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cleaning Pentax lenses

George Burkes , Mar 23, 2004; 04:08 p.m.

Hello, I was wondering what folks like to use to clean their lenses. I am concerned about using fluid on the SMC lenses and thought I would post a query about techniques that other people like to use. thanks, George

Responses

Bill Cornett , Mar 23, 2004; 09:31 p.m.

George-- Pentax markets a brand of cleaning fluid for their lenses, or at least they used to several years ago. I still have a bottle in my cabinet. However, any optical cleaning fluid made for coated camera lenses should have no abnormally bad effect on SMC coatings.

I know that this is sacreligeous to say, but the coatings on Pentax lenses nowadays aren't much different from the ones on most other camera lenses. In fact, they are probably licensing the same processes that Pentax is.

Just make sure that you apply the fluid on the cleaning paper and then apply the paper to the lens. Don't put drops of fluid directly on the lens itself. The fluid is part solvent, and if it seeps down into the edges of the lens it could loosen the adhesive used to keep the front retaining ring from coming off, as well as make a hash of the guts of modern electronically capable lenses. -Bill C.

V. 'ESCU , Mar 23, 2004; 11:39 p.m.

I’ve made apart several lenses of very different brands, and cleaned them piece by piece. And found that the simplest solutions are far better than the special promoted ones, and at least as safer, just much cheaper. To put the lenses apart I oil them at any screw joint with extra-fine sewing machine oil and leave them 24 hours. Next day they come apart very easy. Once disassembled I wash them with dishwasher cleaner, which is the safest and most efficient possible, even in washing 50 years old lenses presenting haze from evaporated oil condensed on the glass. I never use solvents: you don’t know which to trust. Dishwasher cleaner is just perfect. Metal parts, I drop them in 70% USP isopropyl alcohol. I tried the isopropyl on one glass-lens too and worked. Still I avoid it for any other lenses: don’t trust it at 100%. On glass I always use the $1 spray cleaner for glasses, which works just perfect. As for other substances, it is imperative to avoid any window cleaner as these are made with ammoniac and might damage the coating. I also avoid methanol, as it behaves like a painting solvent. And finally I avoid ethanol, not because it would damage the coating (it never will), but because it leaves cleaning traces on the glass. As for fabrics, I always use cotton puffs, as I don’t trust microfiber or special cleaning paper (tried them and stain, as not so absorbent as the cotton is). Anyway, the paper, might be a special made one to use with optics, as long it is dry it might scratch the glass. Paper is to be used only wet, never dry (so you cannot dry the lens with it). When cleaning just the front or the back element of a lens I always use the $1 glasses cleaner, but never spray directly on the lens. I spray on a cotton puff, clean the lens, and dry it with another cotton puff. Never got a single scratch on my lenses. You might flash through them or look to the glass surface with a magnifier: you won’t see a single scratch.

Mike Hess , Mar 24, 2004; 01:03 a.m.

I have used a Pentax brand cleaning cloth on all of my lenses. If the cloth is good enough to have Pentax on it, it is good enough to clean the lens. I have never used fluid on them. Care in handling will keep any major cleaning from needing to be had. The lens I use the most, including in rain is my FA* 24mm f2. I don't know how many times I have cleaned it with this dry cloth, with no scratches or spots or cleaning rings. I don't like to use the tissues, much to harsh. Go out and get a Pentax cloth. I got mine from a Pentax dealer. Best 10 bucks I ever spent.

Gallagher Richard , Mar 24, 2004; 01:23 p.m.

Never touch your lens, we are talkin charater here.

RJAYG

George Burkes , Mar 29, 2004; 12:26 p.m.

Thank you all for your contributions, I appreciate it.

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