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Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by phigmov, Mar 7, 2016.
May be of interest to forum-members . . .
How to Clean Your Camera Lenses (And Check For Problems)
Cleaning lens contacts with an eraser is not a good thing to do, because it is abrasive. A clean white cloth, or paper towel, is generally all that is needed; a drop of rubbing alcohol if it's really grungy.
That pencil eraser looks like it might contain abrasive material & if so I wouldn't use it either but the white soft ones I am familiar with would be fine so long as the little pieces do not enter anywhere & is followed up with a little alcohol (preferably isopropyl alcohol) as gold contacts can end up with a coating or dullness (oxide or whatever it may be). A little alcohol on a cloth (or paper towel) might be enough in itself to rub the surface clean.
If you read the article, he seems pretty clear several times that you shouldn't do this unless you have some sort of connection issue or lens communication error. He wasn't recommending this as periodic maintenance at all.
In all fairness, your "clean white cloth, or paper towel" could be abrasive as well depending on what you actually use. As the article first stated in that section "It’s never recommended to clean the lens contacts".
The point of using gold on contact is that is does not oxidize and will not form any sort of coating simply sitting in air. If your contacts look any different than normal shiny gold then you actually have some sort of dirt, gunk, soil, etc. on them from an external source.
On servicing computer equipment in the past (decades ago) they had large cards with gold edge connections. They were occasionally found to have become quite dull. That may have been due to the manufacturing process with the boards being cleaned in a solvent bath after soldering & that may have left a slight resin film on them which may have become dull & less conductive as time passed. However, whatever the dull film is that 'all the world' looks like tarnish, it has to be cleaned if there are any connection issues & that is where we used the soft eraser followed by alcohol on a cloth (usually isopropil but metho is OK if buffed afterwards) with successful results. If a lens or SD card has dull looking contacts, then I would clean them with alcohol to start with (with a tissue or soft cloth). If the gold has a more frosted appearance, then maybe that isn't a problem & may well be better to leave it except for alcohol if dirty.
I'm probably going to trust the guys that maintain thousands of lenses to know what works!
Yes, I do agree as it is pretty rare that lens contacts would be dirty enough to need a clean. A wipe with a dry cloth would probably be enough to remove anything that's there. One thing that I have seen on used lenses (on ebay) is what looks like a gold track across the plastic spacing between the lens contacts (from the worn camera pins). I would suspect that might become a problem eventually if it were to partially conduct between pins.
I've always used one of these:
and it has never let me down. A little spit helps if there is a hardened speck of debris on the glass. The newer model is 4 bucks more. If I am going into a harsh environment like the rain forest or the beach I just bite the bullet screw on a clear filter.