View Full Version : First post and a question

28-Sep-2011, 07:04
Hi all, this is my first post to this forum.
I'm glad to have found it as I'm new to 4x5 and have a lot of newbie questions which I will hopefully be able to find answers for here! :)
So, here's one to start out with: Can I wash my film holders? I have a box of them and they're all sort of old and dusty and it would be useful if I could put them all in a tub of warm water and a drop of soap and get the age off of them.
Also, what about cleaning bellows, just air or would a damp sponge be ok?

First step: clean clean clean

While I'm asking questions about cleaning, I know that it's inadvisable to use paper products to clean lenses, but what about good old German optics, I'm afraid to even use cloth or anything on them at all other than air. Suggestions?


28-Sep-2011, 07:33
Washing the filmholders will weaken the tape that is used to cover the flap where the film is inserted into the filmholder and probably other parts. In general, keep water away from anything related to LF cameras except when it comes time to develop the film itself.

Instead of washing, spray some window cleaning fluid or mild solution of plain while ammonia NOT ON THE FILMHOLDER but on a lintless piece of cloth until it is somewhat damp, and then wipe down the filmholder. You can also combine this with a good vacuuming using a brush nozzle. Same with the bellows and interior of the camera. (You may want to then test the filmholders as well as the camera bellows for light-tighness)

You can use the usual lens cleaning fluids on lenses without a problem if you follow proper procedure for cleaning lenses which includes using something like Pec pads that are non-abrasive. Again, a good vacuuming or blowing canned air (hold the can upright) to first remove the big dust particles, combined with a good brushing using something like a makeup application brush to loosen them, followed by a very light wiping with a non-abrasive pad that has been moistened with lens cleaning fluid (which is not applied directly to the lens) Contrary to common belief, lenses do not need to be absolutely flawlessly clean. They can do a perfectly fine job with spots and dust. Jurgen over at his Certo6 site used to show a photo that he took of a scene using a camera that had a large dead bug between the lens elements, and the photo was fine. If anything, over-cleaning is the major cause of damage to lenses (what ebay sellers refer to as "whisps of cleaning marks")

28-Sep-2011, 07:40
First step: read the guidelines of this forum. :)

"Be sure to give a descriptive title to your question. For people searching or browsing the archives, a nonsensical or uninformative subject (like "Oops!", "Read this!", or even "Lenses") just makes it harder for people to find answers to questions."

Andrew O'Neill
28-Sep-2011, 07:43
Do not wash your holders! Wipe them with a tac rag from a hardware store (paint section) work very well for cleaning. Use a can of compressed hair to blast grud out from the light trap. The the holders upright and rap them against a counter top lightly to dislodge dirt. Use a damp cloth to get the harder stuff off. After they are cleaned, keep them in ziplock bags.
Welcome to the forum.