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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 06 May 2013 (Monday) 00:56
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How do you clean your lenses and filters?

 
Wiskey
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May 06, 2013 00:56 |  #1

Hello all!

I got a little sea spray on my filter taking this shot yesterday:

IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8268/8712290803_f0aaede237_c.jpg
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Arch (external link) by Wiskey2727 (external link), on Flickr

I have a microfiber cloth for cleaning dust off the filter, but all it did was smear the spray around. Eventually I just used a little distilled water to clean it because I didn't want to use Windex or anything like that for fear that it would damage the coatings that we pay so much for.

So I figured I'd ask,.. How should I be cleaning this? Can I use Windex? Or was I right to be concerned? Is distilled water a good way to go long term, or is something better available?

Thanks,
Whiskey

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Wiskey
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May 06, 2013 00:58 |  #2

PS.
I'm not nearly as close (or foolish) as it looks - this is a 50MM lens on a crop sensor camera - I was on a rock a little bit back :)

Whiskey


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SkipD
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May 06, 2013 03:22 |  #3

Almost any glass filter except a polarizing filter can simply be washed in a sink with running warm water and, if necessary, Dawn detergent. Do a final rinse with distilled water and shake the water off. Use a lens tissue, if necessary, to get the last drop or two off the glass.


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Wiskey
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May 06, 2013 19:43 |  #4

Thanks for the advice Skip!

How do you clean CPL filters? Do you just wipe them down with a lens cloth? Or use some special cleaning solution?

Whiskey


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ed ­ rader
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May 06, 2013 19:55 as a reply to  @ Wiskey's post |  #5

I am using shieldme screen cleaner and a microfiber cloth for cleaning most electronics and optics.


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May 06, 2013 20:20 |  #6

I just use a spray lens cleaner from the local camera shop, along with microfiber. As mentioned above for a really caked filter, running under water is ok but you'll probably still need to use a lens cleaner to get it streak free.


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SkipD
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May 06, 2013 21:24 |  #7

Wiskey wrote in post #15904701 (external link)
Thanks for the advice Skip!

How do you clean CPL filters? Do you just wipe them down with a lens cloth? Or use some special cleaning solution?

Whiskey

A polarizing filter is made of at least three layers of material (two layers of glass and at least one polarizing layer in between). Thus, you can get liquid in between that will be nearly impossible to remove.

To clean my polarizing filters, I simply use the same procedure that I use to clean lenses. I've published that several times, but here it is again:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A squeeze-bulb blower such as a Rocket Blower by Giottos, quality lens tissue (such as that sold by Kodak and now Tiffen), a good lens cleaning fluid, and PROPER TECHNIQUE is the way that I have cleaned my lenses for decades.

What is "proper technique"?

First - the goal is to clean the lens (or filter - I would use the very same process) without grinding any dirt/debris into the lens. To me, this absolutely dictates single-use surfaces for anything that touches the lens. That's why I use lens tissues instead of a washable cloth or - particularly - something like a lens pen.

Here are the steps that I use to clean a lens:

1. Use a squeeze-bulb blower to blow any loose dust off the lens. 90% of the time, step 1 is all that is necessary.

2. Take a lens tissue out of the pack. Fold it once, holding only what was the ends of the tissue. You want to be extremely careful to NEVER TOUCH the areas of the lens tissue that will be touching the lens. This will avoid transferring oils from your fingers to the lens.

3. Moisten the folded portion of the lens tissue with a little lens cleaner. You don't want the tissue dripping wet, but it must be damp.

CAUTION: NEVER apply lens cleaner directly to the lens (though it won’t hurt a filter, you don’t want liquid leaking into the lens’ innards).

4. Wipe LIGHTLY across the lens ONCE with the damp tissue. Then either turn it over or fold it so that you can wipe again, but with an unused surface. You can do this as often as needed, as long as you never wipe the lens twice with any surface of the tissue. This prevents scratches. Again, make sure you never touch an area of the tissue that will touch the lens.

5. Ensuring that the lens is actually clean, use a dry tissue, handled the same way as above, to wipe the lens dry. Since you have already removed the dirt, there's no risk of scratching the lens with the dry tissue.

6. Dispose of the used lens tissues in a proper trash receptacle.

That's it in a nutshell. Simple and effective. I've been cleaning my lenses this way for over 45 years, and all of them have pristine glass (and none have ever worn "protective" filters).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


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KirkS518
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May 06, 2013 21:39 as a reply to  @ SkipD's post |  #8

Living in Florida, and being an avid saltwater fisherman, I would clean it the way I clean my fishing gear, which can cost more then a nice l lens.

For a filter, I'd just simply run it under fresh waster to remove the salt, then, once it dries, use the blower and/or any of the other above listed methods. You'd have to do a wet cleaning, as there are sure to be water stains, but they'll come off easily.

As for the actual lens and body, I'd use a damp clean rag (not soaking wet, just damp), and wipe everything down.

If it was the rods and reels, they go in the shower with me. :)


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CoPhotoGuy
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May 06, 2013 21:43 |  #9

Eclipse and Pec Pads




  
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ROGERWILCO357
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May 07, 2013 01:40 |  #10

what type of solvent is used alcohol base ? I have this solvent I use for my plasma tv the (Monster) blue liquid non alcohol type not sure what is in this stuff but can it be used on the lens ?


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May 07, 2013 04:34 |  #11

Don't use Eclipse for cleaning camera and lenses. While it's great for cleaning sensors (where you want something good at removing oil-based gunk while evaporating quickly) it might not play nice with some of the plastics or coatings on lenses, filters and bodies.

For those external bits you can buy different types of really expensive tiny bottles containing a few precious drops of 'scientifically formulated' optical cleaning solution. But these things are virtually all the same recipe - water, propan-2-ol (also known as isopropyl alcohol) and sometimes a bit of soap.

So I make my own cleaning solution. It's still 'scientifically formulated' because I am a scientist, but it's not expensive. First buy a bottle of propanol from Amazon for $5.67. Take some of that (half a cupful) and dilute it 1:1 with water; tap water will do, distilled water is better, don't use bottled water. If you want, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (I'm told Dawn is a nice one).

That's a lifetime's supply of cleaning fluid. It works great on other stuff and it's pretty harmless to almost everything.


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May 07, 2013 04:50 |  #12

Bucket of soapy water works a treat for me.


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Wiskey
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May 08, 2013 08:36 |  #13

Thanks for the tips and advice all!

I will go out and get some disposable lens tissues to use instead of the microfiber cloth I have now, that's a great tip about grinding dust into the lens/filter I'd hate to have some grain of sand or something on my rag and scratch the lens.

Thanks!
Whiskey


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JohanBorjesson
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May 08, 2013 08:58 |  #14

I use some cleaning cloth(s) I got with smartphone screen protectors over the years. Works great.


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MikeT2i
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May 08, 2013 09:01 |  #15

Anhydrous Alcohol - Not sure about using it on lenses but it is basically Alcohol without water in it. I use it for a lot of delicate cleaning of electronic parts etc. When it evaporates it does not leave any residue.




  
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How do you clean your lenses and filters?
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