Review: The LensPen
Photo by Alex.W. Click the photo to check out Alex. W's photos on Flickr.
*There are basically three options to clean your lens when you’re out and about:
- Wet cleaning with a lens solution and lens paper
- Dry cleaning with a micro fiber cloth.
- The LensPEN . It’s almost a cross between the first two methods.
The The LensPen (or Lens Pen ) is a microfiber disk with a dry cleaning agent at the end of a compact “pen”. There’s more dry cleaning agent in the cap of the pen. When the microfiber disk gets dirty, you can refresh it by putting the cap on the pen, and giving it a twist. That cleans the disk, and primes it with more dry cleaning agent.
The other end of the LensPEN has a retractable brush to whisk away grit before you use the microfiber side. It’s important to use the brush end first to get rid of any sand or grit that might harm your lens. You should use a brush to flick off dirt and dust before using any cleaning method, otherwise you run the risk of scratching a sharp bit of grit across your lens.
Why I recommend the LensPEN
Using a microfiber cloth and easy, but it can leave behind smudges – especially if the cloth isn’t 100% clean. Using a lens fluid and lens paper (the wet cleaning method) does a more thorough job. But, it’s messy, and hard to do when you’re out and about. While your lens is wet, especially in a dusty place, it may pick up even more dust.
The LensPEN is the best of both worlds. Like the microfiber cloth, it’s easy to use and super compact. And the LensPEN is a dry cleaning method like the microfiber cloth, so you won’t have to worry about the mess or hassle of using the wet cleaning method. Best of all, it works almost as well as lens fluid and papers. With just a few seconds of effort, you’re left with a squeaky clean camera lens.
How To Use The LensPEN
- Blow on the end of your lens with a Bulb Blower, or your breath. Try not to spit, and never use canned air. That will remove large pieces of grit that could scratch your lens before you rub it with anything.
- Use the retractable brush to quickly remove any remaining grit.
- Now gently rub the microfiber disk over your lens in small circles and watch the magic happen.
I’ve had a LensPEN for
8 months for years and I’ve used it a zillion times. I’m fairly certain that a friend of mind even swiped the first one I had, b/c it did such a great job on her lens. I’ve recommended it to everybody. I even wrote an article for Digital-Photography-School.com that mentions it as a must have photography accessory.
I even use it on my glasses, and sunglasses. The Lens Pen b/c it’s safe for any kind of lens. I’m even thinking about giving them to people for holidays since almost everyone I know has a pair of sunglasses that could use some TLC.
It really does work that well.
I’ve only read a few complaints about the LensPEN . Apparently one reviewer didn’t read the instructions on the package. They complained that after using it for a wet cleaning the microfiber disk started to fall off.The package says not to use the pen with any liquids other than the condensation from your breath. This seems to fall under ‘user error’ rather than a defect of the product. They also ranted that there was no way to clean the disk, so they would have to purchase a new lens pen once a week. Again, it says right on the box that the pen is cleaned with a half twist of the pen cap.
Another complaint is that the dry cleaning agent is a black powder. If you rub the LensPen on a white piece of paper you can clearly see that powder. I can understand how this could seem freaky. A lot of people think the LensPen could actually make their lenses dirtier or worse, scratc them.
But here’s the thing: my lenses aren’t made of paper. They’re highly polished smooth surfaces and I doubt the dry cleaning agent clings to my lenses like it would to paper. LensPen says the same thing, but with more authority. I’ve never seen any black residue on my glass after using the lens pen. Really, I’ve never noticed anything but improvement in image quality after using the Lens Pen. I would be really surprised if Nikon and LensPen (both companies that manufacture a Lens Pen product) were selling a product for lenses, that ruined lenses.
They only cost about $10 US. If you follow any one of the LensPEN links in this article, you can buy one through Amazon for even less. (Plus, if you use one of these links to purchase a LensPen, Amazon will pay me a little something to help me keep this website going).
The Bottom Line
I love my LensPens and I use them for every lens I own, including my glasses. It’s easy, compact, and convenient. A LensPen and a Rocket Blower is all you need to keep your camera lenses spick and span while you’re out and about.
While this article does contain affiliate links, I actually wrote this post long before I added any affiliate links. While I might be able to make a few bucks by recommending the LensPen now, I would (and did!) say the exact same thing for free.
Have you used the LensPen or another lens cleaning product? Let me know what you think in the comments.