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03-02-2020, 06:49 PM   #1
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Clean ND Filter?

I must be an idiot (I mean I know you all know this already ) but I can't seem to clean my ND Filters to the same standard that my CPL and UV filters can obtain. It seems as though the weaker ND filters are also easier, it's the darker ones that just still retain this kinda oily smear...

I've probably ruined mine and need to replace with better ones, perhaps pay top dollar for the more premium ND filters that seem to have a reputation for ease of cleaning, or perhaps it's the nature of the filter and some different approach is required? I'm happy to bin my current ones and replace and chalk off to a learning curve that I should have paid attention to, but really... what is the deal with the darker ND filters, why are they a nightmare to clean?

TIA

BB

03-02-2020, 07:01 PM   #2
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I feel you. The only time I have seen my filters clean (all kinds) was when I bought them
03-02-2020, 10:57 PM   #3
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You might want to use filters with an easy-clean nano coating. I've had a good experience with Rollei's Extremium and Premium filter lines, which feature their water- and grease-repellent Luminance Coating. Other things I do include rinsing my microfiber cloths regularly in lukewarm water and avoiding cleaning solutions. A gently-circling wiping technique plays a role too, as does cleaning filters immediately after use.
03-02-2020, 11:53 PM - 4 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
I must be an idiot (I mean I know you all know this already )
This happens to us once in a while .

For ND filters, I recommend wet process. Since ND filters are free of electronics, I clean them like my glasses, that I learned from glass manufacturer.
I soak (no rubbing) my filters in a clean warm (not hot) water with a drop of dish wash liquid, two times, rinse with plain water, dry, and finish drying with a clean microfiber cloth, they come out like new.
Never rub the glass when in water solution since there could be some particles scratching the coated surface, only soaking a few times is enough for dust and greasy finger prints to dissolve in the cleaning solution.
Fingers are naturally greasy, even freshly washed. Wearing latex gloves to manipulate the filter during the cleaning process eliminates chances to leave finger prints on the clean ND filters again.
Typically, people use a microfiber cloth directly with bare hands so fingers gradually deposit oily substance on the microfiber cloth , after a few uses the microfiber cloth isn't working anymore. So use latex gloves, wash the microfiber cloth and don't touch it with bare fingers again.


Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-03-2020 at 12:06 AM.
03-03-2020, 03:46 AM   #5
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^ This ^

Though when i'm working in the field and an errant finger leaves a mark on my Lee filters, I carry single use Acetone* wipes to remove any fingerprints.


* Isopropyl alocol is not that great of removing fingerprints and with certain filter coatings it often just spreads residues around even more. 100% Ethanol is polar and is also an excellent choice for removing finger oils without residue, but it is frequently adulterated with denaturants which can leave residues on surfaces.

Last edited by Digitalis; 03-03-2020 at 03:55 AM.
03-09-2020, 10:01 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
This happens to us once in a while .

For ND filters, I recommend wet process. Since ND filters are free of electronics, I clean them like my glasses, that I learned from glass manufacturer.
I soak (no rubbing) my filters in a clean warm (not hot) water with a drop of dish wash liquid, two times, rinse with plain water, dry, and finish drying with a clean microfiber cloth, they come out like new.
Never rub the glass when in water solution since there could be some particles scratching the coated surface, only soaking a few times is enough for dust and greasy finger prints to dissolve in the cleaning solution.
Fingers are naturally greasy, even freshly washed. Wearing latex gloves to manipulate the filter during the cleaning process eliminates chances to leave finger prints on the clean ND filters again.
Typically, people use a microfiber cloth directly with bare hands so fingers gradually deposit oily substance on the microfiber cloth , after a few uses the microfiber cloth isn't working anymore. So use latex gloves, wash the microfiber cloth and don't touch it with bare fingers again.
Tried this, didn't work that well. I got desperate and ordered one of these;



ROR Professional Lens Cleaner - 2oz Spray Bottle (Residual Oil Remover) | eBay

$30! Youch... however... I did as the description says on the bottle, spray a little on some tissue, wipe filter, use another piece of dry tissue after and... voila! O M G... I have no idea what this stuff is but it is like magic cleaner! I have tried lens cleaner and soap warm water (none of that worked great for me) and this stuff just easily brought back my ND filter to an almost brand new state... Wow...

I'm curious now if it is safe to use on other filters like cpl, lower density filters, uv, even lens front and rear elements?
03-09-2020, 11:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
$30! Youch... however...
Usually , these small things are very high sales margin. If you know the formula you can make it yourself for nothing.
In fact, to tell you the truth, I first purchased such little bottle from an optical store, I paid $10 for it, noticed it worked really great. Then I discretely asked an employee of the store how they make this magic fluid for cleaning glasses and he revealed that they made it with a drop of dish washing colorless liquid and distilled water. So once my little bottle was empty I refilled with my own dish wash soap solution, for 0$. On the label it is still written "professional glass cleaner" now made by me for 0$, I enjoy cleanliness every time I use it.

03-09-2020, 11:43 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Usually , these small things are very high sales margin. If you know the formula you can make it yourself for nothing.
In fact, to tell you the truth, I first purchased such little bottle from an optical store, I paid $10 for it, noticed it worked really great. Then I discretely asked an employee of the store how they make this magic fluid for cleaning glasses and he revealed that they made it with a drop of dish washing colorless liquid and distilled water. So once my little bottle was empty I refilled with my own dish wash soap solution, for 0$. On the label it is still written "professional glass cleaner" now made by me for 0$, I enjoy cleanliness every time I use it.
I guess my mix was just bad then because nothing I tried worked like this stuff. I guess ratio and all that is important? Anyway... I'm pretty happy. At $30 a pop its pricey, but the amount of sprays I pumped to clean 2-3 filters (and its JUST the ND filters that are proving problematic, the other filters come up ok with traditional means) means this $30 will likely last me years...
03-10-2020, 12:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
) means this $30 will likely last me years...
Well, yeah, I know about the filter problem, on mine the coating should supposedly repel water & dust, but it loves finger prints. Basically, I have to clean my square filter after every outing. So far, my best way to avoid leaving finger prints on filters even when handling them for cleaning was to use those cheapo (latex, rubber, plastic, whatever...) gloves for home cleaning, prevents sticking finger again on the filters after it's perfectly clean.
03-10-2020, 01:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Well, yeah, I know about the filter problem, on mine the coating should supposedly repel water & dust, but it loves finger prints. Basically, I have to clean my square filter after every outing. So far, my best way to avoid leaving finger prints on filters even when handling them for cleaning was to use those cheapo (latex, rubber, plastic, whatever...) gloves for home cleaning, prevents sticking finger again on the filters after it's perfectly clean.
I've thought about that, taking a pair or two of disposable gloves in the field, even reaching into the filter pouch to carefully pry a filter out can result in an accidental touch... I might get those little rubber finger sock things
03-10-2020, 08:45 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
This happens to us once in a while .

For ND filters, I recommend wet process. Since ND filters are free of electronics, I clean them like my glasses, that I learned from glass manufacturer.
I soak (no rubbing) my filters in a clean warm (not hot) water with a drop of dish wash liquid, two times, rinse with plain water, dry, and finish drying with a clean microfiber cloth, they come out like new.
Never rub the glass when in water solution since there could be some particles scratching the coated surface, only soaking a few times is enough for dust and greasy finger prints to dissolve in the cleaning solution.
Fingers are naturally greasy, even freshly washed. Wearing latex gloves to manipulate the filter during the cleaning process eliminates chances to leave finger prints on the clean ND filters again.
Typically, people use a microfiber cloth directly with bare hands so fingers gradually deposit oily substance on the microfiber cloth , after a few uses the microfiber cloth isn't working anymore. So use latex gloves, wash the microfiber cloth and don't touch it with bare fingers again.
^^^^^^^this^^^^^^^
03-10-2020, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
This happens to us once in a while .

For ND filters, I recommend wet process. Since ND filters are free of electronics, I clean them like my glasses, that I learned from glass manufacturer.
I soak (no rubbing) my filters in a clean warm (not hot) water with a drop of dish wash liquid, two times, rinse with plain water, dry, and finish drying with a clean microfiber cloth, they come out like new.
Never rub the glass when in water solution since there could be some particles scratching the coated surface, only soaking a few times is enough for dust and greasy finger prints to dissolve in the cleaning solution.
Fingers are naturally greasy, even freshly washed. Wearing latex gloves to manipulate the filter during the cleaning process eliminates chances to leave finger prints on the clean ND filters again.
Typically, people use a microfiber cloth directly with bare hands so fingers gradually deposit oily substance on the microfiber cloth , after a few uses the microfiber cloth isn't working anymore. So use latex gloves, wash the microfiber cloth and don't touch it with bare fingers again.
Great advice.

When rinsing, use distilled water which should leave no residue (if it's of high quality) if you accidentally leave some on the filter. Also you can add a small amount of 99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or "ever clear" (which is high purity ethyl alcohol) to the bath which will help the detergent cut oil and grease. In really bad cases, repeating the process will help.
03-11-2020, 06:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BruceBanner Quote
$30! Youch
Here in the states, it's only $8 at B&H or Walmart.

---------- Post added 03-11-20 at 09:20 AM ----------

According to their MSDS, ROR is:

Section 2-Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information
Hazardous Components (Specific Chemical Identity: Common Names)
Ammonia 26 0.775%% Non Hazardous
Sodium Chloride 0.830% % Non Hazardous
Isopropyl Alcohol 4.266% % Non Hazardous
Liquid Soap 9.011% % Non Hazardous
Distilled Water 85.118% % Non Hazardous

Last edited by rogerstg; 03-11-2020 at 06:20 AM.
03-11-2020, 12:25 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rogerstg Quote
Here in the states, it's only $8 at B&H or Walmart.

---------- Post added 03-11-20 at 09:20 AM ----------

According to their MSDS, ROR is:

Section 2-Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information
Hazardous Components (Specific Chemical Identity: Common Names)
Ammonia 26 0.775%% Non Hazardous
Sodium Chloride 0.830% % Non Hazardous
Isopropyl Alcohol 4.266% % Non Hazardous
Liquid Soap 9.011% % Non Hazardous
Distilled Water 85.118% % Non Hazardous
Yeah I have no doubt I'm paying two to three times what I should be really... that's local Aussie prices for ya... I might bung another one in the cart next time I'm grabbing from B&H.
03-11-2020, 12:26 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rogerstg Quote
According to their MSDS, ROR is:

Section 2-Hazardous Ingredients/Identity Information
Hazardous Components (Specific Chemical Identity: Common Names)
Ammonia 26 0.775%% Non Hazardous
Sodium Chloride 0.830% % Non Hazardous
Isopropyl Alcohol 4.266% % Non Hazardous
Liquid Soap 9.011% % Non Hazardous
Distilled Water 85.118% % Non Hazardous
So a little like Windex?

Addendum: ...or a lot like Tiffen Lens Cleaner (previously known as Kodak Lens Cleaner).


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-11-2020 at 12:57 PM.
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