Anyone know how to clean filters?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stone_family3, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. stone_family3

    stone_family3 TPF Noob!

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    Anyone have any advice on the best way to clean filters for your camera lens? They are color filters for b&w photography. They appear to be cloudy with little spots on them.
     
  2. Vicelord John

    Vicelord John TPF Noob!

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    I'm probably doing it wrong, but I use a microfiber cloth to wipe them clean.

    Wrong or not, it works and it's easy. Why would I do anything else?
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Watch this:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    It is possible that if the filters are cloudy with little spots on them, that the antirefletion coating on the filter surfaces have been damaged due to environmental factors, like acid rain, human skin oil damage, or most likely, "offgassing" of petroleum-like products used in the making of filter holder/padding materials. The "cloudy" characteristic often occurs from prolonged storage of a filter in the plastic cases many are sold in; the white foam used to stop filters from rattling round inside the plastic case will usually cause the filter's coating to deteriorate after a LONG storage period, like 5 years or so. With shorter time inside a foam-insert fitted filter case, the foam will "offgas" or "outgas",and that discharge will accumulate on the filter's glass.

    Rainwater can have minute traces of "Stuff" in it, and if droplets sit on a filter for a long time, that "stuff" will cause spotting. it may,or may not, be removable by careful cleaning. Filters are not all alike--older filters and cheaper filters had antireflection coatings that often were difficult to clean without smearing. The Hoya HMC filters of the 1980's for example, were terrible--all they did was smear and smear when they were cleaned. Nikon's L37C was a vastly superior filter in terms of cleaning ease, but it was 3x the price as well, and made to Nikon's standards. Today, newer filters and some lenses, like those made by Tokina, have coatings that are designed to perform better when cleaned, and the manufacturers talk this feature up in their literature.

    If you have some old filters that have sat around uncleaned for any length of time, it is possible that the "spots" will not go away, even when cleaned using lens cleaning fluid and a microfiber cloth. As far as using 70% isopropyl alcohol as a lens cleaner, that's not very pure, and it will often as not, leave streaks on some filters, and it seems to, in my experience, actually eat away at the coating of some of the older-technology filters. Microfiber cloths vary in their efficacy as well--the "silk-like", thinner, more expensive microfibers seem to lift grease away quite well on their own with no cleaning fluid, while the thicker, "flannel-like" microfibers used in the video above are, in my experience, prone to smearing things around and making a huge mess when used with fluid. A top-quality microfiber cloth will work well dry or with just the tiniest "huff" of breath; using a dousing of alcohol as shown in the video above seems to me like the process used by somebody who's been into photography for a year or two...blower, then brush,then a sopping alcohol swab, and "drying"??? WTF--there is no "drying" of the alcohol--it evaporates in 5-10 seconds. Of course, they are using cheap, flannel-like microfiber cloths...the kind that do not lift and trap grease as well as the better made cloths like those marketed and branded by Pentax, for example.
     
  5. stone_family3

    stone_family3 TPF Noob!

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    TY I'll give it a try these are kind of gross looking filters but they were really cheap and I got a whole set for $2.
     
  6. grafxman

    grafxman TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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  7. stone_family3

    stone_family3 TPF Noob!

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    Regularly cleaning these didn't work. They still look the same. :( Is it possible these are trash now?
     

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