The Most Ridiculous Way To Clean Your Lens

This video has been hitting the blogs recently, but I didn't really watch it until it wound up in our inbox a half a dozen times. I guess I should say that this is probably the absolute textbook way to clean a lens but does anyone actually own all these rocket blowers, cleaning brushes, and cleaning supplies? I guess since I've never scratched a lens, I've always found one of these to be acceptable. Instead of using compressed air, I've always just used my I a really bad person?

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Awesome! I tend to use hot steamy breath and a the end of my t-shirt. It's worked for me for a very long time. LOL This is a little over the top. IMO

You use your mouth? Don't lick your lens plz.

Patrick Hall's picture

Ha I've actually licked it before too if there was a smudge or spot. By mouth I just meant to blow air on it if lint or sand got around the lens.

You're going to hell for sure Patrick, and I'll see you there ! :)

Florian Taltavull's picture

OMG! Still not sure if this is not supposed to be a joke!?

I use a unused makeup brush for dust and a tshirt with breath fog for oils/smudges. Never done me wrong so far.

This kat is so tight they'd be completely safe in the "big house"! Sort of freaky, like fetish freaky!

ezra's picture

Man...I thought I was the only dummy who cleaned the lens cap...I feel better now!

Also, it drives me insane when people say they use UV filters to protect their lenses. I can categorically tell you why this is stupid:

1) It protects the lens from scratches and damage: Wrong. Anything that's going to hit your lens hard enough to scratch it is pretty likely to go straight through the UV filter.

2) It keeps the lens clean: Would you rather have to clean a lens element when it gets dirty, or a filter? Given the high quality coatings on most modern lenses, I find it a thousand times easier to clean a lens.

3) It keeps the lens clean part 2: The lens stays sealed and clean, until you have to clean the filter. Once you take that filter off, you then have to clean it as well as the lens, since the lens is now exposed to the elements you've tried so hard to protect against.

I'm perfectly okay with CPL's and other filters that actually serve a purpose, but to me "UV" filters are akin to a witch doctor shaking a dead chicken at you, or TSA. Useless hocus pocus.

Patrick Hall's picture

I removed all of my UV filters when I noticed they were reducing contrast in my images. I now just keep my lens hoods on at all times and have never had a problem.

Matthew Choi's picture

I just an amateur photographer and i do believe it's a bit of a personal preference of whether to us a filter or not - and i did have glare due to the filter in one occasion or two when I was shooting some concerts

Still, there might be a time that the filter saved my lens - there's once when i dropped the 18-200 onto the ground. the hood met the ground first and worked a bit like a push/pull-zoom and "shrunk" all the way up to the other end of the lens, while the lens-cap went indented into the filter and cracked it. Luckily I was able to take out the lens cap and filter using some brute force, clearing the damaged glass, and found everything else was working fine (no scratches, and somehow the hood was fine as well)

I've twice dropped L series lens and smashed the uv filter but the elements were fine. Also I often shoot in dirty sandy places and when I need a quick clean I use my shirt. Its easier and cheaper to replace scratched filters the lenses. So call it stupid if you want but I'm leaving filters on all my glass and recommend everyone do the same.

If your shooting in dirty/sandy places then a filter is good but tbh, the only filter I use is a polarised one for its effects, Uv filters just seem like a waste to me and degrade image quality.. both in contrast but also sometimes upside down reflections of extreme highlights.

There is a time and place for filters, Len's wouldn't have all these coatings on the front element (its the most treated element in the lens) for a reason.. and why stick some poor quality glass (compared to the lens elements) in front of your expensive optics?

M's picture

1: Not true. I've had objects near smash my lens, and one actually get smashed, and guess what, the lens with the filter was fine (even though it ended up shattered) I don't think a bare lens would have been left unscathed.

2. I don't know, it depends, would you rather fuck up an $800-$1600 lens or a $45-$60 filter, that my friend is your call.

3. Not really lol. It appears that for some reason you have a vendetta against using filters, were you beaten and robbed by one perhaps? Or did it date your sister?

Unless you live inside of a constantly raging desert storm, or on the streets, Taking off a filter for 2 minutes doesn't instantly make it contaminated. You must be some kind of neat freak or something to think this way.

Lol. A witch doctor, sure, except this "witch doctor" is more like a real doctor, in that it's actually had beneficial effects because of its usage.

I've never seen someone take off a filter for two seconds and say "oh SHIT, now I've got to clean my entire lens its contaminated" lol. You've clearly either never used a filter or just have neat freak issues. m2c

Haha, the music is so annoying. I think this person is a little paranoid and OCD. If you can put a lens upto a chainlink fence and shoot through it and have it so out of focus it doesnt interfere with image quality how is a small particle of dust going to make images unclear? Dust on your sensor is more a problem but on the front element? Ive never seen any difference in the quality of images at all.

The front element is more robust than he makes it out to be.

The music is effing terrible. I don't mind Jazz, but that is just offensive to my ears. Thank goodness for the "mute" button.

Have to agree to a point on UV filters - I've known people to spend ~£1500 on an L series lens, then put a "cheap" £20 filter on it.

and this is why I shoot Canon ;)

bobb's picture

"now using synthetic brush wipe the rear"


Hubert's picture

Over the top. It's not a surgery that you need to have everything sterile and dust free. I use hoods on all of my lenses instead of a filter.

Matter of a fact is that the front element is so out of the focus that it doesn't really matter if you have some dust particles on it. I clean my lenses only when they get super dusty, most of the time I just use compressed air to get rid of the dust.

Ohh I only use filters if I am on the beach, don't want to get salty water on the lens. Otherwise I like to live on the edge.

Barry Fontaine's picture

Can you imagine paying Nikon $20 twice a week to clean your lens. Hahaha
I have to admit using my warm breath and my untucked t-shirt.

That said the best product I have found for lens cleaning is called EZ Clear lens cleaning wipes. 50 pre-moistend wipes for under $20. There are many other brands. Most Pro camera shops or optical stores will have some.

Gary's picture

Yep, warm breath fog is distilled water. Nothing cleaner.

Peter Dowell's picture

OMG seriously anal; every two weeks is insane. The only time I've ever had issues with stuff on the front element messing up the final image was when I was shooting on the beach and salt water was spraying everywhere. Left cleaning it 'till I got home though, since I'm pretty sure rubbing sand (another "momento" from the beach) all over the front element isn't going to be good for it (akin to rubbing it down with sand paper, eek!)

I tend to use a blower, brush and a mirco fibre cloth in that order every month or so, or if I know I'm doing some high f-stop stuff soon (f/16+). I'll usually clean my sensor at the same time, which probably makes more difference lol, and check the results by taking a reference photo of a white wall (at +2ev so it's white, not grey) at the highest f/stop whilst moving the camera to blur any dirt on the wall.

I wish this dude would come and clean my apartment..

This is a joke, right?

Please Please Please Don't do it this way!!!! You'll destroy your lens coating with alcohol, Why is this video posted everywhere, IT'S WRONG!!!!!!!!!! This does more harm than good.

Here is a PROPER tutorial on how to SAFELY clean your lens:

Sorry for the screaming but this video drives me insane.

The coating is on the inside bucko....

Trevor Sherwin's picture

This is the most insane waste of time. dust on the front element, especially the small stuff he was removing is NEVER going to show up in an image. Stop wasting time like this cleaning your lens and take your camera out and shoot something. All you need is a lens cloth and 10 seconds.

i liked the music. john coltrane was a virtuoso.

Okay, I like to keep my lenses clean, but this is over the top.

I see multiple things he does wrong and a few that aren't "wrong", but don't make any sense to me.

Firstly, why bother with the gloves, I don't touch the front element with my fingers when I clean my lenses and if you have to wear them because you touch the barrel, well then you might be related to Michael Jackson...

Secondly, when cleaning the lens cap, why bother to go at it with the rocket blower? What's the point of that?

Just do it with the brush and do it so that the cap is facing downwards so the damn dust falls out of the cap.

Same goes for the lens after he removes the UV-filter. Why keep it upwards and blow air on to it? And on top of that there might be something that the blower released and then he goes at it with the brush. Smart...not.

I also wouldn't clean my lenses with alcohol since like Ruben said up there, it might affect the coating of the lens, but more so because it's not necessary.

The method I use came also up in the video (Lenspen) and not to my surprise it wasn't recommended.

I don't know why though, it does the job, but you have to learn how to use it properly.

Firstly if I have my blower with me, I'll go with that (the lens facing downwards), then use the brush-end of the Lenspen again with the lens facing downwards. After that I make sure there isn't any sand etc. which could scratch the element and then breath on the element and go over it with the pen.

There might be better alternatives, but I haven't found them yet.

On top of that I have to note that a dirty front element doesn't actually fudge up the image quality and I know that, but it's more that I want to keep my lenses clean.

So, they recommend a lens cleanup twice a week for 20$, so that's 40$ a week, 160$ a month and 1920$ a year.

Well ain't that a load of crap, especially when I do work with more than one lens.

On top of that, why clean a lens if it's not dirty (to make the coatings go bad so they can sell you a new lens of course).

Though I'm sure they would welcome such income gladly :)

Kellen Freeman's picture

There has got to be an better way to plug your t-shirts. Seriously.