Cleaning lenses

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by AlanW, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. AlanW

    AlanW Guest

    I have two Nikon lenses which I use on a D70s. Two questions: assuming
    there is no visible dirt, how often should lenses be cleaned? Also,
    any recommendations for solutions/techniques?

    AlanW, Sep 19, 2007
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  2. AlanW

    babalooixnay Guest

    Pick up a small squeezebulb blower for visible dust and don't touch
    'em otherwise!
    babalooixnay, Sep 19, 2007
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  3. AlanW

    Toby Guest

    No visible dirt = no need to clean. I like to keep a clear filter over the
    front objective. I've done some tests and found no visible degradation of
    the image with a decent filter, at least on lenses up to 200mm (unless you
    are pointing into a very bright light source).

    If the lens gets dirty:

    Blow off whatever will blow off with a decent blower brush first. After that
    I breathe on the lens to create a very thin film of moisture, then wipe off
    gently with a microfiber or chamois cloth. Repeat as necessary.

    Toby, Sep 19, 2007
  4. If there is not visible dirt, then don't clean them.

    Clean using the least aggressive method that will get the dirt off.

    Air, clean brush, lint less cloth* with (just a bit of warm breath on
    the lens to fog it or a cleaning solution).

    * I usually use a lens tissue torn in half and rolled up with the torn edge
    serving as the brush.

    Most people worry far too much about this. Very few photographs are
    degraded due to dirty lenses. Very few modern lenses are damaged while being
    cleaned. Don't worry, Be happy!
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 19, 2007
  5. AlanW

    tomm42 Guest

    As little as possible, much more of a chance to scratch a lens
    cleaning it than using it in daily operation. If you have an OCDC
    attitude to your lenses use a blower not a cloth unless they are
    really dirty. You'd be surprised how dirty a lens has to be to degrade
    the image.

    tomm42, Sep 19, 2007
  6. AlanW

    Alan Browne Guest

    The front element of the lens can have visible dust specs and this will
    not affect the image at all unless the lens is directly hit by a light
    source (eg: backlit images). If it has a finger smear, it is very
    unlikely that it will affect the image unless, again, it is in direct light.

    To clean dust a blower bulb is good as is a fine brush used very lightly.

    For finger smears, Kodak lens cleaner in _tiny_ amounts used with Kodak
    lens paper will do the job.

    Dust on the rear element is more likely to affect the image, esp. high
    contrast images. Again the blower and light brush and only if really
    needed the cleaning fluid.

    For both back and front a very clean microfibre cloth can also be used
    after the above steps.

    Alan Browne, Sep 19, 2007
  7. I blow away any loose dust then breathe on the lens then wipe gently with a
    pentax microfibre lens cloth.

    The cloths get put through the laundry once per month.

    cheers adrian
    Adrian Boliston, Sep 19, 2007
  8. This is a widespread but confused idea. Dust and films on lens surfaces
    always affect the image. Just because the contaminant is not itself
    imaged, does not mean that the image is unaffected. Things like contrast
    will be lowered, and compensating will increase noise.

    Think of dirt as a type of unwanted filter on your lens. You don't "see"
    filters in your photos, but they affect the image.
    Richard J Kinch, Sep 19, 2007
  9. Shall we agree that in most cases they do not materially affect/effect
    the final image.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 20, 2007
  10. It does affect the image in proportion to the degree of contamination. A
    little dust has a little effect, a lot a lot.

    Beware the fallacy of the beard.
    Richard J Kinch, Sep 20, 2007
  11. Most spectacle wearers agree that it's surprising how dirty your specs
    can get before you notice they need cleaning. They probably wouldn't
    notice the effects of a dirty camera lens either. Some, however,
    notice the difference a small amount of dirt makes very quickly, and
    keep them very clean. They probably would also notice the effects of a
    dirty camera lens.
    Chris Malcolm, Sep 21, 2007
  12. Very true and that should be the standard for deciding if the lens needs
    to be cleaned. Frankly cleaning a lens can damage it very slightly and over
    cleaning can mean a damaged lens.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 21, 2007
  13. True. Dust and specs does little. But put on a very fine smear
    and I get a headache so fast you'll hear the sonic boom.

    Additionally, a smear does give lots of flare, almost looking
    like very bad blooming (affecting the _whole_ image), when a
    light surce is in or even reasonably near the frame.

    (Which is why lens hoods were invented.)
    You don't notice a reasonably clean windows looking out, but you
    notice it strongly when you photograph through it.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Sep 22, 2007
  14. AlanW

    C J Campbell Guest

    All kinds of good advice here. Few people actually follow it in the
    field. If something gets on the lens, they wipe it off with a shirt

    Look, you can get all kinds of scratches on a lens and it will not
    affect picture quality in the slightest.
    C J Campbell, Sep 22, 2007
  15. AlanW

    Pboud Guest

    just curious, but is there a reason why the OP shouldn't simply do a
    single, careful, methodical clean of the lens and then dump on a UV
    filter? At that point, the shirt tail won't matter as much..

    Ya know?
    Pboud, Sep 24, 2007
  16. AlanW

    C J Campbell Guest

    No reason at all, of course, unless the UV filter is giving you some
    nasty reflections (which they often do). Depending on the lens, you
    want the thinnest filters you can afford.
    C J Campbell, Sep 24, 2007
  17. AlanW

    Pboud Guest

    Hm.. True..
    Pboud, Sep 24, 2007
  18. Make that "highest quality", too.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Sep 24, 2007
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