What Is a LensPen? Why Every Photographer Should Own One

If you’ve never tried cleaning a camera lens with a LensPen, we’ve got news for you: you’re missing out. It’s a handy tool that you can carry around and ensure your lenses stay squeaky clean at all times.

But what exactly is a LensPen? Are they worth the hype? Here, we’ll discuss how you can use a LensPen and why every photographer needs one in their camera kit.

What Is a LensPen?

Image Credit: Endogen

On its surface, the LensPen doesn’t look like much. Popping off the cap reveals a mysterious circular cleaning pad, but it’s not made of microfiber or anything similar.

The humble LensPen’s claim to fame: an “invisible” carbon compound pad, designed and formulated to capture dirt and fingerprint oil on the surface of any glass lens element. This non-liquid cleaning agent ensures a streak-free finish with each swipe.

Allegedly, the inventors of the LensPen attribute this innovation to their grandmothers. They remember watching these women clean windows and mirrors with carbon-printed newspapers. The rest is history.

The LensPen design is also largely credited with its commercial success—a protective cap prevents the carbon tip from becoming damaged or dirty between uses. They even include a little extendable brush for dust that pops out of the other side on command.


LensPens are 100 percent safe for long-term use on every type of lens, from your janky Canon kit lens all the way up to your cherished and costly collection of Zeiss Super Speeds. Filters, screens, and viewfinders are also fair game. LensPen has officially won the battle of the smudge.

How to Use a LensPen

A brief disclaimer: You should never use a LensPen on wet surfaces or any gear made of plastic, as they’re designed specifically for cleaning glass. Otherwise, you may ruin the carbon pad or reduce its potency greatly.

If you need to clean your camera’s sensor, LensPen recommends choosing its SensorKlear II LensPen. It’s complete with an articulating head to prevent damaging the camera’s sensor in the process.

For everybody else, using a LensPen will be extremely straightforward. LensPen recommends using the built-in brush first to remove large pieces of debris before getting down to business in order to avoid scratching the lens; one errant particle, and you’re digging right into the glass’s surface.

To release the brush:

  1. Use the brush retractor to extend the brush.
  2. Brush the surface of the lens or filter gently.

Next, we have the fun part. Remove the LensPen cap and get ready for the obsession to commence:

  1. Working concentrically from the center of the lens, wipe the surface of the glass in smooth, circular motions.
  2. Assess for any smudges that remain.
  3. If still marred, breathe gently on the glass and repeat.

It’s a simple process, but we can attest personally to the fact that it is deeply satisfying. In less than two minutes, your camera gear looks as good as new. They’re even able to reduce the electrostatic charge of the glass surface, preventing it from attracting more dust through static cling alone. LensPens not only get your lens cleaner—they keep them cleaner, too.

How Does Carbon Absorb Oil?

Image Credit: Endogen

According to the LensPen website, the carbon pads utilized by the brand are created specifically to target finger oil. However, carbon’s place in the oil-water separation industry goes deeper than camera maintenance.

For example, carbon makes a great agent to employ against things like large-scale oil spills. It boasts a high surface area, large pore volume, low density, and is extremely stable to boot. This inert and highly selective powerhouse is also eco-friendly, unlike the other chemical agents and detergents that would likely otherwise be utilized.

It’s a fascinating concept—activated carbon aerogels, nanotubes, sponges, coatings, and nanoparticles can all be used to draw out organic waste from land, water, and anywhere else that a given disaster can reach.

The same principle applies equally to the LensPen in your pocket. They get right down to the glass of the lens, filter, or display, trapping oil within the pores of the monolayer of the activated carbon pad. Thanks, science—another job well done.

Different Types of LensPen

All the biggest names in the camera industry trust the LensPen: Nikon, Canon, and Kodak are all ardent advocates of LensPen technology, but they’re not alone, as you’re about to see.

LensPens are extremely useful, but, more importantly, they’re affordable for every type of photographer. The original LensPen will run you around thirteen bucks when you buy directly from the source. But there are a ton of LensPen alternatives explicitly designed for other, non-photography tasks:

  • LensPen Peeps are two LensPen pads attached to what is essentially a giant pair of tweezers; it’s built to clean eyeglasses and is probably one of the most widely-applicable LensPen products for ordinary people.
  • The LensPen AR/VR invites LensPen technology into the world of virtual reality—smart glasses, AR and VR goggles, and even your Oculus Quest are all about to experience the finest in luxury maintenance.
  • The LensPen FilterKlear was built to clean filters specifically with a flat carbon pad; the DigiKlear line of LensPens offers the same for on-board displays of every possible variety and features a triangular carbon tip to really get into those hard-to-clean corners.
  • MicroPro LensPens bring the heat in miniature form, perfect for teeny, tiny optical surfaces and any nook or cranny too cramped for your adult-sized LensPen.
  • LensPen for Drones makes caring for and maintaining your drone camera system a downright pleasure.
  • The LensPen MiniPro for Law Enforcement is geared toward forensic work equipment, such as goggles, binoculars, scopes, and dash cams.
  • The SensorKlear Loupe Kit is NASA’s LensPen offering of choice—it’s a LensPen bundle kit that includes the SensorKlear Loupe for particle detection and the SensorKlear II LensPen. Both are gentle enough to be used on delicate astrophotography camera sensors; you can also clean your own camera’s sensor using these LensPen tools.
  • You’ll even find RangeKlear for Golf on the company site; it’s the perfect gift for any avid golfer, keeping their rangefinder clear, clean, and ready to tee off.

The online LensPen catalog makes one thing abundantly clear: there truly is a LensPen for every occasion. No matter what you need to clean, the entire LensPen family of products guarantees a quality cleaning session, one that will never leave you desperate for clarity.

Use a LensPen for the Cleanest Lens of Your Life

LensPens occupy a very special place in our hearts; once you give one a shot, we can’t help but think that you’ll feel the same. They’re smart, useful, and most importantly, environment-friendly.

LensPens make proper camera maintenance easy and convenient—never find yourself messing around with a microfiber cloth that just isn’t getting the job done again. Thank us later.

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