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06-08-2019, 12:41 PM   #1
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ARRRGGGHHH!!! Dumbest thing I've ever done! May have ruined my camera. ("Solved")

Cans of contact cleaner and dust-off side by side....

I sprayed the lens of my MX-1 with contact cleaner, as close as you would get a duster to the lens. The camera was not powered on so the lens barrel was retracted. At least there's that.

The camera was sideways when I did this and I immediately turned the camera lens down when I realized what I did.

In a bit of a panic, however, I made a beeline to the sink.

The camera was always pointed lens down throughout this. I soaked a paper towel and used it to soak just the front element, careful not to apply any pressure. I then took a dry paper towel and placed it on the lens to soak up any water, no rubbing or pressure, just dabbing. I got out some lens clothes and gently wiped away the remaining dampness on the lens.

Only now was I close to being comfortable turning the camera sideways to puff some air on it and wipe a bit more with lens cloths.

I now turned the camera with the lens facing up, just to inspect the lens surface for what I though would be a swirling haze of damaged coating. The front lens element actually looked quite clean and clear. There's immediate no evidence of damage to the lens coating but that distinct contact cleaner smell lingers. I wonder if I should have the lens facing up so if there's any evaporation it go up to the sensor.

My MX-1 which has gone with me in my backpack everywhere since I bought it now sits, lens down, raised off the table top by two books, a small fan gently running, for the next few days.

I feel like an idiot.

I can't imagine anyone here doing anything so ridiculously stupid as storing these two side by side at the risk of picking up a can of contact cleaner instead of dust-off and saturating a lens but if you've ever gotten the front of your your MX-1 splashed with liquid maybe you can offer some words of hope or a hard reality check about the prognosis.


Last edited by MD Optofonik; 06-10-2019 at 06:45 PM.
06-08-2019, 01:25 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I'm sorry. I just hope it was the plastic safe contact cleaner that you had.

For anybody that doesn't know. Contact cleaner is a very strong and harsh cleaner used to clean electrical contacts and parts. It comes in two types, safe for plastic and normal. Safe for plastic is as it sounds. It can be used on plastic with no problem. Normal, on the other hand, will melt plastic and haze and craze clear plastics to make them unusable.
06-08-2019, 01:32 PM - 4 Likes   #3
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We've all done silly things. Don't beat yourself up over it. This occasion probably won't be the last, but it should lodge itself in your mind enough to reduce further occurrences

Most contact cleaners have alcohol as their primary ingredient. Given its dilution with other ingredients, plus the fact that the other ingredients will be in relatively small proportions, I don't think you'll have done any damage to a modern lens with modern coatings such as this one.

A few tips for future reference (these are my opinions only, so value them at precisely what I'm charging ):

- don't worry about a few specs of surface dust on the front element; it's better to leave them be, as they'll have no impact on image quality
- to remove surface dust, use a good quality, silicone rubber bulb blower... I recommend the Giottos Rocket
- for stubborn dust or particles, use a soft-bristled make-up brush to gently flick them away, followed by the bulb-blower (always store the brush in a clean cover or bag)
- for grease, dirt or water marks on the lens - and only after you've used the blower and brush to remove any debris - use a dedicated lens cleaning solution and a soft lens cleaning cloth tissue... or, purpose-designed pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes (I'm a big fan of Zeiss wipes, though they're pretty wet straight out of the packet, so I let them dry out for 10 - 20 seconds before use). You can also breathe on the lens and use a soft, dry lens wipe.
06-08-2019, 01:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigdavephoto Quote
I'm sorry. I just hope it was the plastic safe contact cleaner that you had.

For anybody that doesn't know. Contact cleaner is a very strong and harsh cleaner used to clean electrical contacts and parts. It comes in two types, safe for plastic and normal. Safe for plastic is as it sounds. It can be used on plastic with no problem. Normal, on the other hand, will melt plastic and haze and craze clear plastics to make them unusable.
Yes! it is plastic safe. I didn't think about that. Thanks!

---------- Post added 06-08-19 at 13:50 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
We've all done silly things. Don't beat yourself up over it. This occasion probably won't be the last, but it should lodge itself in your mind enough to reduce further occurrences

Most contact cleaners have alcohol as their primary ingredient. Given its dilution with other ingredients, plus the fact that the other ingredients will be in relatively small proportions, I don't think you'll have done any damage to a modern lens with modern coatings such as this one.

A few tips for future reference (these are my opinions only, so value them at precisely what I'm charging ):

- don't worry about a few specs of surface dust on the front element; it's better to leave them be, as they'll have no impact on image quality
- to remove surface dust, use a good quality, silicone rubber bulb blower... I recommend the Giottos Rocket
- for stubborn dust or particles, use a soft-bristled make-up brush to gently flick them away, followed by the bulb-blower (always store the brush in a clean cover or bag)
- for grease, dirt or water marks on the lens - and only after you've used the blower and brush to remove any debris - use a dedicated lens cleaning solution and a soft lens cleaning cloth tissue... or, purpose-designed pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes (I'm a big fan of Zeiss wipes, though they're pretty wet straight out of the packet, so I let them dry out for 10 - 20 seconds before use). You can also breathe on the lens and use a soft, dry lens wipe.
Good advice, indeed. The big reason I'm disappointed in myself is that I should know better. The two cans wound up in the same spot haphazerdly and I never returned the dust-off to my camera cabinet after using it on a remote controller (after cleaning the contacts).



I'm as concerned about the water as the contact cleaner. I remember thinking to myself, "Well I soaked the paper towel enough to get any contact cleaner residue off but now I've got a lens soaked with water; great."


Last edited by MD Optofonik; 06-08-2019 at 01:53 PM.
06-08-2019, 01:50 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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Ha!. We have all done stoopid things so don't stress too much. Human factors, we set ourselves up to fail before we start sometimes.

I recently lost a £200 tripod and head, and it was entirely my own fault.

Worse things happen at sea and some poor souls live in locations where the weather takes away everything they have, so I try to be philosophical about it how ever annoying it is.

Let's hope it recovers, chin up
06-08-2019, 02:33 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
The big reason I'm disappointed in myself is that I should know better. The two cans wound up in the same spot haphazerdly and I never returned the dust-off to my camera cabinet after using it on a remote controller (after cleaning the contacts).
Hindsight's wonderful... I know from plenty of personal experience

I will say, though there are folks in these forums that quite happily use canned air, I don't use anything that sprays anything (even air) on my photographic gear. All sprays have propellants, and whilst there's limited chance of them affecting equipment, I'd just rather not take the chance. For air, a bulb blower is enough. Beyond that, the other methods I mentioned come into play. Just say "No" to sprays

QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
I'm as concerned about the water as the contact cleaner. I remember thinking to myself, "Well I soaked the paper towel enough to get any contact cleaner residue off but now I've got a lens soaked with water; great."
Unless the paper towel was absolutely dripping with water and you had the camera pointing upwards whilst you were cleaning, I seriously doubt much - if any - moisture got inside the lens or body. Running or standing water - even for just a few seconds - is what tends to do the damage. If you're really worried, open any doors on the body, take the battery out, and leave the camera in a moderately warm and very dry place for a day or two.

I'm pretty confident you've nothing to worry about... but, if you do:

Remember, this is just gear. For much of my life, I used to get frustrated and stressed if a treasured item of mine was broken, damaged or cosmetically spoiled - whether it was a car, guitar, computer, phone, camera, lens, TV, radio, sofa, carpet, or even a favourite shirt, suit or tie. You'll laugh when I tell you this, but the turning point for me was when I watched - for the second or third time - the movie "American Beauty". There's a brilliant scene (which you might remember, if you've watched it) where the protagonist - Lester Burnham (played by Kevin Spacey) - becomes exasperated with his wife's concerns for material things when he's about to spill a drink on their sofa, and he shouts "This isn't life, it's just stuff!! And it's become more important to you than living. Well, honey, that's just nuts!". As I say, it took a couple of viewings for that to sink in, but they're wise words... These days, if someone opens their car door onto mine while I'm out shopping, or if I scratch the screen on my tablet, get a little ding on my camera body, or drop my two-week-old smartphone so that the corner of the body and glass are badly dinged (all things that have happened in the last year, amongst several others), I don't (allow myself to) care.

"It's just stuff"


Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-08-2019 at 03:09 PM.
06-08-2019, 02:35 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
A few tips for future reference (these are my opinions only, so value them at precisely what I'm charging ):
I don't see Dust-Off or other canned air products on your list. Funny thing...they are not on mine either.


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06-08-2019, 03:02 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
I can't imagine anyone here doing anything so ridiculously stupid...



You mean like taking your sister-in-law's pit bull and your camera for a walk at the same time? When the dog lurched against its leash while I was taking a picture, I lost my balance and the camera and I landed face down on a gravelly footpath, without the benefit of having a free hand to break the fall.


06-08-2019, 07:14 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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I have two rules in life:

1. Don't ever put your glasses down on any surface on which there is even the remotest chance that you might sit.

2. Always tie up the kitty litter bag before putting it down on the ground to do something else.

One might add a third:

3. Never keep together spray bottles/canisters whose contents have opposing uses.
06-08-2019, 08:36 PM - 6 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
I have two rules in life:

1. Don't ever put your glasses down on any surface on which there is even the remotest chance that you might sit.

2. Always tie up the kitty litter bag before putting it down on the ground to do something else.

One might add a third:

3. Never keep together spray bottles/canisters whose contents have opposing uses.
Iíll add another to that list.

4. Donít store your super glue next to your eye drops.
06-08-2019, 09:35 PM - 1 Like   #11
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If that's the dumbest thing you have done, you are lucky.
06-08-2019, 10:11 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the words of encouragement and perspective. It is indeed just another bit of "stuff" but the MX-1 has become my favorite camera over the years; a constant incredibly reliable photographic companion. It can certainly be replaced but it has maintained it's value to an amazing degree; it would not be cheap to replace.

So, I got home tonight, powered it up just long enough to extend the lens before removing the battery and putting it back in front of the fan. So far so good. I'll leave it like this through tomorrow.

I may also go the extra step and, after retracting the lens, capping it, and again removing the battery, put it in a bag of rice for a day. If after that something goes awry I'll at least know I did everything possible to save it.
06-08-2019, 11:31 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeKay Quote
Iíll add another to that list.

4. Donít store your super glue next to your eye drops.
...I sincerely hope you have tried to glue something with eye drops, and not the other way around!
06-08-2019, 11:55 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
...I sincerely hope you have tried to glue something with eye drops, and not the other way around!
Seems impossible but...

Superglue injuries of the eye
06-09-2019, 07:25 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxus Quote
If that's the dumbest thing you have done, you are lucky.
Amen.
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