As simple as it might look, protecting your lens from dust is a sensible thing.
Why should you protect your lens if your sensor is already protected? Well, because dust can attach to the outside of the lens too. Removing dust from the lens glass, however, is not that simple as it looks compared to sensor cleaning, since I do not recommend using a handkerchief. The lens is threated to reduce potential optical problems while shooting and by using something unaware for cleaning might remove this thin layer. On the other hand, you are in danger of scratching the lens while cleaning and/or while caring the camera around with your lens unprotected. In conclusion, the safest thing to use is a micro filament cleaning cloth that is both scratch and lint free.
This is what comes with your camera when you buy it. Keep your lens cap on when you store your camera in your bag or when you carry it around your neck. Sure, most camera bags now have soft anti-scratch linings but that doesn’t mean that dust or sand can’t get in there and get stuck between your lens glass and the lining (this is a worst case scenario). In case you loose you lens cap, you can buy another one in a photo store. It’s cheap and it can be even better than the original one: it might have a string to keep it attached to the camera body so you won’t loose it or forget it.
55mm lens cap 58mm lens cap 67mm lens cap 77mm lens cap
Lens hoods are bigger and will take up some more space, but, you need them to eliminate lens flare from your photos when you shoot outdoors in daylight. You’ll probably notice though that most pros keep their lens hood on even if they’re shooting indoors. This is because the lens hood can act as a barrier between your glass and everything else around you. Even if people bump into your lens while you’re walking around, you’re assured that your glass is safe. What can be better than a plastic piece with double function (protection, lens flare reduction)?
Another alternative that started to be more and more used among the photographers is the one of UV filer. You can use a UV Filter as another type of protection for your lens that you can just leave on. UV filters are used to filter out ultraviolet light, but this is something that the Earth atmosphere already does pretty good. Therefore, it’s main purpose is for protection because it’s the cheapest type of filter available in the market and it can shield your glass from physical contact. This is specially useful if you’re shooting on the beach where all the sand and salt can “bring pain” to your lens
Tiffen 52mm UV filter Tiffen 58mm UV filter Tiffen 67mm UV filter Tiffen 72mm UV filter
What should I choose?
The size and shape of lens hoods depends on the focal length of the lenses and also depends on what brand of camera you use. You need to find the right one for you. As for the lens caps and UV filters, it’s only the size that varies with the focal length; brand doesn’t matter. I hope this informations are useful. For any kind of doubts, feel free to ask questions.
[tags]lens hood, uv filter, lens cap, lens protection[/tags]