Clean dust from SLR mirror?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by chip j, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    This dust won't blow away. I was thinking of using a microfiber cloth or a Q-tip w/distilled water. Any ideas? Thanks in advance, Chip
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I just cleaned the mirror of a AE-1 with some kind of fuel... dripped on a paper tissue. Went perfectly.


    But... the reflecting layer of such first surface mirror most likely is coated for the protection of the metal. And this coating may be affected by cleaning fluids.

    The next try after in vain blowing should be use of a very soft brush. Cleaned bevor in fuel to avoid any grease marks.
    You could also use a wooden toothpick as it would affect only that very point at the mirror.


    The mirror can stand quite some dust. Haze would be more critical. So one has to weigh the risk of removing some uncritical specks against ruining the whole mirror. So at least make a test at one corner.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2014
  3. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Q-tip and distilled water is #1 choice.
     
  4. elekm

    elekm Member

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    As long as it's not a pellicle mirror, just clean it with a clean dry white tissue (no scents, no lotion) and some eyeglass cleaner.

    First use some compressed air to blow away debris. Spray away from the camera once or twice before blowing the air on the mirror.

    Spray the cleaner onto the tissue and wipe off the mirror.

    Wipe, turn the tissue, wipe again. I use some long tweezers or forceps for this job.

    If you have black gunk stuck to the mirror, that's the foam bumper, which should be replaced. It's also an indication that the foam seals should be replaced. If that is the case here. If you do have black gunk on the mirror, you probably will have to use some lighter fluid to remove it. Then clean the mirror as described above.

    The mirror has no role in forming the image on film, so just clean it with the usual amount of care.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Same here.

    Jeff
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Exempting cameras using a pellicle, since the mirror has no effect on the formation of a film image don't worry about it or have a professional clean it. Use only air. Never apply any pressure or use any solvents even water. These are first surface mirrors and are very delicate, There is no coating protecting the metal. Any scratches you put in the mirror will be more distracting than any dust.
     
  7. momus

    momus Member

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    I use one of those cheap lens cleaning kits, the one w/ the little red bottle (mine has lasted 10 years so far!), blower brush and lens papers. Just soak one of the papers (not too much) in the fluid and give it a quick wipe, then another quick wipe w/ a dry paper. Works great. I wonder how mine has managed to last so long? Still perfectly clean water in it too, or whatever the fluid is.
     
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    A very fine, flat profile artist's sable-haired brush. If it is a benign rear-silvered mirror, hold the camera up to a light shining in the mirror box and use the sable-hair brush to collect dust. Finish with a few light puffs of a blower brush.
     
  9. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I use window cleaner on a soft, ultra clean tissue, applied to the tissue (only a drop) and carefully wipe the mirror with the tissue on my finger. Then dry with a dry portion. The thing to watch for is to not even touch that foam bumper that the front of the mirror's edeg touches when taking an exposure and to not EVER touch that fresnel screen just below the prism. If you do, it gets very messy to clean up. - David Lyga
     
  10. Xmas

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    Nikons user manual says only use a blower brush.
     
  11. Newt_on_Swings

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    rocket blower, and eclipse solution and pec pads for stubborn specs. Make sure you handle the pec pad carefully to minimize any oils migrating from fingers.
     
  12. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    What is eclipse solution?
     
  13. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I have worked on a good many cameras, particularly Nikkormats and Pentaxes. When a camera comes through these 40 years with every owner scared to clean the mirrors, at this point they need a good cleaning, for the better or worse of it. Air and brushes just don't cut it. So what I do is go at it with Q-tips and Kodak Lens Cleaner, or the like. Use lots of Q-tips rotating them fequently to keep the crud on the mirror from becoming a piece of sand that you are ruining the mirror with as you wipe.. That gets them much cleaner. Then I switch to using plain distilled water, to clean the mess that Lens Cleaning fluid makes.. Before you do all this, brush the mirror to get off as much dust and loose particles as possible. This crap makes your Q-tip into sandpaper, if you don't. By the time it's all over, my mirrors are clean as a whistle and not a single scratch that wasn't already there.
     
  14. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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  15. Xmas

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    If the dust is sticky it is probably mirror bumper or light trap foam and it is best to replace the foam first. The film and black paint dust should blower brush off readily.

    I've serviced more than one old SLR (just like Tom) with a badly scratched mirror I tell the owner to stop cleaning it... yes one can replace the mirror but I don't offer...

    The viewfinder still works ok even if badly scratched but selling it at a premium mission impossible. It like a lens with cleaning marks.

    If your SLR has a vertical running metal shutter it might not like bits of old foam bouncing around the mirror box I've been asked to swap shutters from a parts camera after the original shutter turned into metal orgami, owners always deny fat finger problems or mirror covered in goo.

    I don't accept cosmetic surgery jobs, hate working with vertical shutters.
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    What is the difference between vertically and horizontally running shutters concerning the affect by morsels of foam rubber?

    EDIT:
    I guess I got what you mean. It is not the running direction but the construction:
    curtain versus stiff, overlapping elements
    The latter being more prone to sticking due to that sliding overlap.

    And the former type runs horizontally, the latter vertically...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2014
  17. Xmas

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    Hi AgX

    The vertical travel ones don't need much interference to bend the shutter metal or actuating arms, which normally means whole module replacement e.g. a fat finger is bad. They do look pretty when bent...

    The horizontal ones even when in metal like the Nikon SP, F, F2 or Canon VI. P, 7, or F normally only need new ribbons as the blinds will still be ok after most failures they will work crinkly, all my Canon P are ok like that.

    But even the silk fabric (horizontal) ones wont necessarily ignore bits of sticky rubber.

    If your foam is sticky replace promptly or accept possible consequences, like uneven running blind and ruined photo...

    Noel
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes. I guess anyone with a few cameras from that period got to know that goo. But even worse than being sticky is that it is corrosive (to aluminium, copper, brass).

    So any deterioating foam rubber should be removed as soon as possible, even íf no substitute is at hand, especially morsels on the mirror. A sketch with locations and sizes might come handy.
     
  19. Xmas

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    Confirmed, I need to sketch.

    The foam can eat Olympus OM1 pentaprism coating... , you need to lift the top plate and clean.