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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #1
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Cleaning your XHA1 Lens?

I went to my local camera shot and asked for the items needed to clean the lens on my XHA1. They gave me a cloth made of mico fiber. This materal seems to course for the lens. How often should you clean the lens? Also whats strange is, even though I can see the dust on the lens it doesnt show up in the video. Also is there some kind of cleaning soultion that I should be using on the lens?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #2
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That's the problem with lenses. Whatever happens is permanent.

I ALWAYS order a UV filter with my camera and put it on the instant the camera is out of the box. The only time it comes off is to clean the filter with those microfiber cloths or change to another one. If you cannot clean it to you satisfaction, get a new one. I shot footage out of a sunroof once and had to trash the filter but I was sure glad all those bugs weren't on my lens.

All that said, once you get it clean, put a UV filter on it.

The reason you may not see the imperfections is because the focus point makes them totally blur out. Point your camera at a nice blue sky sometime and focus the camera as near as possible, you will probably see the dirt. Also, pointing the camera near a light (DO NOT USE THE SUN) will let you get some reflections that will also show the dirt.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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Yes, geeting the lens protecter is a good idea and I will get one for sure. Meanwhile How should I clean my lens? Although I can see some dust on it. its not really that dirty. Its for preventitive measures.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:01 PM   #4
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You will find debate among the purists about this. For dust, there are aspirators that you squeeze and blow air and aspirators you squeeze that blow air and have a brush. These have been used for ages in photography. One might consider judicious use of compressed air. If it's a smudge or spot, then you are into a kit of some kind if you are uneasy about your microfiber cloth. I have no experience with the kits. My wife had trouble getting a recommended chemical for cleaning her still camera sensor due to transportation regulations. YMMV
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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watch out if you have one of those tins of air. I once held one at an angle whilst pointing it at the lens and some of the liquid propellant came out and damaged the anti-reflection coating.

Trouble was, it wasn't your average camera but a large liquid nitrogen cooled one which I was about to bolt on to the world's (then) largest infra-red telescope! It was certainly red face day for me!

Ian
Festival Video and Audio Previews - Festival Previews Ltd
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Old March 13th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #6
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Check out the Lens Pen products. The Lens Pen consists of a retractable soft brush on one end, which is used to remove the dust and grime from the lens prior to the actual cleaning. On the other end of the pen is a piece of chamois-coated rubber, and a cap to keep it clean. Inside the cap is a piece of foam which is impregnated with some carbon powder. The carbon powder lightly coats the chamois pad when the cap is replaced and twisted a couple of times.

After brushing away the debris on the lens, you use the chamois pad to do the actual cleaning. The carbon powder on the chamois pad absorbs the fingerprints, oil and general grime in the same way that the newsprint on newspaper cleans your glass windows! No damage is done to the lens because the carbon, chamois and rubber is soft and non-abrasive.

I met the inventor of the Lens Pen system at C.E.S. earlier this year. He advised me to stay away from using microfiber cloths for the simple reason that without first removing the dust and debris from the lens, all the cloth is doing is rubbing that debris across the lens element, which may scratch it. From my own experience, I also noticed that there were always tiny pieces of lint left on the lens after using microfiber cloths.

Since using the Lens Pen on my lenses, I can safely say they've never been so clean!

The company also has a sensor cleaning system which I've successfully used on my Canon 10D. No liquids are used and it's very safe and easy to do. I've not needed to manually clean the sensor on my 5D mk II.

See the Lenspen web site for more details.

Julian
(Not affiliated in any way with the company, just a happy customer)
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Old March 13th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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I had one, practically new and only used once. It was in the camera bag in a car in the hot sun for a couple of hours. I got sprayed with water and went back to clean my lens and the lens pen put black powder crap all over my lens. Fortunately I had some lens cleaning fluid and soft cloth. Maybe I had a defective one, or they don't like being in a hot car. The good lens cleaning cloths are very soft, but there are some microfiber cloths I've seen that feel abrasive and I wouldn't use those. Lee Filters sells a nice soft and very big cloth designed for cleaning resin and glass filters, available at B&H. That's what I use now. Never use a cloth without lens cleaner and without brushing and blowing the dust off first.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #8
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Yeah, I certainly wouldn't use a Lenspen on a wet lens... it's a dry system and definitely not designed for use with any kind of liquid, including water! I have successfully used it to clean off *dried-on* water spots, though. Used as intended, and per the instructions, I think it works very well.

Julian
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:56 PM   #9
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My 2 cents....

ONLY clean the lens with a cloth or a solution when absolutely necessary. For everyday removal of dust or lint use a anti static blow bulb and possibly a very soft lens brush to dislodge any static clung dust. A solution and any type of cloth/tissue or swab is a last resort and should only get use if there are oily smudges (fingerprints, ect.).

If you are in need of removing a smudge then a lens solution on a good quality q-tip (trust me I've seen crappy quality ones that leave a lot of loose lint and can scratch), rubbed very gently on the lense after blowing off all dust works. Go in very small circles (in case there is missed dust so it won't create a large scratch), and change q-tips several times to make sure it is not depositing oil back on the glass.

Work in good light and as dust free of place as possible. Finish the job by blotting and gently rubbing the solution off with more q-tips and lense tissue. Finally blow off the lens completely.

Considering there are coatings on the lense to help prevent reflections and control aberations this is another reason to use solutions as little as possible. While most will be relatively harmless, mitigate the possiblities of wear on coatings or creating scratches by useing solutions sparingly.

Everything that has been mentioned about a UV filter to protect your lense is very true. There is a downside in that you can get reflections off any filter (even really high quality ones) that appear in your video. The use of the supplied XHA1 lens hood or a secondary matte box will in most cases prevent these reflections. In general a UV filter can be cleaned without the associated risk of damaging an expensive piece of gear (a good one should run around $100+ (Tiffen are good). However the same principles apply.

I've never tried the lens pen so cannot speak to it's effectiveness, but I would still consider the caveat that frequent touching of a lens element is a recipe for problems.

Compressed air.....hate the stuff....blowbulbs last forever and no possibility of any aerosol solutions.

All the best,
James Hooey
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #10
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Wow, it seems that there are lots of opinions on this. At this point I alsomst dont have a comfort level cleaning my lens. My camera is only twp months old and perhaps cleaning is not nessasary at this point. I would however like to clean it just as part of routine maintanence. ANy one else have any thoughts on this?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 09:58 PM   #11
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Clean it very carefully and then put a protective filter over it. You're not going to hurt it if you clean it with normal things and do it carefully. People scratch the coating by trying to rub off particles. I shot for years in horrible dirty situations that required serious lens cleaning after every setup. I've had diesel fuel splattered on me, strange chemicals, and on and on. But I've always used protective filters.
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Old March 14th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #12
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Well, I've been trying different methods, and still don't have one I like. I find that when I use liquids, I end up getting a fog and "swirls" that are very difficult to totally remove. I usually use a UV filter on my stock XHA1 lens, but there aren't filter threads for the WA lens, so you have to clean it. Here's my cleaning journey so far:

1. After brushing with lens brush, then use Q-tip with 91% alchohol. Left fibers and fog. Cleaned about 5 times, couldn't get swirls and fibers off.

2. I've tried the Nikon lens pen. Left black smudges all over my lens. I'm very afraid that any grit that gets on the lens wipe will then grind into my lens. I may order a new one and use it for the 2nd step after liquid cleaning, when necessary.

3. Zeiss lens cleaning packets (and Bosch & Lomb as well - very similar). It took three of these to get the fog removed, but its still not quite as clean as new. Also tends to create build-up around edges of lens.

4. Got with technician from a extremely well known company that works on $100,000 lenses on movie and TV sets. He gave me a small bottle of an elixir called SimSolv 224 and some lint-free cloths. The SimSolv is the best I've used so far for removing the "swirls". It evaporates incredibly quickly. You have to work quickly, but by the end of the 3rd application the lens was looking pretty good. I imagine it is a Freon product (smells like R-11 I used to use in the military electronic industry). I've tried to find a source for it, but haven't been able to find one. It may be a banned substance or require special licensing. I only have about 2 fl oz left!!!
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Old March 14th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #13
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I also use a good quality UV filter to protect the lens (around $100). A good quality UV filter will have good anti-reflective coatings to keep flare and ghosting to a minimum. I find I only need to clean the camera lens itself a couple of times a year, instead I am usually cleaning the filter surface. I have no experience with the lens pen, it sounds like a good product. I use a large bulb blower to remove coarse material and follow up with a light touch of a lens brush if there is sand or grit left behind. Even though good quality cotton cloth is not recommended because it can have silica in it, I have used this material and a good lens cleaner (or breathed on the lens to fog it up) for years with no visible degradation in the lens. (Apply a few drops of cleaner to your cloth and not to the lens.)

I have switched to using micro-fiber cloths. They are designed for cleaning lenses. Although the texture may appear coarse, they are made of micro fibers and will protect your lens coatings if you have removed the grit first. Try to remove oils from your fingers and periodically wash the microfiber cloth in dish detergent to minimize persistant smudging. The glass and outer coatings are pretty tough. If you are reasonable careful they will stay in good condition for years. Even if you are not reasonably carefull they will probably stay in good condition for years. You probably won't be using the camera for 10 to 20 years (the format will likely be obsolete much sooner), so don't be afraid to clean your lens. It can take it, as long as you are reasonably careful. If something catastrophic happens to the outer camera lens glass, Canon can probably replace that for you.

Cheers,

Pat
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Old March 14th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #14
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I've never used a filter to protect my high end DSLR still camera lenses because common knowledge seems to be it reduces the quality of the pictures because the filter glass is not as high quality as the lens glass and reduces the resolution. Because of this, I've also never used a filter on my video camera lenses. I always have a lens hood on though, so that offers some protection.

Am I in the minority as one who doesn't use a protective filter on my video lens? Do you people who use a protective filter feel it doesn't reduce the quality of your shots?
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Old March 14th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #15
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Denise, I couldn't prove it, but it seems like the image quality is perfectly fine with a good filter on. Although I usually use a filter on my DSLR, sometimes I have reomoved the filter when shooting landscapes with L lenses to get the absolute best detail. It seems to me that the much reduced resolution of HD compared with DSLRs would make any filter impact pretty negligible, although I could be wrong.

Pat
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