How to Keep Your Camera Lenses Working Like the Day You Bought Them

Fact: your lenses are often more important than your camera. What’s more, the condition of your lenses will really matter when it comes to image results. With today’s high-resolution cameras, the slightest imperfections can be picked up easily. Spotting lens and sensor dust is pretty simple. But all that dust can affect how your camera and lens perform. We’re going to teach you how to care for your lens, like the ones from Tamron, to keep them operating just like the day you got them.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored blog post by Tamron. Here at The Phoblographer, we’ve done the most independent, non-sponsored lens reviews in real-world settings. And Tamron has consistently been a top choice for us when it comes to build quality meeting the price. We hope this info is useful to you.

The Lens Contacts

First and foremost, it’s always important to check the lens contacts. Over time, debris tends to get into the crevice between the lens and the camera. Luckily, Tamron’s moisture and dust-resistant lenses are exceptional at keeping the elements at bay. Trust us, we’ve done the tests. For ease of nomenclature, we’re just going to call it weather sealing within this article. You really want and need weather sealing in your lenses. Without it, all the debris can get in and mess with the lens contacts. More grit and grime on the lens contacts means that the communication between the body and camera isn’t as efficient. 

Think of it like an air conditioner’s filter. When your AC is brand new, it runs really smoothly. But after a while, it picks up a lot of dirt and dust. So you need to clean or change the filter. In the case of weather-resistant lenses like those from Tamron, you don’t have a filter, you just need to keep the contacts as clean as possible.

Even if you don’t shoot outdoors often, environmental dust just builds up. A simple, clean pencil eraser can work, as can Isopropyl alcohol. We’ll discuss this more later.

The Lens Elements and Glass

Tamron’s weather-sealed lenses are built really well. So in most situations, you’ll only need to worry about the front element. The front can get pretty dirty before needing to be cleaned unless you’re stopped down heavily. But the back element is the closest to the camera sensor and dust there can more easily show up in your images. Keeping the glass clean means that your photos will always have the best quality. This is especially the case with modern, high-resolution image sensors. So keeping the rear element clean is good practice.

In most situations, we recommend not using your shirt to wipe off anything that gets on your Tamron lens. 

Isopropyl Alcohol and Other Solutions 

“Here at HQ, we use Methanol Alcohol which cleans great and dries quickly unlike Isopropyl which may leave streaks or spots.  I personally would rather see the photographer use Windex instead of Isopropyl Alcohol. Make sure they don’t spray the lens, but rather spray into a cleaning tissue like Kimwipes.” – Pat Simonetti, Director of Operations, Tamron USA.

Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean and maintain your lens if you don’t have access to other chemicals. At Tamron, the techs all use a combination of Methanol alcohol, Windex, and rarely used Acetone. (It is highly recommended to wear protective glasses when using any chemical.)

For cleaning the lens contacts on your Tamron lens, use a cotton swab, lens cloth, or makeup swab. Apply a bit of isopropyl alcohol and rub the contacts carefully. Shake off any excess alcohol and then reattach the lens to the camera. 

Lens Cleaning Wipes

There are lens cleaning wipes on the market, too. Kimwipes are a good brand. Some folks don’t go for these and instead opt for cleaning their lens off with their shirt (not recommended). Wipes are much better.  Some come pre-moistened and have an alcohol solution that helps. Don’t ever attempt to clean the elements dry. 

Hand Powered Air Blowers

The last thing to always use are air blowers. We’re not talking about compressed air but rather the little air blowers that you have to pump using your hand. These are gentle enough to get most debris off of a lens. If you’re stopping your lenses down and shooting a landscape, always have one of these around to eliminate the dust and all that the glass can pick up.

Get Weather-Resistant Lenses

These Tamron lenses have weather resistance:

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.