Do modern lenses attract dust more?

PakkyT

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
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Today I decided to go out in the yard with an old Olympus OM 100 f2.8 manual lens. One thing I noticed is when I was outside and looked at the front element it was virtually dust free. The one main spec I noticed, with just a light breath, I was able to remove it. However every time I go out with a "digital" lens, mine always seems to have a noticeable amount of dust on the front. Of course I know this won't affect IQ so I repress any OCD-esque urges to try and clean them too much. But today the OM lens was almost spotless. So it got me thinking.

Are modern lenses more prone to collecting dust than old film era lenses? A few reasons that might be true (with zero evidence to prove any of it) include:
  1. Modern coatings more static collecting than old coatings?
  2. Modern lenses have a lot more plastic so possibly isolating (electrically) lens elements allowing for easy charge collection and also preventing discharge of static?
  3. Modern lenses that autofocus or do other electrical things (IS) having little charge generators in them?
And do modern manual lenses with modern coatings and more plastic attract dust the same as electronic lenses or are they more like old film lenses?

Or... maybe more likely, am I imagining the whole thing and really there is no different between old lenses and new lenses with regards to dust?
 

junkyardsparkle

haunted scrap heap
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Nov 17, 2016
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2,289
Interesting hypothesis... I can't say I've ever noticed a difference, but I haven't been looking for one... and I rarely swap between manual and motorized lenses within the same environment/time frame. I also don't have any native motorized lenses with particularly large front elements compared to my manual ones. If internally focusing lenses do attract more dust to the glass, I'd say that's a small price to pay for sucking less dust into the lens. :D
 

PakkyT

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 20, 2015
Messages
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Location
New England
Perhaps more pollution or something ?
If it was more pollution then you would think it would affect all lenses equally, but as I mentioned, yesterday I pulled out the old OM lens and used it outside for a while. It is pollen season here. It still looks great. As @junkyardsparkle mentioned, the OM lens does have a lot smaller front element (and more curved) than, for example, my 12-100 which has a nice big flat front element that perhaps attracts particles due to its size and is more noticeable due to its flatness? As I also mentioned, when i blew on my OM lens the spec flew right off. That never happens with my m43 lenses it seems.

Anyway, just idle self-isolating thoughts. :)
 
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