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What are Lens Pens & Blowers? Filmmaking Tutorial

Lens Pen:

Lens Blower:

Shot on Canon C100

Keeping your equipment clean and maintained is a good thing, and sometimes you need extra tools to do so.

If you think that your shirt is the ideal way to clean your lens, then we've got some rehab to put you through, because there's no excuse for that when there are stoopid cheap proper ways to clean that glass. Keep in mind, once you ruin glass, there's no fixing it, it's done, either buy a new one or spend a bucketload to repair it. So let's listen up on the proper tools for cleaning your glass.

The most basic thing is a lens cloth. They work, they cost less than a happy meal, and they should be in every camera bag. They work pretty well, and can be enhanced with some spray solutions or even just a hot breath on the lens to moisten it up. They are however, a minor risk, see because they may not be able to scratch a lens themselves, but if you get a single bit of sand under it when you start a rubbin', then you can easy get a nice big deep scratch on your lens. There are two ways to avoid this, and you should use both. The first is to clean the cloth, it can be washed usually, and just before use you should shake it out vigorously to ensure nothing is stuck to it. The other method is to ensure no hard particles are on the lens, and that brings us to the blower.

Blowers, rockets, airguns, leafblowers, whatever. They are a squeeze bottle for blasting air. You might be asking why you can't just use your mouth. Well that's simple, and it has nothing to do with how hard you can blow.... it's about you spitting on your lens. No matter how good you think you are, you're spitting on your lens, or at the very least blowing moisture onto it. And that's not the same as before when i said to give a hot breath on the lens. So go and spend the few gallons of gas equivalent to get a proper blower. How to use it? Considering they don't usually come with instructions, you can figure it out on your own. .... OK fine... you hold it up to the lens, and you squeeze. You don't do a stabbing motion, you don't to a waltz, you just hold it steady and squeeze repeatedly to remove loose particles.

But that's not the end. See there is a major culprit, and it's your fingers. Your fingers have oils, and oils can be a pain to remove. But not if you have a lens pen. A lens pen costs all of $10 and has a microfiber tip, but more importantly, that tip has carbon all over it. Remember how people say that newspaper is the best to wash windows with? That's because carbon absorbs oils. Lens pens have extra carbon packed into their caps so that you can just give it a twist and get rid of more fingerprints. They also have a brush to get off particles which are blower resistant. How to use the pen? The brush should never be stabbed at the lens, bristles should be lightly feathered across the lens. The microfiber tip should be used in circular motions.

The one other thing you can buy is lens paper, which also works well and is used just like the lens cloth. That's all there really is to say about that.

I should mention that while having clean class is a good thing, it's important not to become too obsessive over it. Dust particles are usually far too small to show up on camera, especially when shooting wider open apertures. Don't worry about dust inside the lens, it's not worth taking apart your lens, that's a B-A-D idea.

Added on 2013-04-06 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
Related Equipment
Canon C100
by Canon
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