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Old Jul 24, 2010, 4:13 PM   #1
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Default Yet Another Filter Cleaning Discussion

I was out riding my bike and taking pictures. At the start, I'd put my camera away in my sling-back as I rode to the next spot. Pretty quickly, I got tired of that. So I just hung it over my shoulder. Lens facing out. yep. My sweaty arm was all over the filter.

So I've spent this morning trying to return it to it's brand-new pristine state.

Doing the usual lens cloth, fluid, start in center and move outwards didn't do the trick. I was left with swirls. I did it 8 times. No Better. Then I got some iso-propyl alcohol 99%! Still no good. I was intending to mix up this:
http://www.arksky.org/asoclean.htm
but stock of the Kodak stuff is hard to get. I'll do that later. So with nothing to lose except my $90 filter, I sprayed and sprayed my lens cleaning fluid onto the face. a little rub-a-dub with tissue. more cleaning fluid. again. and again. i did this over a sink and the excess dripped off.

then a dry lens tissue and, WOW! like new. Oh Happy Day.
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Old Jul 24, 2010, 4:43 PM   #2
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Ok. Yeah. That looks pretty nasty.

Isopropyl alchohol isn't a good idea.

For tough cases, I use distilled water spiked with some ethyl alcohol (Everclear. Available at any liquor store.)
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Old Jul 25, 2010, 2:30 PM   #3
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What works for me in getting the swirls off my filters is:

1. Moisten a corner of a really soft, clean, lint-free piece of old cotton T-shirt using Carl Zeiss lens cleaning fluid.
2. Wipe the lens. There will be swirls remaining.
3. Fog the lens using a low, huuaaaa breath.
4. Wipe using a different corner of the T-shirt.

This removes all of the swirls.

EDIT: Some folks recommend using a micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses. Maybe if it is a special micro-fiber cloth made especially for cleaning lenses it would be OK. However, using other micro-fiber cloths can scratch the coating on lenses. I tested a micro-fiber cloth from Costco to clean CDs and DVDs. It left fine burnish scratches on the surface. Then I tested a soft old T-shirt and it didn't leave any scratches at all, even looking with a magnifying glass. --- So never use any micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses unless you are sure it is lens approved. --- Oh, and don't use unapproved micro-fiber cloths to clean your LCD either!

Sky

Last edited by skylark; Jul 26, 2010 at 4:44 AM.
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Old Jul 25, 2010, 3:53 PM   #4
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Having used fluids that made dirty filters worse, I tried my Lenspen. It seems to do the trick.

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Old Aug 3, 2010, 12:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post
What works for me in getting the swirls off my filters is:

1. Moisten a corner of a really soft, clean, lint-free piece of old cotton T-shirt using Carl Zeiss lens cleaning fluid.
2. Wipe the lens. There will be swirls remaining.
3. Fog the lens using a low, huuaaaa breath.
4. Wipe using a different corner of the T-shirt.

This removes all of the swirls.

EDIT: Some folks recommend using a micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses. Maybe if it is a special micro-fiber cloth made especially for cleaning lenses it would be OK. However, using other micro-fiber cloths can scratch the coating on lenses. I tested a micro-fiber cloth from Costco to clean CDs and DVDs. It left fine burnish scratches on the surface. Then I tested a soft old T-shirt and it didn't leave any scratches at all, even looking with a magnifying glass. --- So never use any micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses unless you are sure it is lens approved. --- Oh, and don't use unapproved micro-fiber cloths to clean your LCD either!

Sky
I also think so.



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Old Aug 3, 2010, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skylark View Post
EDIT: Some folks recommend using a micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses. Maybe if it is a special micro-fiber cloth made especially for cleaning lenses it would be OK. However, using other micro-fiber cloths can scratch the coating on lenses. I tested a micro-fiber cloth from Costco to clean CDs and DVDs. It left fine burnish scratches on the surface. Then I tested a soft old T-shirt and it didn't leave any scratches at all, even looking with a magnifying glass. --- So never use any micro-fiber cloth to clean lenses unless you are sure it is lens approved. --- Oh, and don't use unapproved micro-fiber cloths to clean your LCD either!
This is the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything like that. People here have raved about the results they've gotten from microfiber cloths they've picked up in the automotive section of WallyWorld for $3.

To be sure, if an abrasive particle of some kind has been picked up by a microfiber cloth, and it's still there when you use it to clean something else, that particle can damage whatever it is you're cleaning. The solution is to use a brush (like the one on a LensPen) to brush away the big stuff, then use a microfiber cloth (or a LensPen) to clean off the small stuff. You also need to clean the microfiber cloth periodically (whether it's approved or not.)
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Old Aug 3, 2010, 2:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
This is the first time I've ever heard anyone say anything like that. People here have raved about the results they've gotten from microfiber cloths they've picked up in the automotive section of WallyWorld for $3.

To be sure, if an abrasive particle of some kind has been picked up by a microfiber cloth, and it's still there when you use it to clean something else, that particle can damage whatever it is you're cleaning. The solution is to use a brush (like the one on a LensPen) to brush away the big stuff, then use a microfiber cloth (or a LensPen) to clean off the small stuff. You also need to clean the microfiber cloth periodically (whether it's approved or not.)
Hi TCav,

The microfiber cloth I used for testing was a brand new one right out of the Costco pack. There weren't any dust particles at all on the DVD coaster that I experimented on. I wasn't trying to clean a dirty coaster. I was only trying to see if the cloth scratched the surface before I used it to clean our movie DVDs.

BTW, it's totally unrelated to photography but here's some reasons for saving CD and DVD coasters: (For those unfamiliar with the term "coaster", when a CD or DVD burn fails, the useless disc is called a coaster.)

- When I burn a coaster, I immediately save it in a spare DVD container for my wife's use in her garden. Hanging coasters on strings keeps the birds away from eating her garden.

- We had problems keeping birds from building nests in our carport for about 20 years. I always have spare lumber stored on the beams and the birds loved to make nests on the lumber. There would constantly be strands of grass in our garage. I tried stuffing empty boxes and newspapers above the lumber but had to keep doing it regularly. --- When I learned about the hanging coasters trick, I hung about 5 coasters from the rafters. The birds never try to build nests on the lumber anymore, even without the empty boxes and newspapers.

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