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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 06:12 |  #1

I am new to all this, so advice appreciated.
I have a 15-85 lens which I use a hood on.
I use a blower to get off dust but occassionally use a lens pen to wipe off the odd mark which inevitably appears after a day out.
In reality am I likely to scratch/mark/degrade the lens by cleaning it with a lens pen?
Or should I get a protective filter as well as the hood (and risk some dodgy exposures due to the filter)?
I really like to look after my gear and keep it pristine for as long as possible.


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TaDa
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May 16, 2011 06:14 |  #2

You won't scratch it as long as you don't get something abrasive between the element and what you're cleaning it with. A clean lenspen or cloth will be fine.


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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rick_reno
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May 16, 2011 10:27 as a reply to  @ TaDa's post |  #3

I look at my lens pen before I put it on the glass, while it's not likely to pick up grit it can happen. Use normal caution when cleaning them and you'll be fine.




  
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bpark42
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May 16, 2011 10:49 |  #4

Unless your pictures are being affected by whatever dust/junk is on the front element (unlikely), I would just ignore whatever doesn't blow off easily. Clean infrequently if it gets dirty enough to truly warrant it. Frequent cleaning offers no real benefit and increases the likelihood that you will leave scratches/cleaning marks.




  
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SkipD
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May 16, 2011 10:54 |  #5

jwhittaker wrote in post #12418052 (external link)
I am new to all this, so advice appreciated.
I have a 15-85 lens which I use a hood on.
I use a blower to get off dust but occassionally use a lens pen to wipe off the odd mark which inevitably appears after a day out.
In reality am I likely to scratch/mark/degrade the lens by cleaning it with a lens pen?
Or should I get a protective filter as well as the hood (and risk some dodgy exposures due to the filter)?
I really like to look after my gear and keep it pristine for as long as possible.

This, which I've posted just a couple of times :rolleyes:, should be useful for you. Please read it very carefully and completely so that you don't overlook details which answer your questions.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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 40 years, and all of them have pristine glass (and none have ever worn "protective" filters).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Skip Douglas
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Monito
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May 16, 2011 10:56 |  #6

Be careful, but not fearful.

First of all, don't wipe them unless they really need it. I use a blower brush or blower on mine frequently. Note: I do not use UV filters unless the circumstances are really extreme (riots involving drunks with liquids, say).

If you must clean the lens, first of all make sure all grit is off the lens. Use a blower to blow it off and then a soft floppy large or thick brush to dust it off gently. Ideally you hold the lens pointing down so dust falls off as it is dislodged.

When the surface is free of grit, then apply a drop or two of fluid to a cloth or a lens tissue. Better a little than a lot: just needs to be moist not wet. Gently wipe without rubbing or grinding, starting at the center and moving outward in a circular / spiral way. If there is a dry bit of cloth beside the damp bit, then you can dry the lens as you wipe it and clean it with fewer strokes. Otherwise take a dry bit of cloth or tissue and dry from the center out.

If I put a fingerprint on a lens in the field, I will dry my mouth, purse my lips, blow the dust off the lens front, then open my mouth wide and fog the lens with condensation of my breath (doesn't work in a hot desert). Then I will have a clean portion of my T-shirt ready and will gently wipe the print off, more or less, and leave it till later for a proper cleaning.

Fundamentally, dirt and grime on a lens affect it less than people realize. They don't affect sharpness hardly at all, but have a greater effect on colour contrast and flare. So always shoot with a lens hood and you'll be happy cleaning your lens less often.


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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 10:59 |  #7

I'm a beginner photographer and I would recommend just getting a filter for your lenses. I have Hoya HD on all of my lenses for protection.


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Monito
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May 16, 2011 11:00 |  #8

SkipD wrote in post #12419314 (external link)
That's it in a nutshell. Simple and effective. I've been cleaning my lenses this way for over 40 years, and all of them have pristine glass (and none have ever worn "protective" filters).

+1 Excellent. SkipD's advice is thorough and complete. Basically what I do, and I have two 20 year old lenses with surfaces that look brand new.

Part of the secret is to avoid cleaning every time they look a tiny bit smudged.


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Monito
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May 16, 2011 11:01 |  #9

A filter damages every shot.

A lens hood helps every shot.

I haven't put a UV filter on any of my lenses including the L and near L glass in years.


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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 11:02 |  #10

Monito wrote in post #12419350 (external link)
A filter damages every shot.

A lens hood helps every shot.

I haven't put a UV filter on any of my lenses including the L and near L glass in years.

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?


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artyman
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May 16, 2011 11:05 |  #11

Better without filters, but have one in case of a particularly dusty or hazardous environment. To clean I usually huff and wipe with a clean shirt tail :D


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TaDa
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May 16, 2011 11:05 |  #12

How are you altering the front element? The front element is tougher than most folks believe, and as long as you're careful, you will not scratch the element.


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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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 11:06 |  #13

TaDa wrote in post #12419373 (external link)
How are you altering the front element? The front element is tougher than most folks believe, and as long as you're careful, you will not scratch the element.

yep you're right, that's why I won't take the risk because I'm a noob. Maybe later when I have a job then I'll take them suckers off (:


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TaDa
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May 16, 2011 11:08 |  #14

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)


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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watduzhkstand4
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May 16, 2011 11:11 |  #15

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)

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.


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How likely am I to scratch lens by cleaning it?
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