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01-29-2012, 07:31 AM   #1
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SLR Lens Care

I was reading some posts on dpreview because I'd never really looked at their forum before and came across a post that said most lens failures are due to a lack of care by the user. Well this made me realize that I don't really know what the 'proper' care of a lens is!

I did a quick search of the site and the internet, but I didn't find any really helpful information. So I was hoping that I could get some advice here.

I use my rocket blower to clean off dust, moisture, etc from my lenses right after I finish shooting. I also let my gear warm up in my bag for an hour or so when I get home before removing my pictures from the SD card. I also use my eyeglass cleaning cloth to clean off the outside of my lenses every so often.

Most of the time my camera gear is zipped up in my camera bag. I've left the desiccant that came with my DA lenses in the leather pouches because I hope that they'll absorb any moisture that I've missed with my after shoot cleaning.

I'm hoping to get an idea of what others do to care for their lenses.

Thanks in advance

01-29-2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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Glass Cleaning

Hello Drugal.
I agree that most lens problems/damage start with the user, but it sounds like you're doing most of the things that need to be done.
I would add that it's not only important to clean the front element, but occasionally clean off the rear element with a microfiber cloth, as well. Even the few seconds that pass while the rear cap is off (while changing lenses) are enough time to attract dust or dirt. This dust would otherwise be transfered into the camera body, or vice versa.
You should also wipe off the lens barrel occasionally, particularly the section that retracts when focusing or zooming. Zoom lenses in particular, have a suction effect that often pulls dust into the inner barrel, where it mixes with the lubricant and eventually causes problems.
I believe the biggest danger to a lens is while it's mounted on the camera, not stored in your bag. This is when it's exposed to the elements, as well as banging into doorframes, swinging against solid objects and generally being in use. The one item that can save the delicate front element is simple and often overlooked; A lens hood. I also use a UV or skylight filter on all my lenses, but there is some disagreement on their advantages. Some say it increases lens flare or may itself damage the lens if it is broken in an accident.
In any event, treat your lenses like the fine optical instruments they are, and they will serve you long and well.
Good Luck!
Ron
01-29-2012, 08:18 AM   #3
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Just keep your lenses clean, dry and away from impact and they will be fine. Glass cleaning can be addictive and should be performed only when needed.
01-29-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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You mentioned the outer lens barrel, Ron, which made me think of the retrofocus element. Is there a way to clean this part, or is cleaning it unnecessary because it is either inside the camera or behind a lens cap.

Thanks for the reply.

01-29-2012, 08:54 AM   #5
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The only point I would add is tha if your gear gets wet don't "wipe" it off or "blow" it off, as both actions can for e moisture into it further. The correct way to dry it is to "blot" the moisture with a dry paper towel.

I know this is symantics but it is a very important distinction
01-29-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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I found this article on B&H useful. I would assume their writers know what they are talking about.
How to Clean Your Lens and Filters Properly | BH inDepth
01-29-2012, 12:42 PM   #7
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I use a blower round about every time I change lens, I blow the front and back of the lens I am about to use before changing. When I find dust on the front element while using the camera/lens I give it a few pumps with the blower too. If there's stains or smudge on the lens I spray some lens cleaning fluid on a very fine microfiber cloth and wipe without too much pressure in a circular fashion starting with the center of the lens working my way out to the edges.

All this is common practice with astro gear (I am an avid amateur astronomer) and the lens cleaning fluid I use since many year is manufactured specifically for careful and effecient cleaning of fine optics:
First Light Optics - Baader Optical Wonder Fluid
01-29-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Just keep your lenses clean, dry and away from impact and they will be fine. Glass cleaning can be addictive and should be performed only when needed.
Over zealous glass cleaning can also be harmful, if you end up introducing scratches or marks.

I put multicoated uv filters on the front of my commonly used lenses, every few months I will take them off and wash them with soap and water, then let them air dry. I leave the rear elements alone, unless I get a finger print on them. (A little bit of dust on the elements isn't going to affect picture quality.) Aside from that, and trying not to drop anything, I don't do much else in the way of lens care. I try to keep them reasonably dry when it's raining out.

01-29-2012, 11:35 PM   #9
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I don't waste air on lenses. I use a lens pen to brush off any dust, and (rarely) the lens pens' microfibre tip or a microfibere cloth to remove any accumulated gunk or moisture. Obsessive lens-cleaning isn't good, as mentioned. To avoid over-cleaning, I tend to shun shoots where nasty crud is likely to spray the lens, camera, and I.
01-30-2012, 12:14 AM   #10
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Just another point to look out for: don't use your camera immediately after moving from a very cold environment into a warm humid environment. You'll get condensation, and this can easily get into your camera and lens - especially if you focus or operate the zoom (even for a WR system). Best to wrap your equipment in a plastic bag while you're in the cold environment before moving into the warmth, and leave plenty of time for temperatures to harmonise before using it.

Moisture inside a lens can easily lead to fungal growth.
01-30-2012, 09:37 AM   #11
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Just a point here, regarding the different needs of camera care.

while there is a lot of discussion about cleaning the elements form dust etc, my approach is very simple in this respect.

I blow off dust regularly with a blower, and do not use any brushes, or cloths on the elements unless absolutely necessary. When I do, I use disposable tissues, not cloths, because cloths can carry skin oil that leaves a film on the lens, or can have grit that can scratch a lens. clean disposbale tissues have neither,. and while they do leave dust, this can be blown off with a blower.

As for condensate water etc, from the lens body, as I said this should be blotted away, and dust brushed off, not wiped or blown because this can force dust further into the lens.

The OP is doing everythign else right, letting things stabalize.

I would not, normally keep the camera in a sealed bag, as some have propsoed because if there was moisture or snow in the bag (by accident) coming back into a warm environment would certainly cause that moisture to spread through the components int eh sealed bag. some level of breathing is better than none. The overall cold carry bag will warm naturally and protect the contents sufficiently from condensate when coming out of the cold.
01-30-2012, 05:18 PM   #12
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Thanks all for the comments, very helpful
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