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Old Jun 14, 2008, 10:32 PM   #1
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Which is the best way/product to clean lenses? There are cloths, liquids, pens....Which one would you guys suggest? Any particular brands? Thanks .


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Old Jun 15, 2008, 1:47 AM   #2
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I generally don't clean my lens that often, unless it gets really dirty for some reason. For most cleaning, I breathe on the lens and wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth, using circular motion. For heavy cleaning(for me, about twice a year), I use a lens cleaner that I bought at Ritz a few years ago. Don't recall the name, but as long as it is safe for coated optics, it should be fine. Also, before cleaning, I always blow the dust off with a simple rubber bulb blower with a soft brush attached. I've been doing it this way since the early 70's with good results. Others may have their own methods, or you could google for more answers. HTH, Robert
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Old Jun 15, 2008, 6:20 AM   #3
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First, unless you're doing macrophotography, you can't focus on the dirt on the lens anyway. The worst that can happen is that dirt, dust and smudges can decrease the sharpness, brightness and contrast, but only slightly, and probably not enough to be noticable.

Second, you need to be careful that your particular technique for cleaning lenses does more good than bad. Lenses and lens coatings are pretty tough, but there's no sense in tempting fate. There are people here that freely admit to cleaning their lenses with the moisture from their breath and a reasonably clean T-Shirt, but I'd put that in the category of tempting fate.

My personal preference is for any method that uses disposable media. Reuseable media (likeblower brushes, cloths, etc.) will pick up dust, dirt and grit, but are just as likely to redeposit it somewhere else. I am also not a big fan of paper products, as paper has sharp edges. I have gotten a paper cut while cleaning my lenses and deposited blood on a lens or two. That turned a relatively small job into a bigger job.

I use distilled water and Q-Tips. (For stubborn dirt, I may add some ethyl alchohol.) (It's a method I learned from some friends from my Navy days. They were "Opticalmen", and their profession was repairing and cleaning binoculars, telescopes, periscopes, etc.) I do have a lens pen and a microfibre cloth that I use ocassionally for small jobs, but I clean them ocassionally as well.
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Old Jun 15, 2008, 2:13 PM   #4
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Lens coatings on glass lenses that you find on SLR cameras, tend to be pretty hard, and not too easily scratched, unless you have sand embedded in your cleaning cloth. These can be cleaned with only moderate care. Fingerprints and other greasy dirt probably need to be removed with alcohol solvents, as cloth just smears it around. Even if you get it thin enough to be unnoticeable, it will pick up more dirt and dust.

Plastic lenses, as found on many compact cameras, may, or may not have coatings, but the coatings used tend not to be as robust as the ones on glass lenses. Use more care with these lenses to be absolutely certain there is no grit, and avoid rubbing hard when cleaning. Since the lenses tend to be smaller, any imperfections are, relatively going to show up more.

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Old Jun 16, 2008, 8:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for great tips . I got my first DSLR on Sunday and already got my lens dirty ( my son got some spit on it ...not on purpose of course). I guess I wouldhave to get lens filter to protect the lens? Is this helpfull?
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Old Jun 16, 2008, 11:22 AM   #6
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vic4878 wrote:
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I got my first DSLR on Sunday and already got my lens dirty ( my son got some spit on it ...not on purpose of course). I guess I wouldhave to get lens filter to protect the lens? Is this helpfull?
There are different schools of thought onthe use of filters to protect lenses.
  1. Some people think that a filter is less expensive than a lens (usually, that's true) so it makes sense to protect an expensive lens with an inexpensive filter. [/*]
  2. Some people think that adding an optical element to an already complex optical system will degrade image quality.[/*]
But if my son were in the habit of spitting on my lenses, I think I'd go with filters. [suB]:-)[/suB]
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Old Jun 16, 2008, 12:57 PM   #7
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TCav wrote:
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But if my son were in the habit of spitting on my lenses, I think I'd go with filters. [suB]:-)[/suB]

Ok, I have a confession to make.I spit on the lens.I wanted to blow the dust out and it happened ( forceful blow!). My son was actually reading the manual and teaching me how to use the camera.He understands everything technical much better than I do. He assembled everything for me out of the box, charged the batteries....I better be on his good side ...at least for this


I guess I would need to get a lens filter to protect the lens from myself.May be I need this extended warranty after all.....LOL

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Old Jun 22, 2008, 7:12 PM   #8
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The old protective "Hard Coating" is gone. Modern coatings are more efficient in dealing with light, but softer mechanically. Use the best technique available. It is said a bit of damage is done to a lens each time it is cleaned. So, keep your lenses clean as possible with caps, etc. I would not use a filter, except in a dusty area. Flat filters, unlike lenses, generate reflection problems.

First of all, wash your hands well before starting. Blow off any dust, yes, learn to blow without spitting! Use disposable tissue once per wipe. Do not transfer dirt and grit from one lens to another with a micro fiber cloth. Use the cloth only to polish your shoes. Do not use window cleaner or anything that contains ammonia. Do not allow any lotion treated tissue into the house for fear of causing a near fatal smudge.

Common tissue is likely to cause lint deposits. More cleaning will not help. Keep a clean camel's hair brush handy to whisk away any lint. Keep it clean, and wash as needed with detergent and wrap in tissue to dry. Do not touch a lens with dry tissue. Tear a tissue, such as Kleenex into about four pieces with clean hands. Fold one bit and add a few drops of camera lens cleaner to the tissue to try and keep fluid from getting into the mount. Circle the edges of the lens and then the center using a very light touch. Wipe at once with a dry bit of tissue using the same technique. Repeat if still smudged. Remove any splashes or finger prints from the lens at once. If left in place damage can be permanent.

You can read a lot about lens cleaning from a very trusted astro site "Cloudy Nights" . Goggle out lens cleaning at that site.

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