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View Full Version : Cleaning and Packing Singh Ray GND Filters



Eric James
22-May-2007, 18:52
1) No matter how much I take care, these filters accumulate blemishes and muck. My general glass-cleaning tools include a micro fiber cloth, canned air, and a lens pen. Maybe I'm lazy but I can't see myself using this approach with a rectangular resin filter; I was thinking that a glass-cleaning detergent in distilled water might be the way to go, but I don't want to learn the $$$ way that I was all wrong. What do you think?

2) I've always carried my GNDs into the field as they arrived from the manufacturer - sandwiched between paper, tucked into tight-fitting plastic, and shoved into the leatherette case. What a messed-up way to deal when the light is changing! I suppose if I had a better way to keep the things clean I would store them in a more accessible manner. Have you found an efficient way to pull out, shoot with, then repack your GNDs?

3) I have a Singh Ray 3 stop hard for some reason - not sure I've ever used it! I suppose it would work well if I was into shooting sunsets @ the beach. I've shot a few landscapes recently that suffered from blown-out skies. It was early so memory fails me, but I'm pretty sure that I had used a 2-stop filter. Is anyone here using 3-stop Singh Rays? When do you find it useful? Is the soft version much more forgiving than the hard?

TIA,
Eric

Mike Boden
22-May-2007, 19:17
The best solution for storage is to use Lee's Multi Filter Pouch:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/141612-REG/LEE_Filters_MFP_Multi_Filter_Pouch.html

If you choose not to buy and use this pouch and continue using the leather holders that the filter came in, you don't have to use the paper and plastic bag that they come in. Instead, simply slide the filter down in the pouch. I spoke with Bob at Singh-Ray and he recommended this.

As for cleaning, I use RayVu Cleaner. Works great!

http://www.singh-ray.com/rayvu.html

Eric Leppanen
22-May-2007, 19:34
1) I use PhotoClear lens cleaner (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/398216-REG/Photo_Clear_65099492_Photo_Clear_Lens_Treatment.html), which was recommended to me by Schneider. But the Singh-Ray solution mentioned by Mike looks great too.

2) I second the nomination of the Lee multi-filter pouches. I own the 10-filter version, but a 3-filter version is also available, and Robert White sells an expensive leather 6-filter design:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/292626-REG/LEE_Filters_PCH3_Three_Pocket_Filter_Pouch.html

http://www.robertwhite.co.uk/lee.htm#LabelLeestorage

3) I use Lee ND grads (2-stop soft, 3-stop hard). Generally I use the 3-stop for sunrises and sunsets, the 2-stop for more general-purpose shooting. When shooting into the sun or other extreme conditions, I'll sometimes combine the two. Overall I use the two filters roughly equally. My vague recollection is that the Singh-Ray 3-stop hard has a more abrupt transition than the Lee, although I can't swear to it.

Mark Stahlke
22-May-2007, 19:40
I don't know about cleaning, but for storage and packing I don't think you can do better than Kinesis' Grad Filter Pouch. (http://kgear.com/f/#f166)

Cheers,
Mark

Wimpler
23-May-2007, 00:43
Or you can just go to a nearby store/supermarket and buy one of those CD wallets. They work fine.

Eric James
12-Jun-2007, 11:59
Part of my problem with handling these filters was using the original packaging (paper sandwich in tight-fitting Ziploc-like bag) - that, and my fat fumbling fingers. I've set this packaging aside and now have my filters in over-sized Ziploc-like bags with the "zipper" cut off. (They still get tucked in their leatherette pouches.) It's much easier for me to remove and replace the filters with this approach. For now I've decided that I don't need all of my GND filters in one pouch. I usually know which one I want after evalualing a scene with my meter, and having them all out at one time just increases the chance that I'll leave them all behind or break them all with one misplaced foot or knee.

I'm still a bit afraid to attempt cleaning them but I'll start with my least used filter and see how that goes.

Thank you all!

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2007, 12:17
"My general glass-cleaning tools include a micro fiber cloth, canned air, and a lens pen."

Canned air should never be part of a lens cleaning kit.

Eric James
12-Jun-2007, 12:39
I use canned air on glass frequently; most often it's used on filters, but I also use it judiciously on front and even rear lens elements. I would rather remove particles with a quick squirt of air then to grind them around with a cloth or brush. Sure, it's easy to foul a lens element with canned air if you, e.g., shake the can, hold it at an angle, don't give the can a squirt into space before directing it at glass. I donít buy into the idea that the propellant acts as a solvent when canned air is applied sparingly.

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2007, 13:38
I use canned air on glass frequently; most often it's used on filters, but I also use it judiciously on front and even rear lens elements. I would rather remove particles with a quick squirt of air then to grind them around with a cloth or brush. Sure, it's easy to foul a lens element with canned air if you, e.g., shake the can, hold it at an angle, don't give the can a squirt into space before directing it at glass. I donít buy into the idea that the propellant acts as a solvent when canned air is applied sparingly.

A good quality blower like the Rocket Blaster is just as effective, works at any angle, can not spit, isn't pressurized so it can always fly on planes (canned air can only be shipped by ground in the USA), can not run out of air and is safe should the air be inhaled.

Canned air does not work at any angle, can run out, does spit, can put out freezing air and may deposit particles on your lens or filter.

And sparingly is a very difficult term to explain quantitatively. A Rocket Blaster can be used for any period of time and for any amount of air without having to worry about "sparingly".

Bob Salomon
12-Jun-2007, 13:42
" tucked into tight-fitting plastic,"

If the plastic has plasticisers init they can migrate onto the surface of a filter and leave a film on the filter that is impossible to remove. I once lost two sets of three Zeiss Softars in Bay 60 and in 86mm sizes due to the plastcisers in a major brand filter wallet that was a good buy (apparently).

Gene McCluney
12-Jun-2007, 14:10
Nobody has mentioned it, but a soft sided CD carry case could be used for big filters. The zip-up personal carry case for a couple dozen CD-'s.

Eric James
12-Jun-2007, 15:38
...And sparingly is a very difficult term to explain quantitatively...

"tchssht-tchssht"

I hadn't heard of the Rocket Blower so I'll look into it - I'll admit that canned air is less than ideal, but "never" is an easy term to...

" tucked into tight-fitting plastic,"

If the plastic has plasticisers init they can migrate onto the surface of a filter and leave a film on the filter that is impossible to remove. I once lost two sets of three Zeiss Softars in Bay 60 and in 86mm sizes due to the plastcisers in a major brand filter wallet that was a good buy (apparently).

That's something to think about - perhaps that's why they sandwich their filters in paper before tucking them into the plastic bags.


Nobody has mentioned it, but a soft sided CD carry case could be used for big filters. The zip-up personal carry case for a couple dozen CD-'s.

Wimpler did, but thanks just the same.

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I just tried out the laboratory glass cleaning detergent idea. I used a dip-and-dunk approach - dipping each filter in very soapy warm tap water for 3-5 minutes; next I rinsed well in cold running tap water; then rinsed in distilled water, 3 or 4 splashes per side; and finally air dried them (without the canned air I'm so fond of:) ) They look very clean!!!