Lens Cleaning and Media Supplies for the Videographer

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If you are looking for the perfect camera or lens to get for that special videographer in your life, that is a tall order. But accessories, now—accessories make the camera package. However, camera accessory purchase decisions can be difficult to make for someone else, but don’t worry—for anyone who owns gear, there is always maintenance. Owning camera gear invariably leads to needing accessories to get the most out of your kit, and maintaining the kit requires expendables.

Lens Cleaning

For an overview of great cleaning supplies for lenses, check out the Lens & Lens Cleaning Supplies category on our e-commerce site.

Huff, and Puff, and Blow Your Lens Clean

Before touching the lens elements, you always want to make sure they are as free as possible from dirt contamination. If there is any dust on the front of your lens, cleaning may just scratch the coatings. Any kind of grit may cause scratches. So always blow dust off your lenses’ elements before applying a lens tissue or cloth. I like an air syringe for this, and try to avoid compressed air, because you risk having the propellant shoot from the can, and this can damage optical surfaces. It’s fine for non-optical surfaces (and don’t shake the can when spraying). Check out our lens blowers and compressed air here.

Expendable, Because Your Lens is Not

Lens tissues: use once and dispose of them. Choices vary from dry to pre-moistened but, whichever you choose, make sure they are safe for multi-coated optics. In the dry lens tissue category, I’m partial to Tiffen, which are easy to carry in a pouch, but you might want to store them in a zip-lock bag to keep them clean. Kimwipes, which were originally for made use in laboratories, have been co-opted by the film industry. Sensei Lens Cleaning Tissue comes in its own envelope, which can help keep the sheets clean. It is available in packs of 50 or 100, making this brand an attractive option.

Tiffen Lens Cleaning Paper
Tiffen Lens Cleaning Paper

Dry or Wet

Dry lens tissue can be used as-is, just roll into a cylinder and tear, exposing soft fibers for grabbing dirt and dust from the front of your lens elements. Or you can use lens tissue in combination with lens-cleaning fluid. Apply a drop or two to the tissue—not on the glass, and gently swab in a circular motion from center out. Be careful not to let excessive fluid pool at the edge—you don’t want to risk the fluid getting inside of the lens, so use lens fluid sparingly. I’ve used Pancro Lens Fluid before, a long time ago, when it was a lot harder to find outside of California. We have numerous options on our site, far too many to list, so I will just list lens-cleaning fluids from ZEISS, Tiffen, Schneider, Purosol, and Field Optics Research. The lens-cleaning fluids make excellent grab-bag gifts, as well.

Pancro Professional Lens Cleaner
Pancro Professional Lens Cleaner

More Durable Cleaning Supplies

Microfiber lens cloths are fabulous, and they can be put in the wash and reused, which is nice, but remember you are using that lens cloth to clean the front of your oh-so-expensive lens. So maybe don’t wash it with the pants you wore to dig in the garden last week. A search on our site for microfiber lens cloths will yield a plethora of options. Be sure to check out this Spudz Microfiber Cloth, if you want a B&H-branded gift. I find cloths that have a storage pouch are handy, but I usually prefer a plastic pocket or other closeable container for my lens cloths.

Spudz Microfiber Cleaning Cloth with B&H Logo
Spudz Microfiber Cleaning Cloth with B&H Logo

Self-contained, pen-shaped cleaning devices with built-in brush and cleaning surface are an option, but I like to treat these as mostly disposable—over time they will accumulate dirt and oil, and there just isn’t a good way to clean them. So, they’re nice little items to carry around, but get a 5-pack (orl a 3-pack, anyway). An excellent resource for lens care and cleaning techniques is this article by Mary Latvis.

Something new to me since joining the digital world is cleaning your sensor. In the old days, when motion picture film cameras roamed the earth as the dominant species, the rules were straightforward: never blow into your camera’s lens port; never use a metal implement of any kind near the port or gate area; nose grease is a relic of the 1960s and before, so with cameras made after the 1970s, do not use it (B&H Photo does not sell nose grease). The rules are similar now, of course: No nose grease ever; don’t blow air into the gate; and no metal implements near your sensor. But what if your sensor gets dirty? What to do then? Some cameras have sensor-cleaning protocols that will vibrate the sensor to remove particles. That is usually fine but, recently, I had some dust on my GH5’s sensor and no matter how many cycles of sensor cleaning I initiated in the camera, the dust wouldn’t move. I did manage to finally dislodge it, but when I returned home from the shoot I immediately searched for and ordered the VisibleDust EZ Sensor Cleaning Kit. I’d recommend checking out all the sensor-cleaning supplies that we sell to find what will work best for you.

VisibleDust EZ Sensor Cleaning Kit Mini with 1.0x Green Vswabs and Sensor Clean
VisibleDust EZ Sensor Cleaning Kit Mini with 1.0x Green Vswabs and Sensor Clean

Media Cases

Your videographer is going to need media, and right now the dominant media is the SD card. Something they will always need is a way to carry their media, and a perfect gift is always going to be a media card case. Don’t worry about having too many card cases—you can’t. There will always be a reason to have more. I prefer hard-sided cases to soft ones. This Pelican SD/Micro SD case and this Ruggard are my go-to cases.

Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case for 12 SD, 6 miniSD, and 6 microSD Cards
Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case for 12 SD, 6 miniSD, and 6 microSD Cards

It's the Little Things

These may seem like small, unimportant items, but they are not. Plus, you are not going to make the puzzled face of someone who receives a weird gift. You might even get a hug or two out of giving a few of these no-brainer gifts to the videographer in your life. Do you have a favorite lens-cleaning technique? Please share it with us in the Comments section, below.

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