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I have had several versions of this device, made by different manufacturer's. They are all much the same, and all easy to lose :-) This is the original lenspen. As such it has the carbon cleaning agent in the cap. Every time you put the cap back on, it renews the carbon compound, ready for next time. So the routine is, extend the brush, and use it to remove any dust particles, or grit, from your lens. Retract the brush, and remove the cap, then use the specially shaped cleaning tip to actually polish the lens. All this works very well indeed, it makes short work of a greasy thumbprint, or watermarks left by raindrops etc. The build quality is adequate, similar to the competition. That's ok, you will lose it before it breaks. The only point of likely damage is the cleaning tip, and that is covered up most of the time. This item is highly recommended. It's a nicer shape that the competition, and you can be sure that it contains the special carbon compound (some copies don't apparently). A must have accessory.
This is a new revamped version of the original pen and I think it’s a lot better now. I like the end that removes fingerprints with the soft lens shaped pad. It love the brush end that can retract into the pen, this brush is great at getting rid of dust. It has an replenishment cap that says it guarantees longer life so time will tell. I must say the quality is excellent and it feel good to hold and it just the right size to fit in your pocket or camera bag.
After looking at a few reviews I ended up buying this Classic Lenspen. I wasn't disappointed. The bristles are nice and soft with enough weight to distribute those stubborn bits of dust. The pen side clears oily prints and marks quickly and efficiently, leaving a crystal clear finish. Build quality is a little rough, but at £9.99 it's acceptable and I don't feel the pen will fail beyond its life cycle. If it lasts 6 months it's still a bargain.
It's small and light enough to pop into a camera bag for travel without even noticing.
This is my first original Lenspen, after owning an Amazon Basics clone for a few years (which was modelled on the old Lenspen), so that's the only comparison I can make.
The twist cap is something sorely lacking on my clone (and I believe the old Lenspen too). If I put my old non-twisty one in my bag the cap would easily come off on its own. This new pen obviously doesn't have that problem. The twist cap also makes sure you never forget to coat the pad with carbon.
The carbon compound works and works well. My old clone had little to no carbon in the cap that I remember, so I guess that after a while I was just wiping smudges over and over with a bare pad. With this new pen it only takes 1 or 2 firm wipes to clean a lens surface.
When retracted the brush tip is open to the elements like my old clone, but that's not really an issue for me (I keep a clean camera bag). It does shed the odd bristle now and then like my clone (especially fresh out of the packaging) but again, not really an issue for me. It would only matter if I was using the brush on my camera's CCD sensor, and that's just silly. Prior to first time use just give the brush some attention with a few good flicks to work away the loosest of hairs.
My old clone had a reversible tip with a second smaller, triangular pad (meant for cleaning small elements like compact zoom camera lenses or viewfinders). While this 2-in-1 solution was a good idea in theory, in reality the reversible tip unit (like the cap) didn't have a twist-to-close feature and would work its way off the main pen in my bag, often with the cap still attached.
Other reviewers have already commented on best practices so I don't need to go into detail as to how to use this, but generally to clean a lens surface my flow would be as such:
1) Air blower - Blow away any big particles which may scratch the surface. 2) Lenspen - Brush away particles that blowing didn't remove. Wipe smudges, fingerprints etc., with the pad. 3) Microfibre cloth - wipe away any carbon that may be left, or blow it away with a blower (optional).
Looks-wise I prefer the plain old straight style over these new cola bottle curves and gold printed rings which make it look less like a camera accessory and more like a cosmetics item. Lenspen's website URL is printed on the barrel, but it was so poorly printed and embarrassingly tacky (Times New Roman-esque in faded silver? Hideous.) that I gave it some attention with a cotton bud and paint remover. The printing in general is really sloppy. Of course it doesn't affect the performance of the product, but it does cheapen its looks a little (imagine your favourite supercar with pink flames hand-painted down the side... *shudder*).
Overall it's a fine product, does what it was designed for and is something that I should have purchased a long time ago.
The first time I removed the cap to use the lens cleaner pad, a small black pad fell out of the cap and on to the floor. This pad is meant to provide carbon to clean lenses. It didn't look professionally manufactured. Without putting the cap back on, and in the way described in the advertising video, I tried to use the cleaning pad on the pen to clean the lens on a pair of glasses. It did not work. Apart from the fact that it fell apart and did not work, there are several inconsistencies with the markings on the body and packaging. I suspect that this item is a counterfeit. This is the first time I have ever returned anything to Amazon. At the same time I purchased a Lenspen blower this was as described and I believe it to be a genuine Lenspen product
I am new to cameras and wanted something which I knew for sure would not damage my lens. This seems to get the worst of the smears off the lens, but when I hold it to the light I can still see that the lens still has streaks on it, in spite of using the carbon tip about 6 times in the manner everyone says to use it. I guess like one reviewer says, it's no replacement for liquid cleaner. I guess I will get some of that and leave this pen for travel emergencies. I didn't have a real problem with the black grit (carbon) since it just dusts off with the brush. BUT I did have a problem with some brush bristles falling out (and no, I did not use this roughly!) and one of them slid inside the zoom of my camera. I can only hope it won't cause problems...
This is the first lens cleaning pen I have tried and it works pretty well. Other reviewers have commented on the mediocre quality feel and the fact that you can retract the brush but there is no cap to protect it completely. A bigger issue for me is that the cleaning pad leaves a residue behind. I only noticed this when I held a filter I had cleaned up to a halogen light and the residue was quite prominent. The solution is to finish off the cleaning process with a good micro fibre cloth, which removes the residue completely. I have found that the combination of pen and cloth gives me excellent results.
I've always avoided cleaning lenses for fear I scratch them or smear them and make them worse! And as I don't use filters, it got to a point where I couldn't leave it any longer - visible spots and dirt were starting to show through.
After researching it, I thought that the liquid and cloth method looked messy, so settled on this. All my lenses are like new now...and I can't quite figure out how it works haha! Incidentally, I'm using this on L lenses...not cheap glass.
I bought this as a replacement to my older, equivalent Lenspen as I figured the old one would start to lose it's cleaning ability a bit and I didn't want to take any chances - besides, these things are cheap and work very well in conjunction with a blower to clean 'in the field'. I like the screw cap end cap compared to the interference fit cap on the old Lenspen. It makes it less likely to pop off in the bag for the cleaning head to be damaged potentially scratching your lens (how about that for pessimistic photographer's paranoia!)
Use a lenspen with both my compact and DSLR cameras and it is my go to lens cleaner. Compact and lightweight it's an essential in my camera bag. I do with there was a cap for the brush end. Although the brush is retractable, without a cap I don't feel there is sufficient protection from dust getting onto the brush.