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Thread: How to clean a lens?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3

    How to clean a lens?

    Hello,

    Iīm just about to start with LF and now my first lens was shipped (Schneider Geronar 210mm, was a display model). It looked perfect beside a finger print on the glas inside.
    So I tried to clean it: first only with a microfiber cloth and a Anti-static Tiger Cloth (Kinetronic) but there were wiper traces. I also tried to use a small amount of lens cleaning solution but it didnīt help.

    Iīm a bit afraid I could have damaged the lens.
    What is the best way to clean a lens?

    I would appreciate if you could help me with your experience.

    Regards, Mareike

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3

    How to clean a lens?

    Sorry, the lens is a Rodenstock Geronar.

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    brooklyn, nyc
    Posts
    5,465

    How to clean a lens?

    http://www.schneideroptics.com/info/white_papers/lens_cleaning.pdf

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Orange, CA
    Posts
    867

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    6,701

    How to clean a lens?

    Vodka!

    Have a glass while trying to decide what to do next, then another glass after you've nearly convinced yourself that cleaning 'whisps' won't have any noticeable effect anyway. Have a third glass to celebrate all the money you'll save by buying used lenses with cleaning 'whisps.'
    Resist the temptation to polish off your vodka---keep some around for cleaning your lenses ;-)
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  6. #6

    How to clean a lens?

    First blow of debris with a hand blower. Brush off any more with a hand brush. Then attack it with proper cloth and fluids.

    Attempting to polish a new clear coat car, plexiglass window, or camera lens without first removing solid debris will result in scratches to the finish, Even dust will act as abrasive grits.

    I use microfiber cloths or old linen or cotton cloths that have been washed 100 times. Put fluid on the cloth, never on the glass as it can run inside.

    Always use gentle pressure to minimise the chance of scratching. Keep the cloths in a sealed plastic bag when not in use. If they get dirty from the atmosphere, you can rub the dirt into the lens.

    Finally clean as little as possible. Blow off what you can and stop. Needless scrubbing does more damage than good.

    Finger prints are made of acid deposits and will etch into the glass if left long enough, so clean these or better yet, don`t touch the glass.

    Then there are uv filters for those just can`t be careful. I see little degragation from them on large format work.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    176

    How to clean a lens?

    I use Methanol - dries without a trace. I don't remember where I got that from, but I've been using it for years now. For source, McMaster-Carr. $12 for a quart, 16 for a gallon to last a lifetime.

  8. #8
    blanco_y_negro
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Istanbul
    Posts
    111

    How to clean a lens?

    Doesn't methanol harm the coating on the lens?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,477

    How to clean a lens?

    Outside of actual debris, I only clean fingerprints and sea spray immediately. Cleaning the small wipe marks, especially on the softer coatings of older lenses (1960s - 70s era) can make things worse.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    9,477

    How to clean a lens?

    Also, the "Lens Pen" is very good for hard to clean oily smudges. I even used it on a $2500 Leica lens, but not without a moment of heart wrenching angst.

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