Accidentally cleaning lens too much, help please!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by thomas610, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. thomas610

    thomas610 TPF Noob!

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    Since i got my new camera two days ago I have been wiping a lot (very gently with a soft microfibre cloth) not knowing the risks! if i don't do it from now on and use a uv filter instead should i be ok? I'm aware of the issue of cleaning marks etc. so it would be good to know that I haven't seriously damaged the camera in any way. It's an Olympus 35 RC.


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    More lenses have been RUINED by too-frequent cleaning than from probably anything else, other than dropping them onto hard surfaces like concrete.

    STOP obsessing!!! Cleaning marks are mostly found on old, pre-1960's-era lenses that had soft glass, like OLD rangefinder lenses from the 50's and earlier. yet still, there is NO need to clean a lens more than once a month, unless you've been shooting in an area where there is tree sap, sea spray, or heavy smoke, or airborne particulate matter (dust from agriculture, industry, or heavy wood smoke, or heavy concentrations of airborne cooking oil,etc.).
     
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  3. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Coating damage will look like an area missing and a line around that area. But the line will not catch an edge. Coatings are very thin. Reason you don't want to clean too hard or often. Many will see a worn area of coating and start cleaning more. Only to make the loss of coating worse.
     
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  4. thomas610

    thomas610 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry! Thank you so much
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    And UV or clear filters put on a lens for 'protection' cause way more problems than they solve.
    The 2 most common problems are less sharp (soft) focus, and unwanted lens flare.
    Other problems include Newton's rings, filters stuck on the lens, broken shards of thin filter glass scratching the much thicker and quite robust glass front lens element.
     
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  6. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Especially "cheap" filters used for protectors!!

    If you just have to have a protection filter. At least get one that's as good as your lens. Which means a high quality filter!
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No comment.
     
  8. thomas610

    thomas610 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info, i'll look into getting a good one. In the meantime do you think i've avoided any damage to my lens?
     
  9. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Ok, so I decided this experiment is worth repeating. This is actually something I originally did to convince new astronomers to stop trying to clean their telescope optics, but I'll repeat the experiment with the camera lens.

    Please inspect the following image -- taking particular care to notice any "dirt" that may be on my optics. (I just pointed the camera out the window and took a shot.)

    2W0A1239.jpg

    Ok...

    Now about that "dirt" on the optics... let's have a look at that.

    IMG_0905.jpg

    Yes... I cut a post-it note to about a 1/4" square piece and stuck it onto a junk filter (I don't normally use UV filters... I own them, but I rarely put one on the lens when I'm shooting).

    Having seen this... go back up to that original image and see if you can figure out where the post-it note is in the image?

    When you give up (because you will)... think about how a lens actually works.

    If I'm taking a photo of a subject (any subject) -- let's say it's a portrait. Suppose we just think about the light that comes from the tip of the subject's nose. The light "reflecting" off a subject's nose is traveling in many directions. Most of those directions miss the camera lens, but several of them hit the camera lens. In other words if we could be microscopic people who lived on the front surface of your camera lens... would we still be able to see the persons nose if we change where we stand on the front of the lens. The answer is "yes". This is because the light from that single point on the subject is not just passing through one particular point on the lens... it's passing through EVERY point on the lens simultaneously. That light then re-converges back to a single point on the sensor (assuming you focused on the subject). Literally the most out-of-focus place in the entire optical path is that front lens element.

    This means individual bits of dirt will be missed by the overwhelming majority of the light and only a tiny tiny fraction of light will be absorbed by the dirt. If a lens was very dirty, it could result in a slight loss in contrast. In order for dirt to show up in the image... it needs to be very close to a focus point in the optical path and the only two focus points are at the focused subject distance and at the focused sensor distance. This is why you can notice dust spots ON your camera sensor... but you wont really notice dust spots on the lens (the lens is much too far away from the point of focus on the sensor.)

    The point is... STOP obsessing about cleaning your lens.

    I take some care to avoid getting my lenses dirty... put the dust cap on when not using it. Use a hood. But do not rush to clean it every time you see a dust particle.
     
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  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    TC I think any test like that has to be taken to extremes- we need more !

    *would do this but I don't have a cheap filter)
     
  11. thomas610

    thomas610 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Tim, from looking at this experiment and others like it I definitely see the merits of not over-cleaning... however, i fear that I may already have done some damage in the couple of days of having the camera. I have been wiping gently with a microfiber cloth but am scared that I may have caused cleaning scratches and the like! It's good to know i don't need to worry about a dusty lens from now on!
     
  12. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The reason mirror lenses / cat telescopes work just fine!
     

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