The Dirty Lens

A regular or even daily problem I encounter when taking pictures or even when buying and/or selling lenses, but possibly also something you regularly encounter or have doubts about.
Dirt on or in your lens!
Do I have to clean my lens regularly if there is dust on the front glass?
Do I need a cleaning kit to get that fingerprint off my lens?
My lens has a scratch on the front lens, oh no !
Dust got in my lens, it’s worthless now.

No, no, no and again no.

I regularly buy and sell lenses, but if someone notices dust somewhere, for them the lens is damaged or even unusable for many.

Have you ever taken a picture in the zoo through a fence – and I mean, pushing your camera lens against the wire and then take a picture, no ?
Well, with the smallest possible (F2.8, 3.5…) aperture taken, there is little left of that 3mm thick wire.
What do you think a micron sized dust will do in your lens?

Dust, unless a real dust nest,
scratches, even several,
a slightly deeper scratch,
It all has no effect or at least not noticeable with the naked eye on the final result.

Mold – that’s something else, although in the initial phase this is just like everything else – no effect or not visible.
However, mold doesn’t always stay the same, it can expand, become denser, and that thicker haze may affect the result.

Now, for who is not convinced yet, I searched and found an article by someone who sacrificed his lens for this, the article was written a few years ago, and the author has started a new website – but for now you can still read the article and especially watch it.

We learned from this that all those little imperfections and minor damage won’t have any negative effect on your photographic results – even stronger …
You can take this to your advantage,
If you want to buy a used lens, and it happens to have some of these imperfections, you can save quite a bit on the normal retail price.

The “Dirty lens article” on

From 2016, the site is no longer being maintained, but for the time be

The new site : Photo Jottings

All about Sony and Minolta cameras, film camera reviews, lens reviews, vintage cameras and much more.

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu" :-) My Photography software : Linux Kubuntu 22.04 LTS, RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. My camera Gear in 2022: Olympus E-M1 Mark II & Mark III for bird, wildlife, architecture and landscape photography. Olympus E-M5 MKII for lightweight and travel photography. Olympus E-M1 silver edition for Vintage lenses . Olympus E-M10 MKIII and an E-PL Seven for fun. For realy rough adventures an Olympus TG-3 ! Development on an old 17" Dell Studio 1749, Core i5 - 8Ram - and 3TB Well, I guess it's all about rough and tough !

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