We’ve shown you how to clean your lens’s contacts, but what about when you’re out in the field and don’t have the right equipment with you? Well, Magnum Photographer David Alan Harvey has been in the situation many times and can show you with experience exactly what you’re supposed to do. Despite the fact that you should always have a lens cleaning cloth on you (the microfiber kind) sometimes you can’t always get to it.
Instead, Dave recommends reaching for some good ol’ Fruit of the Loom–or flannel. No, we’re serious.
In truth, we did the same thing when I was a working photojournalist and packed tightly shoulder to shoulder with other photographers during hot New York summers. Providing my shirt wasn’t soaking wet from sweat to begin with, it worked well enough providing that there wasn’t any sediment on the lens–otherwise you’re scratching the coating. But if there is already water on it (and lubrication is important) then you should be fine.
Not everyone has the money to be able to buy new cameras every year or two years. And many of us are also quite happy with the cameras that we have. But as cameras get older, there are a couple of tricks that you can do to get the most out of them.
Seriously, go Google, “Cleaning a Lens with Vodka.” You’ll see a mixture of horror stories and mostly good insights. But besides the waste of precious liquid that can otherwise be consumed with some freshly squeezed OJ, there are reports that it can clean your lens. However, we’ve always used Isopropyl Alcohol instead.
To check in on this and clear the myths up, we asked industry experts from nearly every lens and camera manufacturer out there, and most of them got back to us on deadline. Here’s what they had to say.
We recently ran across a very informative blog post on the MeFOTO blog that we thought was very much worth sharing. This post is about cleaning your MeFOTO tripod, and we’ve given our first impressions on one of them a while ago. So without any further delay, here is just that blog post that we are republishing with permission.
Cleaning your MeFOTO is a task that may seem a little daunting at first but we’re here to show you it doesn’t have to be! You should clean your MeFOTO once a year (or more if you’ve been taking it on the beach and around salt water). Whether you have a BackPacker, RoadTrip, or GlobeTrotter, the process will be the same.
In Nikon’s support forums, there is an inquiry about how to clean camera lenses. And apparently, Nikon states that you shouldn’t breathe on the lens because your breath contains harmful acids that could damage the coatings. According to the statement:
“How do I clean the camera lens?
The best way to clean a lens is to use a piece of lint free lens cleaning tissue and a small amount of Lens Cleaning solution. Do not use anything containing abrasives or solvents, only use Lens Cleaning Solution.
First we recommend taking a small blower brush to blow off or brush away loose dust or debris.
Next, place a drop or two of cleaner on the tissue (never directly onto the lens) and then wipe the lens in a circular motion, beginning in the center and working your way outward, removing any marks or smear.
If the above supplies are not available a clean, dry, soft, lint free cloth can be used to clean the lens. Do not breathe on the lens to fog it for cleaning. There are harmful acids in breath that can damage lens coatings. Just use the blower bulb, then brush, and wipe the lens in a circular spiral from the center outward.
The same method can be used to clean the viewfinder eyepiece of Nikon cameras.”
No matter what your photography knowledge level or equipment are, you can take better photos today than you did yesterday without spending a dime. Every one of my suggestions can be applied whether you’ve had professional training or not, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re using a $100 point-and-shoot or an expensive DSLR. Geared primarily towards amateur hobbyists, perhaps those of you with more experience can get some ideas as well. Here are some suggestions that are independent of gear.