Lens Cleaning How-To? What do you Recommend?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by iSellJerseyShore, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. iSellJerseyShore

    iSellJerseyShore TPF Noob!

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    What are some Tips/Tricks/Techniques for cleaning a lens? Do you suggest using a lens cleaning kit?

    Use brush, cleaning solution, soft clost what?




    -iSellJerseyShore
     
  2. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I use a glasses cleaning pack as sold in opticians' stores for cleaning when I'm out and about. It's a lint-free polishing cloth and a tiny spray can of coating-safe solvent.

    When I'm at home, I use a variety of children's paintbrushes to get the dust and bits off the body and a squirty air bobble brush (technical term eludes me) for the lens and then another lint-free polishing cloth. In more difficult situations (a child sneezed on my lens!) I have been known to use a damp rag to start with.

    Patience is the key - don't rub hard or use abrasive or solvent chemicals as you risk damaging or removing the coating or the surface of the lens. Also, try and avoid pushing the grime into the corners of the lens where you can't get it out - work in towards the middle.

    Rob
     
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  3. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Excellent advice by rob! I only use microfiber cloth, the photo cleaning type. As for liquids, I use Zeiss' lens cleaning liquid, very good and gentle cleaner. I've heard, albeit never tried, that Windex in regular concentration works well too.

    Do not use the harsh photo-cleaning papers that come in cleaning kits, they're too harsh for the lens coatings.

    Invest in a good quality air cleaner for cameras only, to blow the dust away from the lens before you clean with the liquid. Do not use the canned air made for computers or electronic components, they will harm your lens.
     
  4. spiralout

    spiralout TPF Noob!

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    This should be in bold! Those cleaning kit papers are just awful! It's like trying to file your nails with a belt sander! :puke:
     
  5. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Done! Thanks.;)
     
  6. .::Gordon::.

    .::Gordon::. TPF Noob!

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    i use this bulb air thingy with a brush on end. works pretty well. i also use this cloth my optometrist gave me.
     
  7. zedin

    zedin TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Lens paper works well too since you use a clean sheet each time (where with a cloth there is a chance you are grinding a piece of dirt across your lens). Just make sure its real lens paper.
     
  8. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I disagree with the photo cleaning paper. I have seen many a lens ruined because of it. It's way too harsh. Meanwhile a set of two or three microfiber cleaning rags (the softer the better) will not harm the lens, especially if you dust blow the lens first. As a matter of fact a lens should never be cleaned without having the dust blown away first.

    Sorry, I am not trying to be antagonistic with your ideas but I strongly believe that today's photo cleaning papers are ruining good lenses. I've seen it, heck I've even done it as an experiment on a bad lens. After cleaning it with the paper it showed small circular scratches, as before the cleaning they were not there.;)
     
  9. .::Gordon::.

    .::Gordon::. TPF Noob!

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    probably the only lense paper i'd use is the one we use in bio lab called Kimwipes. our TA was so anal about using other stuff to clean the lenses on our compound microscopes. if it's good enough to clean several thousand dollar equipments, it's good enough for me. my $.02
     
  10. SLOShooter

    SLOShooter TPF Noob!

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    I wouldn't use windex if it is the kind that has ammonia. I know that kind is bad for monitors because it wares down the UV coating on the monitor so I'm not sure it would be any good for the coatings on lenses either. It might be ok, I don't use it though.
     
  11. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I was anxious about that too but my fears were dispelled by a pro camera repairman.:wink:
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You should try to avoid cleaning the lens by contact methods as much as possible. All cleaning methods abrade the lens coatings over time (these coatings are rare earth metals only a couple of molecules thick).
    The best method is to keep lens and lens cap dust free by using a can of compressed air and a soft (squirrel hair) brush to loosen stubborn bits around the edges. The brushes can become contaminated with grease over time so wash then with detergent and rinse and dry well now and then.
    Good quality lens tissues are OK. If they are putting scratches on the lens then you have got dust or grit contamination somewhere.
    For choice I use a piece of well-washed cotton. I usually wear cotton shirts for this very reason.
    Blow all the dust from the lens and only clean if there are smears on the lens. Breath on the lens (don't blow as a spray of spit will come out - you can't help it - and leaves little marks that then need to be cleaned off) and polish very gently with the cotton.
    I dust off my lenses before and after use. I normally only have to physically clean the lenses a few times a year.
    If you are finding that you are having to do a physical clean of a lens once a week or more then you seriously need to look at how you are treating and handling the lens. You shouldn't be making physical contact with the glass at all.
    ALL lens coatings wear off over time. Any physical cleaning will hasten this so good working practices are a must to ensure long life of a lens.
    I still have lenses 30 years old that are in pristine condition - and I used them professionally for most of this time.
     

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