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09-26-2014, 04:51 PM   #1
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DIY lens cleaning solution ???

I realize that a few bucks for some pre-made solution sounds reasonable, especially considering the price of my camera, but I hate blowing money on stuff I can easily make.

From what I have found online, it seems that lens cleaner is little more than diluted isopropyl alcohol. Couldn't I just use store bought 50% alcohol in a smaller container as a lens cleaner? I was thinking of re-using my empty little eye glass sprayer to apply to lens paper I have available.

Also, I found out today that Staples wants $10 CAD for a small bottle of spray cleaner. Crooks.

09-26-2014, 05:02 PM   #2
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I like the Zeiss sealed disposable pads. Always in my bag and easier to manage than a homegrown solution. The cost is trivial compared to risk of messing up a thousand dollar lens.

M
09-26-2014, 05:28 PM   #3
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Here in the US, the only isopropyl alcohol you can buy without special permits is denatured alcohol. The denaturing agent is a poison, and makes the alcohol unfit to drink. Each manufacturer has their own denaturing agent, so you never know exactly what you're getting. However the lens cleaning solutions made from isopropyl alcohol has a denaturing agent that is compatible with the lens coatings, and will .evaporate quickly. The denaturing agent is an unknown compound. And can possibly damage the coding on your lens. So I do not recommend It, at least not in the United States.

Note: I have bought items off of eBay that came with a lens cleaning kit. On receiving the Item, I found that the bottles of lens cleaning solution were not marked at all. I promptly got rid of it. I will not use anything that I cannot identify on my lenses, and I do not like having any unmarked bottles.

PS, I also like Carl Zeiss lens cleaning solutions and Premoistened wipes. I carry the whites in my back along with a Nikon lens kit cleaning kit. I use the lens cleaning solution at home when I am cleaning all my lenses.
09-26-2014, 05:40 PM   #4
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Get some true lens cleaner and don't look back. Everyone has their preference of brand. When I finally splurged on a bottle of Pancro, I've never been happier. No matter what bottle of cleaner you get, it should last you quite some time. Unless you have a nasty habit of thumbprinting on your front element, you should really only need to do a dry cleaning most of the time.

09-26-2014, 06:25 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
Here in the US, the only isopropyl alcohol you can buy without special permits is denatured alcohol.
Isopropyl is more commonly known as rubbing alcohol and is toxic in its own right. Absolute ethanol*, on the other hand, is hard to get unless denatured with methanol or some other agent. There are some cases where isopropyl is denatured to make it (more) unpalatable, but I am not sure what the applications are.


Steve

(...used to work with absolute isopropanol and ethanol in another life where we used both as the final stage preservative for reptile and amphibian zoological museum specimens...frog pickles...we did this with roundworms too...)

* Basically 200 proof grain spirits.

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-26-2014 at 07:45 PM.
09-27-2014, 05:09 AM   #6
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Dont do it

I am not even happy with many "professional" cleaning fluid. leaves residue.
I recently got a solution (purosol) that works great.. PEC is good as well.
you will notice a big difference with multicoated filters.
09-27-2014, 05:44 AM   #7
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Blower...breath on it...clean t-shirt...., or normal prescription glass cleaner and soft lint free cloth if you have it with you when you need it....
09-27-2014, 06:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
breath on it...clean t-shirt
*cringes*

09-27-2014, 06:38 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
*cringes*
Looking around the web, a lot of people are doing that, and at same time a lot don't. I believe that Pentax would've warned us against certain lens cleaning practices if it was a serious problem....

K-30 and K-5iis manual...
"Use a lens brush to remove dust accumulated on the lens or viewfinder. Never use a spray blower for cleaning as it may damage the lens"

Pentax smc Pentax-DA interchangeable lens operating manual...
"4.Never use any organic solvent such as thinner, alcohol, or benzine, etc. to remove dust on the lens"

That is all....? It seems a lot of people are taking this to serious, looking at especially 4. above. Some dish washing liquid and soft cloth might also do, or even distilled water, on a soft cloth....
09-27-2014, 07:11 AM   #10
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while it is true that lens coatings are significantly harder than they were 50 years ago, one should always take care when cleaning the elements especially the rear ones. You can place a piece of blu-tak on the front element of a 50mm f/1.4 lens the size of a tic-tac and you will hardly notice it* but a mark with the same dimensions on the rear element would be disastrous.


*at least until you stop down to f/16 and even then it won't have much of an effect on image quality.
09-27-2014, 08:20 AM   #11
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When I receive a second-hand lens I immediately brush (camel hair), blow (Blue Bulb), then use Residual Oil Remover and lens tissue. I've had the same 2 oz. eyedropper bottle for such a long time they don't even package it any more - only 1 oz. bottles.

I rarely have done more than gently blow airborne dust off a front element after that.
09-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #12
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone.
Well, it looks like I will have to purchase some lens cleaner online. The offerings up here in the middle of nowhere are limited.

I love Pentax Forums, I learn so much.
09-27-2014, 10:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
Blower...breath on it...clean t-shirt...., or normal prescription glass cleaner and soft lint free cloth if you have it with you when you need it....
Never breathe on your lens. Your breath contains two elements that are not desirable on your lens. 1 is bacteria, The other is a very mild acid. Although the acid in your mouth is not likely to cause a problem, The bacteria can. If this combination can cause tooth decay, it can cause problems with your lens. This bacteria can live in a dormant state for years until it receives enough moisture to wake up and start eating at the coding on your lens. In fact there are some bacteria's that can live in the vacuum of space for Thousands of years. Even if it doesn't eat the coding of your lens, it can still fog your lens and get into places that you cannot clean. You will have enough problems with bacteria without intentionally adding more.

Other items to avoid:

Regular glass cleaners. Any cleaner that contains ammonia or vinegar.

Eyeglass cleaners. Some cleaners designed for eyeglasses can attack and remove the coding on your lens.

Soapy water/Dishwashing detergent. These can leave a thin-film on your lens which can fog your lens. it also can damage the coding on your lens.

Any cleaner that is not specifically designed for camera lenses.

For a couple of dollars, you can buy enough lens cleaner to last you for years. In fact the lens cleaner that I bought years ago was mostly full, But when I tried to use it, the bottle had dry rotted and cracked when I squeezed it. I had to throw it away and by some more.

There are some things that it is just not worth making yourself.
09-27-2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
That is all....? It seems a lot of people are taking this to serious, looking at especially 4. above. Some dish washing liquid and soft cloth might also do, or even distilled water, on a soft cloth....
I've definitely have used a dab of dish washing liquid on an old lens that I've picked up for cheap. I'm not trying to be too serious about cleaning of a lens, just merely pointing out that a bottle of lens cleaner can last much longer than most people think. Most of the time all I need is a gentle cleaning with a clean microfiber cloth.
09-27-2014, 06:43 PM   #15
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When do you guys use a liquid cleaner? I have to clean my sensor fairly frequently, but a micro-fibre cloth and a lens pen are all I've ever used on my glass.
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