Camera Lenses Care and protection

Fine lens equipment contributes to both the fun and precision of taking pictures, but only if it is in top working condition. To get the best from your lenses, you must treat them like respected friends. Consider the following suggestions.

Be very careful to avoid dropping a lens or banging it against a hard surface. Elements may be knocked out of alignment and the mount may be dented. Either or both conditions could cause a lens to perform badly or not at all. Make sure camera shoulder straps and associated hardware are in good condition. Broken straps account for many sudden hard knocks.

If there are long periods of time (even just minutes) between exposures, shield the front lens surface with a lens cap. If your camera must be ready for instant action in a threatening environment, protect the lens with a skylight or ultraviolet (UV) filter. Since optical glass is soft and delicate, a lens cap or a filter will help safeguard a lens from fingerprints, scratches, blowing sand and minor jolts. Keep in mind that a damaged filter can be replaced at less expense than a damaged lens.

Lens caps and filters, however, are often ineffective against moisture, so other security measures must be taken. Donít drop your camera into or get it doused with water (especially corrosive salt water), keep equipment covered during rain storms, wipe snow off the camera and lens before it melts and try to avoid excessively humid conditions.

Give your equipment extra protection by keeping it in a good case between uses. A hard surfaced aluminum cases is particularly helpful. It is not only padded to reduce shocks and vibration, but it is often water resistant or water tight as well.
 

  • If a lever, button or ring doesnít seem to move properly, stop and think. Are you doing anything wrong? Is some safety interlock blocking the action? Check the ownerís manual before proceeding. Above all, never force anything. Consult a qualified repairperson before more damge is done.
    Donít clean the surfaces of a lens unnecessarly. Constant wiping may do more harm than good, especially to delicate antireflection coating. It is much better to prevent dirt ccumulation than to clean it off.
     

  • If a fingerprint, grease smudge, or water spot does appear on your lens, take steps to clean it off immediately. Smudges not only prevent peak performance in a lens, but some may permanently etch the soft glass.
     

  • If cleaning is necessary, always do it very gently. Get rid of dust first with a syringe or can of compressed air. If some dust still remains, use a good sable brush (or one made especially for lens cleaning) and proceed with circular strokes, moving from the outside toward the center of the lens. Keep lens brushes clean. Wash them occasionally with mild soap and water and then dry them thoroughly before using them again. Avoid cheap art brushes, which may contain damaging oils.
     

  • Fingerprints and other greasy deposit donít usually respond to brushing, so wiping a lens surface with a lens tissue may be necessary. (Use only tissue made for photographic lenses; silicone treated eyeglass tissues can damage coated surfaces.) Loosely wad the tissues and wipe in a circular motion Ė again, from the outside in toward the center. Breathing on the lens first with an open mouth, will deposit a little moisture, just enough to help with the cleaning process.
     

  • If stubborn stains or deposits still remain, sue on or two drops of lens cleaning fluid. Never put the fluid directly on the lens. Put it on a clean wadded tissue and wipe gently in circular strokes as before. Then pick up any excess with another clean wadded tissue.
     

Lens pen use for cleaning

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