Getting Started With Basic Lens Maintenance

Getting Started With Basic Lens Maintenance - Mastin Labs

Basic lens maintenance is something every photographer should know about. Your lens is actually the most important part of your camera. Learning what it means to get your camera lens serviced as well as best practices for caring for your lens at home will ensure the longevity of your lens and keep it functioning optimally for years to come.

Why Do I Need to Maintain My Camera Lens?

First and foremost, you must maintain your camera lens by treating it with care. This means treating it gently and storing it properly. If you notice smudges or fingerprints on your lens, you should remove them carefully. The quality of your work depends on it! 

The camera lens directs light, and while this sounds simple it’s important to note that this is in essence how you capture any image. The lens is the part of your camera that ensures proper light, focus, and exposure. When the lens is dirty, the images are disrupted.

top view of a camera lens that needs maintenance


How Often Should I Service or Clean My Camera Lens?

Yes, the lens is the most important piece of your equipment, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be cleaned every time you use it. In fact, the generally accepted rule for lenses is to not clean them unless you have to. Cleaning a lens frequently or improperly can wear down its protective layer and cause damage.

Get your lens cleaned if you notice:

  • Spots on your images that change or disappear when you change lenses.
  • Exaggerated lens flares
  • White, hazy spots (grease on the front element)
  • Dark smudges (dust on the rear element)

How Can I Do My Own Basic Lens Maintenance? 

Remember that your lens does not need to be cleaned regularly. If you clean your lens often, this can actually compromise it. You should only be cleaning your lens if it really needs it, for instance if it’s really smudged or dirty. 

Under those circumstances you can do some lens cleaning on your own. Here are the steps:

  1. Remove any debris from the lens with a soft-bristled brush or a blower.
  2. Apply a few drops of lens cleaning solution to a lens tissue or cleaning cloth. Remove any smudges or fingerprints with a gentle circular motion, moving outward.

The best thing you can do outside of cleaning your lens as needed is simply to handle it with care. Transport the lens (and body) of your camera in a bag, and treat it like the delicate piece of equipment that it is. 

If you notice issues with the zoom or focusing function of a lens, this is a sign of more serious problems that cannot be solved with a simple cleaning and must be fixed by a professional.

camera lenses displayed on a tabletop for home maintenance


What Happens When My Lenses are Professionally Serviced?

Shops that offer camera service usually offer lens maintenance as well. If you notice scratches, blurriness, or any changes in your lens capabilities or image quality, it may be because your lens is damaged. We encourage you to send your lens to a specialist to be serviced.

A complete lens cleaning may include checking and/or cleaning the following:

  • External lens optics and lens body
  • Lens barrel and mount
  • Lens operation
  • Camera/lens performance and communication
  • Aperture function
  • Firmware

Basic Lens Maintenance For Lens Longevity

Your lens is the most important part of your camera, so be sure that you are caring for it properly. That means handing it with care, cleaning your lens only when necessary, and getting it serviced by a specialist when needed. This will ensure that your lens lasts a long time and will continue to produce quality photos. 

Looking for more camera maintenance tips? Check these out!