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Old March 8th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #1
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What is the best way to clean a camcorder lens?

I am looking for the best way to clean the outside of a camcorder lens or filter.


Phil Bundy

Last edited by Phil Bundy; March 8th, 2008 at 03:14 PM. Reason: Update
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Old March 12th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #2
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For the front and back glass of a lens I use ... 1) distilled water and one of those lint free cleaning cloths available at any optometrist shop. Or 2) in place of distilled water, eyeglass cleaning spray for plastic eyeglasses. There is also synthetic chamois cloth. Very inexpensive and available in the automotive sections of most discount stores.

Before applying any liquid I remove dust with a soft make-up brush. Easily available in any well stocked cosmetics section of discount store. If your camera has interchangeable lenses, never use the makeup brush inside the body of the camera! The brush simply scatters dust and creates enough static electricity to make the dust stick to the surfaces of the camera body. Use products specifically designed to remove dust from sensors.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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One question, a million answers!

Seriously, you will hear different things from probably everyone who responds here. "Use compressed air." "Compressed air? Are you crazy!" "Use a microfiber cloth" "Microfiber cloth, are you crazy?"

I've settled on using canned air (there's a particular brand I found that seems to expel very little if any propellent--the liquid stuff inside the can--when you spray, important as the propellent, if it gets on the lens, can erode the anti-reflective coating). I've seen Pro DPs use canned air, and the guys at the local Panavision/Plus8.

I always hold the can upright, and spray in little spurts, instead of continously holding it down. I saw one guy in town hold the can upright, but bend the straw to point down, with the camera lens on a tripod below him and angled up. When I try it. . .propellent everywhere. So no more of that for me.

Anyway, canned air is for getting off the dust and stuff like that.

For spots, you need some kind of tissue/cloth, and a cleaning fluid.

I've always heard anything reusable, like a microfiber cloth, is not a good idea because though it's clean the first time you use it, what happens the next time? You rub the stuff you cleaned off the first time back onto the lens--tiny particles of dirt, etc., and create micro scratches on the glass. Granted, I used one for years on my XL1s/XL2 manual 16x lens, and still don't see any detrimental effects, but I've now switched to Kim-wipes, which are disposable tissue things.

The cleaning fluid I use is Pancro, also used by the PLus8/Panavision guys in town. It's $27 a bottle, or so, but should last you a while. So, you're supposed to spray the tissue/cloth, NOT the glass, I've heard (though I've also heard the opposite), and you want to "mist" the liquid, instead of spraying a concentrated wet spot on the cleaning tissue. Sort of a barely damp, even spray on the tissue; the lens shouldn't be soaking when you start wiping it down.

Wipe in circles around the lens. I've heard both from the center outward, and from outward toward the center. Of course, sometimes you have a pesky spot and have to go over it again and again. Also, once it's clean, find a dry part of the tissue and wipe it down again to get the excess moisture off.

You shouldn't need the tissue/fluid every time you take your camera out, I'd use it only for visible spots. Again, the canned air should take care of most of the little dust and hair fibers you'll see most times you pull your camera out each day.

Like I said, one question, a million answers. This is how I do it; I'm sure others will have something totally contradicting what I just wrote.
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