Lens cleaning fluid, recommendations

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by jmcd, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. jmcd

    jmcd Member

    Messages:
    715
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    I try to clean my lens only when necessary. While blowing my lens with a bulb and brusing away debris with a camel's-hair brush most often gets the lens reasonably clean, sometimes lens cleaing fluid is in order. I have been using Kodak lens cleaning fluid, with the Kodak lens cleaning tissues. I find that, at least with my technique, the Kodak fluid tends to leave a thin smeary residue, and I wipe the lens surface more than I want to to try to get the lens clear. I would appreciate your recommendations on a safe lens cleaning fluid that does a good job, and of course your techniques for cleaning lenses. Thanks. John
     
  2. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,129
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought some Kodak cleaning fluid and tissue and agree with your finding! I rarely use it! Looking forward to seeing some replies!
     
  3. BobF

    BobF Member

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pikes Peak
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I dislike using cleaning fluid and put it off as long as possible probably because of past experience with Kodak's product. Recently I really needed to clean a couple of lenses and found a product called ROR which I used with a micro fiber cloth and a light touch. It may not be the ultimate but it beats the heck out of Kodaks for not leaving a scum. BTW I have also found that not all micro fiber cloths are created equal, some are a lot softer and presumably easier on the lens.

    I will look forward to better suggestions from the others.
     
  4. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Life is too short... I use a can of air to blow off anything big and wipe the rest off with a microfiber cloth. I'm not talking about the $10 one you find in the impulse buy (counter) at your local photo stoor. I buy mine at Long's drug store. They were $2.99 each.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,323
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a HAMA Lens Pen. It really works well and is awesome for getting right into the edges of the lens. One end of it has a lens brush, and the other end has what looks like a small cloth covered suction cup (which has a plastic over cap when not in use). I was skeptical at first because a dealer gave it to me with a lens purchase. But man, just a few gentle circular motions and my lens is totally crystal. I highly recommend it.
     
  6. BobF

    BobF Member

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pikes Peak
    Ross

    Don't you worry about long term use of the pen as it must accumulate grit particles no matter how well you blow or brush the lens off beforehand. Heck, I even wash my microfiber cloths from time to time and don't often use them even then. If I'm careful it's easily a year or more before a lens gets anything more than air or soft brush. But Colorado is a long ways from salt spray.
     
  7. John Hicks

    John Hicks Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    ROR or green Windex. A big part of the problem is that many lens-cleaning tissues somewhat dissolve; that's what makes the gunk. I use Kimwipes, but unfortunately they don't come in the handy small packet.

    Lenses shouldn't need much scrubbing. If your lenses really need cleaning more than once a month or so you most likely should just use a UV filter so that when it gets scratched and foggy you'll be throwing away only the filter.

    BTW...I was around the last time magic lens-cleaning cloths and brushes were the rage. Eventually enough people got tired of scratching their lenses that those things faded away. It's not that the cloths are bad, it's the grit etc that's picked up in the cloth.
     
  8. George

    George Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Never use canned air on lenses. It causes local temperature change on the lens surface and the lens can easily crack! ROR is the professional solution. George
     
  9. paul owen

    paul owen Member

    Messages:
    106
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    ROR ( avery small amount) on a Kauser Microfibre cloth for stubborn marks but if your lens is fitted with a filter then it should only need MINIMAL cleaning ( the odd blast with an air bulb). Prevention is better than cure!!
     
  10. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,611
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use a Lenspen,I don't like liquids they quite often cause more problems than they cure, they can get into the lens at the edges and cause seperation in the Canada Balsam that's used to cement the elements togeather, in extreme cases.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2009
  11. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use this set which Carl Zeiss advertises on their website. Works fine. Chemicals should only be used as the last resort when it comes to lens cleaning IMO.
     
  12. Lightproof

    Lightproof Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use a small paintbrush, isopropyl aclcohol, and destilled water only in the 2nd run. The surface of coatings tends to be hydrophobic, so I can navigate a small drop of water over the elements. I get perfectly (!) clean glass by that. When the glass becomes fogged, you can't even see cleaning stripes et cetera.
     
  13. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

    Messages:
    728
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmette,Ill
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use Clear Sight with Kimwipes, and have used ROR in the past, but can't find it currently. There are many good choices and I think technique is more important than the actual cleaning solution. Years ago I met the man who makes (made?) ROR and he said the best tissue to use was Kleenex, which seemed a bit strange to me. On the other hand he was most excited about selling Eucolyptus extract to cure the world's ailments.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,727
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
     
  16. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

    Messages:
    1,884
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Texas,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    If you always keep your lenses covered and keep them from elemental exposure you'll seldom need to use any kind of fluid. I try to never touch touch a lens' surface with anything at all preferring to try and blow away any specs of dust with canned gas. However, there are times when there is just no other way to clean a lens than to use fluid. I use KimWipes and a quality fluid use practically no pressure at all... only until the tissue gives a bit. I take my time and have never damaged the coatings to any of my lenses. Well, okay, there was that first time when I was 13 before I knew what damage carelessness I can do... but I learned my lesson and haven't done that again.
     
  17. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have 12 video cameras that go out with students. As you might expect I clean the lenses often! Mostly a microfiber cloth does the job, maybe a little moisture from breath and the cloth. When it is really stubborn I pull out the liter bottle of Kodak cleaner and use a microfiber cloth. The above has kept me happy for a number of years and I hardly ever need the Kodak solution, but glad I have it when it is needed.

    And no I refuse to run "clear" filters on our glass, there are few filters that I would put in front that don't offer some kind of side effect that should be avoided. The only filters I would use are AR coated and cost way too much money in the size I need (85mm). They (almost all) add some kind of distortion to the image too, whether slight color shift, or increased flare, or something else.

    Yes I treat my (personal) still camera lenses the same, but I rarely need to clean them as I rarely touch the glass.
     
  18. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,622
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Zeiss pre-moistened, comes in individual packets. Very handy to carry along as well.
     
  19. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I just use the Zeiss pre-moistened lens cloths. $3/50 at walmart.
     
  20. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Subscriber

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ottawa, Cana
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    This is not correct if the canned air is used correctly according to the instructions on the can, if it is not you can get splatter from the liquid coming out instead of gas/vapour (never ever shake the can) which may stain the lens, very little likelihood of cracking it even then. I work in precision optics and use canned air every day on lenses made from all kinds of optical glass, never cracked one yet!
    In general for camera lenses I'd recommend the camel hair brush then clean microfibre if required. At work if there are still stains I use a very high purity grade isopropyl alcohol but you cannot buy that at a retail store (the rubbing alcohol grade IPA I find leaves smears) so if that doesn't do it I will use Windex type glass cleaner. I expect other similar products like the Zeis cleaners would work as well. The key thing is to use the smallest amount possible on a fresh wipe - and only after any dust has been removed with canned air or a brush.
     
  21. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You can buy 99% isopropyl alcohol at electronics stores like Fry's.
     
  22. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,468
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Location:
    Texas Hill C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Everybody gasp at once. I use a retractable make up brush I bought at a beauty supply store to knock any dust off. I then take a cotton ball (real 100% cotton ratheer than the synthetic stuff) tear it in half. Dampen one half with denatured alcohol (not rubbing alcohol) that I get at the local home store in the paint department. It is also use as fuel for gas stoves on boats. I clean the lens with the dampened piece and then use the dry piece to dry it with. For both operations I use a circular motion starting in the center and not much pressure. Bill Barber
     
  23. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,248
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I sometimes use Scotch tape, the magic type. Just stick it to the lens and when you pull it off it is left very clean and clear. No residue and it will even take off some oils. Don't believe me then try it on some old lens you don't care about. It won't take off coating.

    Otherwise I use breath and q-tips.
    Dennis
     
  24. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

    Messages:
    1,884
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Texas,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Wouldn't alcohol attack the metal oxide coatings?
     
  25. jime11

    jime11 Member

    Messages:
    72
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    has anyone tried the polymer cleaner OPTI-CLEAN? I've read you brush it on like nail polish & after it cures you pull the film off leaving an ultra clean lens.
     
  26. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Subscriber

    Messages:
    284
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Ottawa, Cana
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    No.