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07-24-2010, 02:56 PM   #1
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How to clean lenses

Hi everybody,

My apologies if there is another thread with the same topic and i missed it (i'm new and after searching for a while, i didn't found any concrete answer).

Well, i've recently adquired a K-x and now i'm gathering the necessary stuff to keep it safe and clean. The problem is that i've heard lots of thing refering to lense cleaning and right now i'm kinda confused.

So, correct me if i'm wrong:

-Cleaning Kit: Blower, Soft Brush, Microfiber Cloth, Isopropyl Alcohol

Process:
1 Blow big particles
2 Use the brush for taking away smaller and dificult particles
3 Use the microfiber cloth with lilttle amount of Isopropyl alcohol for oil and sticky stuff, then dry with a dry microfiber cloth.

Is that correct?

That's olny for the outer lense, what about the inner lense?

Thanks in advance for every answer.


07-24-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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Yes that is a good way to clean outer lenses (for # 3 though I would use your breath, alcohol can possibly leave some residue behind).

As for the inner lens, leave that to a professional. Some old manual lenses can be somewhat easily taken apart but any new lens will have dozens of small parts that can easily be lost, forgotten, or not returned to the correct location. Not to mention that you have to put the lenses back exactly the way you took them out. It's just way too much of a hassle.
07-24-2010, 04:00 PM   #3
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I think very few people clean the inside elements. A few specs of dust will probably not be visible in your results.

I find it challenging to clean lenses and filters. Unless you're outside and the sun is shining, it seems like it's hard to see when you have that slight remaining haze cleaned off the lens. In theory, a little alcohol and an uncontaminated cloth should solve the problem, but it doesn't always for me.

Paul
07-24-2010, 05:32 PM   #4
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Don't clean your lenses unless it is absolutely necessary.
Dust does not hurt a lens, nor will it affect picture quality unless it is a very heavy coating (splashed with mud heavy).
Fingerprints and the like should be removed.
Brush the lens first to remove dust, and then use a soft cotton cloth and breath.
Breath on the lens and then wipe in a gently circular motion. Don't rub, and don't spend time in one particular spot.
I've seen more lenses damaged by overzealous cleaning than all other reasons combined.
Cleaning lenses is a really good way to harm them.


Last edited by Wheatfield; 07-25-2010 at 09:03 AM.
07-24-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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Um, I think he means "use a blower first to remove loose dust, *then*, only if necessary, use a soft brush to remove any stubborn particles." Careful with 'breath' too; avoid small spittle which requires more cleaning than was necessary in the first place...

tehSancho, the only step I might add to yours is use a lint-free soft-cotton swab ('ear-bud' or 'q-tip' type) for minor touch-up if steps 1-3 aren't sufficient; sometimes a single drop of cleaning fluid on the swab helps, followed by a dry one. The inner elements shouldn't need cleaning unless the lens has haze, oil, fungus, or a lot of dust inside.

BTW, check at the bottom of this web page for links to other threads related to lens cleaning.
07-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #6
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A small amount of dust can be removed with a puff of air or a very soft lens brush.
Always use a lens brush prior to any cleaning.
Otherwise you're just rubbing the dust and/or dirt into the lens coating.
Only use dry or moist cleaning cloths designed for a lens (never tissue!!!).

For fingerprints or oily streaks I'v found that a Lens Pen works wonders.
It also removes the streaks left by wet or moist cleaning and is the only thing that actually can totally clean my multi-coated lens or filters with minimun contact.
It has both a lens brush and a a very gentle cleaning element.

B&H link below:
Pearstone LP-1 Lens Pen (Black) LENLP1 - B&H Photo Video

As was stated in the previous posts, the less you touch the lens the better since every time you touch the lens there is potential for damage.

Rusty
07-24-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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It all depends on what you want to do with the lens later.

Applying Boraxo or Comet with steel wool leaves a nice pattern of scratches that provide the "glowing halo" effect prized by portrait and floral photographers.

Other effects can be achieved by rinsing the glass with olive oil, alcohol, lighter fluid, urine, or any other available liquid. Avoid open flames during the process.

A forceful scrubbing will remove all pesky coatings and traces of image quality. With just a little effort, you can render your lens suitable for ID-badge photos.

Don't try this at home, kids.
07-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #8
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Original Poster
I'm not planning to give a "aggressive" cleaning to the lense right now, it has some dust on it, nothing to worry about. The only thing that bothers me is a very small oily streak (i think i touch the lense the day i mounted it) but it's also very small and i don't think it's worth cleaning the whole.

Thank you all for the answers.

07-25-2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tehSancho Quote
I'm not planning to give a "aggressive" cleaning to the lense right now, it has some dust on it, nothing to worry about. The only thing that bothers me is a very small oily streak (i think i touch the lense the day i mounted it) but it's also very small and i don't think it's worth cleaning the whole.

Thank you all for the answers.
Right, but you should probably spot clean that asap; fingerprint oil is often acidic and can eat through lens coatings and etch glass. Also carefully brush off any dust that doesn't blow off; whatever is causing the dust to stick can also be acidic...
07-25-2010, 12:27 PM   #10
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Some camera kits that I have bought come with lens cleaning accessories, including bottles of lens cleaning fluid. What is it, and should I just throw it out?
07-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #11
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The problem I've had with the above mentioned approach is where cloths always leave a residue(looking in good light) on the lens. So I was never fully satisfied with my efforts and kept looking for the holy grail of lens cleaning.

That's when I found a small lens cleaning tutorial on the web that involved the infamous lens pen. Which consisted of the following process:

1. Blow off particles.
2. Brush away remaining dust or particles.
3. Use lens tissue with optical cleaner to remove grime.
3. Use lens pen to finish

The above mentioned process has allowed me to clean my lenses to a flawless finish everytime. Whereas the tissues never fully cleaned the glass let alone the micro fiber cloths which become contaminated with oils and dirt from handling.

To help illustrate, here is a chart showing the difference between the lens pens and traditional cleaning methods:



And I can attest to the image above with my own experiences.
And since the original Lenspen can be had on eBay for less than 4USD, I usually keep a pair in my pack for cleaning at all times. They seem to last aprox. 3 months(for me) before they don't seem to work anymore. So I just keep my supply up by ordering 4-6 units at a time.
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