Anything with a lens needs maintenance. Be it a spectacle, binoculars, telescope or DSLR camera. Lenses have many coatings which are designed to let in more light by cancelling the reflection. These coatings can be destroyed if they are not properly taken care of. They are vulnerable to scratches.
If we do not use the right material to remove the grit, it could act like sand paper and create scratches in the lens. Hence, it becomes important to clean the lens with the right cleaning material. There are a number of cleaning kits available in the market; we review the most popular ones. Having the right kit is only half the job done.
In order to give the viewer the best vision with the maximum clarity, lenses need to be cleaned regularly. Before that we look at why it is important to clean them and how it is done.
Why is it important to clean the lens?
Cleaning your lens at periodical intervals is the most important part of its maintenance; it ensures optimal performance of the lens. Grease, dust on lens can reduce the brightness and contrast of the images that it captures.
Regular cleaning enhances screen presentation quality. It is also important that the cleaning is done the right way. Persistent cleaning in the wrong method could result in permanently reducing the brightness and contrast.
Right way to clean the lens:
- Use an air blower: Although it is advisable to use air to remove maximum amount of dust with just air, it is unadvisable to blow at the lens with your mouth. High pressure air is also not recommended. Professional photographers use air – blowers which have fins that prevent rolling out of the lens.
- Soft Fibers: A good lens cloth is typically made of microfiber. It is best to use a branded lens cloth which may cost $5 upwards. The cloth has to be moved in concentric circles, the dust / dirt should be pushed to the corner of the lens from where we can swipe it up.
One single wipe would take away most of the dust on the lens. The microfiber has to be washed thoroughly after every use. Disposable lens wipes are still available which can also be used. Paper products should never be used on the lens surface.
- Using a brush: Most professionals use a brush first and then go about cleaning with a cloth. The brush is an expensive tool but it is likely to sweep out the dust with causing minimal damage to the lens. The bristles of the brush are made of camel’s hair. Further, the bristles on the brush should never be touched with bare hands.
The oils from the hands could grease the brush, which could in turn cause damage to the lens while cleaning.
- Cleaning Solution: Instead of buying bottled cleaning solution which is nothing but water and detergent, it is suggested that you use denatured alcohol which dries fast unlike soap water which will end up acting as an agent to attract more dust.
- Lens pen: These are carbon tipped pens; the surfaces are soft and suitable for cleaning gentle objects such as optic lenses.
Mistakes to avoid during the cleaning process
- Do not blow air with your mouth at the lens – This will tend to smear the greasy dirt across the optic lens which will blur the vision
- Do not use normal cloth to wipe the lens – Whether it’s your spectacles or your camera lens, do not use normal cloth to wipe the dust, this will cause scratches on the lens
- Close the lens of the camera or other equipments with the hood / cover (for spectacles put them back in their cover) – While not using the camera, keep the cover on. This will reduce the chances of dirt settling on the lens.
- Detergent based liquid cleaning solution – This could cause more harm to the lens. Avoid water, detergent based solution. They do not dry fast and tend to attract dirt and make them greasy. This will permanently damage your lens.
Review of top optic lens cleaning kit
Below is a table which includes details of what each of these cleaning kits include –
|Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras and Sensitive Electronics||Lens cleanser 2 oz bottle (Alchohol / Ammonia / Odor Free)
50 sheets cleaning tissue (disposable)
Microfiber cleaning cloths (3 Nos.)
|Delkin DDSS-SCOPE3 SensorScope System||Sensor Scope – used for inspection of lens
Sensoria – for removal of small particles (battery / USB powered vacuum)
Sensor safe wands – clean oils, other dust particles (includes 12 nos. 16mm small, 6 nos. 20mm medium and 6 nos. 24mm large sensor wands)
Sensor solution – streak free low residue formula
Sensor pen – triangular sensor tip and specialized material. Provides over 100 professional cleaning results
|Polaroid Original Cleaning Kit||Laserpen and MiniPro II
Microfiber cleaning cloth
Lens pen (the tips are self-replenishing, they do not dry or spill)
Patented Dry Carbon Compound (removes fingerprints and other residues)
Anti-fog cloth (specialty treated)
|CamKix Cleaning Kit||Air blower
Cleaning solution in a re-usable spray container
Microfiber cleaning cloths (5 Nos)
Double sided lens pen – lens brush on one side and non-liquid cleaning solution on the other side (the tip of the pen never dries out)
|Nikon Cleaning Combo Kit||Nikon 3-Piece Lens Cleaning Kit PLUS
Spudz Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth
Nikon Lens Pen Cleaning System
Precision Design Deluxe Hurricane Blower
A detailed review of the above products is conducted below:
Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit
This is one of the best optic lenses cleaning kit available in the market. It offers an ideal balance of price and quality. The kit is a good value for money. It would be an ideal investment for expensive and sensitive electronics lenses. The kit includes everything of very high quality to clean any DSLR cameral and sensor. There is no compromise on quality of materials in the process.
The lens pen is slightly bulky but it gets the job at hand done without too much effort. The cleaning solution does not contain detergent, alcohol or unpleasant odors. The kit size is practical and is suitable for travel. They also provide disposable tissues which can be used while on the move.
The cleaning solution is unique in this kit which no other vendor offers. It is amongst the most popular cleaning kits amongst professional photographers.
- Complete cleaning kit
- Special cleaning solution
- Lens pen is quite bulky
- Lesser number of microfiber compared to others in the market
Delkin DDSS-SCOPE3 SensorScope System
It is easy to use, comprehensive cleaning kit. It may seem slightly expensive compared to its peers. Professional photographers however, suggest that it is a long term investment for individuals who have the passion for photography.
The kit contains a Sensor scope which is like a short lens which will help identify areas where there is debris. The sensor scope contains a 4 high power LEDs with a magnification system. This will provide aid to clean the sensor, which is a sensitive area to clean. It will ensure that there is no damage done to the camera sensor while conducting the cleaning ritual.
SensorVac which is a part of this kit is a USB / battery powered vacuum cleaner, it works like air blower. This too has a LED light built in. Instead of blowing out the dust, it is designed with the capacity to suck up the dust in the interiors of the sensor. It may be able to catch as micro debris on the lens.
The sensor wands are given in varied sizes and shapes, this helps you clean edges. The smaller wands are designed to reach places where the lens pen cannot reach.
- USB / Battery powered vacuum is unique to this kit, it does not use an air blower which the peers offer
- Cleans sensors and lenses equally efficiently
- It offers compatibility across all DSLR model cameras
- Priced on the higher side
- Vacuum may not be able to draw in minute debris
Polaroid Original Cleaning Kit
Polaroid is a well known brand in the camera industry. They are known for the best lenses which reflect the right amount of light. Their precision in terms of brightness and contrast is unprecedented.
The kit has 2 sets of lens pens – one for the sensor and another for the lens. They are designed to cater to the specific needs of each of these equipment parts. They offer 2 microfiber cloths which is lesser in number compared to its peers.
Their carrying case is extremely fashionable. This does not impact the cleaning performance. It is one of the positives mentioned amongst professional photographer community.
There is no cleaning solution provided here. Also, no air blower is provided as part of the kit. This is a must have, since, it is the safest way to ward off dust from the lens / sensors.
Any photographer who intends to have a complete cleaning kit would have to invest in these items separately.
- Travel friendly kit
- High quality
- All model compatibility
- Incomplete kit
- Not economical
CamKix Cleaning Kit
Complete cleaning kit without compromising on quality. Double sided lens pen – one side with lens pen and the other with brush. The kit includes an air blower, cleaning solution, cleaning microfiber cloth – 5 nos. (Which is the highest on offer amongst peers), disposable lens tissues.
The kit contains products that are designed to cater to clean both sensors and lenses. Their unique lens pen has brush at one end and on the other end which is the actual pen guarantees to never dry up. It has a sticky liquid which is quite efficient in removing minute debris.
The cleaning liquid contains no alcohol or detergents which ensure that it is not aggressive while cleaning the sensor and lens. It is ideal for sensitive optic lenses. It is reckoned to be one of the best optic cleaning lens kits by professional photographers.
- Value for money
- Complete cleaning solution – All tools available
- Good number of microfiber cloths
- Not all products in the kit are of highest quality
- No demarcation for sensors and lens – they may need different types of cleaning tools
Nikon Cleaning Combo Kit
Nikon is another name to reckon with in the optic lenses and camera industry. It is a kit which is compatible with all products.
The quality of product is of high order. It is designed by a company which knows the nuances of the product itself. Their cleaning agent and lens pen are of reasonably high quality. Their air blower offers the right pressure to ward off dust from the lens. It may not be the best in the industry, but it delivers efficiently.
The kit is designed for photographers on the move. The entire kit is not too bulky. They do not have varied sizes / shapes of the same item, which would end up creating a heavy cleaning bundle.
- Easy to use
- Travel efficient
- Complete cleaning kit
- Compatible with all models
- High quality product
- Not the best air blower in the industry
- Slightly high price
All the products covered above are of high order and quality. They all offer the best optic lens cleaning kit, some of them are complete. While in the case of others, you may have to buy additional stuff to have a complete cleaning solution.
We would personally recommend Altura Photo Professional cleaning kit, which is an ideal combination of price and quality. It is priced at around $20; some of the e-tailers offer good discounts. Although, there were rare instance of brush bristles falling off, they were immediately tended to by the company. Their after sales service has impressed many of the users. It has a long standing innings with professional photographers.
Another product which has been a complete value for money is CamKix Camera Cleaning Kit. Users have been particularly impressed with the high duty air blower which is made of rubber and hence, does not crack. The number and quality of microfiber cloths is of highest order amongst the peers in this space.
Investing in the best optic lens cleaning kit is pertinent to keep your camera or other equipment with sensitive lenses in good condition for longer period.