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scratched my lens....now what shall I do.......

Rahul Madhu , Aug 08, 2005; 06:42 a.m.

a month back i got my new Panasonic DMC FZ5 . I had visited India during vacation, and after returnin back i decided to clean my lens. I took a tissue and gently wiped the lens but i felt something and when i checked my lens i found scratches on it.. what can i do now? can i get those scratches undone?


Robert Budding , Aug 08, 2005; 06:59 a.m.

Do the scratches affect your photos? If not, ignore them. And be more careful in the future (gently use a camel hair brush and a microfiber cloth). Perhaps a UV filter on the front will help - it's cheap and easy to replace.


Skip Douglas , Aug 08, 2005; 07:09 a.m.

What you have MIGHT not be scratches, but something deposited on the lens surface. Examine it very closely with a magnifier. Something could have rubbed on the lens and left a trail of ?????? on the glass. If so, you should be able to clean it off.

If the "scratches" turn out to be a deposit of something, you will probably need some sort of solvent to remove them. I would start with conventional lens fluid, then isopropyl alcohol, and if neither work then I would progress with other options.

Peter Blaise , Aug 08, 2005; 08:23 a.m.

scratched my lens....now what shall I do....... .

Don't worry about it.

If scratches in the surface of a lens, front or back, are deep enough to cause noticeable scattering of otherwise image-forming light, then simply fill the scratch with India ink and be done with it. That will prevent the scratched portion of the lens from participating in and competing with the image forming qualities of the rest of lens. The loss of total area of light transmission is probably so low as to not really affect the comparative efficiency of the lens. We're not interchanging lenses anyway on the fixed lens camera in question. Comparative efficiency between lenses only matters to cinematographers who need to keep scene brightness constant between scenes in a movie. That is NOT important to us as STILL photographers. And with TTL through the lens meters, our exposures will still be quite accurate anyway.

Try some India ink and let us know what happens.

Me? I LOVE scratched lenses when I see them on the used shelf since it lets me buy otherwise expensive lenses at tiny little prices. Apparently all us wimps out here have been conditioned to be afraid of a little scratch. Few people realize that the majority of scratches are cosmetic only. It is virtually impossible to find evidence of the scratch affecting any images formed through the lens! And if there is a softening of an image, a little India ink usually resolves the problem.

So, to all of us who dump scratched lenses and refuse to pay high prices for those used scratched lenses, thank$! ;-)

PS - I think they recommend cleaning lenses in 3 steps:

1 - blow off debris.

2 - brush off debris.

3 - apply fluid to a CLOTH (never to PAPER or to the lens) and then wipe the lens gently.

I HIGHLY recommend ONLY Sing-Ray's RayVu anti static cleaning fluid - see http://www.singh-ray.com/rayvu.html - which says:

===== quote =====

Singh-Ray offers a new solution for cleaning filters and lenses

RayVu is a new optical cleaning solution from Singh-Ray Filters that not only cleans filters, lenses, and optical surfaces, but also applies a crystal-clear coating to resist fogging, dust, and finger prints.

RayVu cleaner, in fact, does even more. Its extremely low haze factor tends to slightly increase light transmission and color saturation. Singh-Ray has relied on this same RayVu cleaning solution in its own laboratory for more than a decade.

Unlike certain space-age optical cleaning liquids, RayVu is totally safe and non-toxic as well as non-flammable. Although it is safe to clean almost all glass and plastic materials, including anti-reflective coatings and electronic circuit boards, do not use it on contact lenses.

RayVu Filter, Lens, and Optical Cleaner is now available directly from Singh-Ray Filters in 2-ounce spray bottles packaged along with an optical-grade microfiber cleaning cloth for $9.95 plus $4 shipping & handling (for domestic orders).

===== end quote =====

I spray it directl yon the lens surface in spite of the instructions - I like lots of fluid when cleaning a lens. Actually my lenses are clean before applying this "cleaner" as I consider this final step "polishing" not cleaning. I even use it on my computer monitor - after Windex! ;-)

Anyway, regarding lens scratches, all we can do is carefully inspect IMAGES to see if we find a softening due to the scratch. If we cannot see any softening, then the scratch does not matter. If we can see a softening, then fill the scratch with India ink and inspect subsequent images. If we still see softening, then either live with it or sell off the gear and hope to avoid such incidents in the future. Education sometimes cost something, eh? Sorry! But I also often only learn something after paying a great deal for my learning curve. We all probably have done so in our lifetimes, or will, sooner or later!


Love and hugs, Peter Blaise peterblaise@yahoo.com http://www.peterblaisephotography.com/

Conrad Hoffman , Aug 08, 2005; 08:35 a.m.

As Peter says, never use paper except for purpose made lens cleaning paper. This is soft open structure rag paper. It contains no chemicals, especially silicone, and does not crinkle like some of the rubbish on the market right now. Tissues and paper towels are the route to scratches. If you don't have the right materials, a freshly washed piece of cotton t-shirt is good, or cosmetic cotton balls. Use a rubber ear syringe to blow off any dust first, then use a bit of lens cleaner (or Windex) on the cotton ball, followed by fogging the lens with open mouth and finishing with a clean cotton ball. More lenses have been damaged by cleaning than any other cause. A bit of dust bothers nothing, and it's better to clean less and only when something like a fingerprint (that can etch the surface over time) has to be removed.

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