Clean your lenses – Digital Photography Tip of the Week

This week we had a guest speaker at my camera club speaking about photographing people. The first thing he said in his presentation was to have your camera ready at all times so that you don’t miss a shot. That was my tip last week.

This week I am going to talk a little about camera maintenance, specifically cleaning your lenses for optimal clarity..

Cleaning your lenses is an important part of digital photography when it comes to high image quality. A dirty lens may cause a decrease in clarity and possibly contrast in your image and can introduce spots that you have to try to digitally remove later.

The equipment used to clean lenses is pretty simple. A small blower brush will often remove small particles resting on the glass. Simply blow them off. Smudges and finger prints or water marks require a little more work. I use a ‘clean’ micro fiber lens cloth, available at camera stores and often also at places where you can buy prescription eyewear. Gently rub the lens element in circles to remove any marks that may be on the lens. If they are a little more stubborn, breathing on the lens softly will give the cloth a little moisture to help remove the marks. Try to avoid cleaning lenses too often or with chemical cleaners as camera optics are coated to help increase contrast, and it is possible to remove these coatings through cleaning. If you have an SLR with interchangeable lenses, also remember to examine the rear elements of your lenses to be sure they are clean as well. In the event that you do use a liquid lens cleaner, place a few drops on the lens cloth rather than directly on the lens.

To protect the lens you may choose to use a filter in front of the lens to protect the front lens element. A 1A (Skylight) or UV filter will have little to no effect on your images while keeping your front lens element cleaner.

Dirty equipment will yield dirty results. But it is also important not to go overboard. Be sure to keep things like dust and moisture out of your lenses to provide years of spectacular, trouble free photography

The digital photography tip of the week is written by the PCIN Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time photographer and is currently the President of the Niagara Falls Camera Club. You can see more of his photography at his Photo of the Day website. If you have a tip to send Chris, or a question about digital photography he can address in the newsletter, send it to

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