Here’s a question I get asked about 15 times a week: “How can I get the dust out of my lens?” The right answer is you don’t. All lenses have dust in them and it doesn’t affect the images at all 99% of the time. Even if you clean it all out, it will be back after you use the lens a few times.
There are occasionally times that large dust specs very near the rear element are visible in an image, though. There also is the very real issue of resale value; a dusty lens tends to bring a lower price than one without much dust. The right answer in these cases is “send it in for factory service, they’ll disassemble it and clean it.” Doing it yourself is risky. Read more…
Do you ever clean the front element of your lens by fogging it up with your breath and then wiping it off with a cloth? If so, you might want to stop — Nikon says the practice could be damaging to your glass. Apparently human breath contains stuff that isn’t too friendly toward camera lenses. Read more…
If you regularly shoot in dusty or sandy environments, here’s a handy tip for keeping your camera clean: create a simple cleaning brush that attaches to your camera bag. Digital Camera World writes,
You’ll never bag a great photo with dirty lenses and dusty gear, so keeping your camera and lenses clean and protected is crucial. The front line of defence against dirt and grime is constant cleaning. This isn’t easy if you have to carry around cans of compressed air, blower brushes, fluids and other bulky equipment. Professionals actually tend to use ordinary paintbrushes for camera and lens cleaning, so save yourself money and space [by] making a handy cleaning brush that clips onto your belt.
You’ll need a hacksaw and a drill to “hack” a 25mm paintbrush, and a split-ring and carabiner for attaching it to your camera bag or backpack.
Having some dust or smudges on your lens’ front element generally doesn’t have a noticeable effect on your image quality, but photo enthusiast Alex Bowler recently discovered that having a dirty front element can do nasty things to bokeh. The before-and-after comparison above shows what Bowler’s out-of-focus areas looked like before and after cleaning his lens.
Image credits: Photographs by Alex Bowler and used with permission