Many of us who own cameras will know a little about keeping our camera lens clean. Traditional tools include the use of air blower, lens tissue, and micro-fibre cloth. Another option to consider is the Lenspen lens cleaner. It’s been around for several years, and many photographers should already know about it. But if you’re a casual point-and-shoot photographer, perhaps this review might be interesting to you.
The Lenspen MiniPro is shaped like a pen, and it even has a clip you can clip onto your pocket. There are two cleaning parts. On one end, there is a retractable soft cleaning brush. The real magic is on the other end, under a screw tip cover, which contains a flexible chamois tip. This is the part that is supposed to wipe off fingerprints, smudges, and other oily marks.
The deal with that chamois tip is that it uses a proprietary carbon based cleaning compound to clean the lens. It is non-liquid, so there is nothing to dry out or spill. How does this compound work?
The explanation goes like this. How do you clean windows? In the past, people would have used old newspaper. It’s surprisingly effective, and it doesn’t leave streaks and smudges of its own when as it cleans. The secret apparently has got to do with the carbon in the newspaper print, which has unique abilities to absorb large amounts of oils and contaminants.
The carbon on the chamois tip is recharged every time you close or open the cap. On this Lenspen MiniPro, the carbon recharge is good for 500 uses.
Does this tip really work? Will it damage the lens? Well, I’m glad to share that the Lenspen works really well. I was skeptical too, initially, and I was quite apprehensive when I first started to test it.
The chamois tip is soft and flexible. So you should not have much to worry about it damaging your lens anymore than a lens cleaning cloth could. Since this tip is usually kept under a cap, there is less risk of other dirt or grime getting caught on it and subsequently pose a threat to your lens.
Fingerprints and other smudges are really easily cleaned off the lens with the Lenspen MiniPro. You should remember the proper cleaning sequence:
- First, use an air blower to blow dirt and other foreign particles off the lens surface. It is important to make sure this is done, otherwise the subsequent steps could cause these particles to get rubbed against the lens surface and scratching it.
- Extend the cleaning brush from the Lenspen MiniPro, and use the brush to lightly dust away any other particles that did not get blown off in the previous step.
- Open the end with the chamois cleaning tip. Gently place the chamois cleaning tip squarely on the lens surface and clean with a smooth circular motion. If any smudges remain, breathe gently on the lens surface and repeat the cleaning.
Lenspen makes several products in its family of Lens and Filter Cleaner category. Each one is designed for specific target uses.
- The Original Lenspen has a concave cleaning tip, suitable for cleaning DSLR lenses which are usually slightly convex shaped.
- Lenspen MiniPro, reviewed here, has a smaller cleaning tip and flat surface, is suitable for compact cameras which usually have a flat lens and sharp corners.
- Lenspen MicroPro is even smaller than the MiniPro, and it is suitable for the eyepiece of DSLR viewfinders, lens of your camera phone, or other really small lenses.
This is by far the most effective tool I’ve had for cleaning lenses. It’s quite cheap too. But you need to be wary of imitation products that may be of questionable quality. Don’t risk an expensive lens to save a few dollars.
The Lenspen MiniPro is a small price to pay for its amazing lens cleaning capabilities. I’d strongly recommend every photographer carry one in their kit at all times.
- Effective lens cleaning
- Compact, easy to carry and use
- Hardly any “con” that I can think of