Camera lenses, like every material possession, will definitely wear over time. However, there are ways to ensure you get the most out of your investment – because that is what they are. Keeping an eye out for some problems that you could face with regular use of your camera lens and cleaning it regularly using the tips in this article will ensure the longevity of your equipment.
Problems to look out for
Much like a car, regular servicing of your gear can help prolong the life, so make sure to check your gear often to make sure everything is working properly. Here are some of the problems to look out for:
- Wiggle: With use over time, a lens mount can become looser, and this causes a slight wiggle in the lens when mounting it. As long as it isn’t an excessive amount of wiggle it should be fine. However, constant wiggling can sometimes lead to bad connections, which will require servicing.
- Sand or water: There is no such thing as a weatherproof lens, and most camera stores are hesitant (if not completely avoidant) of repairing any lens that has been weather damaged. Electronics and moving parts are the most affected by these elements.
- Zoom jams: If your lens is jamming in the process of zooming, the problem would lie with the internal pieces within the lens. It will get worse if left over time, and it is important to service this as early as possible.
- Loose screws: If you happen to see screws coming loose on your lens, chances are the screws within the lens are coming loose too, and loose screws are what generally lead to zoom jams.
- Connection errors: Sometimes, you might receive an error message from your camera, and this is because the camera isn’t communicating with the lens – fixed by re-seating the lens. Other errors can come in card errors and battery errors.
Cleaning your lens
These are a few tips to keep in mind when cleaning your lens:
- Use proper cleaning equipment: Wiping off imperfections with improper materials can result in scratches, as a result of granules of sand and dirt, which can also get trapped around the edges of your lens. Use a rubber air-blower and or a soft-haired brush to blow or brush the grit to the edge of the lens, and then shake the lens to get rid of the remaining dust and grit.
- Use cotton buds: In saying that, you don’t need fancy equipment at all times either, and keeping cotton buds handy can be extremely valuable – especially when trying to clean the tight to get to spots.
- Use cleaning fluid, but sparingly: Lens cleaning fluid is useful in removing stubborn smudges, but using it too much or too often can result in streaks and scratches across the glass.
- Use a clean and dry camera bag: This is a method of ensuring your lens stays clean even before you use it. A lens cap covering the lens surface is important, a clean camera bag ensures there’s not risk of dirt accessing the lens.
- Use a filter: Using filters will help prevent the lens from getting dirty in the first place, and it protects your lens from scratches and UV light, while reducing the amount of actual lens cleaning that needs doing.