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-   -   Can paper towel scratch a lens to this point? (

luisr Sep 7, 2004 7:11 PM

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Here is the story. A friend of mine was cleaning her camera lens supposedly with a lens cleaning fluid (for eyeglasses) and by mistake took a bottle very similar but that contains some kind of anti-snore spray. Yeap, sounds weird but that's the story. She then tried to clean the lens using paper towel and when the lens did not become clean as she used to see, kept wiping and wiping to the point, or so it seems, that the lens is now foggy on its surface.

I have done some experiments myself with the lens of a broken pair of Rayban (which means glass lenses) sunglasses I have around. I tried using plain paper towel and even paper towel with "Soft Scrub". I have not been able to scratch the lens at all in a visible manner.

I kind of doubt that paper towel can scratch a lens to the extent shown in the attached picture because I frequently use it for my own sunglasses, though never for my camera lens - I use facial tissue or a soft t-shirt - yea yea :roll:I am not into buying this kind of stuff for my own camera, but never had a scratched lens either.

I don't have the camera in question at hand right now as my friend lives several thousand miles away but I will be seeing her next month and could try to fix the problem.

Just curious as to what kind of damage can paper towel actually cause to a camera lense and if it is supeficial, can it be fixed with CD polish (the one used for removing surface scratches from CDs) at the expense of the lens coating and a slight effect on focus. This is a $200 camera (Fujifilm A210) that would probably cost more to haver the lens replaced than getting a new one. This camera is less than a year old. :sad:

luisr Sep 7, 2004 7:24 PM

I am beginning to suspect that the lens is actually dirty. Just became brave enough and tried rubbing and rubbing and rubbing and rubbing and then some more rubbing and and finally some more rubbing the lens of an old camera I still have around that is faulty and could not scratch the lens visibly using paper towel. And this was an inexpensive camera that seems to have a plastic lens. The lens is now cleaner than ever.:-)

Any opinions?

GoCubs Sep 7, 2004 7:37 PM

I would also guess that the anti-snore spray left a film on the lens. Look at it this way, you now have a soft focus portrait camera:lol:

luisr Sep 7, 2004 7:53 PM

And what is best, you can sleep with it because it won't snore. :dude:

Mikefellh Sep 7, 2004 9:13 PM

It could also be that the chemical reacted with the coating on the lens. If the effect can't be removed by the normal lens cleaner (or water damp cloth for that matter), then the lens is probably a writeoff.

luisr Sep 8, 2004 8:12 AM

That's what I think happened. If this is the case then I would lose nothing by trying CD polish. Would that work?

mdparker Sep 8, 2004 8:30 AM

luisr wrote:

That's what I think happened. If this is the case then I would lose nothing by trying CD polish. Would that work?
I'm not sure any of us could answer this as it's hard to say if the lens just has a film over it or if the chemical somehow reacted with the lens. I don't think a paper towel would have done that unless it is very abrasive and she kept rubbing away. I'd say, firt try some proper cleaning solution and a soft cloth (i.e. microfiber or t-shirt if you must) and clean it serveral times; you might want to try some descent pressure behind it in case the film is stubborn. Take a few pictures to see how they come out. If they are still the same either take it to a camera shop for suggestions or try the CD polish cloth. I suppose the cloth could always make it worse somehow, but it doesn't seem like you have much to loose if a normal cleaning fails and the camera shop can't provide suggestions.

By the way, for future reference, I wouldn't use paper towels on your lenses. If the paper towel isn't so abrasive you may not see scratces, but they can wear away the lens coating over time which will deminish the lens optics.

Good luck.

luisr Sep 8, 2004 8:41 AM

Iwill be going on a trip next month to visit my friend and will bring the CD polish with me to try as a last resort if everything else fails. I am yet to see the damage (if any) myself, only have blurry pictures.

My guess is that the worst the CD polish will do is strip the lens coating and not scratch the glass itself. I used this in the past to restore the plastic face of a cheap digital watch that was all scratched over. All surface scratches disappeared. Glass is harder, so it should notbe as abrasive with glass as it is with plastic - which after all it what this thing is designed to polish.

Mikefellh Sep 8, 2004 11:39 AM

I'd suggest going to a "better" camera store with it (one that does professional cleaning)...see what they can do.

eric s Sep 8, 2004 12:07 PM

I believe (this is not fact, just a belief) that the problem with using a paper towel on a camera lens is that it can leave fibers/particles around. Lint is big enough that it will probably be seen in the picture.

I wouldn't expect them to "scratch" the lens. Serious rubbing could affect the multicoating of the lens element, though. And you paid good money for that, so don't rub it off or damage it!

micro fiber cloths don't leave fibers behind, and they are softer than papertowels. That is what I use and they work well. Its possible to find them made for the kitchen. In my experience those work just as well as ones in a camera shop, but they cost a lot less.

My guess, like others, is that in this case either the spray affected the lens coating or just smeared across the lens. How you get it off I don't know.

Oh, and don't use eye-glasses cleaner on your camera lens. It isn't designed to clean a lens with the multi-coatings on them that many camera lenses have. I know those glasses wipes are very convenient, but don't give in to them.

This story reminds me of the time someone grabbed the wrong bottle out of a shopping bag when changing the oil in their car. Instead of oil they put kopectate into their car. Oops. It's hard to believe these things happen, but they do.


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