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05-01-2007, 03:18 AM   #1
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Front element spots

I've been given conflicting advice as to how to keep lenses clean. Front and rear elements I mean. I was very hesitant to use suggested lens cleaning solutions for a troublesome set of spots I found on the front element of my new FA 50mm f/1.4. But I just couldn't get them off with a soft lens cleaning cloth regardless of how much I tried. They're pictured below.

I have no idea how they got there - but they were stubborn and wouldn't budge. As a trial, I wiped the spots with my bare finger, and without much effort, they all disappeared. What kind of trouble spots are these?

Apart from lens filters, air blowing and lens cleaning cloths, are there any other ways to clean those precious lens elements without harming them?

Last edited by Ash; 02-14-2008 at 01:28 PM.
05-01-2007, 05:38 AM   #2
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Probably water spots: the rings of salts after evaporation.

Substituting these spots for finger smears probably isn't very wise: finger oils might attack the coatings more vigorously than water.

Filters, wipes and lens caps are about all that can aid in the prevention of gunk build-up on a lens.

You could send it to service and allow somebody else to remove the junk-they will use the same methods you tried.

The only alternative is to keep it in a hermetically seal box and not use it-that wouldn't be much fun.
05-01-2007, 08:19 AM   #3
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You mean those two spots on the top? I thought that one was reflection from the window.
05-01-2007, 09:02 AM   #4
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best to keep our fingers off the glass!!!
go out and get a cleaning kit. apply the solution to the cloth and swab the lens , then dry it with the cloth.
i have a 12x12'' SELVYT jewelers cloth that i use. i highly recommend one. be sure if you get one that it's spelled exactly the way it is above. there are imitators.
you'll also be amazed at how well it polishes the outside of your lens. ESPECIALLY, the older metal bodied lenses.

05-01-2007, 12:49 PM   #5
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I use lens tissue and a simple photo solution to clean my lenses- it works like a charm for fingerprints and marks, but obviously protecting the front element is better that constantly cleaning it.

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05-02-2007, 04:36 AM   #6
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Ash - leave it alone! Those little spots will have absolutely no impact on the images that lens produces. Hell, I've got a lens with a 5mm chip out of the glass, and it still takes perfect photos! Honestly, not worth worrying about.
05-02-2007, 06:41 AM   #7
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Leave Spot!

QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisN Quote
Ash - leave it alone! Those little spots will have absolutely no impact on the images that lens produces. Hell, I've got a lens with a 5mm chip out of the glass, and it still takes perfect photos! Honestly, not worth worrying about.
Guess I won't be touching any lens ever again, then! Got all of your points - glad to know now. That's the down side of being a little too obsessive-compulsive about lens cleanliness - wanted it to be PERFECT! The spots weren't reflections - they were obvious bright spots that I found when I opened up my new package from B&H.

Will resort only to blowing, wiping and capping from now on. Damn it! Where's my filter. Ordered that thing over a week ago! (No, I'm not going into that debate - I prefer good lens and 98% nice images than bad lens and 100% nice images).
05-02-2007, 10:55 AM   #8
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Try a lenspen. I have one and it works great. Even has a brush built into the other end.

05-02-2007, 11:23 AM   #9

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Seriously? I canít believe the lenses is that sensitive that you canít touch them? I mean I have been wearing glasses most of my life (they also have anti reflective coatings) and I get all kinds of dirt and grease on them. And the best way to clean them is hot tap water, dishwashing detergent and your fingers, rinse in some more hot tap water and finally ONE wipe with a paper cloth. Not that you should pour tap water on the lens, but they canít be that sensitive? Or are they?
05-02-2007, 12:58 PM   #10
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Lens Specks

I find that most small dust specks etc, have no effect on the final result.
I have very seldom found cause to venture into cleaning the front element unless absolutely necessary, if it shows up then I use a blower, after that, if necessary, lens cleaning cloth and a drop of cleaning fluid, ON THE CLOTH,. I like your quote regarding the fitting of the filter (good lens/98% nice photos).) My thoughts exactly!
I had visions, as I read, of holding a lens under the hot water tap as mentioned in the previous posting (chuckled)...... and shudderred

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