camera Lens
The three main enemies of your lens are :
Keeping these out of your camera is a challenge. Outdoor photographers have it tougher than those who use their cameras mainly in a studio. With a little care, you can make your lenses last longer and keep getting those quality photos.
Use a UV Lens Filter
A good quality UV filter is a great way to protect your lenses. This stops dust and moisture from getting in your camera’s lenses. It also saves the situation in case something hits your lens or you drop the camera.
Some people argue that there is a slight loss of picture quality when using a UV filter, which is why it is wise to opt for a high quality filter. In practice, the loss of quality because of a UV filter is negligible when compared to the benefits of using one.
Be Extra Careful While Changing Lenses
Dust, moisture, and fine particles can get in your camera’s mechanism while changing lenses, so be extra careful in these moments. Always point the camera down while changing lenses.
A better idea is to plan your shoot ahead so that you don’t need to change lenses often. Using prime lenses requires more lens changes, especially while shooting moving action from a distance.
Each time the lens is changed, the seal between lens and body is opened, providing a way for dust to enter the camera and get on the sensor. Once this happens, the dust is difficult to remove, and can taint picture quality.
A zoom lens can make things much easier. To use one properly, do find out everything you need to know about zoom lenses. If you are not attaching a new lens immediately, use the camera body cap to protect the sensor.
When you have finished clicking, put the lens cap back on. Most caps will fit on the front even with a filter attached. After removing the lens, put on the second lens cap, which fits the rear of the lens. Always keep both caps on while storing and transporting your camera.
Invest in a Case, a Cloth, and Some Gel
Invest in a good quality camera case. These have separate compartments for batteries. Most are padded to prevent any damage if the camera gets bumped around during transportation. If you cannot carry the case, put the lens in a clean sock and wrap it around a couple of times for protection.
Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off dirt from other parts of the camera. Keeping your equipment clean prevents dirt from getting lodged, and eventually finding a way on to your lens or sensor.
Anyone who has used equipment that needs to be protected from moisture knows the value of silica gel. A few sachets in your camera bag (these are the best large camera bags money can buy) or lens case will get rid of dampness. Replace the silica gel when it cannot hold any more moisture.
In the long run, these are your best defense against fungus setting in the lens. You should be vigilant against fungus, as it is the death knell of lenses. Once it does make a home in your lens, there is not much you can do to get rid of it. The only option then is to send your camera for professional cleaning.
Tips for Cleaning your Camera Lens
Most lenses have a coating applied to the front surface. Besides this, glass used for optical lenses is very delicate. It can get scratched, or the lens can lose its coating if cleaned improperly.
Lens cleaning liquids containing harsh chemicals are not recommended. Instead, use a lens brush or compressed air blower to remove any loose dust or grit. Hold the lens with the surface you are cleaning face down as you brush, so any dislodged dirt or dust falls away. Use the brush sparingly.
Some compressed air blowers have a soft top to avoid damaging the lens in case you accidentally get too close. If possible, carry a set of brushes and a blower while travelling to take care of messy situations as they arise. These two accessories are especially helpful for getting rid of sand.
Use the camera strap whenever the camera is not mounted on a tripod. And if you don’t already own a tripod, check out our camera tripod buying guide for beginners.
This greatly reduces the chances of your equipment hitting the ground. Even if you walk on padded floors, the impact will cause some damage and provide an opportunity for dust or sand to further damage your lens.
Things You Should Never Do
You may have seen many shutterbugs breathing on a lens and then wiping it with a cloth to get rid of a small stain. This bad habit affects both, pros and amateurs, and you should try not to pick it up. It causes condensation and at times lets saliva get on the lens. It seems like the most natural thing to do but expert opinion advises against it.
Develop the habit of not leaving fingerprints on the lens by consciously avoiding touching it. The urge to rub off a speck of dirt from the lens will be strong but resist knowing that your fingers will leave traces of sweat. If you do accidentally touch the lens, wipe off the spot with a microfiber cloth.
In case some water does fall on the lens, don’t let it dry off on the lens as it will leave traces. Dab it off gently.
Helping Your Camera Lenses Last a Lifetime
With the right care and attention, along with some affordable equipment and a regular cleaning schedule, your lenses should last a lifetime. And the longer you use a lens, the better you’ll get at using it. So it pays to take care of your camera lenses as best you can.
With that out of the way you should be ready to take some photographs. But before you set off for a photo shoot, why not compare notes on common photo lenses and when to use them.