Cleaning marks!? How the hell did that happen...

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by dave_yoder|1, May 31, 2002.

  1. I have the new version R-28mm f2.8 ROM. I bought it in mint condition, though used, and very carefully checked that the glass was perfect. That was about a year ago. Yesterday on a job I noticed quite a lot of cleaning marks on the front and even rear elements, and I'm rather perplexed.

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    First, I don't clean the lenses very often, I have probably cleaned that one about four times in more than a year. When I do that I use a good cleaning solution with the kodak papers. The first thing I do is with the first tissue, saturate it with the cleaning solution and gently mop up anything on the element, namely dust or whatever. I usually do that twice to be sure all the dust is off--using pretty much no pressure. Then I take a couple dry tissues and slowly work off the solution.

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    Now, under a loupe, there are cleaning marks ALL OVER the front and rear elements. However on my R-35mm f2.0, which I have cleaned much more and is about 20 years old (also bought second hand) has almost no evidence of cleaning.

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    What is up with this? I thought the Leica coatings were supposed to be super-tough. I have really babied my glass and I'm rather ticked about it.
     
  2. Dave, Are you sure when you bought the lens that you thoroughly
    checked it over, as in a shop, because its darker, tiny scratches are
    usually harder to see. Did you check the lens with a torch as well?
    The best cleaning method I think is to not clean your lenses at all,
    but when you do, get a blower brush to remove as much surface rubbish
    and then continue with the method that you are currently using. Also
    bear in mind that the coatings are different for the various lenses,
    some may be softer than others.
     
  3. Try using a filter to protect the front element.
     
  4. Dave,
    I learned the hard way about cleaning solutions while trying to clean
    a B+W MRC Circ Polarizer. No fluid ever completely removed the
    finger prints that turned into 'smudges'. I called B+W in Bad
    Kreuznach and they suggested that I only should use alcohol and a
    microfibre cloth. Sure enough, that worked.

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    Based on that, the microfibre cloth is always my first, second and
    third choice. Only when I have stubborn smears will I dampen a small
    portion of the cloth. (The cloth is washable at 60° C and best to
    use a non-coloring, non-perfumed detergent.)

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    FYI Ethanol 70% (V/V) is my solution. I had to have it mixed at my
    local Apotheke (Pharmacy), but I think that you should be able to
    find one similar.

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    The other thing to consider is how much these small foggy, streaks
    imapct image quality. I do not know of any published reports, but I
    cannot image that by the time the light travels the distance to the
    film surface, and is then exposed, then developed, how much if any
    degradation there is in image quality. That will come as no
    reassurance to anybody at this forum, if you are like me, and simply
    enjoy having clean and mint instruments.
     
  5. "They" say to breath on the lens, causing condensation to appear on
    the element then wipe with a micro fiber cloth. The best one seems to
    be, at least according to "them" again, a Microdear out of Japan.

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    Who are they anyway and what to they want?

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    Chad Hahn
     
  6. Before you panic get some microfibre cloths and some
    household white vinegar cut 1:1 with water. Clean your lens with
    that and finish off with a moist breath and a final wipe with a
    clean mf cloth.

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    I have bought several lenses with marks and this has always
    removed the marks for me. I always use clean cloths for each
    stage and wash my cloths (with two complete rinse cycles)
    frequently.

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    Using vinegar as a regular lens cleaner is a bad idea as it is an
    dilute acid but once every couple of years to get off persistant
    marks is fine.
     
  7. And before you do what John suggested make sure you wash your hands
    thoroughly! The only time I have ever had that problem, is when the
    ROR or other solution was pulling the oils from my skin and
    transferring them to the lens. I use ROR on the corner of a micro-
    fiber and gently rub it on the lens, and then follow up with a clean
    dry portion of the micro-fiber. If I wash up first, nothing but
    crystal clear glass. If I don't wash my hands first, smears...

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    Cheers,
     
  8. I've always been told never to use tissue on lenses. I've also always been told to let actual
    cleaning of lenses to pros. But my pro uses tissue damped in methanol, not ethanol. Go figure.
    But he never actually rubs the lens with it. In the mean time, UV filters and great care for the back
    element (put the cap back on as soon as you've dismounted the lens, for one) are
    recommended. Now, I do use a lenspen from time to time on filters, and once in a while on
    lenses, with no apparent ill effect. But microfibre cloth? I don't know...
     
  9. Another good tip is to store your cleaning cloth in a 35mm film
    canister and to shake the cloth violently in the air before you use
    it. This is called the 'Lens clean no stratch ritual' :)
     
  10. Dave, Microfiber cloths are the only way to go...after using a blower
    with a camel's hair brust to remove loose particles. Leica gives away
    microfiber cloths at their sales events...otherwise they are readily
    avaliable at any camers shop. Nonetheless, BE GENTLE. Good shoot
     
  11. My experience is that Kodak lens tissue can scratch lenses. As odd
    as that sounds, I never use lens tissue to clean lenses, only micro-
    fiber cloth.
     
  12. you started out wet!!! you should start out with a camel hair brush
    and compressed air. thatll remove the nappy abrasives b4 pushing
    them around on your elements with a sopping paper. then, use a soft
    cotton lens coth and a touch of ROR cleaning fluid. then, lightly
    buff any streaks left with a dry portion of the cloth. works for
    me...
     
  13. Dave. Either the lens already had cleaning marks and you just didn't
    notice (Believe me, this can happen, it has happened to me!) or else
    you put them there. First of all, dust and any particulate materials
    should FIRST be removed with a camel's hair brush or (carefully) with
    compressed air (use only if needed). Only then should you wipe the
    lens surface. And you should only use microfiber cloth, nothing
    else. In fact, Leica provided a microfiber cloth in the box with my
    M7. That's a pretty good indication of how they think a lens should
    be cleaned.

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    Finally, as I've said before, "it is better to keep your lens clean
    than to keep cleaning your lens." That's why I would use UVa filters
    on all expensive lenses regardless of what any one else says about
    potential image degradation - that just won't happen. I learned all
    of those things from the school of experience, which is usually a
    very reliable teacher.
     
  14. Also bear this in mind: while it depends on the focal length,
    aperture setting, and severity of the marks, much of the coating and
    glass damage that we obsess over is NOT really going to affect on-film
    performance. I used to have a 135mm f2.8 Nikkor with a just
    atrocious-looking front element, and it was a very sharp, contrasty,
    flare-free lens. Wish I still had it.

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    Other things equal, though, I think coating and glass defects probably
    have more effect (if any) on the image when the lens is wider and used
    at smaller apertures. e.g., a 180mm f2.8 with coating marks will
    probably work just as well as a perfect one, while a 21mm f4 may show
    some image degradation.
     
  15. Every cleaning cloth I've seen was polyester/blend, and Leica in my
    Elmar-M instruction booklet recommends cotton hankierchiefs with
    breath moisture. I just use polyester/cotton handies throughly washed.
     
  16. I first use a blower, then ROR and clean 100% cotton (cut from old
    BVD's) followed by a breath and more clean cotton. Never scrub with
    pressure, always with as light a touch as possible. And I use B+W
    MRC UV filters on my lenses 100% of the time, even if adding another
    filter like a polarizer (except wide angle lenses where this would
    cause vignetting). Rear elements are exposed to air as quickly and
    infrequently as possible. The only lens I've ever gotten wipe marks
    on was a 180/3.4APO-Telyt which suffers in performance with any kind
    of filter attached. Leica coatings are strong. But sand and grit
    are stronger.
     
  17. There's more to drinking a fine Single Malt Scotch than the mere
    enjoyment of its consumption. It renders ones breath perfect for
    the cleansing of ones Leica lenses when used with a soft cotton
    cloth!
     
  18. For the cheaper Russian lenses; Beer breath works fine...
     
  19. Okay, Kelly, point noted.

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    Glenn: The American Cinematographer Manual, Seventh Edition,
    Recommends fogging the lens with breath before wiping. So, you're in
    good company.
     
  20. BOB; In college I would read the small black American Cinematographer
    Manual during lunch on Sundays at out Cafeteria........I would read
    it cover to cover religiously....It is a great book...My prime movie
    camera was a Beaulieu MR-8 reflex 8mm camera with variable shutter
    and frame rates.....My friend had a 16mm Bolex..<BR><BR>The next
    semster I ordered a cameramans manual that showed how to load all the
    Hollywood 16mm. 35mm & 70mm movie cameras..it was a dark green
    covered book...When I was reading it religiously one sunday in the
    cafeteria; and old lady worker came to my table to see what the new
    Bible edition I was reading...............Kelly
     

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