Doing photography often presents unanticipated events.
During a boat trip to Bass Rock, off the coast of Scotland, I found myself photographing Gannets as they plunged into the water during a “chumming.” This is a process where small pieces of fish are thrown into the water to attract the birds. Hundreds of the birds participate in this spectacle. With a wide-angle lens and camera set to record 10 frames per second, it is quite an experience.
An experience that soon found both me an my camera soaking wet!
So, there I sat, in the midst of a photographic opportunity with a lens covered in salt water. And worse, I had absolutely nothing with me to clean the lens!
Upon returning home I made it a priority to acquire the best lens cleaning equipment I could find to take with me on my next photographic adventure.
Coincidentally Carson Optical introduced a line of lens and screen cleaners designed specifically for cameras, iPods, iPads, binoculars, scopes and a variety of other optical products. The new carbon-based cleaning system won’t damage your expensive glass and revolutionizes the way people clean their lenses. There are eight models available, including both disposable and reusable cleaners.
Carson has grown to be a leading supplier of Binoculars, and the largest manufacturer of Magnifiers in the USA. The product line has also grown vertically to encompass a broad range of optical products and accessories. Today, Carson products are sold through a diverse retail network in tens of thousands of locations in the USA and abroad.
Frankly, I must admit to having used a variety of things to clean my very expensive lenses, dumb me.
Most notably is my tee shirt. Yep, pull the shirt out of my pants and wipe the lens surface. The problem with this method is two-fold. First is the chance of scratching the lens surface because my tee-shirt has residuals on it from breakfast. The second is that it is ineffective, and leaves residue on the surface of the lens.
Next is the toilet paper idea. Roll up some toilet paper from the loo and wipe away. Problem is that this method leaves small deposits of paper on the lens and these deposits show up in your high resolution photographs.
So, tell me, why am I using these methods when inexpensive but high quality lens cleaning solutions are available? Why would I want to use my tee-shirt to clean a lens that costs $5,000 or more?
What I like about the Carson lens cleaning system is that it does not utilize alcohol or ammonia. Instead, the cleaning tools use a specially formulated C6 dry-cleaning compound that effectively, quickly and safely cleans screens and lenses. The dry compound bonds with the oils left behind by your skin, then simply wipes away, leaving a sparkling clean screen. Eight models, with varying size and shape cleaning pads, clean everything from binoculars and cameras to iPhones and tablets. All are compact and ergonomically designed for comfortable use, plus there is no messy liquid to damage your electronic devices.
Each of the non-disposable tools includes a brush for clearing away debris from your camera and lens surfaces, the brush is stored in the opposite end of the cleaning tool, making it a very compact system. I utilize the compact lens cleaner for my smaller camera lenses, including my tiny GoPro HD Hero2. I utilize the Jumbo cleaner for my larger telephoto lenses. Another model comes with a built in pen clip that makes it easy to store in a shirt pocket. All three are small enough to fit in any camera bag with ease. In fact, the units virtually take up no room at all!
The disposable units are even smaller and a joy to use. I keep one on my desk to clean my eyeglasses.
Of course, the real question is how well does the system clean a lens? WOW, my lenses have never been as clean. With virtually no effort, no chemicals to damage my cameras or lenses coatings, the system gets rid of all those smudges and stubborn stuff that lenses seem to attract.
Interestingly enough, it was fabulous to use the system to clean my iPad which is always filled with annoying fingerprints that interfere when I am watching the movie Avatar or reading the BBC news. And, I might add, that my iPhone never looked so good, I can actually read the screen for a change.
I also use the system to clean my filters. I have filters that cost as much as a good camera. Now they shine to perfection with absolutely no residue.
Carson also makes a very small microfibre towel that comes in a package that allows one to store the towel when not in use. A convenient clip allows one to attach the towel on one’s jacket or camera bag. We were so impressed with the towels that we may soon sell them at Photo Travel Review.
Lenses are expensive. My collection would cost $15,000 to replace. The last thing I want to do is ruin a lens by scratching its surface or damaging its delicate coating by using harsh chemicals in a cleaning process. Investing in new technology as offered by Carson, at very reasonable costs, seems more than appropriate.
In sum, the Caron lens cleaning system has earned our highest rating of five stars, we highly recommend the system to anyone who does photography. ★★★★★