Cleaning seawater sprayed filters

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by arigram, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    The title says it all: How do I clean a Calumet/Hoya multicoated glass filter that has been lighly sprayed by seawater? I tried a bit with a lens cloth and just smeared the mess. I hope it did not damage the coating or the glass. Since regular lens liquids cannot be used, should I look for an exotic hard-to-find chemical or can I get by with a simpler technique?
     
  2. galyons

    galyons Member

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    Use distilled water. Sea water leaves behind a residue of salt, minerals and organic matter. The distilled water will rehydrate the residue. Rinse the residue off. shake off as much of the distilled water as possible. Gently dry with lens tissue.

    Cheers,
    Geary
     
  3. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I just use any available fresh water (usually from the boat's fresh water tank), then dry gently with a soft cloth or lens tissue.

    Best,
    Helen
     
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  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Being as the salt spray is already well dried, I'd use plain water, perhaps with a bit of gentle detergent to rehydrate, and dissolve the salts, as Helen suggested. Just let the water and drop of detergent pool on the filter, swish it around a bit after a few minutes, and then rinse well with tap water before applying a soft lens cloth.
     
  5. galyons

    galyons Member

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    Not to be a stickler, but I'd be careful with Tap Water. What comes out of the tap varies greatly throughout the world. In many locations the tap water is very hard with high levels of mineral salts. Generally not the best to use on the soft coatings of filters.

    This is not a problem for me in the SF Bay Area because we get very pure, soft water siphoned from the Yosemite Valley. It WAS definitely a problem when I lived in the Las Vegas Valley and the California Central Valley. That was nearly 20 years ago, but the hard water in those areas left more residue than it removed! In recent times, I have been at locations in the Southwest and the Midwest and I can attest to the fact that in many of those locations the water has high mineral salt contents.

    Now, for English water, I have to segue to my beer brewing. I dump a "Hell of a lot" of mineral salts to replicate English tap waters to make British ales.
    The mineral concoction is commonly called "Burton Water salts".

    I do agree with Ralph that sometimes a dish detergent will help, especially where there are organic and/or oily residues.
    YMMV,
    Geary
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I work with glass a great amount and always recommend using distilled or bottled water to ensure your not introducing any more salts or minerals than are already there.

    Never wipe or rub the filter with a cloth, without first soaking or at least rinsing the filter with fresh water, I normally use fresh warm water if available and a can of air to blow dry the filter.

    I shoot in Yellowstone national park alot, and the geysers are heavy with minerals, I always carry plastic containers with me that I can fill with distilled water and soak the filter in case of contanimation, I then rinse and blow off with canned air and then let air dry.

    One of the biggest problems with wiping filters that have been sprayed is you will drive the minerals into the filter ring, which can cause corrosion to form under the ring, and you will almost always scratch the coating. I also use a very mild dish soap, as we do with our ground glass screen to help 'float' the contamination away.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow Ground Glass
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    You're correct, Geary, I should have been more clear about the tap water being only for rinsing off the water/detergent mix prior to conventional cleaning. Distilled or bottled water would be far better as a rinse, and less likely to have either dissolved minerals or particulate contamination.
     
  8. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    The soft "Lifeventure" towels available from outdoor shops are great for covering the camera in rain and spray and are also soft enough to wipe the filter. They are much thicker and more absorbent than lens cloths yet very soft. I use one with my Lee resin filters quite happily, so should be fine for your Hoya glass one. Best to remove spray before it dries, otherwise concur soaking with deionised water before wiping.
    In misty/spray conditions, I insert another filter in the front slot which gets removed (covered in any spray) just before making the exposure.
     
  9. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    I have used watery soap in the past to clean finger-oil off filters, followed by tap water, followed by distilled water and dry by hairdrier: glad to see I wasn't doing anything too silly...


    Don't forget to add enough chlorine to make you drink the water holding your nose shut & flouride (whether you want it or not)... Actually, I'm tickled pink you can actually buy a product designed reproduce English water - I hope it's to reproduce spring/stream water rather than the stuff that comes out my tap though!


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  10. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Why should water that is high in mineral salts affect filter coatings any more than distilled water? In most of the situations that I've been in when my cameras have been sprayed with seawater or mud the chances of finding distilled water have been nil. It's more important to get the stuff off quickly in the freshest water you have available.

    Best,
    Helen
    All this talk of seawater makes me wonder how many sailors there are on the forum. I enjoy sailing, and have a little yawl built in 1896. Bill Tillman, who I met a few times, is probably my all-time hero and role model. He was a bit more talkative than I am, though.
     
  11. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Been sailing since before I could walk (initially not of my own volition). Most of us have photographed the things we love at some time or another. Got any images?

    Oh re the filters; being somewhat acquainted with the problem that you have on a regular basis, I agree with the plain, clean water suggestions.
    Or you might go with charcol micro-filtered, distilled, PH neutral, UV blasted but untouched by human hands variety if you prefer and you have some handy. :smile:

    .... and don't rub them until they are clean of salt residue for obv reasons.

    Best, john.
     
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  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Well as I work in glass, I have learned to carry 'clean' water with me, for those times that it required.

    The cleanest water available may be more harmful that the water that has contaminated the filter..

    Just my obeservation after several years of shooting in mineral laden water areas..

    Looking at it from the perspective of someone who is expected to deliver the most clean glass that I can, I will take the extra precautions to ensure that my lenses and filters are as clean as possible.


    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow Ground Glass
     
  13. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Because evaporation will leave a residue of any disolved material. In practice, if you dry the filter well with a lens cloth this will be minimal. Some disolved salts might also damage the coating.

    David.
     
  14. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Thank you all for the very informative responses. I am sure there are others that this simple but valuable tip can assist in their photographic adventures.
    After dunking in warm distilled water, leaving it for half an hour then moving it in cold distilled water for a bit, I shook it for the excess water to come out then wiped it with a lens cloth and left it to air dry.
    It looks fine now.
    Thank you all!
    I was out and about the city shooting since my brother stole the jeep and I was vehicleless for a longer excursion, I found myself in the port. The day had some of the most beautiful clouds and clouds are rare in Crete, unless they follow a winter rainfall. The wind was very strong and the Mediterranean wild so I took a few rolls before my uncovered hands and neck felt like they were melting.
    Then I noticed the spray on the filter so I called it a day.
     
  15. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    It may not necessarily be sailing. It seems to me there is a large contingent on APUG who live on or very near their local coastline and therefore we occasionally get sprayed with salt water.
    It would be interesting to see how many of us are 'coasties' and how many are 'inlanders'.

    My personal preference is to gently soak in a warm soap solution then rinse with warm water and dry with a hairdryer on a 'cool' setting.

    I do the same when cleaning my lens filters.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2005