As I mentioned before, your lens is bound to get dirty at some point, unless you use a protective filter. In that case, the filter will get dirty instead of the lens, but the fact remains that something will get dirty.
There are very common procedures to clean a lens when it gets dirty, but theres the risk you may end up doing a worse mess with them.
In my interest of preventing that a mess happens to you, Im bringing you this review you may want to consider if you need a fast, easy and safe lens cleaning option
Recently I used a product called LensPen to clean my Sony 18-200mm that had some liquid stains and dust on the front element and a Kenko special filter that required a good cleaning.
The LensPen is a device the size of a pen (ergo the last suffix on the name, duh :) ) which has a retractable brush on one side and a cleaning tip on the other one.
Unlike other cleaning products, the LensPen doesnt pose a threat to the lens' glass nor will it make things worse. It's proven to remove finger prints and leave no trace of them.
The LensPen works under the same concept used by people who clean glass with newspapers. Newspapers have ink, which in turn contains carbon, carbon absorbs impurities and removes them without leaving marks.
The LensPen cleaning tip contains a carbon compound that removes skin oils and other stains on your lens without leaving any marks. The brush on the other side is designed to remove dust and other lose particles that can be easily removed.
The cleaning tip is flexible, which allows you to reach the edges of the lens easily, the brush is retractable, keeping it safe from getting damaged while transporting it or from your fingers.
It's portable since it doesnt take too much space, easy to use and safe for your lenses.
How to use it
- Begin by removing any dust or lose particles on the front element. For this you have to use the retractable brush.
- Remove the cap covering the cleaning tip and wipe the lens with smooth and circular movements with the tip. If there are smudges or stains that persist, you can breathe gently on the lens and repeat the process. (Believe it or not, this works, tried this myself)
- Put the cap over the cleaning tip again and give the cap a half twist to replenish the cleaning tip.
The cleaning tip
The cleaning tip is what contains the carbon compound that cleans the glass surface. Inside the cap you will find a foam pad, which is the replenisher. Everytime you use the LensPen, you have to replenish the tip to keep it working.
Notes of use
Here are some things to keep in mind when using/about the LensPen:
- The LensPen is designed to work with camera lenses, videocamera lenses and small camera lenses, rifle scopes, microscopes, night vision googles, telescopes, etc.
- The LensPen has a life of 500 uses (Although it may vary depending on what kind of contamination is present on your lens)
- Do NOT use it on wet surfaces
- The LensPen is environmentally friendlier than other cleaning methods since it wont require solvents or other liquids, tissues and creates no waste.
- The LensPen isnt exactly designed to clean eyeglasses due to the fact that eyeglasses have concave and convex design, but you can give it a shot.
- DO NOT TOUCH THE CLEANING TIP OR THE BRUSH WITH YOUR FINGERS
- In order to prevent the previous point from happening, use gloves when using it
- The compound will not spill or dry out
- The LensPen is reported to reduce electrostatic charge. (This is a cool feature, because electrostatic charge is the thing that says to dust: Hey , over here!. If you wonder how can a lens can get static electricity, heres how: by moving it, when it gets rubbed in transport, when plugged to a camera)
- The LensPen may leave a black mark on your finger but not on the lens, this is because of the carbon compund. Like the lead found in pencils.
- If there an excess of cleaning compound on the tip, it may leave traces of it on the lens. This is fixable by blowing the compound away from the lens with an air blaster and patting the tip on a soft cloth.
- The official site says there are some bogus LensPens out there not made by the official company. To know if your LensPen is legit or not look for the words: "Distributed under the authority of Parkside Optical Inc., Vancouver, Canada" and the official hologram on the backcard.
- If you need the clean a small lens, you should consider the MiniPro LensPen which is designed for smaller lenses.
The LensPen is a cheap and easy solution to clean your lenses when they get dirty. Since its portable, you can take it with you without worrying about space in your bag.
Having clean equipment has become critical and practically a necessity for photographers everywhere, the option of being able to do it immediately give this method a huge advantage over other systems. Theres also the fact that you dont touch the cleaning element with your hands, as you do with tissues or cloths.
This product is therefore, an Alpha Sight recommended product.
Coming up next, a product to easily clean your sensor: the Sensor Klear.