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Old January 11th, 2002, 01:53 PM   #1
DominiDirector
 
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Lens Care & Cleaning

I read on some website that it was EXTREMELY important to remove oil (i.e. fingerprints) from the standard lenses a.s.a.p. because otherwise it would seep into the coating and distort the whole picture.
How true is this?

I am concerned because I recently found my brand new XL1s had a fingerprint on it. And I haven't picked up my camera for a week.

Does this mean I must send for its repair or replacement?

How does one clean the lens (the best way)?

Where can I find cleaning supplies?

Thanks
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Old January 12th, 2002, 10:36 PM   #2
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I like to use those little moist towels that you get when you eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken.

If you don't have any of those laying around the kitchen dish rag seems to work great. Out in the field if you need a lubricant just use some saliva.

Now, I know many of us when we go out on the field always forget to bring the washcloth, no problem in this case just use your sock, in most cases the sock will have absorbed enough sweat from your foot that you can use that moisture to clean the lens.

...okay sorry about all that, I shouldn't try to be funny, but I would like an answer to this as well because I just got a smudge on my Neutral density filter and it took me a half hour to get it decent again. If anyone could give me the proper procedure I would much appreciate it.
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Old January 12th, 2002, 10:46 PM   #3
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I always use steel wool to get the nasty stuff off my lenses.

Seriously, I've shot with very good Carl Zeiss lenses on my SLR (single lens reflex) and have had no problem with simply using a good lens cleaner and Kodak paper to clean fingerprints and whatnot from the lens elements. I've never heard the argument about finger oil destroying the coating of a lens unless its cleaned within a certain amount of time.

I cannot believe that Canon glass is any more sensitive or unforgiving than something made by Zeiss.
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Old January 12th, 2002, 10:55 PM   #4
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Well, I am glad to here that Canon lens is pretty up to snuff in terms of durability in handling but, that last part struck some fear into my anxiety prone techie nerves: you said there shouldn't be a problem if the fingerprint is removed in enough time.
The thing is I think the fingerprint has been there for more than one week, possible two weeks.

Whadayasay?

EG
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Old January 12th, 2002, 11:05 PM   #5
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I don't have the Canon camcorder, so I can't speak directly. But I would bet my bottom dollar that there is no glass in the world that is THAT sensitive to fingeroil.

I've brought my SLR camera through Third World countries, subjected them to salt spray (not intentionally) and worse. I still shoot through the same glass.

Have you cleaned the fingerprint oil from your camera? If so, do you notice a difference in the image you shoot now as compared to what was available before?

Just get some good Kodak paper (I'm sure there are other good brands, but Kodak is what I use) and some good cleaning fluid -- again, I use Kodak.
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Old January 13th, 2002, 12:45 AM   #6
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Hey, I like the KFC wipe idea, DR! <g>

As gratedcheese noted, fingerprints can't etch the glass of a lens but they can etch the lens' delicate coating depending on your body chemistry and how much KFC grease you deposited with the print. Good lens paper and lens cleaning liquid used very carefully are the best solution for a heavily smudged lens. (I use a little squeeze bottle of AR cleaner that I get from my optomotrist's office for being a good boy. It's good stuff.)

I use a LensPen for most cleanings, except for heavy duty jobs. A LensPen is the size of a fat pen and features a retractable brush at one end and a specially formulated dry cleaning pad at the other. They're very handy, very effective and very safe when used carefully. You should be able to find them for about $5-8 at good photo shops everywhere.

One last note. You should only ever have to clean the FILTER over your lens, never the lens. Invest in a protective UV filter for your lens and you'll save yourself much grief.
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Old January 13th, 2002, 10:36 AM   #7
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I've always found that, in a pinch, a little bit of mouth breath to moisen the lens followed by a gentle outward spiral cleaning with a good lens tissue does the job quite well. One thing to be carerful with - be sure there's no grit or other dust particles on the lens that might scratch the lens as you wipe it clean. A can of compressed air is always a good item to pack. As for your other concern, a fingerprint does no harm as long as you don't leave it on for a long time. It's always a good idea to clean the lens before you put the camera away.
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Last edited by Ozzie Alfonso; January 13th, 2002 at 11:32 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2002, 11:08 AM   #8
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In his book, Cinematography, Kris Malkiewicz notes:

"Lenses should be kept clean at all times, even when stored, because fingerprints and other stains left on the lens for long periods may become imbedded in the blue coating of the lens."

Im not sure if this is the case with all lenses, but it certainly wouldnt be a bad idea to keep an eye out for such things ;)
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Old January 13th, 2002, 02:31 PM   #9
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I appreciate all of your replies. That last reply is some scary stuff. I mean I have had it on for a little over two weeks. It is not a heavy smudge at all, very faint, only visible if tilted just right. But I have been so busy and kept on forgetting to get to a camera store for cleanser. Anyway. By the time you read this I will have it off.
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Old December 31st, 2003, 09:40 PM   #10
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Hello all! Does brand name really matter in choosing a lens cleaner. I recently smudged a fingerprint into my Century wide angle converter (DAMN!!!) and I stumbled into some lens cleaner and cloth made by Sakar. Should I worry about the qaulity of the cloth and the solution or are they all pretty much the same? Thanks!!!
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Old December 31st, 2003, 10:32 PM   #11
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How does one leave finger prints on a lens? A UV's basic function is to keep silly fingers from touching the lens glass; and the rubber lens hood keeps silly fingers from touching the UV. :-))
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Old January 1st, 2004, 05:31 PM   #12
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Randy,
No, I don't think there's any reason to worry about your Sakar cloth.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 05:25 PM   #13
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I love this site. I posted a reply in January of 2003 and the thread is picked up in January of 2004. A great way of keeping track of where you've been.

By the way, after years away from my first hobby - photography - I finally got back into it. Bought a Nikon D100 with a zoom lens. (Nikon because I can use all my old lenses.) A lot has changed - I stopped serious photography before everything became automated. With the exception of auto focus, which I find a must when the eyes are not as sharp as they were, and there is no split focusing screen available - besides that, I find myself shooting in manual mode.

Who knows what I might be into in January 2005?
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 05:37 PM   #14
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Look again, Ozzie, your post was in January, 2002. You might also be interested in our Digital Photography forum located here. There are some other D100 photographers here as well.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 05:42 PM   #15
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And so it was. Scary, isn't it? Okay, so let's see where I'll be in 2006. ;-)

I'll check out the digital photography forum. Thanks.
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