Can A Camera Lens Degrade Over Time?

So, you just bought a new lens for your camera, or maybe you are thinking about buying one in the near future. And, you might be wondering about how long this lens will last and if it will degrade over time.

If you’ve spent a pretty penny on it, then it’s absolutely normal to think about its lifespan, and whether or not it will be a good investment.

Join me as I take a look at camera lenses and whether or not they degrade over time. I will also give you a few tips on taking good care of your lens to make sure it lasts for many years.

Let’s get started.

Can A Camera Lens Degrade Over Time?

Yes, the different components of a camera lens can degrade over time if it is used regularly, and even more so, if the lens is not handled properly or taken care of. As with DSLR cameras, a lens also has mechanical parts and these parts are designed with a lifespan. With that said, if you take proper care of your lens, it will last you for many years.

As an example, I got a lens as a gift 20 years ago and it is still in great working order. In fact, I use it regularly when doing wedding photography.

How To Take Care Of A Camera Lens

As I mentioned, if you take proper care of your lens, it will last you for a very long time. Have a look at the tips I talk about below and try to look after your lens as best as you can.

1.) Don’t blow on your lens

Blowing on your lens might give you the impression that your lens is clean, but it’s not. Over time, blowing on a lens will cause damage to the coating of the glass and it may also affect how light rays pass through the lens. Rather use a blower instead.

2.) Store your lens properly

Proper storage of your lens will prevent dust from getting into and affecting the internal parts of the lens. A simple way to do this is to remove the lens from your camera, safely pack it away in a bag, and store it in a dry place.

3.) Use a UV filter

A UV filter, as it’s called, can protect your lens from dust and scratches. The UV filter will also help to prevent dirt and fingerprints from damaging your lens. If you take good care of your lens, you should have to change the filter every so often. It’s a good idea to regularly check the condition of the filter and replace it if it looks hazy or dirty.

4.) Always use a lens cap

It doesn’t matter how careful you are, dust and other particles can still get into your lens if you don’t use a lens cap. A lens cap will prevent any damage to the inner parts of the lens just by putting it on your lens when storing it.

5.) Clean it often

Cleaning your lens is very important and it should be done at least twice a week. If you are cleaning it manually, you can clean the lens by using a soft cotton swab to gently wipe away any dust. As mentioned, never blow on the lens and use a blower instead.

6.) Use a lens hood

A lens hood is very important when it comes to protecting the front element of your lens. As I mentioned earlier, a UV filter will protect the outer part of the lens, but a lens hood will protect the inner parts. It’s always a good idea to use a lens hood as much as possible.

7.) Do not change lenses in a dusty area

If you’re prepping for a photo shoot, or if you need to change a lens while you’re shooting, make sure that you don’t change the lens in a dusty environment. Dust is your enemy when it comes to camera equipment, and can cause serious damage to your lens.

8.) Handle your lens with care

It may sound a bit obvious, but you need to handle your lens carefully. If you throw it around or drop it, it might break. Take care of it and handle it with care, and your lens will last you for many years to come.

Can You Use A DSLR Camera Without Lenses?

Yes, you can use a DSLR camera without a lens, however, you won’t be able to take any photos with it. Instead, you would only be able to view photos from your SD card via the built-in LCD screen, and you would also be able to browse the camera menus.


Lenses can be expensive, and without them, we can’t take any photos. Lenses can degrade over time, but if you take proper care of them they can last for many years.

Just make sure that you clean them often and keep them free of dust. Wherever possible, use a lens hood, UV filter, and make sure that you put its lens cap on when you store it. When you store it, make sure that it is stored in a safe dry place that is free from dust.