3 Lens Essentials You Should Have

Here's a couple of things I highly recommend you should already have with your lenses. The day you purchase your new camera lens, the store will always suggest you buy it with at least a basic UV Filter. I'm not going to argue about the price and quality of the stuff they are pushing, but it's a very important thing to have. A basic UV filter isn't anything special that will dramatically change your images, but it will protect your front element from dirt, oil, dust, and most importantly scratches.

If you get a single scratch or mark on your lens, you're throwing good money out the door. Let the filter take the hit, and just replace the filter. If you walked away from the store without one, you need to at least throw something on there, and you'll find many for under a few dollars.

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find-price-button Camera Video Lens UV FIlter

Next item to care for your lenses is a pouch or a sleeve. Even some high end Canon L lenses don't come with decent lens pouches, just a gray bag and a pull strap. Regardless, you need something, anything. Not only will it protect from scratches, moisture (throw in a silica gel bag into the pouch), but also dust. Dust finds it way into 'everything'. Neoprene pouches (same as surfing wet suit material) can be had for as little as $3 dollars.

Lens Pouches
find-price-button Photo Video Camera Lens Pouches

Another inexpensive item you can grab for a single dollar or two - The Lens Pen Brush. Most of us don't have room for Compressed Air Cans. Those Liquid Bottles and Cleaning cloths are mainly used to clean up oil, but aren't the best for dusting off your lens. In fact, you should 'Dust before you Wipe'. Dust can sometimes be very abrasive and taking a cloth to it could be damaging.

If you see a few specs of dust on your filter, or in between the filter and your front lens element, don't reach for it with your finger. Don't try to swipe it with your T-Shirts (laundry softners have wax). Simply pull out your lens pen, push out the brush bristles, give it a good shake and then lightly dust away those tiny particles. You can brag about your thousand dollar cameras, lenses, and big budget shoots, but a spec of dust on your lens has the potential of ruining everything.

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find-price-button Lens Brush Dusting Pen

These lens pen brushes are so cheap, I purchased a dozen. I keep them everywhere. I'll use them to dust my laptop screens, keyboards, camera lenses, filters, and more. Small yet incredibly useful. There's a long list of things you should have as well, but these three very inexpensive items should give you a good start on maintaining your investment in lenses.

13 thoughts on “3 Lens Essentials You Should Have

  1. What do you recommend for cleaning the sensor? I've been testing my GH1 with FD Canon lenses since yesterday, and dust crept in in no time.

  2. I've ordered Hoya Pro 1 clear filters with each lens I've purchased. When the lens and filter arrive, I install the filter and haven't had occasion to remove any except for the few times when they've been damaged. Better the filter than the front element! The damage has occurred during a shoot, so the lens would've been out of operation when I'm being paid to use it.

    Regarding pouches, I LOVE the Think Tank Photo Skin Component System. Various size/shape belt pouches beautifully designed - each with an accessory pocket and a rain cover plus "silence-able" velcro covers.

  3. UV filters and the lens pen are great. I'm a location scout and I'm always running around in different and crazy situations getting pictures... Maybe you don't need a filter when you're in a studio with one model or a product but out running around...worth it.
    I already own one lens pen but I jsut purchased two more. Why not? One in the camera bag... another in the pelican case... and a third in the car (just to be on the safe side).

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Randy - A hood will cut down lens flares, with or without a filter on. Normally you'll have an ND or CPL over the lens outdoors. Yes even those will reduce sharpness a tad.

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @SkunkWorks - Nope. And a tip if any type of filter is hard to remove, use a Jar lid opener.

  6. Randy

    I've had the same problem with UV filters -- crappy lens flares and loss of sharpness -- so I don't use one either. I did, however, just buy the lens pen you linked to. Hopefully, they're decent quality. I don't want to damage my lens using a pen. But I've seen a lot of videos on using these pens rather than a bulb blower and lens cloth like I've been using. Thanks for the suggestions.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Fugazi Dave - Anything over the stock lens is going to add something, no doubt. Common sense should always be practiced, but depending on your enviornment a filter can be a life saver. I'm goign to compare it to riding a motorcycle without a helmet. We can all practice safe driving, but accidents are called accidents.. I've had my share of bent filters..

  8. Fugazi Dave

    The best function of a UV filter, outside of actual hazardous environments where there are things like salt spray flying around, is to widen a retailer's profit margin. Use a proper, rigid, dedicated lens hood. Lose the UV filter. You will be better off. Period. Use common sense and a proper hood to keep your lens protected. Keep it capped when not in use. Don't mess up your image quality and waste your money with a "protective" filter you don't really need.

  9. spaceflows

    I'd have to agree with SkunkWorks on the UV filter take. Although I would cry if I scratched one of my precious lenses, what makes them so precious are the amazing images they take. I also noticed a difference in sharpness with UV filters so I go bare!

    I'm a big fan of Lowepro lens cases. Very sturdy and snug in a couple of different sizes and widths.

    As for the Lens Pen... Wow! Thanks for this recommendation! A very cool and essential device that is now a part of my tool kit. I'm not a big fan of the ebay option, though. Silly wait on delivery times and too often the items are knock-offs. I like the Amazon Prime route. 2 day free delivery, plus zillions of reviews to help guide my purchase.

  10. SkunkWorks

    I bought a bunch of cheap 3 dollar rubber lens hoods off ebay to protect my lenses from accidental hits. I was going to put UV filters on them but changed my mind for 2 reasons... I looked at sharpness comparisons of stuff shot with and without them and wasn't impressed with what I saw, even with supposed good brand name ones. But the biggest deterrent was a few horror stories I came across of a UV filter taking a hit and scratching the lens when its glass shatters.

    A quick and dirty lens pouch... velvet Crown Royal bags... they come on every bottle of the stuff in varying sizes depending on what size bottle you've bought. In fact, if anyone has any laying around I'd like to grab a few more... I don't drink much so probably won't be buying the booze to get the free bag ;)The new black ones look cool.

    I wouldn't even keep some of the filters I own if I didn't have a Lens Pen... it's the absolute only thing that will clean some of them (I buy the original legit ones).

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