How to clean finger prints from the lens?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by laatsaheeb, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. I noticed that one of my lenses has a lot of finger prints on it. What is the
    safest way to clean the lens? Can I use alcohol swabs?

    THank you,
  2. I use Nikon's penbrush. One end is a soft brush and the other end has a most porous rubber type end that has air tight cap. Finger prints will require usage of the moist end, while dust can be removed with the brush. Perhaps the moist end does not use alcohol.

    It is an inexpensive and small device handy for travel. I have been using one 3 years, and yet the moisted end has moisture it it, just have to keep it air tight when not used. I live on a desert land that is called Los Angeles with dry air and high temperature all year round. The pen could possibly last long in any environment, but eventually may need to be replaced by a new fresh one.

    I am not sure about usage of alcohol. Sounds harmless for lens, but depending how pure it is, and what lens coating you have, that may not be the best solution ? Rather than not being sure, I would use a dedicated solution.
  3. I rarely clean LENSES because I always use a filter of one kind or another--although occasionally I clean the lens on my wife's camera. On my own camera, I use a blower to remove loose particles from the filter glass before attempting to clean it.

    Some time ago I read a recommendation from a pro photog to try using Scotch tape. When I raised the question (I believe it was on one of the dpr forums), the reaction was almost universally unequivocally negative. As far as I could tell, in virtually every case the posters were not speaking from experience but speculating on what they IMAGINED the damaging effects would be--like remove the lens or filter coating, leave a residue, etc.

    What I've found, however, is that the use of high quality, FRESH Scorch tape--simply pressing it on that part of the filter where there is a fingerprint or some contaminant, and then carefully removing the tape--works like a charm and has no discernable negative effects. It doesn't leave any residue and, under examination with a magnifying glass, apparently doesn't effect the coating.

    In rare cases, the tape doesn't do the trick. Then I resort to the usual lens cleaner and tissue.

    Good luck with whatever method(s) you pick.
  4. Over time, any chemical cleaner will probably have an effect on the lens coating. I use a blower first to remove any dust paricles and debris, then an old, lint free, 100% cotton T-shirt, breathe on the lens, wipe very gently.
  5. I follow the following: 1. Clean any dust with soft brush attached to rubber
    bulb for blowing air. 2. Moist lens cleaning paper with lens cleaning solution.
    3. Wipe the lens gently with moist paper. 4. Wipe with dry lens cleaning
    paper. you can buy these at camera store or an optical (eye glass) store. Be
    gentle when wiping the lens. Use multiple moist wipes if spot is stubbern
    rather than heavy pressure. Biggest danger is if you do not remove dust
    before wiping, then you may scratch the lens or it coating. Lens coating is
    pretty hard but the dust particle is pretty hard too. Alcohol will not harm the
    lens or its coating and you can use it if you wish. Sandy
  6. Breath on the lens, the condensation is equivalent to distilled water, use a clean microfiber cloth to gently massage off the mark. People treat their kit with far more reverence than it really needs, take a look at a PJ's kit if you ever get chance.
  7. I think the "Nikon penbrush" that Frank refers to is a rebranded LensPen
    I've been using one of these for some time, and have been delighted with how it removes any grime from misplaced fingers or residues of anything that might have splashed onto my lens' front element.
    The fact that Nikon rebrand it is a good indication that it's an effective, trusted and non-damaging way to clean your lenses.
    Always remember the two steps:
    1. Use the brush to remove all the dust - if you don't, application of the LensPen will result in you making long, deep scratches in your lens coatings
    2. Give the cap on the LensPen a half-turn before removing to refresh the tip before following the instructions to remove all the smears.
    Getting hold of a LensPen should be quite easy, they're widely available both with the original branding and rebranded by individual stores. Their DigiKlear pen for removing smudges from LCD screens is also highly recommended.
  8. I'd use a microfiber cloth.

    See for lot sof stuff about cleaning lenses.

    You can use alcohol swabs if you need to but a microfiber cloth is usually my first choice. Even if you use alcohol swabs you still may end up using a microfiber cloth.
  9. Bob's right. Microfibre cloth.

    Lots of threads on this with lots of suggested methods and materials. Nothing I've ever
    tried works as well, with as little wear and tear, as a micro fibre cloth and fogging the lens
    with your breath.
  10. I also use the lenspen, and am completely loving every moment of it, don't know how i ever survived without it. Also, unless frank is mistaken in his description, he's not talking about the lenspen (carson) that we know and love, as it's non bristle brush end is completely dry, not moist. O, and Moshe ben Asher.... (I'm Nachum Zemmel ben
    Gavrial by the way) unless you're amazing at keeping you're filters in pristine condition, you're gonna have to clean them once in a while. (lenspen!)
  11. the only thing i've ever used that has actually gotten my lenses clean is tap water and a paper towel.
  12. How to clean finger prints? thats easy, just go out and buy a lens cleaning set that you like, read the instruction and use it on your lens.

    If you're using a filter and you're outdoors, you could simply wipe them off with your shirt. be sure to wear a soft shirt , though, and not the abrasive ones.

    we dont have to be so scientific about it.
  13. wow.

    Don't you just love internet forums?
  14. I'm anal about my lenses & to say that it's not a big deal & start cleaning your expensive L lens with a t-shirt I'm sure in the long run you're scratching the lens faster then if you're using a microfiber cloth. Who knows what's on that t-shirt you've been wearing all day.

    But that's your lens & your money. I'm just one of those that believe in it's better to be safe then sorry :)
  15. As others have said, microfiber is your friend. To be even safer, I fold a few thicknesses of it over the tip of my finger...just to keep the "cleaning pad" as soft as possible!

  16. lol, to clarify mars's post, don't think he was talking about taking your shirt and rubbing it on the actual glass of the lens, but on a filter that is attatched to the lens. I personally dont like doing that , not because it could possibly damage my $20 filter (it could, and 20 bucks isn't nothing, though of course not a $1600 L lens), i don't like using my shirt ( no liquids) as it normally would just smudge a fingerprint around, for dust though, it's probably fine (again, just on a filter)
  17. if you're using a " UV filter", the lens , no matter how expensive, wont get scratched by wiping a aoft shirt on it. because you'll gonna be wiping the filter , not the lens itself.
  18. I'm smiling over here as this train of "logic" just keeps getting more tortured ;^)

    "you could simply wipe them off with your shirt. be sure to wear a soft shirt , though, and
    not the abrasive ones."

    Uh huh. So, rather than put a small $6. cloth in your kit, you want to be sure you're
    wearing the right type of apparel when you're out and about with your camera. OK...

    "if you're using a " UV filter", the lens , no matter how expensive, wont get scratched by
    wiping a aoft shirt on it. because you'll gonna be wiping the filter , not the lens itself."

    Well, not everyone uses a filter all the time. Myself for instance. And, when some people
    use a filter they aren't always inexpensive uncoated UV filters of which they may not care if
    it gets damaged. Some filters are expensive and have soft coatings.

    I think it's a good idea, generally, to treat your filters with the same regard as the front
    element of your lens.

    Oh, I wouldn't endorse using paper towels either. White Kleenex brand tissues without
    scent or lotion can be used after blowing / brushing the dust off, but they lint quite a bit
    and still don't work nearly as well as a microfiber cloth.
  19. IF you intentionally put finger grease every once in a while on your filter ,IF your using one, you'll gonna need to bring the kit when your outdoors.

    accidentally touching the filter during outdoor excursion would only put small prints on it, thus , you'll not gonna need to bring your cleaning kit, just a soft shirt will do:)

    thats the simple logic of it. unlees you want to make your life harder.

    I find it hard to believe that someone did'nt get it:)
  20. Fabric softener left in your t-shirts will scratch your lens, filter, eyeglass lenses, or anything else glass you use them to clean. My dad's old pair of glasses look like they've been sandblasted because he got into the habit of wiping them on his shirt every time they got a little bit dirty. I wouldn't wish that on any $20 filter.

    For quick, light duty cleaning, such as removing a fingerprint, I generally use a microfiber cloth dry. This is generally all I ever need to do.

    When my filters get really bad, I generally use Kodak lens paper and Kodak lens cleaning fluid. After blowing the dust off using a blower brush, I fold up one piece of paper(taking care not to touch the area that will touch the glass) and saturate it in cleaner. After swabbing the glass with this, I take a second piece of lens paper, wad it up, and wipe the glass in straight lines. If I have to clean multiple surfaces, I usually use the wet one two or three times, and replace the dry one every time.

    I like using the lens paper because it gets thrown away after one use, unlike other alternatives that can pick up grit with repeated use and scratch.
  21. No problem, you win.

    Just so you know, the term "kit" as I used it above is not in reference to a cleaning kit.

    It is a common euphemism for a camera bag and the collective stuff in it.
  22. ky2


    Unless you work with dangerous chemicals, and often dip your fingers-- I wouldn't be losing sleep over finger prints.

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