filter and lens cleaning

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Keith Baran, May 27, 2009.

  1. Keith Baran

    Keith Baran TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,
    Can anyone suggest a good, safe way to clean filters and lenses from fingerprints/smudges/dust?
    Thanks
    Keith Baran
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Get yourself some microfiber cloths or lens tissues (the ones made for a lens, not a regular kleenex tissue...) and some lens cleaning solution.

    If it's not too bad, you might not even need the solution. I use one cloth wet with the solution, then use the other one to dry it (or just use a dry section of the first one if it's big enough).
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, I second the motion of a microfiber cloth.
    I have been using them for decades and have not had any problems with my lenses.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Microfibre or pure cotton lint free cloth.

    Alcohol, ethonol, white vinegar, lens cleaner, or good old fashioned exhaling for the fluid.

    Basically the only thing you need to avoid is harsh artificial fibres and cleaning fluid containing benzine.
     
  5. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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  6. Keith Baran

    Keith Baran TPF Noob!

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    Thanks very much people,
    Keith
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    This is how I clean a camera lens. I think I got all the steps. Any suggestions, modifications, improvements are welcome.
    These are the tools I use:
    • A quality blower/brush . Got a blower but no brush? You can get a good brush (natural) at the cosmetics counter of any department store.
    • Lens cleaning paper. Some use a microfiber cloth. Be wary of dust embedded in the cloth. It can scratch the coatings on your lens.
    • A quality lens cleaning solution. Though rarely used.
    • A good flashlight.
    • A well lit, relatively dust free location .
    1. Blow and brush all dust from the lens body.
    2. Remove the lens and end caps.
    3. Remove any filters from the lens.
    4. Use the blower to blow as much dust off the lens glass as you can.
    5. Gently brush the lens from the center out.
    6. Blow away any dust that settled in the filter threads around the inner perimeter of the lens.
    7. Using the flashlight, angle the light across the lens and filter threads to verify all the dust is gone.
    8. Repeat steps 5, 6 and 7 as necessary until all the dust has been removed. Note: This is critcal to prevent scratching the lens coatings with dust particals.
    9. Get a couple of pieces of lens cleaning paper out and ready.
    10. Gently blow your breath on the lens to fog it to moisten any lens contamination.
    11. Let the fog clear and repeat gently blowing your breath onto the lens to fog it again.
    12. With 1 piece of lens cleaning paper gently wipe in a circular motion starting in the center of the lens.
    13. Inspect the lens surface for any streaks or smudges by angleing the light from the flashlight.
    14. Repeat steps 11, 12 and 13 until the lens is completely clean. If there is a stubborn smudge or other matter on your lens you may need to use the lens cleaning solution. Note: Never apply lens cleaning solution (or any other liquid) directly to your lens. Instead, apply the lens cleaning solution to your lens cleaning paper and use a second piece of dry lens cleaning paper to absorb any excess cleaning solution left on the lens. Discard all the used cleaning paper.
    15. Repeat steps 4 through 14 to the other end of the lens.
    16. Shine light from the flashlight inside your lens and inspect for any dust buildup. Inspect what you can see of the lens aperture mechanism. If there is dust inside your lens you may want to consider arranging for a repair facility to disassemble and clean it.
    17. Repeat steps 4 through 14 on both sides of any filter you had on your lens. If you keep a filter on your lens for 'protection', I highly recommend you put the filter in your gear bag rather than putting it back on your lens. Rely on a lens hood and good lens/camera handeling techniques for lens 'protection'.
    18. Replace the lens and end caps.
     
  8. johnbergsing

    johnbergsing TPF Noob!

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  9. captainkimo

    captainkimo TPF Noob!

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    First, I use a blower to blow off unwanted particles, dusts etc. Then use a microfiber cloth after. I make sure to use a blower first before wiping the lens with the cloth so that there are no particles that can scratch the lens.

    Cheers!

    Captain Kimo
     
  10. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    Excellent reason not to use a cloth, but a one time use, lens paper.

    When we were cleaning lenses on the lasers, scopes and scope cameras at work, we use methanol and not Isopropynol alcohol to clean the lenses. ISO would take off the coatings. We used Nikon lenses in our microscopes and scope cameras too. Our "macro" photography was to allow us to measure microns.

    I use Nikon Lenses partly because of this influence. Because I don't like carrying a bottle of liquid around in the bag, I have opted to carry the pre-wetted Nikon wipes.

    It was also required of us to wipe in one direction only on the lenses. Never in a circular motion. Some of the images the lens makers showed us were pretty incredible. The patterns were rather nice to see and they had ways to tell exactly how or what someone did while cleaning to destroy a lens. And when your lens costs $50,000 +, you pretty much listen to what the lens professionals tell you.

    So I take a lot of what they taught me and carry it into my personal lenses.

    Blow any debris off the lens if possible.

    Avoid wet cleaning if at all possible.

    Use disposable wipes. You don't want to carry the debris into the next cleaning.

    Wipe in one direction only. If you can, with that area of the cloth only once.

    Use the recommended cleaning solution. Yeah, other things will work, but are they compatible with your coatings to NOT take them off. Not all alcohols are the same.

    Don't press the paper onto the lens with your finger tip. If anything, make a small "ball" and lightly press that against the lens.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2009
  11. Gaerek

    Gaerek TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree. Microfiber cloths are for sunglasses, prescription glasses and LCDs. For your expensive glass, use lens paper. Is it worth risking a scratch just because you don't want to use lens paper?
     
  12. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some use a lenspens. Be wary of dust embedded in on the pen. It can scratch the coatings on your lens.

    I mean seriously what idiot would think their magic cloth can clean without keeping it clean. The same applies to a lenspen. Use a lenspen to get sand off your front element and see how well it prevents scratching.

    Honestly use some common sense. I have carefully wiped my lenses in my cotton shirts for years when I am out shooting and there's no microfibre, lenspen(tm), lenscloth(tm), otheroverpricedcleaninggarbage(tm), and there's not a mark on them.

    Btw Gaerek, microfibre cloths ARE for sunglasses. You know... a surface that is MUCH more easily scratched then a well made lens.

    /EDIT: Sorry about the attitude I was somewhat pissy yesterday when i wrote this :(
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009

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