View Full Version : Lens cleaning

4-Mar-2013, 17:20
What is your favored method of cleaning lenses? (materials used and procedure)

4-Mar-2013, 17:22
Uncoated lenses, either water, soapy water, or windex. Never dry clean a lens.


C. D. Keth
4-Mar-2013, 19:03
Pancro and kimwipes.

Daniel Stone
4-Mar-2013, 19:14
What C.D. Keth said

I also use 95% isopropyl alcohol in lieu of pancro if I can't seem to find the bottle ;). Usually that for the initial cleaning, then a few hot breaths and a final wipe with more kimwipes. Hasn't let me down yet


4-Mar-2013, 22:15
I own prolly close to 20 lenses and i don't think I've cleaned any of them more than once. A blast of air to remove dust and a clear filter when working near the ocean is all i use. I never understood how so mant nice lenses got destroyed with "cleaning marks" that look more like steel wool was used.
What Chris said.

C. D. Keth
4-Mar-2013, 23:12
I think a lot of people press harder than they need to and use their dirty t-shirt way too often. My lenses only get fluid cleaned when they have something other than dust. They probably get rain spots or something else a couple times a year and get cleaned after. Beyond that, it's a retired makeup powder brush of my wife's.

David R Munson
5-Mar-2013, 01:27
Pancro and kimwipes.

This. Blower bulb for dust, Pancro and lens tissue for the occasional errant thumbprint and such. Also, a small flashlight so I can see more clearly what I'm doing.

5-Mar-2013, 04:52
I use specialist glass cleaning fluid used in the glazing trade (Nilglass). It works remarkably well even with the dirtiest of lenses, when I bought a 10x8 Agfa Ansco it came with a Dagor described as having separation - in fact it was 60 years of accumulated dirt around the edges of the front element and cleaned off easily.


5-Mar-2013, 08:01
The type of cleaner matters less than technique, or you can scratch your glass or coating.

Blow it off first. Cut about 6 squares of lens tissue (I get it at Lenscrafters) about half the diameter of your lens. Then, the key is to NOT press down on your tissue. Instead, put a few drops of the cleaner in the center of the glass. Lay a cut tissue into the liquid and gently rotate the lens holding the edge of the tissue, and letting the wet part be a wiper. Go from the inside to the outside just one or two rotations. Throw away the tissue. Get a clean one and repeat. Do this 4-5 times before putting any pressure. And you usually need no more pressure anyway, just the stickiness of the wet tissues.

E. von Hoegh
5-Mar-2013, 08:04
What Goamules said.
And I'll add that it is better to keep your lens clean, than to keep cleaning your lens. I rely heavily on lenscaps and protective filters.

Doremus Scudder
5-Mar-2013, 08:40
1. I try to keep my lenses clean so I can keep cleaning to a minimum. That means lens caps, keeping fingers off the glass, etc.
2. I carry a very soft lipstick brush for removing dust. Often, that is all I need.
3. I'm a fan of clean microfiber cloths for cleaning. I once did a test with lens tissue vs a microfiber cloth with an old gel filter. The lens tissue scratched the filter a lot more than the microfiber cloth.
4. All those cleaning solutions might be great, but a very carefully placed "huff" of distilled water from one's breath is usually all I ever need.
5. Only in extreme cases do I break out the isopropyl alcohol in order to clean a lens.



5-Mar-2013, 11:12
People don't realize that the lens does not need to be spotlessly clean, and they usually end up doing more damage to the lens by constantly rubbing it with things.

Larry Gebhardt
5-Mar-2013, 11:46
I start out with one those rocket shaped blower bulbs. That's it 90% of the time. If there's a finger print on it (hey, it happens), or rain spot, I use condensed breath and a clean microfiber cloth. The fog from breath seems to work just as well as any lens fluid, and never leaves a residue. The microfiber clothes seem to absorb oils very well.

5-Mar-2013, 13:09
I rarely use any cleaning fluid. I use a soft brush that is never used for anything but lens glass, and only if there is visible dust on the lens. I also prefer one of the microfiber clothes to lens tissue if there is a smudge on the lens. But if you're careful, smudges can be few and far between.
I never use filters to protect the front lens element. I've never damaged a lens in 35 years of photography (which I'm sure I just jinxed), and I don't want to add any glass unless I've got a good reason to. Salt air would be a possible reason to use one, but I figure that my lenses can handle a few minutes of it now and then. I grew up near the ocean in New York, and have photographed on the beaches there and elsewhere, and it hasn't caused any problems to date.

Alan Gales
5-Mar-2013, 13:22
What Goamules said.
And I'll add that it is better to keep your lens clean, than to keep cleaning your lens. I rely heavily on lenscaps and protective filters.

I completely agree. Keep your lenses as clean as possible so you have to wet clean them less. After every shoot I dust them off with a blower brush and return the caps on them. If I shoot them in a light rain or blowing dust I use a clear filter to protect them.

A little over a year ago I sold my five 35mm Zeiss lenses from the early to mid 1980's. The glass and multi-coatings on all five lenses looked new. In fact the young man who purchased my 25mm lens (one of my favorite and most used lenses) was so impressed that he emailed me and asked me how I cleaned my lenses and kept the glass and coatings looking perfect.

5-Mar-2013, 13:38
I rarely clean them. Just try to keep them clean. I don't keep much else clean, so this isn't much of a burden.

Here's (http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2011/05/the-lensrentals-lens-cleaning-methods) an interesting blog post by someone who cleans 500 lenses a day. It's changed my mind about a couple of old habits.

11-Mar-2013, 01:24
I've a lens or two where I used kerosene to clean everything. Mould and kero don't mix well ... Kero also gets right into corroded metal threads. Once it is kero-cleaned which might take a week or two I then clean it with toothbrushes and some other cleaning fluid like an alchohol. Eventually, I get it clean. Kero doesn't seem to damage glass but I must admit early coatings might not fare so well. If it ain't coated then there is no worry! Other lenses just get the Windex or absolutely nothing.

Dan Dozer
13-Mar-2013, 11:41
I use Eclipse Optical cleaning fluid and PEC pads that I think I got both from Freestyle. In my opinion, much better than Kodak lens cleaning solution and lens cleaning paper.

sun of sand
13-Mar-2013, 15:41
Most of the time? Toilet Paper and breath per swipe or "optical cleanser"
No damage to coatings
Those air bulb things I find aren't worth it. I blow on it then use a brush or twist the TP up with a loose, fluffy end and whisk
On my nicest modern lenses in shutter I don't use anything ..just clean the contrast filters I keep in front
I keep a washed microfiber in a film can just in case when out which I use a lot in winter