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Guide to Lens Cleaning Pens and Brushes

written by: Ryan C.•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 2/24/2010

In this article, we cover what a lens cleaning pen is and how to use one. If you have a camera and/or lenses, you need one, find out why!

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    One of the easiest ways to take clearer sharper pictures is to maintain your current gear. This means having a dust (and hopefully scratch) free lens. A tiny bit of dust on the lens may not be noticeable but buildup can lead to blurry images or random artifacts in the middle of your photos. Some of these distractions can be corrected in post processing, but it is easiest to clean the lens and have it ready to go for all you shots.

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    Why You Need One

    We live in a dusty world. You need one because every time you remove one of the lens caps (front or back) dust is bound to fall on the glass on slowly deteriorate image quality. One end is great for quickly sweeping dust off your lens and the other end is useful in detailing the lens and removing stubborn oils or spots.

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    How to Use the Lens Pen

    First, use a lens pen only on lenses. Do not attempt to use this on your CCD or CMOS camera sensor. It is too harsh and can permanently damage your camera’s sensor. You should avoid placing anything inside your camera to clean the sensor unless you absolutely know what you are doing.

    Lens Pen Brush As previously stated, the lens pen has two ends. The first is the retractable brush, which comes out with by sliding the switch on the side of the pen. Use the brush to gently brush dust away from the center of the lens. There is no need to press hard as you are only lightly sweeping away the larger particles that could scratch the lens.Lens Pen 

    The other end is the special Lens Pen cleaning pad. It has a special cleaning compound that promises not to spill or dry out. It is also “self replenishing” by replacing the cap and giving the cap a half twist. I’m not sure how the mechanism inside or the compound works but I can say it can take off some stubborn residues and oils on the lens (including fingerprints). The correct way to use the Lens Pen is to remove the cap and use smooth circular wipes on the lens surface. If smudges persist, use your breath on the lens surface and repeat the cleaning with the Lens Pen.

    Photos by: .dr4gon

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    Nikon Lens Pen Cleaning System (7072)

    Lens Pen Lens Cleaning System

    As far as I can tell, they are the same product. I have the Nikon version and it specifically says that it incorporates the patented self-replenishing LENS PEN tip.