How do you clean your L Lens' front element?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by thomas_chung|4, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Have noticed quite some debates on whether use a UV filters in the discussion forums recently and at the past. Both have their points but just one thing concerns me that might related to the decision on using a protective filters – When dust or pine pollen got stuck in your front element, especially those with some moist, they cannot be easily blow off. How can you clean them?
    All of my L lenses have protective filters but I have bad experience with my video camera’s lens. I tried different types of cloth or liquid form solution, after removed the dusts but I can still notice marks left in the lens (more obvious if see it under direct sun light).
    I guess this is same experience as people leaving finger print in some special coating glass element such as anti-glare glasses, expensive watch with anti-glare sapphire crystal, etc. Very difficult to clean / clear the finger print.
    So my concern is whether the cleaning process of the camera lens’ front element actually hurting the coating?
  2. I simply breathe gently on the lens, then brush/wipe the glass as best suits what's on it.
    Seems to work for me.
  3. I have a procedure that I follow and I only do this at home.
    1. I blow the lens element with a Giottos rocket air blower. (I never apply any direct contact to the front element without any blowing and brushing first)
    2. Then I use a brush to brush over the lens element.
    3. Then I blow the front element with the rocket blower one more time.
    4. Then I apply an optical lens cleaning solution onto a lens cleaning tissue and start cleaning the dirty element in cicular patern. (I'm using the Purosol Optical Lens Cleaner, it does a good job cleaning but it leaves residue)
    5. Then I use a soft dry cloth to gently clean away any residue left over by the cleaning solution (I currently use the one that came with my Ray-Ban sunglasses).
    6. Then I use another soft dry cloth for a final run over the element (also a cleaning cloth for sunglasses)
    I rarely clean my lenses front elements, I do it once every few months, I don't use filter and I always use lenshood. There's a saying that I read somewhere "It's better to keep your lens clean than keep cleaning your lens".
  4. Don't breathe on the lens and wipe. Maybe for eye glasses. Not for camera lenses.
    Use a brush first -- that way yuo can remove any dust or stuff lying around. Then use a spicalized lens cleaner, ala the Lens Pen for a wet cleaning.
    L lens or not, makes no difference.
  5. zml


  6. I did more or less the same steps on suggestions about except breathe on the lens (anyway I will not do that). The problem is, whenever I thought that I have the lens cleaned while staying indoor, I can still see some mark/stain/residue left over on the lens if I check very carefully under direct light. Am I just too picky (i.e. that is the nature of a coated glass) or something I missed?
  7. I use my L-breath, and wipe with my L-tshirt.
  8. Eclipse and PEC-Pads from Photographic Solutions.
  9. What I learned from my 1st photography professor was alcohol and 100% cotton balls.
  10. First, relax about the state of the front element. A bit of dust on the front element is normal and it will not be visible in your photographs at all. If you don't believe me, let your lens get very dirty, make a photo, clean it, make another... and compare.
    I sort of liked this answer: "I use my L-breath, and wipe with my L-tshirt." Seriously.
    But if you want to use the "right thing" get a small vial of lens cleaning fluid and an inexpensive lens cloth. Or use the same kind of cloth you might use to clean your glasses. Or a very soft cotton cloth. Etc.
  11. A long, long, long time ago I worked in a camera store. A Pentax salesman was bragging how good the coating was on their lenses - he proceeded to extinguish his cigarette on the surface of the lens and then cleaned it (sorry, I can't remember what with but it had to be something very basic). The lens was perfect. While I don't suggest anyone do this, it was an eye opener.
    Personally, I too am an 'L-Breath' kinda guy!
  12. I use my L-breath, and wipe with my L-tshirt.​
    best answer yet!
  13. Basically, just relax. Lens glass turns out to be pretty darn tough stuff.
  14. Tissues and lens cleaner (isopropyl alcohol) or lenspen. Or as stated before, L-breath and lens tissues
  15. For cleaning my UV filters, which I keep on all lens, I use a proprietary lens cleaning solution I got from my optometrist. Whatever it is it cleans efficiently and streak free (with a little work, finishing off with breath fogging and bulb blow). I spray it on (sparingly) an ordinary paper tissue, then swirl that around the glass.
  16. I use a common sense cleaning approach to all camera lenses. I have used this approach on old vintage SLRs, bought from thrift stores, which often have dirty, unprotected (but still quality optic) lenses. I have restored dirty lenses to near factory clean.
    1. Use your Hurricane rubber blower to blow off any loose dust and small particles. Use about 20-30 moderate puffs, keep the tip about 5" away from lens surface. The goal here is to simply dislodge and blow away any loose partcles.
    2. Use a clean, soft-hair brush, to *gently* brush over the lens surface. Be gentle and tender but thorough, and carefully brush over the whole lens surface. This might loosen up some more dust particles and remove.
    3. Repeat step 1 to blow away any dust loosened and dislodged in step 2.
    4. Now use a pre-moistened Zeiss Lens Cleaning napkin, (available from Walmart, 50 to a box, $3 per box, back in the Eyeglass accessories section), to carefully and gently wipe over the whole surface of the front lens. Wipe in a circular motion, using the gentlest of pressure, so that the napkin cleans away the 'grunge layer' (finger print oils, stubborn dirt, etc.). At the end of each 'circular stroke', lift the napkin off the lens surface and pull it away in a smooth motion, like a plane taking off from the runway.
    You can use this same method to clean The Fungus off external lens or filters. But you just need to increase amount of pressure when you use the Zeiss Lens Cleaning napkins. Instad of using 'gentle' pressure, use 'moderate firm' pressure when you wipe. Of course, if the Fungus is inside the lens, requiring skillful disassembly, that's a whole different situation.
    I do tend to use a UV or SKYLIGHT filter on a lens, if possible. Mainly so the filter will 'take the hit' (rather than the expensive lens) if a mishap occurs and something impacts the front of the lens. The filter also serves as a transparent lens cover, in the case you lose your factory lens cap and cant get a new one for some time. The idea here is that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
  17. Use a blower first to get rid of grit, then breathe on it and then wipe with a microfiber cloth - press as lightly as you need to remove. You can use isopropyl alcohol or other lens cleaner if there is a real oily film on there, but use it sparingly. In my experience, unless you are in the habit of putting your fingers on the lens, a liquid lens cleaner is rarely needed - maybe once a year: but you may be different.
    Don't obsess about it. The brighter the light, the more gunk you will see - it is quite normal and it is unlikely to effect the image.
  18. I keep an old cotton shirt in my camera bag. If it's clean, I'll use it to wipe my lenses after blowing off the dust and huffing on them.
    I sometimes use it as a rag, in which case, I wash it before using it on my lenses. :)
  19. I keep a filter on it, so I clean the filter.

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