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02-22-2009, 06:57 AM   #1
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Keeping the lens clean

I'm just curious how you do it. How do you keep the front element/UV filter/whatever you have in front clean. I keep getting lots and lots of smudges all the time even though I try really hard to keep it clean. I'm the kind of guy who takes out a cloth and starts polishing the computer screen as soon as someone touches it.

Is there any anti-dust stuff that you can apply? Apart from the obvious, point the camera downwards when it's raining, use a lens hood and keep the lens cap on when you're not photographing, is there anything else that could help?

02-22-2009, 07:40 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by StarDust Quote
I'm just curious how you do it. How do you keep the front element/UV filter/whatever you have in front clean. I keep getting lots and lots of smudges all the time even though I try really hard to keep it clean. I'm the kind of guy who takes out a cloth and starts polishing the computer screen as soon as someone touches it.

Is there any anti-dust stuff that you can apply? Apart from the obvious, point the camera downwards when it's raining, use a lens hood and keep the lens cap on when you're not photographing, is there anything else that could help?
Microfibre cloth.
And be less anal so that you aren't cleaning your lenses all the time. The major cause of damage to lenses is overzealous cleaning damaging the coatings.
02-22-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
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Lens Pen... I love that little thing
02-22-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Yeah, I have a microfibre cloth, from Pentax as a matter of fact! I mostly use a UV-filter in front so that's the glass that's being damaged.

A lens pen looks interesting.

02-22-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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I use some Hakuba lens cleaning paper on the UV filter and occasionally on the lens. Sometimes I feel using it will scratch the glass so I just tap it ever so lightly to remove the dust.

Anybody else using lens paper?
02-22-2009, 08:36 AM   #6
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BTW, I've had instances where the lens suddenly fogs up. Do you put anything on the lens or filter to prevent fogging?
02-22-2009, 09:45 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by macopajuice Quote
I use some Hakuba lens cleaning paper on the UV filter and occasionally on the lens. Sometimes I feel using it will scratch the glass so I just tap it ever so lightly to remove the dust.

Anybody else using lens paper?
Googled "how to clean a camera lens" and got 12,300,000 responses.

I don't use the UV filter protection method - no matter what I do, dust gets under the filter and I have to remove it to blow the dust off.

Airborne dust unavoidably falls on an uncovered lens (or filter!). If the glass is not touched little else can get on it. My most common source of other stuff is the inside of the lens cap, which has usually been in my pocket, and cigarette smoke (my bad).
  • I blow dust off the rear element with a bulb blower every time I mount a lens. I don't change lenses so often that this becomes a chore.
  • I blow dust off the front every time I remove a lens cap.
  • Less frequently I then brush the front element with a camel hair, lipstick style brush.
    • The blower and brush are always in my camera bag.
  • Once in a long while (once a year?) I actually clean a lens completely. I will also clean a lens if I accidentally touch the glass or for some other reason there is something obvious on the glass. . .
    • Blow
    • Brush
    • Moisten 2 sheets Hakubra (coincidentally) or Swarovski wadded up lens paper moistened with a drop or two of Residual Oil Remover. http://www.ror.net/
      • (I have no reason for using these brands of paper - they were what was available when I bought them)
    • Gently wipe the lens in circles from the inside out (no pressure - just the flex of the paper)
    • Turn the wad and dry the same way.
    • I then wipe the entire lens barrel with the moistened paper to remove finger oils, but I am cosmetics-anal.
Blowing dust off with a bulb blower (not by mouth or a can of compressed air) is the most important step - wiped dust can actually scratch the coating. A named defect of second-hand lenses is "wipe marks" or "cleaning marks." Otherwise, whatever doesn't scratch the coating is OK.

I use a thick Pentax microfiber cloth to clean my glasses.
02-22-2009, 09:59 AM   #8
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I'm at the other (careless) end of the equipment care spectrum, Monochrome, but I've saved your post so that, if and when I do get around to cleaning my lenses, at least I'll do no harm ;~) Thanks!

02-22-2009, 10:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I'm at the other (careless) end of the equipment care spectrum, Monochrome, but I've saved your post so that, if and when I do get around to cleaning my lenses, at least I'll do no harm ;~) Thanks!
From my readings, most of the frequent commenters here are in your camp - you can do more harm cleaning them then just leaving them alone.
02-22-2009, 10:40 AM   #10
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Monochrome's got the workflow I use, though I don't blow off the dust every time. I mostly get the significant dust off prior to any "photo" trip - where the purpose of my trip is to do photography. Also I fall into the "filters for protection" camp, so if I absolutely need to clean in the field, I can take a little less time/care than if the front element were in question (ie - no blower, straight to brush then microfiber).

Some references for why our compulsive front element cleaning might be a bit unnecessary...
Of course, the more you stop down, the more you'll see the specks - it's shooting relatively open which hides 'em...
02-22-2009, 10:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andres Quote
Lens Pen... I love that little thing
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
From my readings, most of the frequent commenters here are in your camp - you can do more harm cleaning them then just leaving them alone.
The only lens element I've scratched was the front of my DA 18-250, which I scratched with a Lens Pen - the brush side of the pen is great, but the leather pad side is removable and should be thrown away . I had carefully brushed the front element clean, but didn't check to notice the tiny speck of sand on the lens pen pad. My own fault, but I blame the pen .
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