Lens front element cleaning..

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Richard, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Tom Richard

    Tom Richard Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Beeing a new member i´m not too familiar with the search function. I tried but came up short handed so here it goes..

    Having used Kodak´s lens cleaning paper as well as Kodak´s lens cleaning fluid for the last 20+ years as a proffesional photographer it appears that my Kodak lens cleaning paper stock is running out. Sooo...how do i clean my front element of my beautiful Hasselblad lenses without these brilliant products? Any advice and comment is appreciated for sure!
     
  2. HTF III

    HTF III Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Genuine Q-tip brand with the white paper sticks. Hasn't scratched yet. And plain distilled water, unless it is a greasy smudge where something stronger like a little dilute Windex or somesuch.
     
  3. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

    Messages:
    755
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    One approach. Remember, telescope people are fanatical about cleaning. There are models of telescopes where having never cleaned the lens is part of a sales listing since any cleaning risks scratches or marks that can reduce sharpness or brightness when your eyes and light are at the far limits. Anyway-

    http://www.televue.com/engine/TV3b_page.asp?id=103

    Oh, acetone and camera lenses are a big no-no. It will dissolve paints, plastics, all sorts of ulginess. Again, astronomy equipment is often constructed differently than camera optics.
     
  4. Tom Richard

    Tom Richard Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks a lot for the comments so far! Dan, that was some interesting reading for sure although probably not so practical in a photographic situation as field cleaning is a part of the game.
    None the less very useful knowledge and thanks a bunch for the link!

    ---

    Isnt there anyone out there who offers a complete solution like Kodak used to do?

    ---

    Not sure if i´m able to get a hold of the genuine Q tip in my neck of the woods. Most alternative i have seen has been som cheap plastic knock off. Alcohol is mentioned, what kind and isnt this too strong for the lens coating?
     
  5. HTF III

    HTF III Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The reason I said genuine Q tip is because they are known pure cotton with no synthetic, and since all the fibers are attached to the stick, it is very lint-free. As for some weak Windex for fingerprints, distilled water alone does well. You'll know. If the distilled water doesn't seem to be cutting the grease, go to the weak Windex. I've taken apart and cleaned a good many lenses, including Hasselblad, and you couldn't pay me a nickel to change. Never scratched yet, as long as you brush away grit before you start cleaning. Always blow and brush grit away before cleaning. One teeny piece of grit is a sand-basting gun to the lens. May as well use sandpaper.
     
  6. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    280
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Actually, I use the highest proof isopropyl alcohol I can find. The higher the proof, the easier it evaporates. My last job was in a building with around 20 ophthalmic research labs, and they had 200 proof alcohol available to them!

    I use Q-tips also, but I would imagine off-brand ones would work fine--if they are the kind with wood or hard plastic sticks, just be careful not to let the hard stick touch the glass.

    Q-tips usually leave lint behind so I usually need to blow or wipe the lint off with a microfiber cloth after the Q-tip.

    I guess I should mention I'm a Nikon user, but I imagine the Zeiss coatings are just as durable.
     
  7. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Cotton ball sprayed with ROR, apply to lens. Use a dry cotton ball to dry the moistened lens. Rocket Blower and/or Staticmaster brush to remove any stray cotton fibers. Always wear latex gloves to not transfer oils to the cotton>lens.
     
  8. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,946
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Ogden, Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    any glasses shop sells lens cleaning fluid -- and usually has some sort of tissue -- if not any piece of clean much-washed lint free cotton cloth will do fine. To be brutally honest, i clean my leica lenses with windex on a tissue and call it good. wipe very gently, no scratches yet.

    microfiber clothes are also very good.
     
  9. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

    Messages:
    930
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Giotto's lens cleaner and cotton balls clean up everything, incl. multi-coat lenses & filters, in a absolutely spotless jiffy.
     
  10. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Any time I use ROR I seem to end up with a bunch of residue left over. Granted, the ROR clears off some debris faster than anything else but I end up having to do a another pass to get the ROR off. Sometimes a bit of water works, other times I've used Ronsonal or isopropyl alcohol.

    Does anyone else have issues with ROR? Or maybe I'm just using it wrong.
     
  11. BainDarret

    BainDarret Subscriber

    Messages:
    230
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Location:
    Ottawa, On
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tiffen make Lens Cleaning Paper which I understand is the old Kodak Lens Cleaning Tissue rebranded.
    Zeiss Liquid Lens Cleaner seems as good or better than the old Kodak Lens Cleaning Fluid.
    Available from the Large US internet retailers.
     
  12. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I am pretty new to ROR myself, but I gotta say, that yes, I do remember it not being a one-shot-deal, I think I had to clean the lens twice (spray cotton, wipe on lens, dry, do again-with-all-clean-cotton-balls). Seems to work better than any other solution I have used. I have to say, I think the cotton balls are the key too...

    Think I read on APUG someone from Germany, who was a current/former Leica employee talking about the virtues of cotton balls...every time I tried lens tissues, they broke apart...sure there are 1000 ways to do this 'right'...this one's working for me though. Best luck all!
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,245
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    More lenses have been ruined by overzealous cleaning than by anything else. Every bit of lint does not have to be removed from a lens as it will not effect the image anyway. The laws of optics say that a lens cannot image anything on its own surface. The only time to use lens cleaner or alcohol is if a gerasy fingerprint is on the lens. Something that really should never happen.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013
  14. Jonathan R

    Jonathan R Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Lab suppliers sell lens tissue. You can get a lifetime's supply for surprisingly little money. I use them with isopropyl alcohol. Be careful that you aren't dissolving grease off you fingers and smearing it ionto the lens - for this reason I always clean lenses straight after doing the washing-up!
     
  15. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,951
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,540
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use R.O.R. Brian and have no problem with it, I use it with lens cleaning tissues not re-usable cloths and use one to apply it and a clean one to remove it.
     
  17. MarkF48

    MarkF48 Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Some of the products a glasses shop carries for cleaning may contain silicone or similar which aids in hiding minor scratches and scuffs on plastic and glass lenses. If used on a camera lens it will leave film that may affect optical quality.

    I'm a long time user of Kodak lens cleaning fluid and tissue, but ran across a thread in a forum where some people are using Heet dry gas to clean lenses and digital sensors which is an isopropyl/menthanol based alcohol containing little water. I have tried it on a couple of older lenses and filters and it seemed to work well and does not leave any residue. I haven't braved up enough to try it on any of my good lenses. Curious if any one else has heard of this and may use it routinely.
     
  18. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had hit and miss with eye glasses cleaners but once I found one that works well - meaning cleans well and leaves no residues, that's what I stick with. I also use microfiber cloth originally made for eye glasses applications. I keep mine clean though. They live in zip lock bags. I never just toss them in my camera bag or pocket. My "stash" is also in a plastic bag. If any of them get visibly soiled, they are tossed away. Otherwise, they go into a laundry bag and washed.
     
  19. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

    Messages:
    710
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Location:
    Lincoln, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My optician provides micro-fibre cloths with my spectacles and I use them for my cameras - specs are cleaned on my shirt tails. ROR is great stuff - I use it on new second-hand lenses - barrel as well as glass - it is not so good on leatherette.
     
  20. dorff

    dorff Member

    Messages:
    459
    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Location:
    South Africa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1. I use lens cleaning cloths or even toilet paper, depending on the severity. If there are smear marks or fingerprints on a lens, I use pure alcohol, obtainable from some/most lab suppliers or pharmacies. It must NOT be surgical spirits, as those sometimes contain aromatic oils. If you use toilet paper (soft double-ply), it will leave some lint. Wait until the alcohol has dried, then blow or brush those off with a lens pen. If your lens pen becomes greasy, clean the bristles with alcohol. Don't use acetone or other solvents meant for paints and glues etc. One of the things that may happen is solvent finding its way into the glue between the elements of a doublet or triplet and causing separation. For internal cleaning, I take my stuff to a technician. I am not brave enough to risk doing such things myself. One reason for that is that some elements (in Nikkors at least) contain soft coatings, and attempting to clean them will ruin the lens. It is usually the back coating of the first element, but there are some lenses where other elements also have this problem.
     
  21. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

    Messages:
    930
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Shooter:
    35mm
    After I use any lens cleaner, I breathe on it and then use cotton balls. Then do it again. This has worked w/ROR.
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Modern lens coating goes a long way toward protecting lenses from scratches, as well as reducing flare and intralens reflections.

    A laundered 100% cotton T-shirt and some lens cleaning spray (available in most drug stores) will do an excellent job of cleaning lenses.

    Camera repair author Thomas Tomosoy offers a simple method of cleaning lenses. It involves the use of plain white facial tissue - no scent, no lotion - and lens spray. It doesn't seem like this would make sense, but it works effectively. I've used this method to clean hundreds of lenses and have never had a problem.

    You need to use extra care with older single-coated or uncoated lenses.

    I've found the coating on some Leica lenses to be fragile and can be wiped away. The coating on Zeiss lens seems to be more durable.

    If a lens is heavily soiled, I will use compressed air to first blow away any dirt or debris. Then I will clean the lens.

    As long as you are careful, you should be able to clean your lenses without worry.
     
  23. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

    Messages:
    930
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Shooter:
    35mm
    PS I clean my lenses in my basement where my breath can really condense on the lens(see my above post).
     
  24. Tom Richard

    Tom Richard Member

    Messages:
    37
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wow! Lots of good advice and comments to dig into here. I´m floored, thank you so very much! :smile:
     
  25. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,106
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use the Zeiss lens cleaning kit. It contains cleaning fluid, a micro fibre cloth, a (very good, very soft) brush and cleaning papers. It is rather expensive but I try to avoid cleaning my lenses to often (as Gerald said, you don´t do your lenses a favor by cleaning too often).