Cleaning and filters

edited March 2016 Posted in » Canon T3i Forum
Hi, I wish I had found your site earlier. I bought my camera, did a quick course, and even after taking notes was not really any wiser on how to use it; so thank you for this. Your cheat sheets combined with the manual has given me confidence in getting out there again. We are in Australia and have traveled a lot around our beautiful and diverse country. Although I have some great photos there been more than I'm not happy with. So silly question, but what is the best way to clean my lenses? Also what do filters do? I have a Polaroid filter that I keep on the 55mm lens. I've been told filters don't really do much apart from the Polaroid type, but they are a good idea to protect the lens. Do you have any suggestions on this? The round flashes that can be placed in front of the lens, are they any good and what is the difference between them and others? Thanks.


  • For myself I usually use a "lens pen" for routine cleaning and dusting off. It has a cleaning tip on one end and a brush on the other. You can keep most migrating dust off just by giving the lens a brushing from time to time. For serious stuff, I've never found anything better than liquid lens cleaner and lens tissue. Make sure it's real lens tissue, not regular tissue, which leaves residue and is not guaranteed not to have foreign particles in it.

    Don't be too fanatical about this. A little dust or dirt on a front element will not be seen by the camera. At some point it becomes a problem, and adds to the possibility of flare and poor contrast, but you don't have to worry every time a speck lands on it.

    For filters, the polarizer does a job that post processing cannot, as it actually can eliminate glare and change color balance. The other filters have little use - digital sensors have their own filters and UV, haze and the like are redundant. Color balancing filters are no longer needed with white balance adjustment in camera. Adding a filter can add a layer of flare and reflection to a lens, and while it's often not noticeable, it does little good. Protection is minimal. I would not bother with other filters except in severe conditions such as blowing sand and salt water, where it can make sense to have a sacrificial layer. I always keep a cheap UV filter around for windy days on the beach when there is a real danger of accidentally sandblasting the lens.

    Ring flashes can provide very even light, and can be especially useful in close up and macro work, where you need direct illumination and the regular on camera flash is shaded by the lens. For some other use you may find them less appropriate. A flash at or near the axis of the lens will tend to look harsh for portraits, and will emphasize red-eye.

  • edited March 2016
    Thank you very much, great info.
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