Are multicoated filters too hard to clean?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jason_chen|3, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. Hello,

    I went to my local camera store and asked for Hoya HMC or Super HMC
    UV and Circular Polarizer filters for my Canon 17-40L lens. The store
    owner told me that so many of his customers had trouble cleaning
    their multicoated Hoya filters that he doesn't carry them any more.
    He said the regular Hoya (single coated) filters are good enough. I
    wonder, does cleaning multicoated filters present such a problem that
    people would not use them? If you have Hoya (Super) HMC filters, do
    you have trouble cleaning them? if not, how do you clean? if you do,
    would B+W MRC filters be easier to clean?


  2. jbq


    Somebody please enlighten me why MC filters would be harder to clean... I can't see any reason. All I can guess is that's it's an issue of perception, where the same dust, lint or cleaning marks may be more visible on MC filters than on others.
  3. It sounds pretty strange to me. Most lenses made since the 'seventies have been multicoated and there's no issue with cleaning those.

    The words 'leg' and 'pull' come to mind.....
  4. Sounds like he/she simply didn't have them but still wanted to make a sale. I think I've given up on 'local' camera shops. Being quoted $60 for a sunpak polarizer ($26 adorama), was the last time straw for me.

    I would be in favor of supporting a local store, but it's just too frustrating most of the time. My thinking is to do all your research on places like photonet and then you can order exactly what you want online. -e
  5. It's not TOTAL nonsense. I have Hoya Super HMC UV and polarizing filters, and I do find them very hard to clean, more so than my Contax and B&W multicoated UV and polarizing filters.
  6. I don't believe it should be harder to clean multi-coated filters than single or uncoated filters. Perhaps it is easier to spot grease marks on multicoated filters since even a very thin fat stain is clearly visible on a multicoated filter (or my old pair of glasses) whereas it would only be noticable if you tilt the filters to get reflection glare on cheaper filters.

    But the same grease is still there, as hard to get off and will create the same problems (increasing chance of flare etc).

    I guess that the store clerk either wanted to fool you into buying a filter he couldn't get rid of or he is uninformed and believes that "easer to spot grease" equals "harder to remove grease". Either way get the best coated filters you can afford. It is silly to put bad glass in front of your precious lenses.

    Actually, good multi-coating often have a outer hardened layer to make it EASIER to clean without scratching the coating.
  7. Jason, I have to echo the responses from Chris and Max. I've got two of the Hoya Super HMC filters and was frustrated by the same problem in keeping them darned things streak-free. The only way I ever got 'em really clean was washing in a mild detergent and drying with a microfiber cloth. Max's observation may be right on -- perhaps it's easier to see the smears on the HMC's. I have no experience with the B+W MRC's but my understanding is that these have a very hard surface coating to aid in cleaning without scratching. BTW, my Hoyas are sitting in my spares boxes. I've been quite happy using B+W's and Heliopans (single-coated) without any problems or complaints.
  8. I have both single and multi-coated B+W filters.
    They are not harder to clean.

    Me thinks he is trying to pull a fast one on you to buy what he has in stock.
  9. There is some validity. Singh-Ray is a very elite and top of the line filter maker. Their filters are usually about $180-$200 a pop and they go out of their way to help you and can custom make filters if you wish.

    I bought a warming circular polarizer from them, and the day I got it went to their website and saw they had their circular polarizer was "multi-coated" in the page talking about it. I was like what the heck I just bought this $200 filter and they come up with a coated one the day after! I called and told them I want to ship mine back and get the coated one. Bob Singh himself took the matter very seriously and said it was a mistake of the webmaster, their response in October 2002 about coatings was

    "May I ask where you saw that we now have them coated? We've
    experimented with coatings in the past (years ago) but found that the coatings are too easily scratched, thus negating any benefit they might give. We do not use coatings." Those of you, like me who ever wondered why Singh-Ray filters, very expensive and high quality aren't coated now ya know.

    I own the Hoya Super HMC circ polarizer, and the first thing I noticed was it is a pain to clean. They seem to smudge, as I try to clean it it was like I was moving a light coating of maple syrup. Maybe that's the coating and it's ruined :p Kidding, tests show it's still got coating. Let me tell you right now the Super HMC works. You can take a non-coated filter and see reflections in it very obviously, you can take a Super HMC and barely see any. I planned on making a photography movie on filters and showed the differences between the two and I apologize I don't have a movie of the difference. Get the Super HMC polarizer... and take my word of advice don't get the UV filter. Those two were my first filters (years and years ago) and after a month my UV filter was just used to put on my lenses I stored. I never use it in application. However, a coated Hoya 81A warming filter instead is critical... almost the same thing but works wonders for shade, and people, and compliments your polarizer perfectly when you combine them, you've got yourself a warming polarizer! It does wonders for landscapes, sunsets, it's just incredibly versatile and useful... once you take pictures in the shade and notice your images are flat and blue... you'll figure out you need a warming filter to counter shade and liven up some if not all of your photo's. Then you'll most likely realize, you love it and keep it on at all times... retiring the UV filter. Some even put an 81A & Polarizer in a single filter combo, Hoya calls theirs the "Moose Peterson" but never bothered to coat it those jerks, it stinks when the sun glares.

    I'd definetely get the Super HMC polarizer, of all filters that need coating the polarizer is it (with glares and sun). If you go the UV route or better the 81A warming filter instead, it's a filter that's okay not to be coated because likely you'll use it indoors or shade and glare & sun isn't as much a problem but if you have the money get it at least coated, it compliments your polarizer well, a UV is useless in combo with a polarizer.

    By the way, on your 17-40L lens the filters will vignette at 17-24mm and probably like 17-30mm with both filters on unless you get the thin ring ones or your camera is digital and doesn't take full frame. If I had a choice of only two filters for the rest of my life, I'd pick the Blue/Gold polarizer and a warming filter. Been two years now and I've only used my plane circular polarizer twice for landscapes and over 3,000+ photo's with the Blue/Gold polarizer. It rocks, I'm also exclusively a landscape photographer and there's plenty of water where I live... the blue/gold really shines when there's water, but tends to add a magenta to people's skin and clouds.

  10. Matt,
    would this lens vignette with just 1 regular mount filter at the wide end, or only when more than 1 filters are stacked?
  11. I have the Hoya HMC UV filters, and they are harder to clean because smears do seem to be harder to remove. Probably due to the coatings, the surfaces of the filter have a different "slippery-ness" to them than a regular filter. The surfaces aren't as slick--there is more resistance when you rub with a lens cleaning cloth. So far, I've cleaned them by breathing on them and wiping with a microfiber cleaning cloth. It takes more repeated wipings than with a regular filter to get the smears off. I haven't had the need to use a liquid cleaner yet, but I did buy some from The Filter Connection, which recommends the cleaner for multicoated filters. You can go to their As to whether multicoated filters are better--it is hard to say. I can only say I haven't had any bad flare or reflections traceable to the filter or lack thereof.
  12. I have used both uncoated and multicoated Hoyas in addition to coated and uncoated B+W filters and find that the multicoated Hoyas are a pain to clean. Like others have mentioned, if you get any little bit of grease on them, it is really difficult if not impossible to get off with just your breath and a microfiber cloth. I found that Formula MC works pretty well to clean the multicoated Hoyas but because of the trouble cleaning them, I stopped using them and only use multicoated B+Ws these days which are easy to clean.
  13. It's not a joke. Hoya Super HMC filters are a pain to clean. They seem to have a tooth to them that makes any lens cleaning paper break up into little dust balls all over the surface. I've had success with formula MC and a microfiber cloth, or even easier, by using the Lenspen.<p>In contrast the single coated Hoya filters are very easy to clean.<p>I've not tried the B+W, although they are also reputed to be easier to clean than the multicoated Hoyas.
  14. Absolutely so!If you use Kodak lens cleaner, or similar fluid on a MC filter,the "swirls" will never come out!
  15. I've had my best luck cleaning Hoya multi-coated filters with a device called a lens pen. Works fairly well cleaning the miserable filters!
  16. pvp


    I'll second the "breathe on / microfiber cloth" technique. Works a trick, and you never have drips nor run out of cleaner...
  17. It's true - some lens cleaning solutions will PERMANENTLY mark the coatings! It happened to me with the Kodak liquid and a HOYA SMC filter.
  18. Also, if you shoot digital don't get ANY warming/cooling filters as you can set the K value in your camera.
  19. I gave up on Hoya S-HMC and Nikon L37c filters for this very reason. Now use only B+W MRC filters, which are far easier to clean (and KEEP clean).
  20. "The store owner told me that so many of his customers had trouble cleaning their multicoated Hoya filters that he doesn't carry them any more. He said the regular Hoya (single coated) filters are good enough." --Jason Chen

    The store owners answer show ignorance at best.

    First the single coated lenses and filters reflect about the same amount of light as a typical residue left by a soap based lens cleaner like Kodak Lens Cleaner (At least the Kodak Lens Cleaner I bought in the &#145;70s). This makes it difficult to see the smears that are left but they are there.

    Multi-coated lenses and filters reflect less light than single coated and Super Multi-coated even less. This makes the smears that now reflect more light than the clean surface of the multi-coated lens or filter stand out.

    The simple solution: Nikon recommends Absolute Methyl Alcohol for its view camera lens such as the 210/5.6 Nikkor-W in the manual enclosed with the lens. In the manual for the 55/2.8 AIS Micro-Nikkor Nikon recommends Absolute Ethyl Alcohol. Using a quality lens tissue and finishing with a Micro-Fiber Lens Cloth you can clean without damage any multi or super multi-coated lens or filter. I&#146;ve bought all of my methanol from TRI-ESS Sciences, Inc., Burbank, CA 91506. The micro lens cloths I like best are the ones made by Pentax. They are available from B&H Photo and local Pentax dealers.

    I&#146;ve been using nothing but 99.5% Anhydrous Methyl Alcohol on Nikkor, Hasselblad, Pentax 6x7 and others since September or October of 1978.

    I have had no problems with Hoya HMC filters and none with Nikkor lenses back to a vintage of 1965. I did have a problem with a vintage 1973~75 Schneider 135/5.6 Componon-S Enlarging lens. The lens was not damaged but the blacking around the lens was smeared and had to be removed and replace.

    I do not recommend the use of Methyl Alcohol on vintage camera as it my cut the lacquer if used on the lens or body. YMMV! I&#146;ve been so satisfied with anhydrous methyl alcohol that I&#146;ve never tired ethyl but in a pinch I&#146;d buy 98 proof vodka as a lens cleaner. 98 Proof Vodka is 49% Ethyl Alcohol, 51% distilled water.

    There is a big difference between single-coated and multi-coated lenses and filters in many but not all applications. I would avoid single coated.


    Dave Hartman.
  21. "Absolutely so!If you use Kodak lens cleaner, or similar fluid on a MC filter,the "swirls" will never come out!" --Steve Levine

    Yes they will. All of my B&W filters are HOYA HMC. I smeared them with Kodak Lens Cleaner and removed it all years ago with Anhydrous Methyl Alcohol.


    I&#146;m astounded at all those who report giving up the advantages of multi-coated filters due to cleaning problems, particularly Hoya HMC and Nikon L37c as most of my filters are one or the other.

    Please give Anhydrous Methyl Alcohol a try. Please do not use it on a vintage camera such Leica or Contax. Please read my post above.
  22. Having read all the reports of cleaning problems, problems I
    put behind in late 1978 I&#146;m willing to cut the store owner
    some slack. I still do not agree due to more than 25 years of
    satisfaction with HOYA HMC filters.<br>
    I&#146;m sorry about being so wordy and three post in a row but I
    never dreamed this knowledge was in anyway obscure. It&#146;s in the
    Nikon lens manuals and I&#146;d think it other brands as well.<br>
    Dave Hartman.
  23. mva


    I would just like to add that according to my experience, too, Hoya multicoated filters are extremely difficult (impossible?) to clean properly :-(
    I have no difficulty with other brands or even with lenses.

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