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Old June 11th, 2004, 08:13 PM   #1
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Cleaning the lens

I've got an MX500 and I was shooting in bright sunlight today when I noticed that there's obviously some dust on the lense.

What's the best way to clean this?

I didn't want to go wiping it with a cloth so I bought one of those puffer brushes -- but haven't used it yet.

I also saw some kits with lens cleaning fluid but didn't want to go sloshing stuff around without getting some advice from *real* experts (as opposed to camera-store salesgeeks) first.
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Old June 11th, 2004, 10:15 PM   #2
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Don't panic! <g>

In general, your objective is to [1] GENTLY clear solid debris from the lens, and [2] GENTLY clean residue from the lens surface.

Clearing debris is best done with a soft lens brush, holding the lens downward to ensure that loose particles fall away from the lens. You can also use a bit of blown air, as from a bulb or lens brush equipped with a bulb. Do not use compressed air and do not blow the lens with your mouth.

Cleaning the lens surface can be done safely in several ways. There are "Lens Pens" that have a brush at one end and a special dry clean pad at the other. You can also use a drop or two of lens cleaning solution on lens tissues, wiping gently on circular motions. 3M makes "Scotch Brite" cleaning cloths for eyeglasses which I've found to be excellent lint-free cloths for use on lenses.

Just be sure that you avoid scratching the lens coating with loose debris while cleaning, and avoid using normal paper tissues (Kleenex, etc.) since they will leave lint on the lens.

One last remark of reassurance. The coatings on lenses today are actually pretty tough. Yes, they can be scratched but they are not as prissy as you might think.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 12:18 AM   #3
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I ran into this issue recently. I've found that if you ask ten different people, you'll get ten different responses.

I've made friends with some guys that work at a rental house here in town that specializes in HD. Most of their clients come to them for HD equipment, and they've been around for awhile.

Now, I asked these guys, "what do you do to clean lenses?"

They told me they use compressed air to clean the solid particles off--quick spritzes, always hold the can "level", not an angle, as this will increase the likelihood of getting some of the supercold liquid residue goop to spray out and screw up your glass.
(I asked them about the squeeze bulbs you mentioned above, and they said, for the most part, they really don't do much).

Then, they use Pancro, a liquid that comes in spray bottle, in conjunction with Rosco lens tissue, to clean off whatever won't come off with the air.

So, one guy says "no, don't ever use compressed air," and someone else says "go ahead, but be careful." I say, good enough for the high end rental house (and it's expensive HD lenses, and HD primes) that has happy clients, has been around for a while, and done a lot of business, then good enough for the Bass.

Now, this is all for GLASS. If your camera has a plastic lens, then I'm told the Pancro might be too harsh for it. Maybe the same for the canned air? I don't know. Just telling you what I heard.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #4
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"I've found that if you ask ten different people, you'll get ten different responses."

Boy, that's certainly right, Josh.

My reasoning regarding the avoidance of compressed air is three-fold.

(1) The velocity that a charged can of air can propel debris is impressive. This many not pose hazard to a fully sealed lens, but many of our camera's lenses (probably most) do not have such tight sealing. So debris could be propelled into the barrrel.

(2) The remark about holding the can upright was a good one. Unfortunately, even so, you need to remember to shoot the first burst into the air to avoid propellant striking the lens. Years ago I was unfortunate enough to hit a coated lens with that propellant and was never able to remove a residual stain from the coating.

(3) Aside from damage prevention, carrying canned air is generally a pain. With a small, manual blower and brush you never have to worry about whether there's any charge in the can. It's always safe, always available, and always easy to pack.
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Old June 12th, 2004, 01:26 AM   #5
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I'll try the brush, perhaps. I never tried it holding the lens downward. . . maybe that's why the dingleberries never came off. The brush always seemed to add more than it took away. Ditto lens tissue, static-free cloth, lens pen, etc.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #6
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The brush will only get superficial stuff off, dust, etc. If there's something like a dried water spot or fingerprint, etc., you'll need to use lens fluid. I've been using lens cleaning fluid and lens tissues for years with no problem. Just do it carefully. I use those lens cleaning cloths with lens fluid now instead of lens tissue.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #7
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See, again. . .ten people, ten opinions. I've also been told that cloths of any kind, or for that matter, anything meant to be reusable, is no good. The idea is that, the first time you use it, it's okay. The second time you use it, the crap you wiped off the first time is being rubbed against the glass, and you'll get "microscratches", ones you may not even be able to see with your naked eye, but that can eventually degrade the glass.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #8
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Josh,
The reason you get so many answers, is because there are subjective views of acceptable risk... acceptable degradation.

Also, subjective skill levels with various approaches. I wouldn't give a can of compressed air to a newbie and say "Go blow the dirt off that lens"... while handing one to a pro at TxCam or M3 is something I might do without a second thought.

Make sense?
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Old June 15th, 2004, 11:51 AM   #9
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Yeah. . .gotcha. You know M3? I'm chums with those guys.
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