Back in the day, lens cleaning was a front and center concern, with everyone discussing their preferred methods and products. I had a blower brush, tissues, and fluid as part of my kit.

But now, nobody talks about it, and not only do I not need to clean lenses on a regular basis but I don't recall when I needed to clean them at all!

Where did all the dust go? Are newer lenses coated to repel dust rather than attract it like they used to? Is the air cleaner?

I'd especially like to hear from anyone using both vintage and new lenses on a regular basis, who would be in a position to notice a difference.

  • 1
    At least part of it must have to do with the fact that dust can typically be very easily managed via simple post production techniques now(or even in camera software). Many people still obsess over cleaning their sensor of dust and of course many products still exist. Cleaning lenses still is a popular pastime and certainly has not ceased to exist, although I'd imagine your guess around lens coatings has at least some impact here.
    – dpollitt
    Dec 31, 2014 at 2:10
  • 2
    I'm not sure your experience is typical when you say, "Nobody talks about (dust)". A search on this site brings up 744 results for "dust".
    – Michael C
    Dec 31, 2014 at 3:19
  • 1
    See also Roger Cicala's post regarding lens dust. His customers seem obsessed with it to the point he and his staff disassemble and clean lenses just to satisfy his customers expectations even thought the dust they remove has pretty much Zero effect on the optical image quality produced. lensrentals.com/blog/2013/05/a-few-easy-lens-dustings
    – Michael C
    Dec 31, 2014 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


It's the coatings. These are chemical compounds applied to glass surfaces — lenses, or the filter covering camera sensors. Modern lens coatings repel dust better than before, and because of this, when dust is apparent on the front of the lens or on the sensor, a quick puff with a blower usually removes it.

Additionally, in the early days of DSLRs, sensor dust was a huge problem, but now, almost all cameras have some sort of integrated system to shake it off, and it's not something I've thought about for a long time.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.