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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 16 May 2011 (Monday) 06:12
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How likely am I to scratch lens by cleaning it?

 
jwhittaker
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May 16, 2011 11:16 |  #16

Thanks for the tips. I have been sufferring from the need to clean the slightest mark but I think I will ease off as it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference from what everyone says.


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TaDa
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May 16, 2011 11:18 |  #17

watduzhkstand4 wrote in post #12419411 (external link)
Thanks for sharing that link. But for me I think it's just for the sake of my mind and the fact that I dropped some money on something I don't need. Also the resell value just in case.

That's a whole different matter all together. The more you get into photography, the more you learn that the equipment is just a tool to capture an image. All of the value lies in the images. Something that impacts image quality, no matter how minimally, doesn't need to be part of my gear kit.


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L, Canon 85 f/1.2L II, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, Canon 500 f/4L IS
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FlyingPhotog
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May 16, 2011 11:19 |  #18

Just be sure you use a very fine grade of sandpaper and you'll be ok...

<Tongue -> Cheek>

Most gear needs cleaning far less than one might think. ;). Good suggestions throughout this thread. Shoot more, worry less...


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TaDa
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May 16, 2011 11:20 |  #19

FlyingPhotog wrote in post #12419477 (external link)
Just be sure you use a very fine grade of sandpaper and you'll be ok...

<Tongue -> Cheek>

Most gear needs cleaning far less than one might think. ;). Good suggestions throughout this thread. Shout more, worry less...

I don't shout while I shoot. Scares the hell out of the subjects


Name is Peter and here is my gear:
Canon 5D II, Canon 7D, Canon 40D
Glass - Zeiss 21 f/2.8 ZE, Canon 35 f/1.4L, Canon 40 f/2.8 STM, Canon 24-70 f/2.8
L, Canon 85 f/1.2L II, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, Canon 500 f/4L IS
Speedlite 580ex II, 430ex - Gitzo GT-3541XLS w/ Arca B1

  
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SkipD
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May 16, 2011 11:22 |  #20

watduzhkstand4 wrote in post #12419355 (external link)
but when it comes down to finally cleaning the front element, wouldn't it damage every shot from then on now that the front element has been physically altered?

You would be FAR more likely to damage a typical photographic filter when cleaning it than you would be if you cleaned the lens' front element, as the typical filter is not as tough as a lens element.

In either case, the basis of my cleaning technique is to totally avoid scrubbing a hard particle into the surface of the glass. If you accomplish that by using cleaning materials and a cleaning procedure similar to what I published above, you will not scratch the surface.

Keep a rigid lens hood (the one recommended by the lens manufacturer) on every lens that is out of the camera case and you are very unlikely to get fingerprints or scratches on the front of the lens. I have seen countless rookies who fail to use a lens hood smear up the front of their lens (or filter) - mostly with their own greasy fingerprints - to the point where that would definitely affect image quality.


Skip Douglas
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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 11:22 |  #21

TaDa wrote in post #12419468 (external link)
That's a whole different matter all together. The more you get into photography, the more you learn that the equipment is just a tool to capture an image. All of the value lies in the images. Something that impacts image quality, no matter how minimally, doesn't need to be part of my gear kit.

I agree with you. Maybe later when I am set with my gear, I will have a different mindset (: But as of now, it seems like every piece of equipment is an investment considering I don't even have a job to fund ANY of my purchases lol; just bs job in the summer and that's it.


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FlyingPhotog
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May 16, 2011 11:24 |  #22

TaDa wrote in post #12419483 (external link)
I don't shout while I shoot. Scares the hell out of the subjects

Fixed...

<Damn iPad>


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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 11:31 |  #23

SkipD wrote in post #12419489 (external link)
You would be FAR more likely to damage a typical photographic filter when cleaning it than you would be if you cleaned the lens' front element, as the typical filter is not as tough as a lens element.

In either case, the basis of my cleaning technique is to totally avoid scrubbing a hard particle into the surface of the glass. If you accomplish that by using cleaning materials and a cleaning procedure similar to what I published above, you will not scratch the surface.

Keep a rigid lens hood (the one recommended by the lens manufacturer) on every lens that is out of the camera case and you are very unlikely to get fingerprints or scratches on the front of the lens. I have seen countless rookies who fail to use a lens hood smear up the front of their lens (or filter) - mostly with their own greasy fingerprints - to the point where that would definitely affect image quality.

I always shoot with my hoods on. Maybe I'll try taking pictures without the filters and see how they turn out! (;


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Blurr ­ Cube
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May 16, 2011 12:45 as a reply to  @ watduzhkstand4's post |  #24

Hoods are good to have... if to safeguard against the minor bumps and bruises on the lens.

Always use the blower to start with and then the brush. You get rid of as much dust particles before using a lens tissue/microfiber.

Another option to the lens tissue is using two separate and clean microfiber cloth. One wet and one dry. Wet one gets the lens cleaner fluid and then the dry one... well dries the lens.

Oh and use the caps when not using the lens. ;)


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ToddR
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May 16, 2011 12:51 |  #25

And Roger of Lensrentals.com just posted an informative article (external link) on their lens cleaning procedures there.

TaDa wrote in post #12419388 (external link)
Everytime someone talks about a spec of dust or something impacting IQ, I think of this post that Roger posted:

http://www.lensrentals​.com …0/front-element-scratches (external link)


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May 16, 2011 13:54 |  #26

ToddR wrote in post #12420111 (external link)
And Roger of Lensrentals.com just posted an informative article (external link) on their lens cleaning procedures there.

Though those folks use some different tools than I do, their basic procedure goals are absolutely identical to mine with the main object being to never wipe hard particles around on a lens' surface which could cause scratching.


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ToddR
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May 16, 2011 13:59 |  #27

SkipD wrote in post #12420546 (external link)
Though those folks use some different tools than I do, their basic procedure goals are absolutely identical to mine with the main object being to never wipe hard particles around on a lens' surface which could cause scratching.

Indeed. The approach is certainly valid for an individual's personal equipment, or scaled up to an operation like theirs.

But that electric blower does sound cool. :cool:


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May 16, 2011 14:13 |  #28

ToddR wrote in post #12420583 (external link)
Indeed. The approach is certainly valid for an individual's personal equipment, or scaled up to an operation like theirs.

But that electric blower does sound cool. :cool:

I want that thing so badly. My kids act up, I'd shoot air at them. Would that be a form of abuse? Assault by air?


Name is Peter and here is my gear:
Canon 5D II, Canon 7D, Canon 40D
Glass - Zeiss 21 f/2.8 ZE, Canon 35 f/1.4L, Canon 40 f/2.8 STM, Canon 24-70 f/2.8
L, Canon 85 f/1.2L II, Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, Canon 500 f/4L IS
Speedlite 580ex II, 430ex - Gitzo GT-3541XLS w/ Arca B1

  
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amfoto1
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May 16, 2011 14:42 |  #29

First of all, don't be obsessive about cleaning the lens. It's not necessary to keep it completely clean all the time. I bet some of my lenses don't get cleaned more than once or twice a year, other than a puff of air or quick wipe with a brush. I just keep them capped when not in use and am careful not to touch them with my fingers. I often have to shoot in very dusty situations too... so folks who shoot in more favorable environments might even get by with less cleaning. Dust on a lens can show up causing increased flare and/or loss of contrast when shooting against the light, but most often doesn't show up at all.

Cleaning process:

1. Blow or dust or vacuum off dust particles... which might be hard minerals that can scratch.

2. Use micro fiber cleaning cloth. Dampen it lightly if needed to remove oily deposits (finger prints) or similar. Use a quality lens cleaning solution, applied to the cloth and not dripped or sprayed onto the lens itself. You want to be careful that excessive moisture doesn't intrude or get trapped under the edges of the trim ring, etc.

As an alternative to micro fiber cleaning cloths, there are optical cleaning products such as Pec Pads... These are a 100% rag paper products.

Do not use cheap, plain paper lens cleaning tissues. They are okay occasionally (repair techs use them), but not for regular cleanings. Paper made from wood pulp can contain minerals that are hard enough to damage glass or the coatings on it. If you look at vintage lenses you will often see "cleaning marks" on them... usually circular patterns that cause flare and reduce color saturation and contrast. These are micro scratches from using cheap lens cleaning tissues to on them, and/or not getting dust particles off properly before cleaning.

3. Lens pens are useful to "polish" the lens after the prior cleaning methods are done. Often lens cleaning fluid might leave a slight haze when it dries. The lens pen will remove that haze. It's very important to realize that lens pens are disposable... Use them a few times, then throw them away and replace them. If the pad becomes contaminated, particularly with any sort of grit, they might do more harm than good and - worst case - might even damage a lens.

4. A very soft brush is useful but has to be kept clean. There are some that have static properties to help them attract dust.

5. Brushes and microfiber cloths can be cleaned and reused at least a few times. Air dry only is recommended, and do not use any sort of "fabric softener" on the cloths or they will smear optics afterward.

A good source of cleaning supplies is www.micro-tools.com (external link) (US and European outlets). They also offer sensor cleaning supplies and a good how-to tutorial.

Modern lenses have hardened coatings that help protect them against scratches, are more durable than you might expect. Still, it pays to be a little careful about how you clean them and only do it when truly necessary.

I don't use "protection" filters except when shooting in sandstorms or by the seashore (saltwater spray is nasty to clean off). Good filters are expensive and will require exactly the same cleaning and care as the lens, while cheap filters can all too easily cause image problems, might even effect auto focus. The usage license for a single image can potentially cover the replacement cost of any lens in my kit, so I see any loss of image quality as a much bigger risk than the loss of a lens because it wasn't fitted with a protection filter. I virtually always use a lens hood, which serves to protect the lens better than any piece of thin glass ever could, especially deep hoods on tele lenses. I stopped using "protection filters" 25 years or more ago, and have yet to see a lens damaged as a result. OTOH, I have seen lenses damaged when a broken filter was driven into the front element, scratching it.

Here's a more in-depth discussion of filter flare and how it might effect images:

http://toothwalker.org​/optics/flare.html (external link)

And here:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/​sm-feb-05.shtml (external link)


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rusty.jg
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May 16, 2011 14:43 as a reply to  @ TaDa's post |  #30

What about salt residue? When I shoot on the coast there is *always* without fail some salt spray on the lens front element. Sometimes you cannot see it until you breathe on it but then the spots will show up. Other times you can see droplet outlines depending on the conditions. Doesnt matter if the breeze is blowing out to sea and the sea is calm, there will be spots on the end of the lens guaranteed.

I usually use a lens pen of clean lens cleaning cloth. However I am doing this sometimes daily and I'm wondering if continued cleaning affects any coating on the front element? If I dont clean it will leaving the spots on the glass cause any issues if they contain salt?
I always clean down the body (17-40) but just not so sure about the glass.

PS, I prefer to not use a filter.


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How likely am I to scratch lens by cleaning it?
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