I was trying to take an artsy picture the other day with our DSLR camera and I just could not get the lens to focus on what I wanted it to. And I was sure, as per usual, it was operator error.
But then I took a closer look at the lens and saw this.
That’s condensation you see there inside the lens. My first thought was “gross”, but my second thought was “hallelujah” … because that meant the whole focusing thing might not be my fault
for a change.
And then, of course, I thought, “we can just clean it, right?”. I would hate to this an otherwise perfectly good lens was garbage because of a little condensation.
So we did a little googling, and some serious considering about taking the lens apart to try to clean it and potentially ruining it beyond repair. The lens is this one from Canon, so it’s not what I would consider an inexpensive lens. It is about 10 years old I would guess, but all of the other features still function perfectly other than the condensation issue.
And, that one little issue really was rendering the lens useless. It was inconsistent when focusing and just frustrating to try to get a quick shot of anything.
So, we decided it was worth it to give lens cleaning a try.
Conclusion = Basically useless lens before we took it apart and worst case scenario would be that we completely ruined it during the cleaning process … meaning we weren’t really losing anything. Worth the risk.
And, I’m happy to report IT WORKED! Don’t you love it when that happens.
So, here is how to extend the life of your camera lens by cleaning it from the inside out.
Supplies you will need:
- lens (ok, captain obvious)
- a pointy tool … we used the drill bit, I would recommend a toothpick
- masking/painter’s tape
- small screwdriver … think the size that work for eyeglasses
- lens cleaning wipes/cloth
- lens cleaning solution
- lens cleaning blower/brush thingy
- q-tips optional
Step 1 – Use your pointy tool to remove the sticker ring that is attached to your lens, it usually has your lens specifications listed on it.
Step 2 – Use masking or painter’s tape to mark how the lens glass is lined up with the lens body.
Step 3 – Remove the 3 small screws and lens glass.
To remove the lens glass we just placed a book over the top of the lens once the screws had been removed and flipped the whole thing over. We had to lightly pound the lens onto the book a couple of times to before the lens glass actually came out.
Then we covered the now exposed innards of the lens with another small book to prevent any dust from finding its way inside.
Note: Throughout the process the other end of the lens, the one that you attach to the camera, is covered by the screw on cap that comes with the lens.
Step 4 – The lens cleaning.
We just used lens cleaning solution and lens cleaning tissue paper wipes. You could use q-tips or a lens cleaning cloth if you prefer. We also used the lens cleaning blower/brush thingy to blow/brush off any loose debris.
Step 5 – Reassemble.
After the lens glass is thoroughly cleaned on the inside, carefully line up your tape pieces, set the lens glass back in the lens body and screw in the 3 small screws.
Step 6 – One more spritz and wipe of the outside of the lens before replacing the ring sticker with the lens details.
And we just used the tip of the screw driver to nudge the sticker ring right back into place … being careful, of course, to not touch the screw driver tip to the actual lens glass. And yes, again, I am the master of the obvious.
And there you have it …
And I’ll just remind you to definitely just do this at your risk. We are not experts and have no formal training in how to take apart your very expensive camera lens to remove a little gunk. We just happened to do it ourselves with great results. Phew.
Happy lens cleaning!
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