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Clean a Lens

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Whats the best way to clean a lens? Buy proper solution, or use the inside
of your shirt?

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David Littlewood
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In article <41236fb0$0$192$(E-Mail Removed)>, Craig
<(E-Mail Removed)> writes
>Whats the best way to clean a lens? Buy proper solution, or use the inside
>of your shirt?

Here's my view from 30 years of photography.

1 Don't unless you really must. I reckon a higher percentage of lenses
is ruined by inexpert cleaning than pictures spoiled for the user by
dirty lenses.

2 If it is just dusty, try just blowing off the dust. Use a blower brush
(a couple of /$ from a photo shop). Don't worry about every last tiny

3 If it really does need cleaning - sea spray, big fingerprint - then
cleaning method will depend on what it is. The first step should always
be to blow off any dust or grit - grinding dust into a lens with a
cleaning cloth is the fastest way to lower lens performance.

4 Then - if it is a fingerprint or other grease - clean gently with a
micro-fibre lens cleaning cloth. These are readily available at photo
shops, and often supplied with spectacles. They will absorb grease
instead of just smearing it around. They can be washed when soiled, but
keep grit off it! If the grease is stubborn, breath gently on it and
apply the cloth again as quickly as possible. This will help to emulsify
the fats in the mark and make it softer, thus easier to remove.

5 If it is salt spray, gently wash off the dried salt with a moist Q-tip
or the like. Then proceed as in 4. In an emergency (out on trip, no
Q-tips) I have adopted the unconventional procedure of removing the salt
crystals with my tongue. It's a very delicate and sensitive organ, and
unlikely to cause damage itself, but you should remove the saliva as in
4 promptly.

Above all, don't overdo it. There are ways of making lenses as clean as
when the manufacturer shipped them, but not by wiping or rubbing. When
you have got rid of the major part of the dirt, STOP, and if necessary
let an experienced person do the rest.

Prevention is better than cleaning. Always use a lens cap when not
taking or preparing to take photos. I generally prefer lens hoods to
filters as protection, but use a UV filter if I am near any sea-spray or
blowing sand. I find that with care my lenses only need cleaning once
for every one or two major trips.

David Littlewood
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Joseph Meehan
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Craig wrote:
> Whats the best way to clean a lens? Buy proper solution, or use the inside
> of your shirt?

Most of the time is it a puff of clean dry air.

If that does not handle it then a clean camel hair brush or a rolled up
and ripped lens tissue.

Final is lens cleaner and lens tissue.

I would guess more lenses and images have been damaged by too much
cleaning than too little.

When in doubt, just don't.

Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math

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