In fact, I’ve let some of them get pretty dirty at times, though I always clean them before paid jobs.
My reluctance to keep my lenses in perfect shape has mostly been the result of laziness. That’s all changed, now that I’ve picked up a Nikon 7072 Lens Pen.
This is literally the best $9 I’ve spent all year! Now I know there are even cheaper lens pen systems out there, but I’m only going to write about the one I’m using.
I threw a fit about a month ago after the special-purpose microfiber lens-cleaning cloth I bought left dust and cloth particles all over the front element of my Fuji X100. I thought microfiber was supposed to be the sh*t – could it have been fake?
Who knows, and who cares, because I’m in love with this lens pen thingie.
It works like this:
The pen has two ends to it. One has a very fine, soft brush, and the other has this soft, circular disc. You use the brush to wipe away dust and other solid particles, and then you use the disc side to do the final cleaning of smudges and other marks. Note that it won’t remove scratches.
I tested the lens pen on my Fuji X100 and it worked perfectly – in literally 30 seconds, the front element looked like it was just taken out of the box. This was a huge relief to me, because I was worried that I had scratched the lens.
I then used the lens pen on my Canon lenses – the 100mm macro, the 28mm f/1.8, and the 50mm f/1.8. I got the same results as with my X100 – all of the lenses now look pretty-much brand new. The front elements of the 100 and 28, which I bought used, both look better now than when I purchased them.
Obviously, I can’t recommend the Nikon lens pen strongly enough.
Just a word of caution – keep it in a clean, safe place, because it’s very important to keep the cleaning elements free of dirt and dust and other crap.
I’d especially recommend one if you ever sell any of your lenses, because I’ve found that buyers obsess over the condition of the front element. In these cases, the lens pen can actually make you some money because you can ask for a higher price.