Lens cleaning cloths

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by barry clemmons photography, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. I just found a box of lint-free cloths with some of my computer parts used to clean the old CRT type of monitor. Before throwing them away I was wondering if they would be acceptable for cleaning a camera lens. It states on the package that they are made from a polyester blend. They look like the old Kodak lens cleaning paper, only a little thicker.
     
  2. Just one word - DON'T!
    Use only proper lens tissues for cleaning camera lenses. Use them once and throw them away. Anything else (including those much hyped microfibre cloths) is likely to harbour small particles of grit, and it's far cheaper to buy a packet of lens tissues than to buy a new lens.
     
  3. I would not trust the fiber content of this product. The cloths might be too abrasive for a lens coating. Why take a chance? The proper cleaning materials cost so little.
    I purchase bulk packages of microfiber cloths from Costco or Sam's Club automotive departments which work great for cleaning my lenses. Remove the hard tag material from each cloth before using or just be careful to keep the tags away from the lens surface. I use the microfiber cloths to clean my car after I've used them for cleaning lenses for awhile. I never wash one and reuse it for lenses again.
     
  4. Anybody else live near the coast find that microfiber cloths just smears the salt spray around? I did a beach shoot yesterday and it was a bit windy. Spray had covered lens within ten minutes. When you get in your car to leave it is obvious when looking through your car windows. I wish a microfiber cloth worked for me. Does Kodak still make lens cleaning tissue? I bought a box a couple of years ago (pricey) but local stores don't carry it anymore. Any suggestions on where to get decent tissue paper at a good price online?
     
  5. Zeiss lens cleaning cloths. cheap at Wal Mart. Work well.
    I use micro fiber usually (dedicated to ONLY lenses and stored away when not in use), but when there's "schmutz" I pull out one of those Zeiss ones, use it, and trash it.
     
  6. I use Nikon's Moist lens cleaning cloth. They come 21 to a box for about six dollars. The label says cloth but they are really 5x6 inch moistened tissue wipes. They feel like paper once they dry out. They come individually wrapped. I figure I could not go wrong using a Nikon made product to clean their lens. They seem to work.
     
  7. Any cloth will do imho, I even use toilet papers. Often it's the dirt that scratch the lenses, not the cloth or paper. Except for lenspen, I avoid wipe the lens dry. Personally I hate Kodak Lens paper (or any lens papers) which are ineffective and difficult to use. These are based on 2 decades of personal experience.
     
  8. While I'm thinking about it, get yourself a blower bulb if you don't already have one. Use it to blow away any loose dust or dirt before wiping your lens surface. If you anticipate encountering abrasive dust like I sometimes do here in Hawaii, (volcanic dust), protect your lenses with filters and clean them by washing them in warm soapy water with a warm water rinse followed by wiping them dry with a Pec-Pad. Don't try to wipe the contaminated filter surface before rinsing it.
     
  9. I avoid using cloths of any sort on my lenses, all they do is grind whatever dirt there is into the coating. If I'm going to shoot near the sea I use a filter.

    The best stuff to clean lenses is opticlean which solidifies as a film that can be lifted off.
     
  10. Some papers and tissues have oil in them ("puff-yer-butt®" brand, for example).Depending on the kind of paper and such like, clean tissues can work, if used cautiously. Never use force with any medium.
    In general, use-once tissues made for lens cleaning are safest. A drop of lens cleaner or pure water is best. Never put any fluid onto the lens, put it on the tissue and then use. Always blow away any loose dust on the surface with a "rocket"-style blower before touching the surface.
    A really old pure cotton cloth (like an old bandana) that has been laundered to near disintegration is also useable, but needs to be washed [no fabric softener] in between uses). I would avoid synthetic fibers.
     
  11. In reference to your OP, no, do not use any such stuff. If you do some searches there's a number of fair and thorough discussions on cleaning. I personally use pure chamois that I purchase and cut into cleaning sizes myself. For at least 30 years I have cleaned my lenses with hand selected chamois and never a problem. The absolute essential detail is to get a good squeeze blower and a good light and make sure you blow the glass off real good and inspect before any cleaning. One grain of sand goes a long way....
     
  12. I use filters for protection on my smaller lenses. However, if I have to clean the front element of some of my larger lenses (no filter threads), I use a Tiger cloth. They are made to clean film which I suspect is more prone to scratching than glass. http://kinetronics.com/store/tiger.html
     
  13. The front element on my lenses are made of glass. I clean them with a lens cloth such as the one's I get when I purchase glasses. Works fine.
     
  14. Thanks everyone for the responses. I will just toss the pack of cloths and continue using my small stash of Kodak papers until they run out I use ROR Optics Cleaner with them after first using a Giottos blower. I also keep a supply of LensPens in my bag as well.
    Robert, I had the good fortune to be on the Big Island doing some photography last October so I know what you mean about the volcanic dust. I had a great time and brought back many good shots of the lava plus some of your native birds like the I'iwi. You live in a photographer's paradise!
     
  15. What do you all say about lens pens?
     
  16. Anybody else live near the coast find that microfiber cloths just smears the salt spray around?​
    Yeah...Gulf Coast. No crashing surf except in stormy weather, though, but salt spray can be a problem at times. Even if I use a filter, I have to clean that. I use Pec Pads dampened/moistened (not wetted) with lab grade ethanol. Ask your doc for a prescription for the ethanol. Pharmacies that do compounding usually have it. Talk to the person who does the compounding and tell them what it's for. I ask for it to be put in a 60cc bottle with an eye/eardropper cap. It has an official prescription label so the po-lice don't think I'm carrying precursors. Works like a charm. Cheaper than Eclipse fluid, and easier to find in rural Mississippi, too.
    For regular cleaning I use a rocket blower and microfiber cloths. The ones from the auto parts store work fine, but I only buy the ones sealed in a plastic bag to ensure they don't pick up dust and grit in the store. After washing (no fabric softener!), I 'demote' them to wipedown of camera bodies, lenses, cleaning mounting flanges, speedlights, etc., then on to household dust cloths. Gotta do somwthing with them as I buy more new ones. BTW, Microfiber makes terrible dishcloths...they're excellent for breeding bacteria.
    I like the auto parts ones a lot better than the flimsy 'photo' microfiber cloths. I don't get the ones that allegedly double as a gray card...if you unfold it and put it down on something, say, outdoors to get a test shot, are you really going to want to use it to clean your lens? What's up with that? I even got one from a photo store in NOLA as swag for buying my 14-24 Nikon zoom. The store logo was printed on the lens cloth in nice, scratchy vinyl. What were they thinking? Oh well.
     
  17. Barry,
    You were very fortunate to even see an I'iwi let alone capture an image of one. I've got some very mediocre pictures of the also endangered but much more prevalent 'Apapane, but I've never managed to get anything other than fleeting glimpses of the very rare I'iwi.
    Ofer,
    I bought a large and small LENSPEN to clean the recessed rear elements of some of my telephoto lenses. The pens performs very well, but annoyingly leaves a charcoal residue behind which I blow out with a blower bulb, or suck out with a hose type vacuum cleaner, after using the pen.
    The pen works by scrubbing/polishing the surface of a lens with a micro-fine charcoal impregnated concave shaped felt pad. I've used the LENSPEN on some of my older Leica lenses with cleaning marks and the pen actually polished away some of the lighter cleaning marks in the soft Leica coatings of my 5cm Summitar and 90mm collapsable Elmar.
    The only design flaw I can see with the pen is the glaring absence of a cover to protect the extendable brush end of the pen. The cleaning pad end of the pen has a cover which contains carbon to rejuvenate the felt pad. The brush becomes a dust magnet in the bottom of my camera bag and I rarely use it because of this design flaw. I wish I could find something to fit over the exposed brush. I have emailed the company regarding this observation, but never received a reply. I suppose I could carry it in a ziplock bag.
     
  18. D.B. Cooper I'm Gulf Coast (Pensacola) also. Had another family shoot this afternoon but wind was not as fierce as yesterday. No way I go to the beach w/out a filter. There has been a few discussions on this topic. I may have to clean the filter once during the shoot and most always after a shoot unless we have an offshore wind, so I prefer to clean the filter over and over rather then the lens.The oil spill has really hurt most businesses in my area and its real fun on the feet for families trying to dodge the oil patties during a shoot. I filed a claim with BP and they called with my first check today. No where near what my monthly average has been for the last 4 years. I was told by another photographer to go pound on their desk. The beach clean up crews are a joke. Good paying jobs (for this area) for hardly any work if anyone is looking for work.
    I went on a road trip to Moab, Tetons and Yellowstone this year. Microfiber cloths were fine once I got away from the salty coast air, except the dust at Moab (Arches) got on everything. My car interior even had a red clay tint:)
     
  19. Regardless of what you use, you shouldn't clean a lens any more than absolutely necessary. Use a squeeze blower or your breath to get rid of the larger dust specs. A lens is a light gathering device whether it's on a camera or a projector and unless you're shooting towards the sun, a spec here or there is insignificant and of no consequence in terms of IQ. In a former career with a large electronics manufacturer, one of our divisions was demonstrating one of our data video projectors at the winter consumer electronics show. One of the staff newbies continuously took out his cleaning cloth every time he saw a spec of dust on the front of the lenses (three in those days when we still used CRTs). Finally, one of the veteran staffers took out a large roll of masking tape and taped off about a 1/3 of each of the lens. Nothing happened to the displayed images except that they became dimmer but not substantially worse. He made his point to the newbie. Don't clean a lens any more than necessary. The potential damage to the coatings far outweigh any effects of a few dust specs.
     
  20. The micro cloths tend to get dirty themselves then you have to wash them, were they lose all micro fiber capabilities.
     

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