Simple Lens Cleaning

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I have been getting this recurring purple spot in the center of color shots taken with my Leica and a 28mm lens. Problem solving has shown that it is the lens and not the camera body, as it follows the lens from body to body. A friend who was a photojournalist took one look at the images and said, "Dirty lens or filter" - meaning that the crud on either or both was creating a reflective surface that was showing up in the image as an area of reduced contrast, which in turn read as a lavendar hue.

So I do not clean lenses unless absolutely necessary, keeping a UV or optical glass filter on each lens almost from the second I remove them from the box, figuring that it is better to clean (and perhaps scratch) a filter than to mess around with the lens surface. I have used this stuff from B&H called Optyl-7, a water-soluble cleaner that is supposedly made for coated lenses. But now that I think about it, it does sometime leave a residue that can be difficult to remove from my eyeglasses, which are also coated. Sure enough the filter held at an angle looks a bit bleary. I have Pec-12 but do not use that as once I mistakenly grabbed it and used it on an old coated lens, then watched as the coating disappeared before my eyes.

So this is perhaps a stupid question, but what cleaner do you use? And what manner of application/removal?

Or do you just toss filters altogether and shoot nekkid and brave?

PEC-12 shouldn't hurt a modern coating (they're now vacuum vapor deposited and completely impervious to water and most other chemicals).  However, for a filter, which you can easily replace, I'd be very tempted to wash under a warm tap with dish detergent (like Dawn), rubbing *very* gently with only your wet, soapy fingertips.  That's what I use on my AR coated reading glasses when they're too grimy (say, from cooking grease spatters) to just clean with the microfiber faux chamois Costco gave me with the glasses; Dawn, at least, never leaves a film (rinse with water, of course, then dry with a soft, grit-free, lint-free tissue like lens tissue) and does a *super* job removing oils and other junk.  I wouldn't use this method on an assembled lens (water can seep past an element into an area where it can take forever to dry *and* leave mineral deposits), but on a filter, it's the cat's pajamas.

Jorn, I have used Kodak lens cleaner (Cat 176 7136) and Kodak lens paper for decades and never had problems scratching or making rub marks on any lenses, coated or uncoated

The instruction on plastic cleaner bottle reads:

Directions: "Brush  lens surface gently to remove  dust or grit. Moisten cleaning  paper or soft linen cloth with cleaner. Rub surface gently. Dry with cleanibg paper or cloth."

Sometime in the latter half of the 1900s I read a tip and used it ever since:
Roll a portion of the length of a sheet of lens cleaning paper into a tight cylinder; tear it in half and use the frayed middle ends as the contact surface to touch the lens, both in moistened and dry state.  Move it over the lens surface while turning it in tight circles.

Hope this helps.

Alan Gage:
The only time I use filters is occasionally screwing on a polarizer. If I ever find the lenses need cleaning usually a little fog from my breath and a lens cloth do the trick. Any more then that and I put a little windex on a soft cloth and use that to wipe it clean.


Glenn Thoreson:
I use a little Windex on a fresh, clean cotton ball. Dry the surface with another one. As Les said, it's very important to use a soft brush to remove any paticles prior to cleaning. Particles is what makes scratches, all else being proper.
Never apply the liquid directly to the lens. I'm so "conservative" I save the cotton from my pill bottles for this stuff.


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