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Lens cleaning

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by ryanlogic, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    By is the best way to keep lenses clean?

    I see the lens pen on amazon, and disposable wipes wet and dry... I'm a little confused.

    I have a microfiber cloth I've been using only when necessary... But I don't want to damage anything.

  2. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    The "lens pen" works really well. I usually run filters on my lenses because for the extra assurance but I've seen no ill effects by using one. The brush side is really handy for general dust and lint.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. MrKal_El

    MrKal_El Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 24, 2011
  4. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Wet is always best. Get a real lens cleaner fluid from b&h or something, and use a microfibre cloth.

    I like lens pens in a pinch, but dry rubbing on a large particle (like a bit of salt or something) could scratch the lens, so I limit lens pen use to things like finger prints, and only when traveling. I use wet cleaning when at home.

    I learned that wet cleaning is always superior, from years of wearing and cleaning my glasses :) 
  5. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    Ill order the lens pen.

    I have filters on the fronts, but this all came about because some genius decided to take the lens off my camera to prove he was knowledgable......and then got his greasy fingers all over the back glass.

    I used a microfiber cloth that came free with my 44mm from Korea... It seems clean and soft, but I was still scared to use it.

    At first I thought something was really wrong because all the pictures were seemingly out of focus, but then I thought to check the lens.

  6. ryanlogic

    ryanlogic Mu-43 Veteran

    May 23, 2012
    Antakya, Turkey
    should I get moist wipes, or a bottle of solution?

    And if I get the solution, what kind of microfiber cloth? are there better quality ones?
  7. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Microfiber cloths make me nervous...if they get any dirt or grit in them, you are going to have trouble. :frown: Yes, you can wash them, but I don't have a lot of confidence in a reusable cleaning cloth. I have always used the use & toss lens tissue (was Kodak, now Tiffen). That way you can be sure what's touching the lens is clean. Less cleaning is definitely better.

    It should go without saying, but definitely do NOT use the cleaning tissues sold for cleaning eyeglasses.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pheaukus

    pheaukus Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 22, 2012
    The least damaging way to clean your lens is too keep it clean in the first place :rolleyes:  No really, some dust on the lens does not affect the images much and lens cleaning is never good for the lenses. Lens hoods and caps help in keeping the lens clean.

    Second best thing is an air blower like the rocket blower. It won't touch the lens surface but it may blow abrasive particles over the lens surface. But it is better than blowing air on the lens with one's mouth, something that should never be done because some wet drops may end up on the lens.

    Next in line is the brush of the lens pen. It should never touch any other surface than the lens, especially not your skin. Use it very gently.

    Then we have the lenspen tip. It has a limited number of uses (500 times I they say but I don't know 500 times what). Use it only to remove finger prints etc. Use it even more gently. It will collect abrasive particles that will scratch your lens the next time you use it.

    Then we have a microfiber cloth. It could be worse than a lenspen tip because it does not have the magic fluid that lets the tip lenspen glide over the lens more smoothly while removing fatty residue. It should be washed now and then, and replaced after some time.

    <del>And finally, wet cleaning. This comes into consideration when molten marshmallows have been dropped onto the lens.</del>
    I now saw MT21's recommendation a few posts above and would trust his experience more than my textbook knowledge. Always remove the dust first and only then clean the surface with liquid.

    UV filters are a good method of lens protection but they introduce extra layers of glass that will always create artefacts. You will notice this especially in night photography where ghosts of car and street light will appear. In most cases the artefacts are not that strong though, other than some slight softening.
  9. Tincam

    Tincam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 25, 2012
    I use a rocket blower, then the lenspen brush, then the lenspen tip. Seems to work most of the time. dried water spots sometimes require a wet cleaning.
  10. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Rocket blower usually sorts out most dust. Occasionally resort to residual oil remover and a microfibre cloth kept in a ziplock. Seems to work, but basically as otheres have said keep it clean is the best way.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    This video does a good job of walking through the process:
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G7S6VARidHk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    One very important point made in this video that many might not think about is clean the lens cap.
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    When you use the lens pen to remove a large particle, you breathe on the lens first to fog it up, thus creating a "slightly wet" cleaning. I'm not saying it replaces a wet clean, but that's the way it's meant to be used for anything that's tougher to remove.

    What the lens pen excels at most are greasy-type prints (ie, fingerprints, etc.).
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Ditto - I use a Rocket Blower small in my camera bag, and a large one at home (the larger size is way more effective, but also unwieldy to pack). For most dust that's all I need. Next step up is a lens pen, brush first always to remove debris, then tip for fingerprints or smudges. Stuff like dried water spots I will do a spray cleaner or at least give it a warm breath to help loosen things up.

    Generally I avoid microfiber as it likes to collect little bits and pieces of stuff that could scratch the glass, but if nothing else is available I'll take that over a fingerprint on a lens. Since reading articles like The Apocalypse of Lens Dust I am far less obsessive about my lenses but I still like to keep them clean.
  14. Ritualnet

    Ritualnet Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2012
    UK - West Midlands
    Would something like this be decent to pick up, or should I be buying the official (and more expensive) versions?
  15. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Personally I'd rather spend a few extra bucks and get the Giotto Rocket Blower and Lens Pen, for a couple reasons:

    1) You don't know what the construction of those knock-offs is; they look shoddy even in the pic.

    2) The lens pen cleaning compound might be the same stuff as the original, or it might be god knows what ground up into a fine paste...

    3) The rocket blower has little feet to stand it up on a table top or shelf, which is nice for keeping crud off the tip, and it has a well executed one-way valve on the bottom to ensure dust doesn't get pulled into the bulb. It doesn't look like the valve or bulb in the ebay auction pic is constructed as nicely.

    In both cases for the comparatively small investment I'd rather have the real deal as you can be sure of getting a quality product.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Rocket blower is also key. Sorry I missed that. That is the first thing I always reach for.
  17. santiclaws

    santiclaws Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2012
    Couple of things:

    1. It is surprisingly difficult to scratch a modern lens. The coatings are HARD. I use a microfiber cloth with cleaning solution and a lens pen. I've never had a problem. I would recommend not using a knock off lens pen. I've read posts from people on forums who bought one and found out the powder wasn't what it was supposed to be.
    2. Even if you do end up with a minor (or even major) scratch on the front element, chances are that it won't affect photo quality, although it is certainly going to affect resale value. A scratch on the rear element is much more likely to affect photo quality. Dirty lens article
  18. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Absolutely true - this is a good enough reason to take care of your lenses even if it doesn't affect picture quality.

    I had a 45-200 that had a piece of dust and a tiny hair inside the zoom assembly and it might as well have been contaminated with the plague :rolleyes:  I finally did sell it on ebay (properly disclosed), but it was a pain to sell. A scratch or imperfection to a lens element is going to heavily affect resale irrespective of whether it affects image quality, so take care of your stuff unless you plan on keeping it forever :tongue:
  19. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    For cheaper lenses, I turn on my vaccum And hold it to the rear of th lens (do NOT scratch the rear element or the contacts).

    I've brought this up before, and have been met with fear (usually responses like -- yeah, good luck with that, etc.). I've cleaned out easily a solid dozen lenses this way - ridding a loose hair or large particles on the inside with no impact to the lens. Id done this on a panny 45-200, canon 17-40, canon 55-250, tokina 12-24, panny 20mm 1.7 and numerous others. My vaccum has a control for power, so Ill start off low and increase as needed.

    Works for me.
    • Like Like x 1
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