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chris91387
02-02-2008, 11:25
after decades of photography, i'm still not sure what the best way is to clean my lenses is.

anyone have any thoughts or advice?

- chris

jonnyrf
02-02-2008, 11:35
hi there, Im sure somebody will correct me as wrong here, but i always use Rizla (cigarette) papers, thinner the better. Dead cheap and always easy to get!!!

ClaremontPhoto
02-02-2008, 11:41
Well-washed worn out girlfriend's panties.

The clean ones from her drawer, and put 'em back neat after.

mwooten
02-02-2008, 11:45
Well-washed worn out girlfriend's panties.

The clean ones from her drawer, and put 'em back neat after.

Cotton, or synthetic?

BillP
02-02-2008, 11:49
I have them breathed on by virgins and wiped clean with their gossamer hair.

These days I have a lot of grubby lenses...:rolleyes:

Regards,

Bill

back alley
02-02-2008, 11:50
in the sink with my dishes...;)

Leighgion
02-02-2008, 11:58
Lenses are dishwasher safe, right? :)

mwooten
02-02-2008, 12:00
Lenses are dishwasher safe, right? :)

Only in the top rack.

nobbylon
02-02-2008, 12:20
I try to keep them clean rather than clean them. When I really have to I use a spectacle cloth and if really necessary some fluid from the opticians. A couple of my lenses have never been cleaned as they've had UV's on since new.

oscroft
02-02-2008, 12:40
Where's the "Cilit Bang" option?

sniki
02-02-2008, 12:47
Sawdust, white spirit and elbow grease?

;-))

sniki

sepiareverb
02-02-2008, 13:01
...worn out girlfriend...

:eek:

I wouldn't be caught dead saying anything like this.

arbib
02-02-2008, 13:27
Now to qualify my vote since "Clean with an Old clean 100% cotton T-Shirt" was not really listed...

I have NEVER had any problems with this method......Breath on lens, Wipe clean and dry with shirt part that is wrapped around my finger...

Remember....THE front lens is light gathering and directing the light to the next set of elements...You could scratch it lightly (don't want to) without seeing any effects on film or D-File.

I would say on older than 1970 lens...use a lens cloth and cleaning fluid...because the coating may not be as scratch proof as the newer coatings...With FSU's Lens cloth only. Lens's that are for keeping their perceived value with no scratches....lens cloth and cleaning fluid.

For the Rear: lens cloth and cleaning fluid only....Scratches here WILL make a difference in IQ on the Neg/D-File. If big or deep enough,.

If that does not work...I set them on a bench while it is raining...and let the sun dry it off.

ruby.monkey
02-02-2008, 13:32
Microfibre cloth, simply because it's the cloth I use to clean my specs.

BillP
02-02-2008, 13:42
Where's the "Cilit Bang" option?

...I thought for a moment I had opened the censorship thread by mistake...:eek:

Regards,

Bill

Rob-F
02-02-2008, 13:58
From the American Cinematographer Manual, seventh edition; The ASC Press; 1993: "1. Blow off loose dust with 'canned air'. (If 'Air' is not available, a clean, very soft, camel hair brush may be used; to remove all residual oil from the brush, first wash it in ether or pure grain alcohol and shake it out so that it is thoughly dry. Keep the brush in a airtight container. Under no circumstances should the brush ever toush skin. If it does so inadvertantly, wash it again with ether or alcohol.) Do not blow dust off with the mouth. Next to dried fingerprints, saliva is the hardest thing to remove from a lens surface without scratching it.

"2. If necessary to remove smears from the lens surface, fold a lens tissue and dampen the folded edge with lens cleaning fluid. Carefully wipe the lens surface with a circular motion, starting at the center and working toward the edges. If this will not remove the smear, take a new, clean, piece of lens tissue and and epeat the procedure using pure xylene or pure grain alcohol (not rubbing alcohol). Be careful not to touch the lens mount with the xylene or alcohol. If you do, discard the lens tissue and start over. Xylene is particularly useful in removing oil or oily fingerprints from lenses. If it leaves a slight smear after removing an oily spot, repat the action using alcohol.

"Fingerprints, or any contact with skin, may leave a residue which may permanently etch the lens surface. Never clean camera lenses with silicone-coated lens tissue or cloth." (page 144)

So there you have it, from the folks who take care of lenses even more expensive than ours. I use a blower--an ear syringe--rather than canned air. I use a lens brush after that. And I use lens microfiber cloth, which I launder periodically. If I see some dust on the lens I ignore it until I can clean it safely--never when in a hurry.

sepiareverb
02-02-2008, 14:06
...Do not blow dust off with the mouth. Next to dried fingerprints, saliva is the hardest thing to remove from a lens...

I'll vouch for this.

Joe
02-02-2008, 18:53
Ideal: never ever touch the lens. Second best: brush off loose dust with camel hair brush, then very very gently touch a lens tissue soaked with cleaner fluid to the surface, then, without any pressure, and very quickly, wipe the fluid off with an immaculately clean micro fiber cloth.

If you wipe your lens with an old t-shirt you may scratch it(but you won't know until you shine a light thru it). I speak from experience. I scratched up my favorite summilux from overcleaning.

I would not recommend taking a casual attitude toward cleaning a good lens.

kshapero
02-02-2008, 19:28
I breath mist on my lens then lightly rub off with a microfiber cloth. No wonder my photos look ****ty.

shimo-kitasnap
02-02-2008, 19:31
a dab of cheap vodka and whatever shirt i'm wearing, (everything has skylights on them, so it's reallly just to clean marks off of the skylights which are all hoya and cheap btw)

Bobfrance
02-03-2008, 00:22
I wear glasses so I use my glasses cloth or sometimes a blower brush.

If they're really ditry I pop them in the washing machine; you have to be careful though I once left a 90mm in too long and it came out a 28mm.

:D

Ronald M
02-03-2008, 01:36
Rob F has it right. Air first, then brush, and stop unless there is stuff that will not come off like finger prints or something else.

projectbluebird
02-03-2008, 02:22
I use a combination of methods.
Firstly, I always use a UV filter. I know that some will decry this, but it once saved my summilux from a beer bath on a 2 week camping trip. (but that's another story)
Before that goes on the lens, air followed by (damp) cleaning tissue- if needed.
Then the filter goes on, and after that any old T-shirt will do, with the following caveat:

All of my shirts are 100% cotton and well laundered, no fabric softener.

MCTuomey
02-03-2008, 03:12
the virgins work great when i can find them, especially on good hair days. but they won't even look at my dSLR lenses ... what's with that?

migtex
02-03-2008, 03:13
ether and microfiber when I home.. mist (guess from where) and microfiber when I'm out.
But I'll try Jon method when possible!

gavinlg
02-03-2008, 03:57
blower and microfiber if needed. Very safe with modern glass and coatings.

feenej
02-03-2008, 04:03
Blower brush followed by newspaper wetted with glass cleaner, followed by dry newspaper. I use a light touch. Seems to work well.

srtiwari
02-03-2008, 04:37
Zeiss makes pre-moistened lens cloths that come in sachets. Given who they are, shouldn't one assume that method is, both, 'the best', and safe ?

sepiareverb
02-03-2008, 15:46
I like those Zeiss 'wet wipes', but they are a bit pricey and do dry out in the package.

raid
02-03-2008, 17:21
Nothing fancy as panties; I use a microfiber cloth after blowing air on the front of the lens. If I see fingerprints on the lens, I use a lens cleaner for caoted lenses.

bmattock
02-03-2008, 17:32
I try not to let my lenses get dirty.

When they have dust on them, I just blow it off - trying not to spit of course.

I do not obsessively clean my lenses - more lenses are ruined by cleaning than by dirt.

When I think they need it, I use the gentlest method that works.

From lightest touch to hardest:

1) my blowing on the lens.
2) light brush with lens brush.
3) microfiber cloth ('tiger cloth' from Kinetronics)
4) q-tip with a drop of ROR.

http://www.kinetronics.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.100.exe/online-store/scstore/tiger.html?L+scstore+lzkq8535ffcbf5cb+1219947484

http://www.ror.net/

I also clean my digital sensor with q-tip and ROR, which makes everyone around me insane with anger. I do not understand why. I refuse to pay a couple hundred dollars to get a speck of dust off a piece of glass. I'm just really careful.

Gumby
02-10-2008, 18:52
Well-washed worn out girlfriend's panties.

The clean ones from her drawer, and put 'em back neat after.

Your GF wears cotton panties... and you're bragging it up on the internet. I'm sure she will be pleased with that -- NOT. Why don't you be a nice guy and treat her right -- buy her some silk undies. You'll both probably enjoy them.

dnk512
02-10-2008, 19:44
Permanet hoods have eliminate the need to clean my lenses. At most I use a manual blower if I see vissible particles. If there are spray marks or such, then I use a blower, brush, microfiber with cleaning fluid (or my breath) routine.

Keith
03-17-2008, 15:16
The top compartment of the dishwasher has a rack for small glasses cups etc which is ideal for lenses. On a fairly short cycle with a good quality streak free powder they come out looking a treat! :)

wontonny
03-21-2008, 13:32
I usually grab a box of Kimwipes from the school science labs and a bottle of their microscope lens cleaning solution. I dont really like reusable cloths because after a while they accumulate all the dust, dirt, and oil that you wipe off your lenses and soon you're smearing oil all over your lenses instead of cleaning them!

RML
03-24-2008, 07:35
I can't remember when I last cleaned any lens. Was quite a long time ago. But when I cleaned a lens, I did the same thing as I did for the sensor of my R-D1: I used alcohol ketonatus and Q-tips (http://shardsofphotography.blogspot.com/search?q=sensor+clean).

BigSteveG
03-24-2008, 19:31
A big loogey and a napkin from Jack-in-the-box

dreamsandart
03-24-2008, 19:37
I was told by Schneider Service they use and recommend Windex and newspaper. Go figure...

shimo-kitasnap
03-24-2008, 19:56
cheap vodka and a whatever shirt I'm wearing.......just my 2cents.....

JeffGreene
03-24-2008, 20:26
I've been using this new "Lenspen" thing. It has a special compound on one end and a brush on the other. Works well. Like others here, I used to never touch the lensl, except when absolutely necessary and then would use optical fluid and lens paper. I like this new lenspen thing, and have had good results with it.

35mmdelux
03-25-2008, 17:19
carefully.

swoop
03-25-2008, 17:23
I spray some Zeiss lens cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe the lens, then use a dry part of the cloth to wipe the remaining cleaner off. Then I use canned air to remove dust particles. I do this about once a month or so, or if I manage to smudge a lens. I've never cleaned a rear element, only blew canned air at it.

FallisPhoto
03-25-2008, 17:50
In restoring vintage equipment, I have recieved cameras with things like tar, paint, chicken crap, dried sodapop and what I hope was dried beef soup on the lenses (and the mirrors and sometimes even the focusing screens). No, I'm not kidding. One folding camera I did for a friend who found it in a barn even had the remains of a bird's nest in the back. What works for me, for an initial cleaning (after brushing and blowing), is a big box of Q-tips and some solvents. I've used naptha for removing oil based paint and grease (especially good for fingerprints). I use alcohol for removing cigarette tar, ink, the remains of crumbled light seal material, and pine pollen. I use a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia for removing lens fungus. I use distilled water for just about everything else. I start in the middle of the lens and work outward, twisting the swabs as I go, so as to keep a fresh surface against the lens and lift the crud away from the glass and not rub grit against it. Each swab end is thus good for only one stroke and I go through a LOT of swabs. When I am done, it is absolutely clean though, with no scratches.

kdemas
03-25-2008, 18:57
I try to protect my lenses with filters (drilled into me from my dad) and when that fails I will:

- Try air blower
- Use a light brush
- Clean with OptiClean (great stuff)

I know that the filter method may not be ideal for some (more glass) but it's worked nicely for me. I do pul my filter off my Noct for night shots :)

Kent

ps- Prefer Heliopan filters.

ocmex
03-26-2008, 16:44
-use one of those 'hurricane' blowers to blow off the dust
-breathe on it, use q-tips (natural cotton only), wipe the lens with a circular motion starting at the center and towards the edges. keep breathing, he, he...
-no pressure, change q-tips often
-never touch the cotton with your fingers or anything else
-for stubborn saliva or anything else spots, use a tiny drop of kodak lens cleaning liquid.
-repeat until clean
-test: breathe on the lens. do you see irregular patterns?
1. yes -> keap cleaning
2. no -> go shooting :-)

the same procedure for digital sensors. you'll need a tweezers and a piece of tape at the end to carefully pick up lints. the rest you can blow off by a hurricane blower. (don't try this at home!)

ps no uv or any protective filters. full quality of my lenses that should not last longer then i do anyway ;->>>

FallisPhoto
04-01-2008, 12:21
blower and microfiber if needed. Very safe with modern glass and coatings.

Most of the people on this site refuse to move into the 21st century, and as a consequense, very few of us here are using modern cameras. A blower and microfiber cloth are not very safe on older lenses, particularly bloomed or soft-coated lenses.

Pherdinand
04-02-2008, 02:49
it only makes sense to clean your lenses if:
1: you get one second hand that is desperately dirty
2: you wanna sell a lens
3: you drop the lens in some kind of serious gunk. Or your dog licks it.

marke
05-01-2008, 15:13
it only makes sense to clean your lenses if:
1: you get one second hand that is desperately dirty
2: you wanna sell a lens
3: you drop the lens in some kind of serious gunk. Or your dog licks it.

I disagree with #3. Dog licks are responsible for that famous Leica glow. ;)

Benjamin Marks
05-01-2008, 15:29
This is one of those polls where the OP could not possibly list all the options. I have one of those large blower bulbs which I use first, then canned air if available, then newfangled cloth and moisture condensed from my breath. But my lenses don't need cleaning that often. . .

Ben, who does not use filters

Bill58
05-01-2008, 23:42
1.) use a handblower on all glass surfaces--NOT compressed air
2.) dip Q-tip in pure Acetone and wipe in a circular motion w/ one end
3.) dry w/ the other end
4.) repeat 2 & 3 w/ another Q-tip
5. repeat 2, 3 & 4 using one qt. distilled water w/ a drop or two of liquid dishwashing detergent
6. admire your work
7.) do the above as little as possible!!!!!!!!

NEVER use a microfiber cloth--too many cheapo/ fake ones on the mkt.

myoptic3
05-02-2008, 00:44
I really like the panties idea. Makes for stares on the street though.

Whenever I get a new (to me) lens, the first thing I do is blow it off, hit it w/ a soft brush, wipe off any blemishes w/ a soft cloth, and screw on a UV filter. Should never have to clean it again. A tiny bit of lens cleaner solution (the kind in the cheapo blister packs that are sold partnered up w/ lens tissue and a brush/blower combo) on a torn tissue for the hardest parts. I once made the mistake of putting the fluid directly on the front element and it seeped into the lens and stained the back of the glass.

That was nothing compared to the time I found an old beat up Canon L zoom in a thrift store, and tried to clean the really dirty front glass by holding it under the sink faucet.

dacaccia
05-02-2008, 01:22
it's not good and not necessary cleaning lenses too often. Dust and little spots are not seen on the photos. I only clean if too many spots are on it. Of course I do not use filters but lens hoods.
Cheers,
dacaccia

sniki
05-02-2008, 04:47
I just lately discovered Zeiss pre-moistened lens cloths: they work great, really!
They are especially designed for multi-layer coatings cleaning, gentle and hard-hitting at the same time.
I've also used for cleaning a dirty mirror in my Olympus SRL.

sniki

Bruin
05-15-2008, 16:15
My approach depends on what's on the lens.

Dust -> blower
Fingerprints, oil -> Lenspen
Dried liquid spots, etc -> ROR & lens tissue

I fog the lens with my breath and wipe with lens tissue to remove the ROR residue. I don't like brushes because they pick up oil if you touch them and there's no way to clean it off. Eventually you start brushing oil on your lenses.

mwooten
05-15-2008, 16:22
I remember reading years ago about a fellow who was really into car detailing. I think the article was in Road & Track. Anyway, this guy wanted to find out which type/brand of soap left the least residue on the car's finish. So to test things he used the soap to clean, believe it or not, his contact lenses. The contacts were of the hard type, but it always did strike me as a bit extreme. Ivory Liquid left no residue.

ChrisPlatt
05-15-2008, 16:40
"Clean with an Old clean 100% cotton T-Shirt"

What's wrong with the undershirt (Hanes) I'm wearing?
It's always clean, and you can't beat the convenience.
Been doing it for 30 years, and it hasn't scratched yet...

Chris

FallisPhoto
05-16-2008, 09:59
I remember reading years ago about a fellow who was really into car detailing. I think the article was in Road & Track. Anyway, this guy wanted to find out which type/brand of soap left the least residue on the car's finish. So to test things he used the soap to clean, believe it or not, his contact lenses. The contacts were of the hard type, but it always did strike me as a bit extreme. Ivory Liquid left no residue.

The only things that leave no residue are things that evaporate completely (pure naptha, pure alcohol, distilled water, and etcetera). Ivory soap doesn't evaporate completely. Maybe it leaves a clear residue, or a unnoticable residue, but it doesn't leave no residue.

mwooten
05-16-2008, 10:27
The only things that leave no residue are things that evaporate completely (pure naptha, pure alcohol, distilled water, and etcetera). Ivory soap doesn't evaporate completely. Maybe it leaves a clear residue, or a unnoticable residue, but it doesn't leave no residue.

But lighter fluid would have been a bit rough for the the guy's contact lens test :)

Pherdinand
05-16-2008, 11:10
Professionally, in optics cleaning e.g. cleaning high reflectance laser mirrors one use methyl-alcohol (methanol).
It's quite poisonous, though.

Acetone is a good solvent and does not harm glass, but it does harm sone organic materials which as said above might be used in the lens housing, in paint, etcetera. Additionally, acetone evaporates way too fast therefore you cannot wipe the dissolved junk off the lens before this happens, so you end up with well-distributed junk.

When we use acetone (even boiling acetone sometimes) to clean silicone chips we always transfer the chip into isopropanol which is of high purity, a reasonable solvent, and dries much slower. Then we blow-dry it.

Ethanol (the alcohol stuff in your booze) is not pure alcohol - cannot be completely separated from water. It is also not the best solvent. So, it can be used to clean lenses, but it's less efficient and you must wipe or blow it off for removing all junk.

oftheherd
06-20-2008, 04:13
1.) use a handblower on all glass surfaces--NOT compressed air
2.) dip Q-tip in pure Acetone and wipe in a circular motion w/ one end
3.) dry w/ the other end
4.) repeat 2 & 3 w/ another Q-tip
5. repeat 2, 3 & 4 using one qt. distilled water w/ a drop or two of liquid dishwashing detergent
6. admire your work
7.) do the above as little as possible!!!!!!!!

NEVER use a microfiber cloth--too many cheapo/ fake ones on the mkt.

To each his own. If you feel it works for you, go for it. Personally, I would not use cotton t-shirts or cotton swabs such as Q-tips. I prefer Kodak lens tissue. Especially made for lens cleaning and very soft and pure. Breath moisture or lens cleaning fluid, or alcohol as a last resort.

I do use filters. I believe the old saw about keeping the lens clean, don't keep cleaning the lens. I don't like to see accumulated dust and other debris. Small amounts will have small effects. But it will increase flare and softness in photos. Granted, it will often be so little as to not really be noticable.

Works for me, but as I said, to each his own.

rbsinto
06-20-2008, 08:00
Thirty years ago, I too cleaned lenses with a blower brush made from the softest pubic hairs of virgins, and moistened the lens elements with Phoenix Tears which I then gently wiped off (with clock-wise circles in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise south of the Equator) using a piece of the finest gossamer material from the gown of an Elvish Princess.
These days, I simply breathe on the lens elements, and wipe off the schmutz with whatever tee-shirt or denim shirt I'm wearing at the time.
Works like a champ and there is no longer any need to try and source those really hard to find blower brushes, and even harder to find virgins.

dazedgonebye
07-20-2008, 07:24
Spit and an old sock.

Ok...I mostly leave them alone. "First, do no harm."

bottley1
08-03-2008, 02:35
I use the Prophot tissues in a sachet. Easy to carry, always moist...

VinceC
08-03-2008, 04:41
Clean cotton t-shirt for my RF lenses and eyeglasses. Fog with breath and wipe clean. I'm quite particular about the optical quality of my eyeglasses, which are multicoated and easily scratched, and this method has worked just fine for many years.

Most lenses have filters. I'll usually wipe dust off the filters with my dry pinky finger.

Frankie
08-03-2008, 08:58
Puns aside, the best way to handle a situation is to first understand it.

Dust or grime on the lens might indeed scratch the lens, so blow it off first. The best tool I found in my 35 years' experience is a Radio Shack solder suck-up device...a red rubber bulb with a white hard plastic tip...it blows better than any feeble "hurricane blowers" or compressed air canister sold in camera stores. $3 each and refill is free:).

The best cleaning cloth I have found is a spectacle cleaning "monofilament" synthetic cloth...use to cost $$$ in camera stores but now free even with knock-off Ray-Bans. I always keep one in a zip-lock bag in my kit. A dirty cloth is no different than rubbing your lens with unknown grits on the surface. Such cloth is hand washable or in any machine setting and last a long long time:D.

Spots on the lens are caused by unknown moisture condensed thereon. Your own breath might just be enough. Straight Vodka, often called "lens cleaner" by optical engineers and opticians...for good reasons. An airline size bottle last a long time. In emergencies, I had even licked the spot with the tip of my tongue...with no ill effect to me or the lens.

Now the cleaning technique: light circular motion is best, no rubbing.

Residue from any lens cleaning fluids (even Kodak made) is bad. Vodka evaporates, fast. If vodka does not work, you can at least drink it;).

FallisPhoto
08-03-2008, 10:48
But lighter fluid would have been a bit rough for the the guy's contact lens test :)

I don't think they make cameras with contact lenses.

FallisPhoto
08-03-2008, 10:58
Professionally, in optics cleaning e.g. cleaning high reflectance laser mirrors one use methyl-alcohol (methanol).
It's quite poisonous, though.

Acetone is a good solvent and does not harm glass, but it does harm sone organic materials which as said above might be used in the lens housing, in paint, etcetera. Additionally, acetone evaporates way too fast therefore you cannot wipe the dissolved junk off the lens before this happens, so you end up with well-distributed junk.

When we use acetone (even boiling acetone sometimes) to clean silicone chips we always transfer the chip into isopropanol which is of high purity, a reasonable solvent, and dries much slower. Then we blow-dry it.

Ethanol (the alcohol stuff in your booze) is not pure alcohol - cannot be completely separated from water. It is also not the best solvent. So, it can be used to clean lenses, but it's less efficient and you must wipe or blow it off for removing all junk.

True, but I hesitate to even mention isopropyl alcohol as a solvent. The problem with recommending any method that uses isopropyl alcohol is that most people who hear about using it and want to try it will head straight for the "health and beauty" section of their local grocery store or drug store. That stuff is only sold in 70% pure and 90% pure states there and will put more crud on the lens than it takes off. I feel a lot more comfortable sending people to a hardware store to get denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol has a good bit of ethyl alcohol in it, but the non-alcohol ingrediants are pretty much just water, not balsams and oils, like drugstore isopropyl contains. Denatured alcohol doesn't leave you with a bigger mess to clean up than you started with, like drugstore isopropyl can, and when it dries, it doesn't leave a residue. Actually, I prefer to use naptha, when possible, because I know that's pure and won't leave a residue. Anything it won't dissolve can be cleaned up later with distilled water.

Also, although ethanol is not a particularly efficient solvent, sometimes that can be a good thing. If you are cleaning an ancient Skopar lens, for example, the last things you'd want to use on it would be acetone or isopropyl alcohol -- unless you actually plan to dissolve the canadian balsam cement holding the lens elements together.

BillBlackwell
08-03-2008, 11:18
A few years ago I attended a Leica street shooting seminar featuring Australian photographer, David Oliver. Based upon Leica's recommendation, David Oliver does not use filters.

When asked how he cleans his lenses, He explained “This what Leica recommends…” he then picked up his Leica MP, turned it toward him, pulled his shirt tail out, and dry rubbed the front of the Noctilux mounted to the camera.

At that critical moment, the audience gasped :eek:.

The fact is Leica’s lens current coatings are so hard, even frequent abuse, such as this, will not result in a scratched lens surface – and Leica backs it up with their Passport Warranty.

What do I do? I use filters on all of my lenses (it so happens, they’re now IR/CUT filters) and the front elements are never touched.

I’m not bloody stupid you know… :rolleyes:

VinceC
08-03-2008, 12:52
Nikon coatings have been enamel-hard since the 1950s. That's why I've never hurt anything using a t-shirt.

FallisPhoto
08-04-2008, 05:40
Nikon coatings have been enamel-hard since the 1950s. That's why I've never hurt anything using a t-shirt.

1. Pentax started baking some of their coatings in 1971 (Takumars). It was found that this hardened the coating and fused it to the glass. It is what made multicoating possible. Prior to that, all lenses were soft-coated, and most wouldn't even stand up to a cleaner with ammonia in it, let alone any type of grit. It was pretty much the last development of any significance in the design of manual focus prime lenses.

2. The reason why cleaning a lens with ANY kind of cloth is a bad idea, is that if there is anything on the lens, it will be stuck between the lens and the cloth and will be rubbed against it. Well, some things are harder than lens coatings. Silica is one of those things, and silica (sand) is pretty much everywhere.

3. Used Nikon lenses are really infamous for having "cleaning marks." Cleaning marks are minor scratches, and most of them come from improper cleaning (thus the name "cleaning marks"). These little swirls on the surface of the lens don't really have an effect on picture taking ability unless you get one heck of a lot of them (in which case they can contribute to lens flare) but they are scratches nevertheless. Leica is even more infamous for them, but there is NO brand that won't scratch.

varjag
08-04-2008, 05:46
Really, just get one of those Zeiss cleaning kits. A brush, a microfiber cloth, spray of liquid, plus 10 pre-moistened wipes for when you in hurry. All in nice Zeiss belt pouch, for mere $20.

retnull
08-18-2008, 04:05
These $%^&#ing lenses cost too much money -- I slap on a skylight filter, then never, ever touch them.

DNG
07-02-2011, 21:02
Washed 100% cotton tee, the one I'm wearing..
Coatings are tougher than you think these days (from the 70's on anyway)

With glass pre 60's.. micro fiber.

LeicaFan
07-03-2011, 00:14
I try not to clean my lenses too much. I'm very careful and make sure never to touch the glass or have it come in contact with liquids. If there are a few dust specs on the lens, I don't mind. When I clean my lenses, I always use a microfiber cloth. For the most part, I'll just lightly move the cloth over the lens so that it picks up any surface contaminants without rubbing them into the glass, possibly scratching the coating.

Bill58
07-03-2011, 00:19
I read somewhere that many "microfiber" cloths are not genuine--maybe made in China--and not suitable for lenses. It's better to use a cotton tipped swab (Q-tip) or old cotton underwear/ t-shirt.

Jockos
07-03-2011, 01:44
While I was working at Canon RCC, the repairmen told me that the best is to exhale at the lens and then rub gently with microfibre cloth.
In case of severe smudge, use one drop of pure ethanol and rub gently with the MF cloth.

kshapero
07-03-2011, 02:54
While I was working at Canon RCC, the repairmen told me that the best is to exhale at the lens and then rub gently with microfibre cloth.
In case of severe smudge, use one drop of pure ethanol and rub gently with the MF cloth.

Yes also my preferred method.:cool:

Voe
07-03-2011, 03:08
When at home:

1. Rocket blower.
2. Lens brush.
3. Lens paper with lens cleaning fluid.

On the road, not cleaning unless there is a finger print an then use my t-shirt.

jenhao
07-03-2011, 19:12
I clean my lenses the same way high-end telescope objectives are supposed to be cleaned:

1. brush/blow
2. cotton balls with a low residue cleaner (I've had best results with Baader Optical Cleaning Fluid). Just drag the cotton. Do not use pressure!
3. followed with a breath to add moisture
4. and followed by a light wipe with a clean cotton cloth.

The Baader fluid is useful for lifting oils and your breath is useful for taking off any remaining water soluble gunk. Definitely better than the Zeiss cleaning fluid when it comes to minimizing residual streaking.


Mark

outfitter
07-20-2011, 06:56
Never touch a lens until you have removed dust, grit etc with a blower or a fine (clean) brush - otherwise you are virtually making sandpaper! Next use an appropriate cleaning fluid or treated cloth (I like 90%+ isopropyl alcohol or the Zeiss treated wiping papers). The fluid can be applied with lens paper (always crumpled) or a proper microfiber cloth or a Q-tip. For persistent smears after fluid has been applied I use a very clean soft real piece of chamois. Always go lightly and avoid cleaning too much and too many times - modest dirt will have little optical effect but over cleaning can physically damage a lens.

ZivcoPhoto
10-29-2011, 20:34
...very,very carefully

semilog
10-29-2011, 20:39
Brillo pad.

PMCC
10-29-2011, 22:37
Brillo pad.

Preferably dry.

Matus
10-30-2011, 01:58
To remove doest the little Hama "lipstick" brush is very good. An accidental fingerprint will be taken away with one breath and wipe with dedicated lens cloth. If the above does not remove the dirt I use the Zeiss lens cleaner fluid together with the lens cloth or special lens cleaning paper (looks like thin tissue). My wife works in laser physics and optics - so I let her to advice me how to clean optical elements :)

John Robertson
10-30-2011, 02:58
I use a very good kit from Zeiss, only when really needed, mostly just a powerful blower, also I dont let anyone but myself handle my lenses, nor do I ever lend them to anyone!! I have learned that the hard way over the last 50 years.:mad:
I worked and saved damned hard to get them, if someone else wants a lens I have they can do the same or do without.
I know it doesn't sound very friendly, but this policy has worked for years and kept me friends. For if there is a problem then I have only myself to blame. For the same reasons I do not borrow lenses or cameras.
There is an old Scottish saying about "ner a borrower or a lender be ( might one of Burns one liners!!) ":rolleyes:

wgerrard
10-30-2011, 04:00
Filters go on my lenses as soon as they're unpacked. I clean the filters by using a blower to get rid of the dust, then a microfiber cloth. I may switch to lens tissue and alcohol after reading this thread.

Probably best to avoid fabric softener when washing that microfiber cloth, or tee shirt, or whatever, because it leaves a bit of residue behind.

Matus
10-30-2011, 04:13
I do use filters on my Mamiya 6 lenses too.

roboflick
10-30-2011, 04:32
Uv filter
Never clean my lenses. The old clean lenses I have, a collapsible summicron with pristine coatings always had a filter. The dirty scratched one never had one. I want to make sure my grandchildren have clean lenses

Nik

Snacks
12-25-2011, 13:50
I usually grab a box of Kimwipes from the school science labs and a bottle of their microscope lens cleaning solution. I dont really like reusable cloths because after a while they accumulate all the dust, dirt, and oil that you wipe off your lenses and soon you're smearing oil all over your lenses instead of cleaning them!

+1 for Kimwipes. Personally, though, I just got a lens pen because I was sick of getting smear marks on my lens from breathing on them and it's great.

JayM
12-25-2011, 18:05
Don't use filters and don't find they really need cleaning. On the odd occasion that someone spits on the glass or something some alcohol and microfiber/cotton swab/t-shirt work just fine.

cosmonaut
12-25-2011, 18:14
Micro fiber cloth for all of my DSLR and Voigtlander glass, lightly with tissue for the Summicron which I try not to clean. Alcohol don't work for a recovering alcoholic.

raid
12-25-2011, 19:10
When at home, i use a cleaner for optical glasses by Zeiss, and when on the go, i use a microfiber cloth.

Phil_F_NM
12-25-2011, 19:23
I clean with extremely fine sand.

Phil Forrest

f16sunshine
12-25-2011, 19:48
When at home, i use a cleaner for optical glasses by Zeiss, and when on the go, i use a microfiber cloth.


Hello Raid

Do you mean like the small disposable Pre-Moistened "cloths" used for eye glasses? I have used those in the past and they worked very well.
It seems like Zeiss changed something when I bought the last box of them.
They were quite dry and ineffective compared to before.

burancap
12-26-2011, 06:52
Any of the first 4 responses works for me, depending on what is being cleaned off.

Cyriljay
01-26-2012, 17:48
Only in the top rack.

Do you add extra anti-limescale tablets as well?

Cyriljay
01-26-2012, 17:52
I have Loreal Make up brush and Chamois skin for optic cleaning which I can reuse after washing. Very safe soft cleaning for lenses.

filmfan
01-26-2012, 18:02
Tee-shirt if any cleaning at all

Tessar.
01-30-2012, 01:57
I always use a blower first, then a q-tip wetted with a little Eclipse cleaning fluid (which evaporates very quickly), then a dry q tip to make sure the surface is dry and free of residue.

agour
01-30-2012, 01:59
rub it on my t shirt.

Im too lazy to carry around additional cleaning equipment

Teuthida
01-30-2012, 04:55
lenspen.

If I dont have that with me, my cotton t shirt works fine.

thirtyfivefifty
01-30-2012, 09:59
Preventive: lens hood, B+W filter.
Post-shoot: air blower, microfiber for body.
If necessary: lens pen

I try to keep messing with my lenses at a minimal.

n5jrn
02-05-2012, 19:23
As little as possible and as gently as possible. Particularly my coated Summitar.

If it's just dusty, I will always first try to blast the dust off with a Giotto's rocket. If that fails, I'll try fogging the lens with my breath (i.e. nothing but a trace of distilled water) and using a lens tissue. If that fails, I'll try moistening the tissue in lens-cleaning solution first.

DanOnRoute66
02-10-2012, 12:32
Lens brush/blower to blow away or gently wipe away grit. Any smudges get cleaned up with a very light wiping with lens cleaner and tissue.

jwnash1
02-10-2012, 14:38
I use a microfiber cloth and a Promaster Lenspen.

rbiemer
02-11-2012, 05:59
I mostly don't.
Mostly I gently blow/brush away any actual pieces of stuff and other wise leave the lens alone.
Very occasionally, I will get out the lens cleaner fluid and either a new microfiber--NOT the one I use on my eyeglasses!--or lens tissues and clean the lens. I mostly have a filter on my lenses (typically a yellow or yellow-green when I'm shooting BW, a UV on when I'm shooting color ) and would rather clean the filter than the lens.
Rob

johannielscom
02-11-2012, 14:35
Whenever I sneeze over a lens, I clean it with a microfibre cloth.

Other than that, I do not clean my lenses at all.

:D

al1966
03-04-2012, 17:21
A big blower first, one thats meant for sensors, if that does not work a brush and finally if I have been a klutz I use one of these fancy cloth things. I only use the cloth for a short time and then replace as I have a few in sealed packets and the old one cleans my monitor or reading glasses.

Corto
03-04-2012, 18:09
Unless there are Raindrops or grease smudges, I let it be or gently blow dust off.

A leftower from telescopic rifle sights. Old habit.

Bill Clark
03-05-2012, 04:42
I have a "UV Protector" filter on the front of the lens I use the most and with many different locations. The cameras used in less adverse environments I don't any filter on the front.

When cleaning I usually use a cotton T-Shirt and cleaner.

I keep the cameras, when not in use, either in my Pelican case or in a bookshelf library that has a hinged glass door for each section. This seems to give adequate protection from dust and other stuff floating around!

robert blu
06-24-2016, 08:21
i think to use blower first, followed if still needed delicate wiping witg PEC-PAD paper (lint-free ultra soft) and lens cleaning fluid.
Not very oft...
robert

Spanik
06-24-2016, 13:30
Bit of whatever is around. Shirt and breath, microfiber with or without alcohol, paper tissue, window cleaning fluid, mix of hydrogen peroxide+ammoniac+distilled water.

nikonosguy
06-24-2016, 16:54
i use an sos pad...










just kidding

vladimir
06-25-2016, 14:51
A lot has been written on usage of UV/ Clear filters on lenses. Ignoring all that when I buy a new lens I buy a best quality Clear Multi Coated filter for it. All that I have to clean is the filter surface not the lens.

peterm1
06-25-2016, 19:32
I think it to be important to get rid of grit or dust with a blast of air before any wiping commences. Otherwise there is a greater risk of scratching of lens surfaces. To finish up, I often use a liquid cleaner on a micro fibre cloth if smudges are present on the lens surface.

As to the lens body I often use a dedicated smallish sized (one inch wide) paint brush that I bought for this purpose. This gets rid of dust in crevices. Then if there is any oily grunge etc (more a problem with newly bought second hand lenses) I then use a dedicated toothbrush lightly dampened with a kitchen cleaning spray. I do not spray the lens itself of course. Then a final wipe with a clean dry cloth.

biginovero
06-28-2016, 07:20
I remember using a special cloth made and sold by leica years ago, alas I lost it, it costed a small fortune if one looks at such accessories now.

I usually resort to some small drops of distilled water on lens cleaning tissues, the tissues after wetting are used as sponges, leaving delicately some distilled water on the surface without pressuring directly with my fingers.

Then i remove the excess water with dry tissues, almost without pressuring.

In case of old lenses with some finger grease or worst I use isopropyl alcohol applied in the same way.

this alcohol tends sometimes to leave some halo that can be removed with distilled water as above.


With very dirty lenses this method is still partially successful, since grease and soot are not completely removed until many passes have been performed.

Dogman
06-28-2016, 09:18
I use UV filters so the lenses don't need cleaning very often. When they do, materials vary but the method is always the same--clean gently.

I cannot recall if it was a new E. Leitz lens or a new E. Leitz Trinovid binocular I bought once in the long distance past that recommended using a soft cotton cloth and breath condensation.

giganova
06-28-2016, 09:54
Car wash! :D

I also use the Zeiss 'wet wipes'. Tried microfiber but they leave strains of fiber on the lens, not good!

unixrevolution
07-07-2016, 20:38
I always make sure to wear 100% cotton t-shirts.

But seriously, softest cloth available, as gently as possible.

lens pens are a good thing.

jim0266
08-18-2016, 11:47
i do use filters on my lenses, but when I do clean my filters I first blow off any dust, etc with a rocket blower or canned air. Then apply Scotch Tape as needed to lift off fingerprints or anything adhered to the filter. That's usually all I need. The last step would be ROR (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/64495-REG/ROR_RO212D_Residual_Oil_Remover.html) and a lens cloth.

Scotch tape also works magic to clean my laptop screen.

Learned this trick from on old timer during a photo internship while in college.

Ronald M
08-18-2016, 16:34
Blow of what will come off, try a brush, resort to lens cleaner.

I take great pains to use caps and not clean them

ChrisPlatt
08-18-2016, 17:45
Machine wash warm; tumble dry low.

Chris

mpaniagua
09-08-2016, 11:01
Machine wash warm; tumble dry low.

Chris

And of course you put some Downy on it right? :)

Zathros
09-10-2016, 18:12
Machine wash warm; tumble dry low.

Chris

This is MY preferred method (https://fstoppers.com/video/humor-how-you-should-be-cleaning-your-camera-lenses-6109) for cleaning ALL expensive lenses.

ChrisPlatt
09-13-2016, 01:17
And of course you put some Downy on it right? :)

Only when I want a soft focus effect.

Chris

Bille
09-13-2016, 08:15
Easy, here´s all you need to know
https://adriandiscipulo.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/how-to-clean-your-camera-lens/

oftheherd
09-30-2016, 08:08
Only when I want a soft focus effect.

Chris

:D :D :D

flavio81
09-30-2016, 08:58
Anti-reflection coating (mostly magnesium fluoride) is extra hard. It is never scratched by papers; what scratches the coating is dirt and similar particles.

What i use is glass cleaner (like Windex) and soft toilet paper (which is a cheap substitute for tissue).

I blow the lens with a big blower thingy; then i apply glass cleaner to a bit of toilet paper, clean from the center to the outside and then i wipe off the residue with a bit of fresh paper.

Works every time perfectly without scratches or residue.

Fraser
10-08-2016, 07:55
all my lenses have filters on them from new (or new to me) so never really clean the lens only the filter which is normally the corner of my tshirt/shirt/jumper etc.

Talus
10-22-2016, 06:19
all my lenses have filters on them from new (or new to me) so never really clean the lens only the filter which is normally the corner of my tshirt/shirt/jumper etc.

This, for the most part. I use one of those retractable brushes for lenses that don't have a clear filter. Keeping the hood on all of the time has kept fingerprints at bay, so it's just managing dust for the most part.

lxmike
10-22-2016, 07:47
usually my cotton t shirt:o

seany65
10-22-2016, 07:59
usually my cotton t shirt:o


Hmmm. You are doing it properly, by running 5 miles while wearing the t-shirt and then cleaning the lens with it, yes?

nukecoke
10-22-2016, 08:09
Hmmm. You are doing it properly, by running 5 miles while wearing the t-shirt and then cleaning the lens with it, yes?

It will give special bokeh effect :D. You may name it "Sumo".

MikeL
10-22-2016, 09:32
Hmmm. You are doing it properly, by running 5 miles while wearing the t-shirt and then cleaning the lens with it, yes?

Too much salt in the sweat, could lead to flaring.

Stick to tshirt plus distilled virgin tears.

Talus
10-22-2016, 17:20
Too much salt in the sweat, could lead to flaring.

Stick to tshirt plus distilled virgin tears.


Got a link for them tears? My old vendor went out of business.

Focalplane
12-03-2016, 15:34
I just lick it and a little 300 grit sandpaper and she's good to go.

raid
12-04-2016, 04:27
Hello Raid

Do you mean like the small disposable Pre-Moistened "cloths" used for eye glasses? I have used those in the past and they worked very well.
It seems like Zeiss changed something when I bought the last box of them.
They were quite dry and ineffective compared to before.

Hi Andy,
Yes, they are dry now, so I use some lens cleaning liquid for a few drops.

Nokton48
09-06-2018, 15:11
The front of my 30mm Hasselblad Fisheye Distagon was very cloudy dirty and I cleaned it with a Zeiss lens cleaning kit I bought on Ebay. Now it is like new. I have enough wipes and Zeiss spray in large bottles to last a lifetime.

Sometimes I just breathe on my lenses and filters and wipe them gently with my clean cotton tee shirt. That usually does the job.

Dwig
09-19-2018, 08:06
Step #1, of course, is to meticuliously clean the lens cap(s). You don't want to dump dust and grit from a dirty cap onto a cleaned lens.

CMur12
09-19-2018, 15:24
I'm not sure which of the items listed in the poll would be most accurate for me.


I blow dust off the lens and inside of the lens cap with a large bulb blower.


I breathe onto a lens tissue or micro-fiber cloth and onto the lens, then gently wipe the lens. I haven't needed to use lens cleaning fluid in many years, and I'm not sure I even have any around.


- Murray

pagpow
09-19-2018, 16:09
I was interested to see how few people mentioned ROR (Residual Oil Remover). Is that because it is relatively unknown, other people are careful never to get oils on their lenses, or people know something I don't about ROR?

Phil_F_NM
09-20-2018, 18:07
While I replied early in the thread that I use very fine sand (the most I have used is Iraqi sand) I also occasionally use straight up concrete and simply drop the camera on it.
http://gallery.leica-users.org/d/299332-2/L1005562_E.jpg

Phil Forrest

pgk
09-23-2018, 00:13
I remember watching a sports photographer at Silverstone many years ago. First he extracted a Nikon F2 camera from his bag; no body cap so he blew the dust out with a good lungfull. He then removed a 300mm Nikkor; no caps, fitted it to the body and then scrubbed the front element 'clean' using his tie (I wondered why he was wearing one).

For those who use dishwashers or clothes washers can I recommend Techwash which is a pure soap .....