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202 of 219 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2013
Often, something appearing trendy and cool can fool us. This is especially true when a respected company like Nikon puts its name on a product. After you review our test procedures and results, you can decide for yourself whether NLP-1 LensPen is worth the money (and the potential risk to lens surfaces), despite the majority of pundits that have praised this device.

If you've read this bio from another review, please skip it, no sense in boring you twice....For the record...My background after leaving the Military, as a photo wet lab instructor, with "several" hours of photo reconnaissance in the Far East, included a 20 year paid affiliation with a respected optical use and applications laboratory of a Fortune 50 Corporation. I am "retired" in Florida with a home grown photo testing lab and a reseller of Canon Gear.

Although, they've been around for a few years, I recently purchased 6 genuine Lens Pens and 50 "genuine" counterfeits to run some performance tests and comparisons. The "fakes" are covered in a separate review.

The ads for the genuine Lens Pen were always intriguing; a compact, 4 1/2" pen sized cleaning device, fits in your pocket, good for cleaning all lenses, filters, eyepieces, and according to their website, lasts long enough "to remove 500 fingerprints". Wow! All this from an "uncapped" retractable 1" by ½" synthetic bristle brush at one end, and a tiny screw capped ½" chamois pad, impregnated with carbon black, perched on a ½" flexible rubber platform at the other end.

My first skepticism started with the brush. Retractable yes, but fully protected, no. Why no protective cap to cover the brush tips? The tips of the bristles, the most critical part of the brush, were left exposed inside the tube. The uncapped tips not only can pick up dirt, dust and lint in a shirt pocket or a camera bag (also mentioned by other reviewers), they do! In my opinion, this is a careless design, for a $6-8 item so highly touted.

Secondly, the size of the ½" in diameter chamois "pad" (2/3rds the size of a dime) to clean common (D)SLR lenses having an average diameter of between 52mm and 77mm (2-3inches), (That's 4-6 X larger surface area than the pad itself), seemed to defy the laws of physics. Further, we are instructed by the LensPen Web Site NEVER to clean the pad with any cleaning solution, or even distilled water to remove the trapped soils collected from previous lens cleanings, allowing any soil residues to remain permanently on the tiny chamois pad or on the 1/2" X 7/16" foam plug the chamois pad rests against inside the tube.

The LensPen's method of claimed "cleaning replenishment" comes from screwing the cleaning head back into the cap, which nests against a ½"x 7/16" foam "plug" lightly impregnated with carbon black. Just about now, I began to lose my objectivity. All I could think of was how this procedure reminded me of, after finishing a meal, having to put the dirty silverware back into the clean silverware drawer, and even worse, taking these same dirty utensils the next day and reusing them. Nevertheless, I decided to finish the evaluation to see just how many of my fingerprints could be removed, before the pad "quit" and started to streak. The LensPen ads and Web Site claim this device will last through 500 cleanings or long enough to remove "500" of their "laboratory generated fingerprints".

Our test procedure was designed to be practical, and one you can run yourself, as follows:

I rubbed the side of my nose with my forefinger and rubbed the sebum (skin oil) on to a 52mm filter, covering an area the diameter of my forefinger, approximately 10/16".

The first attempt at removing this fingerprint with the Nikon LensPen NLP-1 went FLAWLESSLY...100% AS ADVERTISED, and done in under 10 seconds!

The pad was then placed fully into its cap for carbon black "replenishment", and the above procedure, repeated.. This time, however, the second fingerprint removal took almost twice as long, as some smearing was evident. However, after about twenty seconds, the lens was again sparkling clean, even under 60x magnification.

For the third time, the pad was once again placed fully into its cap for carbon black "replenishment", and the above procedure, repeated.
This time, however, the filter surface never got clean. The filter surface remained, streaked and smudged, even after 3 more attempts to renew the pad by screwing the cap into the foam plug with the carbon black refresher.

Conclusion....None yet!
To be fair, we need to rerun the test using a different new Lens Pen, which BTW is the "new design" and genuine.
The test was repeated with the new Lens Pen NLP-1. Results: exactly the same outcome, as the first. After the second wiping of the skin oil fingerprint, the Lens Pen could not clean streak free the third time.
Finally, we let the pens "rest" for a day, and the next day, tried each one on a totally clean 52mm filter, without any soil to be removed. I rubbed the first pen lightly on the clean filter, and as you probably guessed, the pad left a streaked residue from the retained oils from the lenses "cleaned", the day before..... same results with the second pen on the second clean filter.

Conclusion:
1. A bad batch of pens used for these tests?.. Not very likely this time, as this test was repeated a total of 6 times using 3 different vendor sources of NLP-1 LensPens.

2. The more likely conclusion is that the tiny Lens Pen cleaning pad could not absorb all the oil, and as a result, redeposited the unabsorbed oil right back on to the clean filter surface. My real concern, and perhaps yours as well, after this observation, was what if it wasn't just oil being re-deposited, but instead, retained micro grit from its previous use that could not only scratch the lens coating, but also scratch the lens itself?

3. In our test repetitions, the Lens Pen lasted through only TWO successive applications removing "real" fingerprints from skin oil, significantly underperforming the claim of "500" stated both in the LensPen ads and on the LensPen Web Site. However, on a relatively clean lens surface, or one with "laboratory generated finger prints", a new Lens Pen does a great job with no streaks. For that matter, under most circumstances, so will our breath and a clean split microfiber lens cloth or lens tissue.

Summary: For a lens surface that "really" needs cleaning, the classic, but less cool and safer method, in our view, still prevails...Begin by blowing, and or BRUSHING FIRST with a clean, natural hair lens brush (100% goat hair), followed by a "boringly effective" disposable lens wipe, made by Zeiss or Nikon, or a clean brand name micro fiber cloth and a lens cleaner, made by Zeiss, Nikon, ROR or Kodak. It may not be trendy, but will always do the job thoroughly and safely. And, if you are one of those that faithfully cleans their micro fiber cloth after each use, you need never worry about redepositing residues from lenses cleaned previously with that same cloth, a claim that the newest NLP-1 model LensPen cannot match, as evidenced in the tests detailed above....Steve

Copyright © Canon_Treasures 2013 all rights reserved
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107 of 119 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon June 16, 2012
This is one of the most essential lens-cleaning tools a photographer can have. There are several reasons why I choose these pens over any other type of lens cleaning:

- This is very portable
- The new design has a screw-on cap
- There is NO way to scratch your glass with the brush
- The carbon tip does an excellent job at cleaning

Traditional microfiber cloths are good, however if you don't brush off the minute foreign particles on the lens first even a light cleaning can leave micro-abrasions/cleaning marks! I trust the LensPen not just for my Canon L glass, but also for vintage manual focus lenses, some of which are rare and quite valuable.

I am very pleased with the new screw-on cap design - my last LensPen cap had several close calls hooked on the inside of my pocket, including on a hike that would have meant that I never got it back. The push-up design of the brush hasn't changed, seeing as it has always been excellent!

RECOMMENDATIONS:
If you have ever gotten anything on your lens that seems impossible to clean (pollen, little kid sticky fingerprints etc), I would highly suggest the following cleaning routine:

1) Using the brush, remove all particles from the front element as best you can.
2) Spray some Purosol All Natural Lens Cleaner on the included microfiber cloth, and wipe off until clean
3) Finally, gently use the carbon tip to finish up, gently making sure there are no streaks (unlikely with this spray)
4) Be amazed by the cleanliness of your lens!

I know that cleaning solutions aren't required with the LensPen (having its own carbon compound), however for certain contaminants you really do need something liquid to get things moving. 90% of the time, you won't need to, but I find the above method to work every time.

IMPORTANT:
1) Make sure you use the brush side FIRST. If you use the carbon tip first you run the risk of grinding dirt into your glass. This is how lenses get micro-abrasions which can actually affect image quality by wearing on the front coating, and will definitely affect the value of your lenses. Once you have used the brush side, you are free to clean it with the carbon pad.

2) Believe it or not, this pen is faked rather often...I have even come across one or two while traveling. Make sure that there is a LensPen holographic seal of authenticity somewhere on your packaging! I would NOT recommend using one that doesn't have this hologram, who knows what quality control the imitations do or do not have! If in doubt, send it back! To avoid this possibility, buy directly from Amazon or a seller with high feedback whenever possible!

OVERALL
This never leaves my gear bag/pocket while I am shooting. People tend to over-clean their lenses leading to deterioration of coatings, but I love that I can at least use the brush as often as I want to get rid of the bigger particles, using the carbon pad or the method described above only when I accidentally get a fingerprint on the glass. This is indispensable, and HIGHLY recommended!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
I've been using the original LensPen to clean my Nikon lenses from day one. They work a charm for sure. The only thing about the older ones is that they don't seem to last very long. LensPen claims that the new design should extend the life of the carbon based filament inside the cap, so I guess I'll find out!

I love the new design because it takes the guessing out of whether or not one is getting the right amount of carbon on to the tip, since the cap is now a screw on one, and thus facilitates the entire process.

If there's one thing I'd like to see them improve upon, it would be having a tether for the cap. If you lose it, that's it, product done. Otherwise, Love it.

Doug
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2012
Lenspen NLP-1 is ok. It does help clean your lens of small dust particles but with the brush portion had a cap piece or something. I have to keep mine is a zip lock bag to keep it dust free. You can not keep it in your shirt pocket as the brush end will attract you shirt pocket lint and when you use it your lens will get dirty.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2013
LensPen package says "Safe for cleaning all optical lenses, including multicoated surfaces".
LensPen produced a very large number of very fine scratches on brand new eyeglasses--with hard AR coated lenses--when LensPen was used according to package directions--perhaps 10 times.
I am extremely disappointed in this product--this product, in my opinion, is grossly defective. Since it scratches brand-new scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses, it will probably scratch other lenses as well, in my opinion.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2012
This is a good compact lens cleaner. The item is only 11cm (approximately four and a half inches) when closed. The brush is fine and soft, while the cleaner end is good for fingerprints and smudges. Both the brush and cleaner tip are small enough for use on compact cameras (such as a Canon Powershot). The manufacturer claims that the cleaner tip will remain good for 500 uses; I'm not so certain but I guess I'll see how it goes.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I've owned LensPens before, and not the cheaper knock-off, I mean the official product is usually only $0.50 more on Amazon. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that a new version had come out and my pen arrived exactly as pictured. I'm a bit on the fence but overall I think the improvement is a good one. The cap that covers the carbon cleaning service is now a screw off cap instead of the old "pop" cap version. On the one hand it's now a bit harder to open (can't use your teeth while juggling lenses), but on the other I usually carry the lenspen in my pocket so I'm glad that the cap will finally be staying on the entire day with me. Great product though I always worry in the back of my mind if I'm cleaning too frequently and that the carbon in the tip is wearing down some coating on my nice L glass.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2013
I bought 6 of these for an 8 month road trip hoping to only go through a couple of them during 8 months of shooting. In the past I've used the Lens Pens without the screw on caps. Those worked great but the caps would often fall off, the tip would dry out and the Lens Pen would be dead.

The new model with the screw on cap seemed like it would be the perfect "upgrade" to prevent the tips from drying out. When brand new and for about 8-10 uses, the tips are great and they clean lenses and filters amazingly well. It seems, however that the new Lens Pens with the screw on caps do not permit the tip to be screwed down far enough into the lens pen to touch the sponge or whatever is in the cap to keep it in good shape for more than about 10 uses.

When I breath on the lens or filter first (sometimes necessary if the lens or filter is really dirty) and then use these Lens Pens, that seems to make the tip dry out even faster. If the tips would stay in good shape longer, this would easily be a 5-star product but since they dry out so fast, its only a 2 or three star product since you'll have to keep buying them over and over if you shoot much.

For now I carry a bunch of these in the car and a bunch of wipes too. Unless it is really hot out when I use the wipes, they leave streaks on the lens or filter which then have to be removed with the Lens Pen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2015
Just received my Lenspen in the mail and when I removed the cap for the foam end the foam piece was loose in the cap...not attached to the pen??? Is this normal? Should I simply glue it back on or should this be returned?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2013
I purchased this because my wife's point and shoot has a wicked fingerprint on the lens. I've researched a bunch of solutions and this one seems to be recommended the most.

I really don't see the appeal, though. The tip is this big fat, hard, black circle...completely inappropriate for a small lens like that. And it's rigid. This means it doesn't make good contact with the lens. The other side is a real soft brush. It retracts but doesn't have a cap. Strange. I guess the brush side is fine. But the hard side is completely inappropriate for cleaning a lens. It's much too hard and shaped very poorly. There's a an amazon branded version of this that also has a pointy tip. Maybe that would work a little better.

But I think the theory of these is just wrong. They aren't soft and are not particularly good at lifting grease or dirt. And they definitely can't get into the crevices around the edge of the lens. I tried for a while with this and didn't made any noticeable progress on the finger print. Then I went and got a Q-tip and rubbed it a little. The Q tip was much more effective. Wet the Q-tip if there's something water soluble on the lens. Put a dab of rubbing alcohol on it if there's heavy grease. Voila. Why pay for a lens pen that is markedly inferior in every respect to solutions that you already have in your home?
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