What's the best way to clean your lense front glass.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by alfred_alfred, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. People tell me cotton, cloth, paper etc. please enlighten me.
  2. I find that medium grade wire wool usually does the trick in keeping it pretty smooth. For those stubborn lumps and bumps though, you might need to resort to a small bolster chisel. A word of warning though, NEVER be tempted to use a club hammer with the chisel - this could lead to slips and possible damage.
  3. i use my dirty t-shirt
  4. A little dirt won't hurt your lens and will not degrade the images. The coating does not need to be 100% pristine all the time. Some of the older Leitz lenses take odd size filters so I don't bother. They are not dirty if you don't look at them! When they get grimy I have my neighborhood repair guy clean them in exchange for coffee, and that is about twice a year.
  5. no serious answer yet... <br>anyway, I blow off the dust, yes with the risc of drips of saliva. If any spots visible, I moist the lens with my breath, then with my shirt (soft cotton) i wipe it clean, gently. If it's the fastest way to ruin a lense, someone should tell me. As to coating, I believe there is none on the top surface, only inside. With my 1961 summicron anyway. Someone correct me if i'm wrong.
  6. Alfred, you won't get any serious answers from these idiots, because the subject has appeared frequently before. I made the same mistake a while back, because I wanted information that hadn't appeared in earlier threads. Click on my name, then look for the thread about lens cleaning. For what it's worth, I still use isopropyl alcohol and lens tissues because no-one seemed to think it was damaging, and no-one convinced me that there was anything better. The microfibre cloths are good at mopping up grease and vapour, and good because you can wash them, but still carry the risk of grinding little bits of grit into your front element coating.
  7. There are special lens brushes, built like a retractable pen, that will take care of any grit. Staticmaster has excellent brushes too. Make-up brushes founf at any Pharmacy Cosmetic counter will do equally well.
  8. All of the above pertain.

    Use a special type of kleenex available in any optician's store for good glasses themselves etc, just like Leica's own paper. Not too hard, which can scuff, not too soft, which can leave lint. Not already moistened with any creme or other unevaporatable solvents. Use any clean alcohol like methanol, ethanol, iso-propanool, n-propanol etc etc. But high grade purity like from the drugstore, and not denatured. And also, no vodka etc.
  9. Pentax micro-fibre cloths. (£2.99 UK in Specsavers opticians.) Come in a variety of retro paisley designs. My favourite has little sea-horses!

    However I am usually only cleaning the front surface of a filter. If I had to clean a front element I would use a very soft, clean brush, then a clean Pentax cloth moistened slightly with a spectacles cleaning spray that is suitable for use with coatings. (Like Zeiss spray if you can get it although most opticians have something similar.)
  10. Don't clean it unless you absolutely must. I use B+W MC UV filters to protect the front lens element. But since you inquired, if you MUST clean your lenses, consider Opticlean; it is used for cleaning telescope objectives as well as for cleaning camera lenses.

  11. Clean your face: leave your lens alone!
  12. OK, I'll give a serious answer.
    When I worked at a movie camera rental house we used lens wipes moistened lightly with lens cleaner for routine cleaning. Fold the wipe over on itself a bit to make a 'pillow' and rub gently. Never put any liquid directly on the lens as it can seep past the threads and evaporate inside the lens. (I've seen it happen!) And avoid using your finger tip, as that can grind dirt into the coating. For the really nasty stains like evaporated mineral deposits, etc., we used a highly refined acetone!
  13. I have been told leica taught their repair techs to use low
    pressure blower and soooooooft brush if needed and Q tips (the
    real ones not the crap store brand ) .
  14. I believe the materials which come with new Leica lenses reccommend light breath on the lens with a lens microfiber cloth used very gently. Some minor dirt does not seem to degrade the image. I don't reccommend all those cleaners you can get because they leave a film around the edges of the front element you just cannot get off no matter what you do.
  15. <<What's the best way to clean your lense front glass.>>

    The best way is not to. Put a B+W MRC UV filter on it the minute you get the lens and leave it there.
  16. Get yourself a Lenspen. Don't let your lens get too dirty. If you see a speck or a spot on it, clean it off GENTLY with the lens pen, if using a little blower didn't work. You get a lot of stupid answers, and statements like it doesn't matter if there's dirt on your lens. Personally, I like to keep my lenses clean. I hardly ever need to even touch the lens surface itself, as it's always the UV filter that gets dirty. The only time there's a potential for smudges or dust specks getting on the lens is when I change the filter, and I do that carefully. Lens coatings are surprisingly fragile (which is probably why even Nikon and others recommend you use a filter to protect their lenses), so you do have to be careful if you want to keep your lens like new. Of course, it IS true that a bit of dust isn't really going to affect the pictures much, but if you let it build up until there's a lot of it, it's harder to clean.
  17. <br>
    From a 1995 print Leica lens instruction book:
    "Dust on the outside of the lens should be carefully removed with a soft-haired brush or a soft, clean, dry cloth. If stains and finger marks have to be removed, this cloth (ideally a piece of soft, chemical-free cotton cloth) should be moistened with some standard denatured alcohol (ethanol 92 - 96%) and the lens should be cleaned with a circular movement starting at the center of the lens."
    From a 2002 print Leica lens instruction book:
    "Dust on the outside of the lens should be carefully removed with a soft-haired brush or a soft, clean, dry cloth. If stains and finger marks have to be removed using a cloth (ideally a piece of soft, chemical-free microfiber cloth - can be washed at 40&ordm;C without fabric softener), clean with a circular movement starting at the center of the lens. Do not use the type of cloths used especially for cleaning eyeglasses since these are impregnated with chemicals which can damage the glass used for high performance lenses."
  18. Good advice so far. Just remember to blow first so you are not rubbing grit across the
    lens surface. Blow with whatever works for you: your mouth, bulb blower, canned air,
    etc. Be careful not to spit on the lens, or, if you use canned air, not to get propellant
    on the lens. Do not blow straight at the lens but across.

    Some people then gently use a soft clean brush to make sure the grit is gone.

    Next breathe on the lens and wipe in a circular motion with a CLEAN cloth. Lens
    clean? Then you are done. The cloth can be soft clean cotton (some people use their
    old underwear), special camera lens cleaning cloths (various manufacturers), the edge
    of a clean cotton shirt, etc. Do NOT use cleaning cloths meant for glasses as these
    sometimes are impregnated with chemicals that are not good for camera lenses.

    If not clean enough yet -- if you looked through the viewfinder more often you would
    not get so many nose prints on your front element -- moisten your clean cloth with
    whatever cleaning fluid you believe to be best and gently rub the lens in a gentle
    circular motion. Sometimes you have to then finish up with a bit of your breath and
    another gentle rub.

    So what is the best cleaning fluid? Beats me just make sure it is pure; for example,
    denatured alcohol NOT rubbing alcohol. I use Kodak lens cleaning fluid with no
    problems other than you need to finish with a bit of breath. Fine by me but others are
    convinced this is a bad sign and use other magical fluids. To each his own I guess.

    Remember that it is easier to keep a lens clean than it is to be constantly cleaning it. I
    cap my lenses when not in use. Some people use UV filters but I do not like them
    myself. Whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable photographing is all that
    really matters.
  19. Paper is made from trees dragged down a muddy road. The dirt gets smaller as the paper making process goes on, but I'm not convinced it's eliminated. Anyhow, paper is used as a plane - anything trapped at the surface is going to be dragged over the lens under pressure. Blowing dirt off a lens while raking with a fluffed dry Qtip helps to limit mechanical damage before using another one or two sticks with Windex or alcohol for thumbprints. The reason to favor cotton is it's inability to, at the fiber level, exert excessive pressure on a contaminate and to hold it in contact with the glass. Let the cotton and liquid do the work, using the least amount of motion.
  20. JAY IS RIGHT!! plain and simple. every time you clean, you scratch, even if just a little. you really want to avoid cleaning.

    if clean you must, the KEY is to remove ALL abrasive particles before you start. compressed air is the only way, blowing is too low pressure. after a good blast or three. use a swab with a LOT of fluid. be VERY gentle so you remove any remaining particles with minimal scratching. then finish with a SOFT cloth, not the abrasive micropore crap. then put on a filter so you don't have to go thru that again!!
  21. 1. blow off (using quick strokes) front with compressed air for optics.
    2. use a camel hair brush to lightly loosen up particles.
    3. repeat 1.
    4. look for any particles still clinging
    5. repeat 1-3 if necessary
    6. use a nice soft lens cloth (maybe promaster) and a few drops of cleaning fluid (Eclipse or ROR) and lightly wipe off front
    7. there'll probably be some residue and lint, so breathe on front and quickly and lightly wipe off with cloth; you'll probably have to do this a few times until when you breathe on the front no residue is seen
    8. there'll be some lint left so with a brush on the end of a lens pen or a bulb blower just wipe off the lint with the bristles (which can do this since they're stiffer)
    9. slap on a UV filter and don't do it again.
  22. I vote for the filter thing.
    I wrote in a year ago when I scratched my Noctilux and got lots of good advice, but ultimately got it fixed because it drove me crazy...
  23. Hm. I don't know about the filter. My lenses alway get dirty, so last May I decided to put a (not so cheap) B+W filter on my summicron. I shot 3 rolls in a particular light situation and ended up with pictures showing a severe amount of flare. The filter is in the closet again. I'll just carefully clean the lens in the future.
  24. Lens Pen. Repeat as neccessary.
  25. If you are going to use a can of compressed gas, be careful and DO NOT select the ones used to clean around computer keyboards or other computer parts, as they contain additional lubricants that should not be blown onto your lenses. Get a can from your camera store, and, even then, read the label.
  26. I once saw a Fuji rep extinguish a sigarette on the front element of one of his demo lenses, then he cleaned it off with an old clean hanky. So you could try that for some excitement.
  27. Here in Russia we usually drink a 150ml of pure ethanol and then moist the lens with a breath, then with anybody’a shirt or with something else wipe it clean, gently.

    Hope this helps.
  28. I use kodak lens cleaning papers dip into a bottle of ether with a medical forceps and clean the lens surface from center to rim.The action must be in swift motion and as a precaution, make sure to open all the windows.

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