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08-24-2014, 03:36 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Lens cleaning tips

I awoke this morning to find it rather foggy, which is unusual in terms of the weather but a great opportunity to get some interesting shots. Spent a couple of hours snapping a variety of views over a local lake, but when I got home I found several spots and at least one very small hair in each of the shots.

Didn't seem to be much dust on the lens but I gave everything a good clean this afternoon. Not sure if I've got everything but I thought I would ask the forum for any hints and tips on cleaning the optics.

What do you use for lenses, front and rear optics?

What do you use for the mirror, and do you ever clean the prism?

How about the sensor or is that left for the professionals?

For many years I used to use a cleaning cloth normally used for cleaning my glasses and the occasional spray of a lens cleaner from the optician, any better ideas?

Oh and one final question, if I had that little hair on most of the shots but the focus shanges depending on the field of view, I assume it must have been on the front optics somewhere. Is this a reasonable assumption?

Cheers

08-24-2014, 04:20 AM - 1 Like   #2
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About lens cleaning there is rather new very good article that can found somewhere in this site using search, maybe it was even in site front page few months ago.

Personally I also use those tissues that are ment for my eyeclasses cleaning to clean my lenses too...cos its very easy

About sensor cleaning Eclipse cleaning liquid and sensor swaps after trying airblower first. More details here
Sensor Cleaning
How to Cheaply and Safely Clean Your Camera’s DSLR Sensor
08-24-2014, 04:29 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The spots on your photos are likely dust on the sensor, lens dirt / scratches won't show in photos unless they're pretty extreme. Try using the dust removal function a few times, see if that helps, you can stop your lens down all the way and take a pic of the blue sky to see if the spots are gone / moved. If the shaking doesn't work, try a rocket blower, put the camera in cleaning mode to raise the mirror. You can "wet" clean your sensor yourself, look it up to determine if it's something you're comfortable with.

Dirt / hair on the mirror or focus screen won't show up in photos, a blast from the rocket blower should clear the mirror, I'd leave the focus screen to pros though.

Never spray cleaner directly onto your lens, spray it on the lens cloth instead, don't want any liquid seeping inside. Clean lens in a circular pattern from the center outwards, in the rare instance you may scratch the coating, it'll have less impact on image contrast.
08-24-2014, 04:55 AM   #4
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Thanks folks, much appreciated. Obviously I've been doing the wrong thing in a couple of cases so I shall correct my errors and start doing it right!

Cheers

08-24-2014, 04:56 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Yes, agree with everything already posted here. Stay out of the camera with tinned air, brushes and swabs if you can help it. There's almost no dirt (note I say almost) that won't be shifted with a Rocket Blower. When blowing air into your camera, do not allw the blower nozzle to bump against the mirror or other parts in there - you can cause expensive damage.

For lenses, a small drop of isopropyl alcohol on a clean, new, soft wipe will do the trick if you can's shift dirt with only the blower. Some will say this may damage lens coatings - I think not. The active ingredient in pre-wetted Zeiss camera lens wipes is simply isopropyl alcohol. Do not drip any liquid cleaner straight onto the lens surface as the fluid can migrate into places it should not as noted by Al_Kahollick. Unlikely, but possible. Try to keep your camera, lenses, camera bag etc as clean as possible. With lots of loose matter swirling around, there's more chance of some of that floating into places you don't want.

Mirror or focus screen dust is an annoyance but won't affect your photos, as noted above. Remember that, no matter how carefully you change your lenses - At some point you'll find dust in the camera. Most of it will blow out. It's rare, but possible that a bit of nicely sticky pollen or some such material can find it's way onto your camera's sensor, but it's rare. Sense wet cleaning, or any form of 'contact' cleaning should be avoided and is best left to the professionals.
08-24-2014, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
For lenses, a small drop of isopropyl alcohol on a clean, new, soft wipe will do the trick if you can's shift dirt with only the blower.
Regular window glass cleaner will work as well. That is what my repair guy uses.


Steve
08-24-2014, 05:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Regular window glass cleaner will work as well. That is what my repair guy uses.


Steve
Yes Steve, quite correct. One of the active ingredients in the common glass cleaners on the market is, indeed, isopropyl alcohol. Unfortunately, that's not all. Most common window glass cleaners also contain ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, sodium lauryl sulfate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, ammonia, a colour dye solution, and a perfume solution. I don't trust ammonia near my lenses and I prefer to avoid the perfume and colour dye too.
08-24-2014, 07:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Yes Steve, quite correct. One of the active ingredients in the common glass cleaners on the market is, indeed, isopropyl alcohol. Unfortunately, that's not all. Most common window glass cleaners also contain ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, sodium lauryl sulfate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, ammonia, a colour dye solution, and a perfume solution. I don't trust ammonia near my lenses and I prefer to avoid the perfume and colour dye too.

True, when I first started shooting some 30 odd years ago, window cleaners were a huge no-no, mainly because of the ammonia damaging the coatings, Granted, todays coatings are far better, but why chance it. Lens cleaning solution is pretty cheap. I also learned to never dry clean lenses for the same reason you shouldn't dry clean bird poop off your car. Particles in the cloth or gunk can scratch your lens as easily as seeds in bird droppings can scratch your paint finish. Again, it's probably not going to ruin a modern lens, but, lens cleaning solution and lens tissue are far cheaper than any lens you may own, why take a chance!

08-25-2014, 02:04 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Al_Kahollick Quote
True, when I first started shooting some 30 odd years ago, window cleaners were a huge no-no, mainly because of the ammonia damaging the coatings, Granted, todays coatings are far better, but why chance it. Lens cleaning solution is pretty cheap. I also learned to never dry clean lenses for the same reason you shouldn't dry clean bird poop off your car. Particles in the cloth or gunk can scratch your lens as easily as seeds in bird droppings can scratch your paint finish. Again, it's probably not going to ruin a modern lens, but, lens cleaning solution and lens tissue are far cheaper than any lens you may own, why take a chance!
Quite right! Which is why I avoid washing cars whenever possible! And, never dry a car, unless you use a new cloth.

Back to cleaner: Most lens cleaning solutions is simply a mix of purified water and (you guessed it) isopropyl alcohol. When I have no lens tissue I use a trick I was taught many years ago:
1. Roll up a soft, fine, unscented facial tissue. Roll it up as tight as you can.
2. Then, taking it firmly in the middle, tear the rolled up tissue in half. You now have two little "brushes" with torn ends.
3. Wet the one with your lens cleaning solution and clean the lens in a gentle circular motion.
4. Use the other half to buff dry.
5. You will have some 'strands' of tissue left on the lens surface, usually, but these blow off with your Rocket Blower.
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