View Full Version : Wista DX needs cleaning after a day at the beach

17-Nov-2010, 11:06
Hello all

I went on a week trip to Rhode Island to visit a friend. We went to Narragansett and surrounding area. I got a few nice ocean shots but alas I was a bit close to the water and the wind blew up some salt spray onto my equipment. I cleaned the lenses and ground glass with my Eclipse cleaner. However I'm wondering about the wood parts on the Wista, I have Murphy's natural Oil Soap (meant for cleaning wood floors) and a can of Linseed oil (I've used this to clean/condition gun stocks before). I'm wondering if either of these items would be ok or if someone has a better suggestion. I don't want to ruin the finish on the camera.

I also noticed the focusing is a bit rough at longer focal lengths, anyone suggest a lubricant that would be safe to use on brass that won't hurt the wood?

Frank Petronio
17-Nov-2010, 11:13
Probably leaving the salt on the finish while deliberating the choice of two proven, classic cleaning solutions is worse.

Richard Wasserman
17-Nov-2010, 11:21
A damp cloth to remove the salt and a thin coat of wax to protect the finish the next time. I'm a big fan of Pedro's Ice Wax (thanks Kirk!) for lubricating moving metal parts. It's available at bike shops.

Bob Salomon
17-Nov-2010, 12:50
Linhof and Wista service in the USA is Marflex. Why not call him and ask? 252 652-4401.

17-Nov-2010, 15:03
First of all dry it well, perhaps with a hair dryer. Then only clean it with a dry soft cloth. Dry salt is not as nasty as in a liquid solution. Whatever wet you use to clean it will first damage the surface by making a salty liquid.

John Koehrer
17-Nov-2010, 16:15
The Murphy's soap and Pedro's wax will work fine.
I just use canning wax or Minwax finishing wax.

Just dampen a soft cloth with the Murphy's, don't soak it.

Doremus Scudder
18-Nov-2010, 03:38
First, don't panic.

The lenses are the prime concern, and keeping salt and water off and out of them is really important. If you think one of your lenses got liquid salt water in the shutter, send it off asap for a CLA. If it just got some light spray or the moisture that always blows in with the wind and coats everything, then give it a good external cleaning, metal and glass, with cleaning fluid and a microfiber cloth or the like.

Now on to the camera. My Wista DXs make regular trips to the beach and get a lot of salt spray, etc. on them from time to time. The most obvious indicator of this are the corroded spots on the brass hardware. The wood and the bellows seem much more resistant to salt damage. I do, however, try to keep the camera and lenses in the backpack as much as possible, only unpacking for a setup and a shot and then getting everything packed up again after the shot.

I would go ahead and clean your camera with a lightly dampened cloth, paying special attention to the brass hardware. Cotton swabs are about the only way to get into the nooks and crannies, which you should. This should be followed with a second identical wipe down, which you can view as a rinse of sorts.

Once everything is cleaned, I second the use a a wax protector, as mentioned above. I have even used Kiwi shoe polish to good effect (since it is mostly wax, with just a bit of color). Don't forget the hardware.

If you plan on doing lots of work at the beach, make this cleaning routine a habit after each outing. More than once I have had my camera out on the table at a restaurant or pub after a hard day on the beach, cleaning away with a bandanna and napkins.

My primary beach camera is still going strong after more than 15 years of service, even with its slightly corroded hardware. So, don't worry too much about immediate damage if you just use common sense and clean up after each trip.

Hope this helps.

Doremus Scudder

18-Nov-2010, 05:13
However I'm wondering about the wood parts on the Wista, I have Murphy's natural Oil Soap (meant for cleaning wood floors) and a can of Linseed oil (I've used this to clean/condition gun stocks before). I'm wondering if either of these items would be ok

Either are ok for oiled or waxed wood, but linseed oil might dull or discolour paints and varnishes - these should be wiped clean with a damp cloth, and only get a slight application of a suitable furniture polish when really messed up.

Beware: Linseed oil oxidises particularly fast, and even small amounts may transfer that property to other oils and greases, so keep even traces off all gears and bearings.

18-Nov-2010, 06:58
Thanks all, my primary concern was the lens. I used my 90mm and it has a filter on the front so the glass itself wasn't touched. I noticed a bit of spray around the front barrel so I used my Eclipse fluid on the barrel and front of the shutter. I didn't load the fluid on because I didn't want it to get inside the mechanism. It was a light spray so I don't think anything got inside the shutter and the blades didn't show any signs of moisture or salt.

I pretty much limited the exposure of the camera, covering it with my dark cloth while I made adjustments and my meter reading and then packing it away quickly after the exposure.

Great advise, I'm meticulous about keeping my gear clean but salt water is nasty stuff.