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Thread: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

  1. #1
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    Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Hi all, yet another beginner question.

    I just got myself a used lens and the front element has some circular cleaning smears on it especially right on the edge where its harder to clean and a slight buildup has occurred.

    Can anyone give me some tips on what I should or should not do/use? It has that "T" coating which I don't want to destroy. A quick breath on the lens and a wipe with one of those optical microfiber cloths seemed to work ok but i know there is a proper way and would like to learn.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    sorl
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Personally i found using a cleaning solution like ROR and special tissues, these are fine, to be a very good way. Using a microfiber cloth only smears and gets dirty quite quick.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    See if you can find some Kodak Lens Cleaning Tissues. Do not use Silicon impregnated papers, like for cleaning eye glasses. Then just use your breath.That is the safest way.
    Many cleaning fluids contain trace amounts of alcohol. Alcohol will leave optical blacks on the glass.
    Micro Fiber cloths spread, they do not remove as well. When you clean the lens, pay strict attention to the outer most surface of the glass, near the barrel.This is where the residue likes to hang out. Look up and against a light source and you will see like a rainbow or film....

    Just breathe and take your time....wipe gently.... with a T* lens, you have a great coating...

  4. #4
    bronney
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    to reach the rim, fold your cloth into a cone and use the tip. Rotate cleaning surface often. What you used to clean whatever is now dirty. Don't use the same place over and over.

    I find breath to be best, second is pure methanol (sensor clean fluid). Also try to clean just a little bit to determine is the rim dirt is outside and not inside.

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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    yeah the rim had noticeable buildup but I did manage to get at most of it by using that folding trick.

    I'd like to avoid using a cleaning solution unless its last resort so I stick with the lens cleaning tissue and breath technique as you guys have advised.

    Sorl - man those ebay tissues are too cheap to be good..ha Are you sure they will be fine? I can't get my head around how cheap they are.

    Appreciate the tips.

    Cheers.

  6. #6
    bronney
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    You are welcome I use a hakuba microfiber cloth that thing works wonders. You keep using a fresh patch until you forget where you used. Then just wash it with soap and hang dry and it's like new again. Been using that same piece for the past 3 years and it's my go to cloth for everything. Glasses, lens, scanner glass. Have to see it to believe it.

    I won't recommend any cloth usually and especially not for cleaning greasy glasses AND lens at the same time but it just works. Those lens pen is garbage, stay away from them.

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Microfiber terry cloth is really amazing (NOT to be confused with cotton terry cloth, which scratches badly). I got a 20-pack for car detailing, tried them out on various mutlicoated glass surfaces and they are just great.

    If you want to remove smears on multicoated surfaces, a trick is to lift the smear in something that's easy to remove - facial grease. rub your fingertip on your nose a little, then gently rub the smear on the lens, then remove it all with a clean microfiber cloth. This trick supposedly comes from Nikon's optical engineers.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    certainly the lens cleaning tissues are great and the best. While they feel coarse to your skin they are not as hard as the coatings on the lens or the glass of the lens.

    When none are available I often use plain toilet paper and roll this into a cigarette length about one centimeter in thickness. I will then tear that in half and use the blunt fuzzy end with a quick squirt of windex on that.

    the other end is used to dry.

    a smooth light circular motion from center spiraling out seems to do well

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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    I use lens cleaning cloth with a cone-shaped Q-tip wedged inside to get to those hard-to-get lens edge surfaces. Been using my breath as moisture. I'll have to give the microfiber solutions a try.

  10. #10
    sorl
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    @MRfanny: I am using those tissues myself and they seem to suite the purpose. I have examined the lenses and the result pretty carefully although not scientifically. Its good that they are cheap because I use them only once, as in one wipe. Id like to point out again that using ROR or equivalent gives great results and its very safe to use with coatings, maybe even safer than water moist from breath?

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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Thanks again guys.

    I'm gonna try microfiber terry cloth approach aswell as the tissues and see which one i prefer in terms of convenience.

  12. #12
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Really, I use whatever is on hand and deemed clean. Cleaning cloths, a clean shirt, maybe a little saliva if need be. This goes for a $20 Minolta or a $1700 Canon 85L. I've never been too worried about scratching a lens, and I've yet to really scratch one. Coatings and glass are pretty hard.

    You do have to pay attention though. If there is something on the glass that you drag across the surface with your cloth, it can produce a scratch. A rocketblower is indispensable for blowing a lens clean before wiping it.

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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    rocket blower is check! I can't live without the thing.

    you are a braver man than I am with the spit polish. =)

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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Rocket blower first

    Microfiber cloth or Kodak lens cleaning tissues next.

  15. #15
    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner-tips to clean a lens

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB666 View Post
    Rocket blower first
    Microfiber cloth or Kodak lens cleaning tissues next.
    At a Leica seminar in Germany they gave all participants a big microfiber cloth and recommended using it without anything else (liquid, blowing). Also to keep it very clean, washing it often. They warned against using unknown microfiber cloths like the ones get from opticians as they may be impregnated with substances that can harm photographic lenses.
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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