Lenses are expensive pieces of equipment. One scratch and you can more or less write off the lens. The key elements of caring for your lens revolve around damage prevention.
As well as scratches, dust is a problem for lenses. Although to the naked eye a lens may look to be a perfectly sealed unit, a lens has to be able to let air in and out. As it can let air in and out, it can also let dust in.
Cheaper, consumer level lenses need greater care than the more robust professional grade lenses. Consumer lenses lack the weather seals found on professional lenses. This makes it easier for small particles and moisture to find their way into a lens. Professional lenses still need care as repairs or write off are that much more expensive than with a cheaper lens.
Smaller particles are not a big issue. In fact every lens is likely to have some dust inside it, even if it is nearly new. That doesn't mean you don't have to take care and protect your lens from dust as any significant build up can be a problem.
Another reason for protecting your lens against dust is that the dust can contain fungus spores. If these get inside and mix with even a small amount of moisture fungus can start to grow. This is a far more serious problem that a spot or two of dust.
When you are not using your lens it is a good idea to store it out of any extreme temperatures in an environment that is free of dust and dirt. Some lenses come in padded cases. This is the ideal place to keep your lens when it is not in use. If your lens did not come with a padded case these are available to buy.
A camera bag is a must for transporting your expensive lenses and Digital SLRs. These come with an element of padding to protect your equipment. A good bag will also come with some form of protection from wet weather.
A backpack type bag is made up of compartments that you can swap around by moving the Velcro attached dividers. This way you can create individual pockets that are a good fit for each piece of equipment.
Keeping your bag clean is also good practice and it can pay to vacuum your bag now and again.
Leading bag manufacturers include Lowepro, Billingham and Crumpler.
Water damage can be fatal, not just for your lens, but for your Digital SLR as well. You can buy a rain cover to envelop your equipment and keep rain at bay. Alternative you can consider making your own rain cover out of plastic bags. If you do take this route make sure you have all angles covered and your system is completely waterproof.
In addition to rainy conditions it can be a good idea to consider using some form of protection if you are shooting in grimy or sandy conditions.
Every time you change a lens you run the risk of getting dirt and dust into the workings of the lens. Take great care when changing the lens over. Perform the task as quickly as possible. Ensure any lens caps are replaced immediately. Whenever possible, change over lenses in a dust free environment.
Camera Lens Introduction
Buying Your First Lens
Camera Lens Types
Camera Lens Brands
Buying Second Hand Lenses
Digital SLR Crop Factor
Caring For Your Camera Lens
Common Lens Faults
Camera Lens FAQs
A skylight filter is a relatively cheap investment to protect a camera lens. A skylight filter can reduce unwanted UV rays and give your photos a warmer look in addition to protecting your lens. You will need to ensure that any filter you buy is the right size for the filter ring of your lens.
Just like a skylight filter a lens hood offers the benefit of improving the way your photos look while also protecting your lens from impact damage.
If you own consumer level lenses without weather seals moisture can be an issue. This problem is worse if you live or use your lens in an area with high humidity.
As well as in humid conditions, moisture can develop inside a lens if you have been using the lens in low temperatures. If you transfer the lens into somewhere warm any moisture inside the lens can condense into water droplets. Therefore it is best to keep lenses inside a camera bag so that they can gradually acclimatise to room temperature.
Packets of Silica Gel are usually supplied with a lens. Keep hold of them and store them along with your lens in a case.
If you notice fungus growing inside your lens quick action is required. The lens will require professional cleaning. If fungus is left to grow it can etch itself into the lens surface and cause permanent damage.
Look out for any misting, water spots or hazing inside the lens. Any white spots may be early signs of fungus. If you see any of these problems or fungus itself take or send your lens for repair.
Equally important is to check any lenses that have been stored near a lens with a fungus problem. It is easy for fungus to spread from one lens to another. This is one good reason to check all your lenses on a regular basis.
You need a clean lens in order to capture the best quality images. A cleaning kit includes a micro fibre cloth, a soft brush and a cleaning spray that can be used on coated lenses. In addition you can consider a blower to remove any dust and dirt before cleaning and perhaps a lens cleaning pen. A lens cleaning pen combines a soft brush and a cleaning solution. Make sure any cloth is stored away between uses and is kept free from lint.
It is a good idea to set aside time to clean your lens on a regular basis.