How to Fix a Scratched Camera Lens

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Updated November 9, 2022

If you are new to the fast-paced world of high-end photography, you may wonder how to fix a scratched camera lens. After all, many of the best digital cameras are DSLR models, and the lenses within these cameras are susceptible to scratches. So why learn about lens repair with the best DSLR cameras, and what exactly are your repair options? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Using a scratched camera lens impacts the image on your viewfinder and, ultimately, the image sent to the digital sensor.
  • Purchase and use a dedicated lens repair kit to fix a lens scratch, but read the instructions first. Also, clean the lens with a clean microfiber cloth or clean cotton cloth.
  • DIY options for minor scratches include using toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, a cotton bud, vaseline, lens cleaning solution, a pencil eraser, and more.

Why Learn How to Fix a Scratched Camera Lens

Learning how to fix a scratched lens is just as important as learning how to reset a DSLR camera. The lens is the light’s first stop in your camera if you are learning the definition of a lens adapter. The lens directs light to the mirrors, prisms, and, ultimately, the image sensor, which is important when learning how to set up a DSLR camera. This is true even when using a DSLR for video.

Insider Tip

There are plenty of DIY options here, but how well they work depends entirely on the severity of the scratch.

Fixing a Scratched DSLR Camera Lens

Each lens is unique, and each scratch differs in severity. Here are some things worth trying when your lens gets scratched.

Use a Repair Kit

The easiest way to fix a lens is by purchasing and using a dedicated lens repair kit. These kits vary in price and which cameras they work with. Do your research when purchasing one of these kits, and make sure to read the directions ahead of time, as they include a number of components.

Use Toothpaste

Wait, toothpaste? It’s true. Toothpaste is a natural astringent, making it quite handy for buffing out scratches. Slightly dampen a clean cotton swab and add a tiny bit of toothpaste. Rub the lens gently in concentric circles from the middle out. Keep rubbing until the scratch is buffed away. It helps to clean your lens before attempting this trick.

STAT: There is no major difference in principle between a lens used for a still camera, a video camera, a telescope, a microscope, or other apparatus, but the details of design and construction are different. (source)

Try a Pencil Eraser

Another decent DIY option is to use a standard pencil eraser. This old-school trick has been serving shutterbugs for over a century. Make sure it is a new eraser on the softer side. Clean the lens ahead of time with a dry microfiber cloth and then gently rub the eraser with the scratch, following the contours. Repeat this several times until the scratch buffs out.

Rubbing Alcohol

This is a decent option, but rubbing alcohol can damage lenses, so exercise caution. Clean the lens ahead of time, apply a bit of alcohol to a cotton swab, and rub slowly, starting at the center in circles.

Scratched Lenses FAQs

Do scratches affect image quality?

Not necessary, but major scratches significantly impact the process by which you take photos. The image you see on the viewfinder will differ from the final product, so clean that lens with a piece of banana, a lens blower, or a lens brush, or clean the lens with vaseline.

Do camera lens scratches matter?

They matter in that they impact the image you preview before snapping the photo, as the lens directs light to the viewfinder. Also, repairing a scratch can damage the lens coating, leading to further issues.

How do I fix phone camera lens scratches?

This is a similar process, but the above tips only work for minor scratches, and going too far can damage a layer of lens coating. Try a dedicated repair kit, windscreen polishing products, or a dedicated screen polisher. When all else fails, visit the repair shop.
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