What are good products to use to clean a lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Curt Peterson, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. I recently damaged a camera lens using low end products. In reading some
    articles on the web, I saw Formula MC and Pec-Pads recommended. Are these
    good products? What products do you recommend.... lens cloth, tissue,
    cleaner and blower bulb brush?
     
    Curt Peterson, Feb 26, 2007
    #1
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  2. Me things the problem is not the product, but rather the quantity and
    quality of the cleaning.

    Some people seem to clean their lens more often than they take images.

    I entered photography in the 50's. By the time I was a teenager I was
    working for a professional photo studio. I learned that cameras and lenses
    are tools, not something to worship. It is the result that counts, not the
    tool.

    It is not bad, to worship your camera, but don't confuse appreciation of
    the mechanics of the art with art.

    A speck of dust on a lens will not destroy the image. Honest. You will
    get better results spending your time and effort planning and taking photos
    than worrying about the camera and lens.

    Lens care depends on the situation.

    Suggestions.

    Have a clean reasonably lint free dry place to store the camera and
    lens. Call it a camera bag, but it need not come from a camera store.
    Don't assume you need to clean the lens every day or every week or whatever.
    You clean a lens when it needs to be clean and it needs to be cleaned when
    it no longer performs as it should.

    I suggest a clean lens brush. Nothing fancy, no need for it air or
    fancy fibers etc, just a clean brush. I like a pen style. Use this for
    dust on a lens. If you have no visible dust on the lens don't bother. If
    you due use it, just flip the brush a few times to clean it every so often
    and use the brush occasionally and lightly.

    Finger prints, rain drops splatters of manufacturing materials etc, get
    cleaned with a soft cotton cloth. This should be the exception not the
    rule. You may need to dampen it so try a SMALL amount of clean water or a
    SMALL amount of lens cleaning solution. Make sure your have brushed off any
    loose dust first.

    If you are going to work in areas where there is a lot of dust grit sand
    aerosol etc, consider using a clear glass or UV filter.

    Finally don't assume a lens is damaged because it appears that way. The
    only way to tell is to actually take photographs. If it still works well it
    is not really damaged.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 26, 2007
    #2
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  3. Curt Peterson

    tomm42 Guest


    Too much cleaning can easily scratch a lens. I generally use a blower
    and a brush, I haven't touched my camera lenses with a liquid in
    years. If I do have to do a wet cleaning I use half a pack of Kodak
    (soft) lens tissue rolled and use the rolled end so it is difficult to
    get any pressure. Cotton balls (have to be 100% cotton) also work.
    What I use as a liquid is absolute (not denatured) ethyl alcohol. Some
    folk I know use EverClear, grain alcohol you can buy in a liquor
    store. Use a very light touch. Again on my camera lenses it is rare to
    have to do this. I photograph retinas of eyes at work and my wet
    cleaning has been with that $30000 camera (tears, nose grease etc).
    I cringe every time I see someone take out a lens and clean it before
    they put it on the camera. I do check my lenses periodically
    especially after being in a dusty environment.

    Tom
     
    tomm42, Feb 26, 2007
    #3
  4. Curt Peterson

    Tiger Guest

    Put a UV filter over the lens and clean that.
     
    Tiger, Feb 27, 2007
    #4
  5. I use a simple Lens Pen. The trick is to brush the lens very lightly
    and thoroughly. If it's still dirty, I give the lens a light fogging
    with my breath then use the graphite end of the pen. It's good that
    this gadget is cheap because you want to replace it frequently. Don't
    let dirt build up in it.

    I found that purified water is excellent for salty or gritty lenses.
    Roll around a small ball of water on top of the lens then slowly pour it
    off. After a couple of times, the glass is so clean that the water
    rolls off without leaving any behind. It requires that the front lens
    be sealed to the body, of course. I bring a bottle when shooting at the
    beach or on dusty trails.
     
    Kevin McMurtrie, Feb 27, 2007
    #5
  6. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    That's really true...about dust.
    I had the unfortunate experience a year ago of quickly placing my 70-200 2.8
    IS L Canon lens end-down into my bag without putting the cap on... For the
    next several hours, it bounced and jostled in my bag in the car...and come
    to discover that there was a single grain of sand in the bottom of the bag.
    This meant that I now had a nice little divot taken out of the beautiful
    front element of my favorite lens!!

    In the last year, I've never seen ANY evidence of visible problems in ANY
    photo due to this impoerfection. While it can, under certain circumstances,
    cause some issues, I have yet to see it.

    Is it annoying? Heck ya. Does it make much difference? No.
    If a divot hardly matters, dust will matter less.
    I rarely have to "clean" my lenses, but when I do, it's usually for water
    spots or finger prints. I use some sort of cotton cloth and water.
    No big deal.
     
    Mark², Feb 27, 2007
    #6
  7. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    That's really true...about dust.
    I had the unfortunate experience a year ago of quickly placing my 70-200 2.8
    IS L Canon lens end-down into my bag without putting the cap on... For the
    next several hours, it bounced and jostled in my bag in the car...and come
    to discover that there was a single grain of sand in the bottom of the bag.
    This meant that I now had a nice little divot taken out of the beautiful
    front element of my favorite lens!!

    In the last year, I've never seen ANY evidence of visible problems in ANY
    photo due to this impoerfection. While it can, under certain circumstances,
    cause some issues, I have yet to see it.

    Is it annoying? Heck ya. Does it make much difference? No.
    If a divot hardly matters, dust will matter less.
    I rarely have to "clean" my lenses, but when I do, it's usually for water
    spots or finger prints. I use some sort of cotton cloth and water.
    No big deal.
     
    Mark², Feb 27, 2007
    #7
  8. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    What scares me about a lens pen is the unlikely..but possible event of
    trapping a single, tiny grain of sand directly beneath the pen, and then
    scraping it accross the lens.
     
    Mark², Feb 27, 2007
    #8
  9. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    What scares me about a lens pen is the unlikely..but possible event of
    trapping a single, tiny grain of sand directly beneath the pen, and then
    scraping it accross the lens.
     
    Mark², Feb 27, 2007
    #9
  10. The difference is likely to only show up under certain lighting
    conditions and then maybe too little to notice. You can reduce even that
    very easily with a fine point black felt tip marker. A dot or two to
    blacken that chip will eliminate almost of the effect and that black mark
    will never show up on a photo.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 27, 2007
    #10
  11. While such things are possible, they are rare with modern lenses. If
    you are lightly brushing there will not be enough force to scratch and if
    you flick the brush a few times before use, that will clean most any such
    material from the brush (more likely to find that grain of sand on the lens
    itself.)

    I like the old recommendation of using a quality lens tissue, but not
    like a rag. You roll it up and then tear it in half, that gives you two
    clean lint free soft brushes. Always brush before cleaning with any kind of
    cloth.

    Back to my "modern lenses" remark: Modern lenses (lenses became modern
    in the '70's ) have much harder coatings than the old lenses had. Much of
    the old wise advice in photography is very old and some lens care advice
    that was very valid in the 50's is no longer meaningful.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 27, 2007
    #11
  12. Curt Peterson

    Bandicoot Guest

    I always hold the lens upside down above my head when I brush it, looking up
    into it. This way any grains of sand will tend to fall away when they are
    brushed rather than get dragged across the surface. I never do anything
    else to the lens without doing this first, and maybe a bit of a blow, also
    upside down, too.

    Only when I've done that to remove any bits of grit will I consider doing
    anything else, if anything more is needed.


    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Feb 28, 2007
    #12
  13. Curt Peterson

    Bandicoot Guest

    I always hold the lens upside down above my head when I brush it, looking up
    into it. This way any grains of sand will tend to fall away when they are
    brushed rather than get dragged across the surface. I never do anything
    else to the lens without doing this first, and maybe a bit of a blow, also
    upside down, too.

    Only when I've done that to remove any bits of grit will I consider doing
    anything else, if anything more is needed.


    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Feb 28, 2007
    #13
  14. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    I'm not worried about brushes, etc.
    I only commented regarding the use of lens "pens" which press fairly sharply
    against the surface, and potentially trap grit in the tip...
     
    Mark², Feb 28, 2007
    #14
  15. Curt Peterson

    Mark² Guest

    I'm not worried about brushes, etc.
    I only commented regarding the use of lens "pens" which press fairly sharply
    against the surface, and potentially trap grit in the tip...
     
    Mark², Feb 28, 2007
    #15
  16. Curt Peterson

    Bandicoot Guest

    Which is why I always brush like this to remove any possible grit from the
    lens before I consider touching it with anything like a lens pen.


    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Mar 1, 2007
    #16
  17. Curt Peterson

    Bandicoot Guest

    Which is why I always brush like this to remove any possible grit from the
    lens before I consider touching it with anything like a lens pen.


    Peter
     
    Bandicoot, Mar 1, 2007
    #17
  18. <Snicker> Scotch bright pads always work well too :)
     
    Gregory Blank, Mar 1, 2007
    #18
  19. Curt Peterson

    ASAAR Guest

    You mean like removing any grains of sand that fall into your eye?
    The lens pen might do double duty by dislodging that grit too! <g>
     
    ASAAR, Mar 1, 2007
    #19
  20. Curt Peterson

    ASAAR Guest

    You mean like removing any grains of sand that fall into your eye?
    The lens pen might do double duty by dislodging that grit too! <g>
     
    ASAAR, Mar 1, 2007
    #20
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