Zeiss Cleaner and Alcohol


TPF Noob!
Nov 8, 2011
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Hello everyone,

I know there's a lot of information about how to clean lenses and what products to use on your camera and etc.; I've watched multiple videos and researched on different websites, but I have a few questions still.

I recently purchased Carl Zeiss Lens Spray Cleaner (Amazon.com: Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Lens Spray Cleaner (3-Ounce Bottle): Sports & Outdoors)
-Used for lenses with anti-reflective/multi-layered coating

My concern is when I tried cleaning this on my Nikon lenses and filters (Hoya, Tiffen, B+W) it leaves a residue that you can see when you pointing a strong light to it. I believe I'm doing everything correctly too; spray the solution on a microfiber cloth and wipe with in circular motions. When I recieved it, I was really expecting it work and leave my lenses/filters crystal clear but instead it leaves a smearing residue.

I'd prefer not to spend a lot of money on cleaning solutions; I have a Nikon cleaning pen that kinda of works but isn't perfect.

Also would it be safe to use Alcohol Prep Pads (70% Isopropyl Alcohol) to clean my camera body/lens barrel? I've used it on the mounts, rubber gaskets, filter threads, and other crammed places; I believe it works every well to get rid of all the dust and dirt but just wanted to make sure it isn't ruining the camera/lens. Also after using the prep pads there are some black smears on the prep pad, is that bad? Do you think it is rubbing off the Nikon "paint" or anything or the black smears are just grim and dirt?

Thanks, any help would be much appreciated!
I wipe the body of my camera down with alcohol on a regular basis; the black is mostly skin oil and dirt coming off. As for lenses & filters, the add doesn't seem to specify, but I suspect that's a solution meant for eye-glasses. How much difference there is, I do not know. I do know however, in 30+ years of cleaning lenses, the strongest thing I have ever used on a lens element is distilled water. 99.9% of the time, a 'huff' of breath and micro-fibre cloth/lens tissue does the job. On the rare occasions that it doesn't, a micro-fibre cloth and a drop of distilled water will.
In all my years using telescopes cleaning the glass on them simply comes of with huffing on the glass and using a microfiber cloth that was meant for LCD TV cleaning. On rare occasions I have used LCD cleaner to get off them stubborn marks but so very little of it then leave it to to be almost dry then it takes of the mark then simply huff and crystal clear. I have not used the LCD cleaner on the Nikon but huffing alone have done wonders.
I use 91% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water mixed for a lens cleaning solution. It's always worked well for me.
If there's a visible residue, one of two things is true:

- the solution you have bought is some sort of ghastly snake oil CRAP that somehow bought the right to use the Zeiss name
- the solution is dissolving crud that's on the lens, and redistributing it

You may need to go over the lens a couple times, and use a rolling motion so that you're continuously using new, clean, cloth on the glass. This will lift off crud, as opposed to smearing it around (and potentially creating scratches, if the crud is pointy). It's hard to describe the correct motions, but if you think it through you'll get it quickly, I think.
There are secret solutions that claim to pick up dirt and evaporate quickly and wipes that claim to be lens friendly. But in reality microfiber does the same thing and distilled water should have no contaminants. To each his own. I have no problem with people spending on fancy solutions and wipes, but I can't detect any difference between my methods and expensive goops and wipes, other than the difference in my bank account. I keep a microfiber towel and little spray bottle of distilled water with me in the field. The towels are washable and distilled water is 99 cents a gallon. Take a look at my images and see if you can tell what I used to clean the lens, or if I cleaned the lens. Dust spots are sensor problems, not lens problems. There are no rules for good images. There are only good images.
I have NEVER, ever had good luck using microfiber cloths and ANY kind of liquid solution. To me, microfiber and liquid cleaner is not a good match...microfiber seems to simply push liquid around...microfiber is so,so tightly woven that liquids do not penetrate into the cloth, but instead, just make a smeary MESS. The microfiber cloth pushes the cleaning liquid around and around, then it evaporates, and leaves a mess.

On the other hand, quality lens cleaning tissue, like the Kodak Lens Cleaning Paper, works splendidly with any number of liquid cleaners I have used over the years. But microfiber cloths and towelettes...suck with liquid cleaners...
There are no rules for good images. There are only good images.!!!

My Zeiss fluid is from China. I didn't like it, so dumped it. Got it at Walmart. Maybe yours is different.
Every type of fluid cleaner I've tried, Including the Zeiss lens wipes (which Zeiss says aren't for lenses) has left me disappointed. My current cleaning process is as follows: rocket blower, followed by the brush end of the LensPen (the real LensPen, not the knock-offs), followed by the wiping tip of the lens pen. From there I may wipe it with a microfiber cloth once for good measure. The only time the liquid solutions come out is if I have a water spot or something on the glass that isn't coming out. Then I use microfiber and a bright light to make sure I get all the haze off the lens afterwords.
I started using ROR (Residual Oil Remover) on lenses; I don't know if it's designed for filters. I like brushes that are designed for lenses; I've actually picked up some vintage cleaning tissues and a older brush and they're much softer than what's made now. As often as not I just breathe on it and use a microfiber cloth. And sometimes in a pinch I use my shirttail.
Thank you all for your input, really is much appreciated. I have tried huffing on my lenses then using a microfiber cloth, but that has never worked that well for me (it tends to be smeared and never really cleans the glass). Plus I heard mutliple times why you shouldn't use your breath condensation because your breath is acidic or something and other reasons why, mainly I just tried to avoid breathing on my lenses. I'll look into the products that other people have mentioned, but I really don't want to spend a lot such to clean my lenses. On Amazon the reviews (I know you can't fully trust all the reviews) majority fo the people said that it worked great on their lenses/filters, but again when I tried it, all I get is smears and residues of the solution.

Are there any definite methods/low cost products that are meant for lenses/filters and will not leave any smears/residues. Btw I always use a air blower before wipping if that helps.

Thanks again

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