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Safe way to clean my lens

Will King , Mar 07, 2006; 08:29 a.m.

I was taking a closeup shot of my 2 and a half year old son with my Canon 10-22mm lens and he got his finger on it. Is there a safe way to clean lenses? Any cleaning kits reccomended? Is a wet solution safe? Thanks.


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William Kahn , Mar 07, 2006; 08:43 a.m.

Well, not having any young kids, I usually don't have to worry about fingerprints :-). I'd keep an old, clean, almost lint-free T-shirt handy, breathe on the lens and wipe gently. use a bulb blower to remove whatever's left. I definitely do not recommend using any kind of lens cleaning fluid or tissue, which could damage the coating. Except, maybe, for a glob of peanut butter......

Jos van Eekelen , Mar 07, 2006; 08:59 a.m.

isopropylalcohol can be used for cleaning lenses. Lens coatings are not particularly fragile. Just be careful with grains of sand that may be present. To avoid risks I try to only use special lens tissues. Breathe on the lens and clean it, or if needed, a drop of lens cleaning fluid on the tissue followed by cleaning the lens. OTOH I have good experiences with a lenspen as well.

Scott Matchunis , Mar 07, 2006; 09:01 a.m.

Since many filters and lenses are multicoated, the absolute easiest way is with a Lens Pen.

Otherwise, you can often get it clean with a microfiber cloth.

If you need to wet clean it, there are a variety of solutions available for lenses and filters but I find they just smear things more than clean them. Just don't use any household cleaners.

Will King , Mar 07, 2006; 09:28 a.m.

Will a "Lens Pen" be able to lift up and off any oils left by finger prints?

Conrad Erb - Philadelphia, PA , Mar 07, 2006; 09:30 a.m.

I would avoid liquids as well. If you have a filter on the lens, then you can use anything and not threaten the lens. If you dont' have a filter on the lens, then clean the lens per above suggestions, and then:

Buy UV filter for lens.

Put filter on the camera.

Do not remove filter until 2016 - when child is 12+ years old.

Paul - , Mar 07, 2006; 09:41 a.m.

If you try alcohol, avoid common rubbing alcohol. It often has additives that smear things around and leave residue.

Dave Nelson - Atlanta, GA , Mar 07, 2006; 09:49 a.m.

My thinking is to not touch the actual lens surfaces unless absolutely necessary, which means using a high quality UV filter on the front of the lens. I only remove my "Haze" filter when taking long exposures.

Instead of re-using the same cloth again and again I prefer lens tissues and a professional lens cleaner. The different brands of tissue and cleaner do not mean much to me, I buy whatever seems to be reasonably priced. And I use an air compressor, wih a tank and two filters, to blow any loose particles off before using a tissue.

Scratching up a $60 filter hurts, but not nearly as much as scratching up a $1500 lens.

Peter Meade , Mar 07, 2006; 11:43 a.m.

Hello Will, I would go with the microfibre and breath method. If there is stuff that doesn't come off, go with the isopropyl alcohol; IPA is a lot more forgiving than most other solvents.

I think the uv filter is not a bad idea, if your camera and son are going to be in close proximity for any amount of time (like the next 20 years! ! !). He's a nice looking boy.

Hope this helps.


Bob Atkins , Mar 07, 2006; 12:54 p.m.

A microfiber cloth is the first line of defense. They are quite remarkable in their ability to remove grease spots without the need for solvents.

If you need a solvent either a commercial lens cleaning product or pure alcohol (methanol, ethanol or isopropanol) are good (though note that methanol is toxic).

See http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/tutorials/lens_filter_cleaning.html

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