Canadian laptop and camera cleaning products company LensPen has updated its LensPen and DSLR Pro Kit camera lens cleaning products (Get LensPen at B&HPhoto Video), improving their looks and functionality and making them cleaner to use with the company’s new Invisible Carbon cleaning compound. I recently tried a new LensPen out and liked it.
Product design at its finest is the perfect combination of form with function. The best product designers such as Jonathan Ive at Apple and Dieter Rams formerly of Braun are far more than stylists obsessed with the looks of their designs at the expense of their functionality. They understand that engineering and design must work as equal partners in every aspect of every product no matter how small and even when details remain unseen.
LensPen seems to have understand these principles in its recent revamp of its LensPen line, made for cleaning the lenses, filters, LED screens and eyepieces of digital cameras. I applaud them for it. I am also pleased to see that their modernization effort has embraced the use of white plastic instead of their former black. White says cleanliness and what better color, then, for a cleaning product?
Black is, in my humble opinion, still too dominant in contemporary product design and I much prefer colors that are lighter on the eye. Jonathan Ive’s early product designs before and during his early days at Apple were white, appropriate for use in creative environments where the white or off-white of a painter’s canvas is often the default color scheme.
White seems to enhance creativity especially when creating something out of nothing. Black, on the other hand, remains the best color for cameras and lenses especially when inconspicuousness is key.
Color, however, is the least of LensPen’s revamp of its core products which includes:
- Screw cap – I like to have my gear packed into kits ready to grab and go. Each kit contains a set of cleaning tools including LensPen. Unfortunately, the previous LensPens would always lose their push-on caps no matter. The new screw-cap is secure.
- Invisible Carbon – This new cleaning compound replaces the black carbon that sometimes leaked on to equipment when the old LensPen’s push-on cap fell off. Invisible Carbon does not appear to be entirely invisible but it is pretty close. Less dark particulate matter to find its way onto your other gear.
- Ergonomics – The new LensPen has acquired a smoother and more hand-friendly, more feminine, shape. It invites us to pick it and use it in a way that the ribbed geometry and straight lines of the previous design did not.
- Size – In this case smaller is better given most of us need to pack plenty of gear now that the hybrid era is here and we need to carry more stuff and more diverse stuff from cages to recorders and microphones.
A Laptop-Pro always travels with each of my portable computers and tablets, in the same case, whether a camera backpack or a dedicated laptop bag. The latest version of the Laptop-Pro now uses Invisible Carbon as do other items in the LensPen range.
I also have a couple of the earlier, black, versions of the DSLR Pro Kit traveling with my core production kits. The new version contains a revamped LensPen for lenses, an updated FilterKlear for lens filters, the new version of the MicroPro for viewfinders and a combination carrying pouch and cleaning cloth for all three.
All of my old and new LensPens are on the desk in front of me while writing this article. As I glanced at them just now I remembered how irritating it has been to see the push-on caps fall off some of the old LensPens when in my location bags and even in my studio storage boxes.
A thought occurred. Wouldn’t it be great if LensPen offered a trade-in scheme for those older LensPens with the push-on, oftentimes fall-off caps? Perhaps even a two-for-one offer replacing two old ones with one brand new white one? Over to you, LensPen.
(cover photo credit: snap from Karin Gottschalk)