1. Blow lens — 3F (triple filtered~) compressed air or blower brush;
2. A drop of specified lens cleaning solution; Kodak's is fine (a small bottle has lasted this studio 4+ years so far);
3. Microfibre cloth: we use one made by Nikon for their eyeglasses;
4. Another blow to finish and it's done.
In the UK once (1998) I came across a bottle of fancy lens cleaning stuff that one brushes onto the lens. Then attach a small sticky label and pull it off, seemingly lifting finger prints, smudges, dust etc with it. The most infuriating, fiddly and mostly ineffective job compared to the simplicity of the "4 Point Cleanup" above! The name of this goo is Optii-Clean.
Nowadays the front and rear lens elements are routinely inspected when changing filters/attaching lens; most often it is the filter than requires a clean with just a blow or two and MF cloth. Things get decidedly very wet and misty working in rainforests, though and this can test one's patience!
Don't use any sort of lens cleaners on multi-coated filters (HOYA (SMC, Ultra), B+W/Schneider).
I second the comment re using a rubber band on a filter to remove it. It works a treat, especially with polarisers.
Last edited by Poisson Du Jour; 02-26-2009 at 08:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Plain, white unscented facial tissues are fine for cleaning lenses. Camera repair author Thomas Tommassey recommends them, and I've used them to clean maybe 200 lenses.
The procedure is simple:
1) Remove any debris
2) Spray lens cleaning fluid on the tissue (never the lens unless it's a bare element) and wipe the lens. Turn the tissue and wipe dry. If there's any lint, blow it off with a blower.
Simple. To the point. You don't need to make a federal case of it. Just clean the lens and begin shooting again.
Same goes for SLR mirrors. The amount of hand-wringing and warnings that go on about an object that has 0% role in the formation of the image is unnecessary. In fact, use the same procedure to clean the mirror with this exception:
Often with Japanese SLRs, you'll find that the foam has adhered to the mirror. Removing the foam is simple. Get a facial tissue, wet it with some lighter fluid and wipe it off. Repeat if needed. Then clean the mirror as you would a lens.
Again, clean the mirror, replace the lens, resume shooting. There is no need to complicate what's a very simple procedure.
Modern lenses will tolerate being cleaned with many materials if you are careful with your technique
But I take issue with this: "Same goes for SLR mirrors!? A tissue!!!?
Traditional wisdom — and the well-founded advice of repair technicians — holds that cleaning SLR mirrors is not a DIY job; my own technician uses an surfectant foam with micro-flow air dry: no physical contact of the mirror, no residue and definitely no tissues. I'll be asking him tomorrow about this "tissue to the mirror" stuff. I am very surprised this suggestion has been made here where somebody might be tempted to follow the procedure on what essentially should be left well alone.
Tissue is good for the mirror IF you like scratches.
It's a front surface mirror and very delicate.
FWIW I've cleaned a few reflex mirrors and never actually produced visible scratches, even using tissue once (which I would try and avoid given the choice - it was an old Yashica TLR where the silvering was coming off anyway). Would I recommend it? No, but I suspect a lot of these mirrors actually have a transparent thin film coating on top of the reflective coating that offers some protection against abrasion, humidity & atmospheric pollutants.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
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Originally Posted by Dave Dawson
You will see that there are as many opinions on this as there are members of APUG. No doubt many of the suggested approaches above work perfectly well without damaging lenses. My own simple personal regime, which overlaps with a lot of what has been said above and which works well for me, is:
1. Use a soft lens brush to remove any visible dust, debris from the lens surface. If the lens then needs no further cleaning, do nothing further. If it is still dirty, go to 2:
2. Breathe gently on the lens surface and very gently wipe the surface in a circular motion with a microfibre cloth (Pentax makes nice cheap little cloths. I don't use lens cleaning tissues because, in my experience, they are not as soft as microfibre.) If the lens then needs no further cleaning, do nothing further. If it is still dirty, go to 3:
3. Use a drop of Kodak lens cleaning fluid on a microfibre cloth and then very gently wipe the surface in a circular motion.
If the above does not work, your lens may just have marks that you will have to live with. Or depending on how much you value the lens, you could try harsher techniques. I have never needed to go further than step 3 above with any lens that I really value.
One other thing I have learned - and this should not be read as an attack on anyone in this forum - is that just because advice comes from someone who sounds like they should know what they are talking about (eg a retired Hasselblad mechanic, professional Rodenstock lens inspector, Zeiss tissue marketing man, etc) doesn't necessarily mean that it is good advice, although it often may be. There are lots of useless lawyers, doctors, and engineers out there, so there are no doubt plenty of incompetents and shortcutters making a living in the camera industry too.
Having read most of your suggestions and tried a few of them.....Let me give you *MY* findings....With all your suggestions from all over the world I phoned a photographic friend who lives about 5 miles from me and asked what he uses to clean lenses...Nilglass he said.
I got some...It's in a spray bottle like you would use cleaning your cars windshield...Spray a little on a lens tissue, lightly wipe the lens surface, leave about 5 seconds and wipe lightly with a dry lens tissue.
RESULT: A sparkling clean lens with no damage to the coating.
So try Nilglass. Cheers Dave Dawson
The rubber band idea for removing stubborn filters is a good one.I've used a pair of rubber kitchen gloves with palm flat on the filer the other gripping the lens barrel.The pressure on the filter must be applied equally.
I had to clean a SRL camera mirror once. My friend changed the lens under heavy rain and water drops went into the camera. After some thought I went for a lens detergent that I knew leaves no traces (can't remember the name) and I used a couple of those cotton sticks people uses to clean their ears. Veeeery carefully I "attacked" each spot and removed it. Then I gently blew some compressed air. I don't know if it was luck in its purest form and I won't do it again unless absolutely necessary, but it worked.
Originally Posted by John Koehrer
One thing I do not recall being mentioned is that when using lens tissue, the way advised is to take a sheet, fold it like a bellows into a column; fold it over in half; tear off the ends of the halves to make a brush which is then used with a drop of cleaning fluid upon it.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA