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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 6th, 2008, 01:42 AM   #1
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Lens Cleaning?

What is the best way clean and maintain my lenses on my PD 170? Have seen micro cloth, lens brushes bellows and liquid cleaners to be applied with Q tips, but have seen posts indicating liquid cleaners could have harsh effects on lens coatings, and some cloths are more damaging than helpful. Want to know before I have the actual need to physically clean the lenses. I have known that the best defense against dirt is a lens filter or hood, but I can't put a lens filter on the supplied wide angle lens. The hood and cap will have to suffice for now, but want to know the best method for the eventual necessary cleaning.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 04:22 AM   #2
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I use spectacle tissues
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Old April 6th, 2008, 06:30 AM   #3
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Q-tips and spectacle cleaning products are not a good idea.
Neither are the canned freon dusting products.

The steps I follow are :

1. Use one of the squeeze bulbs they use for babies to blow dust off the front surface. If you use a clear filter over the lens you won't have to clean the 'real' lens surface very much. Good thing as some are plastic now.

2. Take a sheet of real lens tissue, roll it into a tight tube and tear it in half. Use the torn end to lightly brush the surface of the lens in a circular motion.

3. If the lens has, for example, a fingerprint on it, dampen the torn end of the tube with lens cleaning fluid and carefully rub the lens surface with a circular motion so you dont' spread the contaminant.

4. If that didn't completely remove the contaminant, use the other half of the tube to repeat the process.

Never apply fluid directly to the lens as it can then get back into the lens elements and mechanism, causing a problem.

If the lens barrel is dusty or dirty, brush it with a dry paint brush or vacuum it. Don't blow the dust into the lens where it will get into the mechanism and/or optical path and cause problems. This is why they make those tiny little battery-powered vacuums.

I have some near 40 year old lenses that are as pristine on the front element of the lens as the day I bought them. OTOH I've seen new lenses scratched in their first day of operation (fortunately not by me).

Just keep it in mind that every time you touch the front surface of a lens you are damaging it. And the damage mounts up until you can see a problem. The damage normally won't prevent you from getting an image but it will reduce contrast and increase glare.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 09:00 PM   #4
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Mike, You're advice is much appreciated, and when neccesary I plan to follow it. My first camera was a little panasonic GS 400, and I had purchased some lens cleaning solution from B&H Photo, I'm hoping that this same solution can be used with the proceedure you described. I'll get the lens cleaning paper(which I hope can be purchased locally, if not , I'll have to place another order with BH...is eyeglass lens paper the same as the paper you refer to?) As I said before, I have a uv filter on the camera lens, but, the wide angle doesn't have threads for a filter and I've read in posts on this forum that some problems, such as vignetting etc. can occur even if it was possible to secure a uv filter on a wide angle lens, although I think that there are slimmer type filters that reduce these issues. Thanks again.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 11:06 PM   #5
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Eyeglass paper is not the same as lens paper AFIK. Many times eyeglass paper has chemicals in it to make the eyeglasses look better. I'd not trust this stuff on multi-coated lenses or filters.

I have always used Kodak cleaning solution and papers. Hopefully they still make those items.

For WA lens, they do have filter adapters that accept a much wider filter so the filter rim doesn't cause vignetting.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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Would this involve step up rings in order to utilize a larger diameter filter? Even so, the wide angle supplied with the PD170 lacks any threads on the front so I don't think this is an option for me. I might have to buy another wide angle lens that has these front threads in order to use a protective filter. Not sure but I think the lens supplied with the camera is made by Kenko, Sony just put their name on it. The exact same lens sold by kenko actually has the front flilter threads.
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Old April 8th, 2008, 05:52 PM   #7
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There are clamp-on adapter rings available (or used to be).
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Old April 8th, 2008, 07:11 PM   #8
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Any idea where they can be had?
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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #9
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Mike's right - every time you touch the surface of your lens you risk damaging it. Mind you, every time you load a tape you risk damaging the mechanism and the heads, but that doesn't stop us filming.

So too with your front element. Don't be too afraid of keeping it spotless with a well-washed microfibre cloth and some huffy breath. Multicoatings are a lot tougher nowadays than 30 years ago, and you can be pretty sure your camera will be worn out long before you rub through the coating.

I'd avoid the use of 'protective' filters as I've said many times before - the sort of focal lengths we're dealing with mean spotless isn't good enough. And anyway, the VX/PD have two elements in front of the zoom's front element anyway (the VAP) - so why add yet another?

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Old April 11th, 2008, 03:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Rehmus View Post
I have always used Kodak cleaning solution and papers. Hopefully they still make those items.
Just saw on a retailer website that they are being sold under the Tiffen brand now. Tiffen always made them for Kodak but the licensing agreement is over so now Tiffen can sell them under their own name.

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Old April 13th, 2008, 12:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Mike's right - every time you touch the surface of your lens you risk damaging it. Mind you, every time you load a tape you risk damaging the mechanism and the heads, but that doesn't stop us filming.

So too with your front element. Don't be too afraid of keeping it spotless with a well-washed microfibre cloth and some huffy breath. Multicoatings are a lot tougher nowadays than 30 years ago, and you can be pretty sure your camera will be worn out long before you rub through the coating.

I'd avoid the use of 'protective' filters as I've said many times before - the sort of focal lengths we're dealing with mean spotless isn't good enough. And anyway, the VX/PD have two elements in front of the zoom's front element anyway (the VAP) - so why add yet another?

tom.
The reason you keep another, easily replaceable element in front of the lens is just that. It is easily replaceable. The elements of the lens are not.

I have excellent footage of a pebble flying up and chipping the filter I had on the front of my PD150 when the SWAT team thought they'd have fun with me and threw a flash-bang just a little ways instead of down the range. Without it, I'd have been done taping right then and there and spent weeks without the camera while Sony fixed or replaced the lens.

Other than that incident, I cannot recall ever imaging anything that was on the filter except some out of focus water drops. A good filter won't be visible or contribute anything detectable to the video.

And a dirty microfiber cloth can carry something to scratch that multi-coated lens. And as soon as you use it, by definition it is dirty. You throw lens tissue away after a single use and it doesn't carry contaminants back to the lens from a previous session.
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