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Lens tissue paper or microfiber cloth?

John_SD
Whiz

What do you guys recommend for lens cleaning -- lens tissue or microfiber cloth?

 

I assume that it's always best to use the rocket air blower and brush whenever possible. The gal on the Canon site uses 91 isopropyl alcohol to clean smudges when necessary. Makes sense to use 91 as it has virtually no water in it and evaporates very quickly. Still, most of the guys I know use some specialty cleaner rather than 91 alcohol. Not sure why. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhdJyBucqrk

27 REPLIES 27

Leica
Apprentice

I ALMOST NEVER CLEAN CAMERA OPTICS, AND NEVER TOUCH THEM. WHEN I DO, CLEANER COST IS NEVER CONSIDERED.

 

4 Decades ago I worked in the then infant gas laser industry and had to clean laser windows before assembly and the mirrors.

 

We found that hand oils migrate via the best cleaning solutions, and never used a hand held lens cleaner or any cloth to clean them. I would NEVER trust the junk that now appears as cleaning cloths.

 

I use the same method now on my best optics. I take a cool lens or filter (holding the filter by the ring with hemostsats) and hold it so liquid can run off, over a warm conatiner of VERY FLAMMABLE (CAREFUL)  or even room temp pure ethanol alcohol.

 

I use Graves Grain Alcohol 190 Proof; 95%. The condensing vapors flow the contaminants off.

 

In bad cases we would even pour a little directly out of the bottle onto the lens.

 

I have never seen any damage in any coating over all the decades.

 

 

 

 

"...had to clean laser windows before assembly and the mirrors."

 

That is where I learned how to clean a lens.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


@Leica wrote:

I ALMOST NEVER CLEAN CAMERA OPTICS, AND NEVER TOUCH THEM. WHEN I DO, CLEANER COST IS NEVER CONSIDERED.

 

4 Decades ago I worked in the then infant gas laser industry and had to clean laser windows before assembly and the mirrors.

 

We found that hand oils migrate via the best cleaning solutions, and never used a hand held lens cleaner or any cloth to clean them. I would NEVER trust the junk that now appears as cleaning cloths.

 

I use the same method now on my best optics. I take a cool lens or filter (holding the filter by the ring with hemostsats) and hold it so liquid can run off, over a warm conatiner of VERY FLAMMABLE (CAREFUL)  or even room temp pure ethanol alcohol.

 

I use Graves Grain Alcohol 190 Proof; 95%. The condensing vapors flow the contaminants off.

 

In bad cases we would even pour a little directly out of the bottle onto the lens.

 

I have never seen any damage in any coating over all the decades.

 

 

 

 ------------------------------------------------------------

I have worked around lasers, too.  I find your experiences interesting, but overkill.

 

The optical elements for scientific lasers were significantly smaller than your typical camera lens filter.  The environments were typically clean rooms, class 10,000 or better.  I doubt if an alcohol rinse can remove the average contaminants found outside of clean room environments.  For example, a rinse will not remove smoke residue from the backyard family BBQ.

 

The tolerances for DSLRs are at least an order of magnitude less than what are typically used for lasers.  Again, I find your experiences interesting, but completely out of context and disconnected from photography.  The typical lens for photography is not manufactured to the tolerances required for scientific lasers.  Unfortunately, you are comparing apples to oranges.

 

Nothing personal, but those are the facts.

 

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

"...were significantly smaller than your typical camera lens filter."

 

Not on our 2000 watt industrial lasers.  They were right in the same production atmosphere as any of the equipment.  Other than being walled off, (laser radiation) they look and work just like any press we had.  Some of the lenses and mirrors were camera size.  Maybe a bit smaller than your nifty fifty.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"...were significantly smaller than your typical camera lens filter."

 

Not on our 2000 watt industrial lasers.  They were right in the same production atmosphere as any of the equipment.  Other than being walled off, (laser radiation) they look and work just like any press we had.  Some of the lenses and mirrors were camera size.  Maybe a bit smaller than your nifty fifty.


We built photon counters.  [Drops the mic.]

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Yes, maybe overkill. So, tell me, how do you determine the line between overkiil and damaging. And, I am cleaning vintage 50 year old lenses this way. Soft coatings, and not replaceable.

 

In any event, the key element is not to worry about the difference in cost between a good and maginal method.


@Leica wrote:

Yes, maybe overkill. So, tell me, how do you determine the line between overkiil and damaging. And, I am cleaning vintage 50 year old lenses this way. Soft coatings, and not replaceable.

 

In any event, the key element is not to worry about the difference in cost between a good and maginal method.


Your approach to cleaning vintage lenses sounds adequate.  I can see a museum caretaker taking similar precautions.  We built optics for satellite payloads.  But, it is still apples to oranges.  Today's lenses are stronger than those made decades ago.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."


@Leica wrote:

 

In any event, the key element is not to worry about the difference in cost between a good and maginal method.


You may be on to something. This weekend, in preparation for my upcoming journey into an abandoned mine shaft, a slot canyon and wind caves in the Anza-Borrego desert, I assembled my handpicked cleaning kit: a rocket blower, a couple of microfiber cloths, a pack of lens tissues, lens spray, a lens brush (no plastic bristles), and a little bottle of ROR. Sparing no expense, I spent upwards of $24, and felt so confident in my selection that I paid cash money. Best of all, I find myself looking forward to my journey so much that I am not worried about "the difference in cost between a good and marginal method." Now if I can only remember to pick up a spare camera battery between now and next Saturday. 

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