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Question:

Can you suggest a method for cleaning my lenses? I have trouble getting them clean without a lot of rubbing, and I have been told this can damage the lens.

 

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Questions and Answers (Q & A's)

From Alan Broder (from Ocean Realm Magazine - June 1993)

Answer:

The coating on the lens can be damaged by excessive cleaning fluids and rubbing. There are a number of lens cleaning fluids on the market. Kodak makes a good one. Hoya, the filter manufacturer, markets one that I have used in the past. You can have your camera store recommend one. Several years ago, after hearing numerous recommendations and remonstrances relating to countless lens cleaning products, I spoke to the repair people at Nikon to find out which one of them the factory preferred. Some used methyl alcohol and some used Freon; a few used a mixture of both. Freon is, of course, not suggested due to its negative environmental impact and is certainly no longer used at Nikon. The pint is that the factory uses no commercial lens cleaning product when repairing and assembling lenses. I also spoke to the repair people at Hasselblad (renowned for the superior quality of their lenses) and was surprised to hear that they generally use no solvent cleaners at all unless specifically called for. They suggest that an exhaled breath on the glass and a gentle removal of the mist that forms with the lens tissue or cloth will not yield the best results and will not damage the coating. Absence of the mist in a spot indicates contamination. If the lens does not evenly fog after the procedure is repeated, lens cleaning solvent is indicated.

When lens cleaning fluid is called for, place a couple of drops on a piece of lens tissue and gently clean the glass surface. Do not drop the liquid directly on the lens as it can flow inside between the elements and create a real problem. Use a dry piece of lens tissue to finish the cleaning. You might ask your camera store to suggest a lens paper or cloth for your lenses. There are several food ones that will significantly scratch most coatings or leave lint, although virtually all papers and cloths presently marketed can cause microscopic abrasion to the lens coating which will produce no measurable image degradation. Clean surgical-grade cotton is probably the least abrasive material you can use. Perhaps a couple of puffs with a blower will remove loose dust particles, leaving a clean surface and eliminating the need for any of the above procedures. Most important is preventing contamination of your lens cleaning paper or cloth with gritty particles, which will gouge the delicate lens coating.

May I also suggest that you always clean your lens before lubricating your O-rings. Unless you wash the silicon grease off your hands with detergent, you will transfer tiny amounts to your lens cleaning paper. The process goes something like this: "Couple dabs of grease on the O-ring, slide it between my fingers gently without stretching it—ahh, nice coat of grease on the O-ring (and on my fingers). Put that O-ring back in the nice clean groove. Wipe off my hands. Good, now let’s get some lens paper out of the pack. Damn—the whole pack came out! Arrange them neatly and stuff them back in the envelope (thereby randomly contaminating much of the paper with grease, making the whole pack unsafe to use). Now, since I know that if I don’t fold the paper, my finger will go right through it and smudge the lens, I’ll carefully fold it (practically saturating the paper with grease) and ‘clean’ the lens. Hmmmmm, still not clean. I’ll just repeat this procedure until I’ve pulled the rest of my hair out."

Maybe this is why your lens is extra hard to clean sometimes?!

 

 

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