Best way to clean a focusing screen?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I just bought a new focusing screen for my Nikon F4 and it has a fingerprint on it. I know cleaning focusing screens can be tricky so I wondered if any one knew any SAFE tricks?
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    The truth? Don't unless it's glass. If the print is on the smooth side, then blow/brush off any dust and be careful with the scrubbing. I use eyeglass cleaner and a clean soft cotton flannel cloth laundered without fabric softener.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2012
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    What CGW said. If it came to you with a fingerprint, return it for one without a fingerprint.
     
  4. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I almost started a thread yesterday asking for advice on cleaning an F/F2 screen.

    There are already quite a few threads on the topic if one searches. After going through a few of them, I came away with the impression that it's best to leave your focusing screen alone unless you really know what you're doing.

    The other day I scratched up my (glass) G2 screen by wiping it gently with a dry microfiber cloth. I didn't get any of the gunk off the screen, and actually left some lint on the microprism dot which would not budge afterward, even with a blast of compressed air.

    Dots and smudges on the screen are hell if you're compulsive like me.
     
  5. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    If the screen is made of two parts in a frame (like the F/F2 ones), you need to take it apart first.

    Then gently wash the parts in lukewarm water and a detergent (dishwashing liquid). A final rinse should be in a very dilute solution of Photoflo (if you have it), baby shampoo, very dilute wasing up liquid or similar (to avoid water drying marks but pure & diluted enough not to leave any traces of its own), shaken well and let dry in a clean place (do not touch surfaces after the first washing).

    I've made many very grotty screens look new again this way (both glass and plastic - as long as they can be removed from the camera).

    If the print is on the smooth side of a screen, then it can be wiped off without a complete washing (also possible if plastic, but veeery gently...).
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Rol-Lei Nut has it right, I've cleaned a lot of screens from a variety of cameras and warm water and washing up liquid to get the grime off, but very gently so as not to scratch, then wash well with running water. I use a glass cleaner for the final rinse as it drains & drys with no marks.

    I never dry clean lenses or screens I always use a proper liquid glass cleaner. About 8 years ago I bought a 10x8 camera with a 12" Dago described as having slight separation, a wet clean removed 70+ years of accumulated filth pushed to the edges by poor cleaning :D There was no separation :smile:

    Clean properly and well and you get as good as new in most cases.

    Ian