Lens cleaning fluid. - help

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Epoch, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Epoch

    Epoch Guest

    Can anyone in the UK point me to a readily available lens cleaning fluid?

    I've been using Eclipse, but have run out and it's only available from a
    couple of on-line stores in the UK - which means waiting until at least next
    Tuesday for delivery, and that only if I pay about £7 for overnight

    I've tried some stuff that claimed to be lens fluid - which turned out to be
    greasy water with the evaporative qualities of concrete!.

    What I need is a high grade alcohol type fluid that will evaporate cleanly
    and leave no residue. The trouble is that in Nanny UK it now seems
    impossible to get hold of anything suitable, lest you sniff it, or drink it,
    or give it to the cat, or some other bizarre use.

    Any easily available solution would be greatly appreciated.
    Epoch, Sep 15, 2006
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  2. Epoch

    Bob Salomon Guest

    Giottos has an excellent lens cleaning fluid in their lens cleaning kits.
    Bob Salomon, Sep 15, 2006
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  3. Epoch

    ASAAR Guest

    How about a cocktail made from the highest proof vodka you can
    find, with or without an added dash of PhotoFlow solution?
    ASAAR, Sep 15, 2006
  4. Epoch

    frederick Guest

    Pure isopropyl alcohol from a pharmacist.
    Slower evaporating than Eclipse (methanol).
    frederick, Sep 15, 2006
  5. Epoch

    Epoch Guest

    Thanks to all who replied (even the comedian)

    One question - will a pharmacy actually sell me the stuff? - I mean, you
    can't even buy more than 24 paracetamol tablets these days - just in case
    you're thinking of trying escaping from the misery of New Britain - can't
    even buy wood glue, for that matter, unless the store manager decides that
    you're not going to inhale the stuff! What a nasty little country this has
    Epoch, Sep 16, 2006
  6. Epoch

    frederick Guest

    Methanol might be more difficult to obtain than Isopropynol - one reason
    being that it is very poisonous. Isopropyl alcohol is used in alcohol
    swabs and is easily obtained at "100%" grade in small bottles (~100ml)
    in this country (NZ). I use it to clean my dslr filter. For larger
    containers, in this country (and probably others) you need to provide
    suitable ID and details on intended use for recording in a police
    database, as it can be used in illicit drug production.
    frederick, Sep 16, 2006
  7. Epoch

    Epoch Guest

    I need something urgently - later this morning when the stores open.

    Maplin (similar to Tandy) have Isopropyl alcohol, according to their
    website. How much slower is Isopropyl alcohol to evaporate, compared with
    Eclipse (which contains Methanol)? Does it leave any residue? - and is it
    safe for lens coatings?

    Epoch, Sep 16, 2006
  8. Epoch

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]
    I'm answering from the perspective of someone in the USA, so
    things may well be different where you are.

    Isopropanol *should* be readily available from a pharmacy, as it
    is often used for cleaning areas around wounds prior to applying
    bandages. Our local pharmacys (and the drugs section of the supermarket
    as well) offer 70% and 91%.

    Here -- to get pure *ethanol* (well -- something like 95%, as it
    tends to absorb water from the air) in *this* state (Virginia) you go to
    the Alcohol Control Board -- where you buy the various stronger
    alcoholic beverages (wine and beer you can get other places) and you can
    buy it -- with a rather stiff tax on it, because it is being sold there
    for consumption by humans.

    When I worked for the US Government, we kept some bottles around
    for lens cleaning purposes (we worked with night vision equipment,
    mostly), and we had to go through a major pain of record keeping for the
    bottles, with only one bottle open and available for use at a time. The
    rest had to be locked up.
    Glues and such have been under some level of control here for
    many years -- because of kids inhaling them, and some dying of liver
    damage or other things of the sort. Those glues have had additives
    tossed in to make them a bit less good as glues, but very unpleasant to
    inhale. IIRC, the control of the glues (at least model airplane cements
    and similar) started in the late 1950s. But -- if you are buying from
    an industrial supplier, you are presumed to be beyond the sniffing age.
    The restrictions are more likely to be enforced in a place which
    typically sells to kids, like model shops.

    Other solvents, such as carbon tetrachloride, have been pretty
    much unavailable except in chem labs, because of the number of people
    who have died while using it. For that matter, I had a rather nasty
    bout when I used it to clean the gates of two 16mm movie projectors at
    school. I was one of those allocated the job of projection for the

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Sep 16, 2006
  9. Epoch

    Epoch Guest

    About 10 years ago Tandy (now defunct in the UK) used to sell some wonderful
    stuff called 'Freon' (I think) I used it for cleaning tape heads and it was
    the best stuff ever! - it evaporated almost instantly, left no residue, and
    made a first class job of cleaning heads and rollers.

    Then, without warning, it was gone - withdrawn because of a European
    directive. I don't know what was in it, but I've never been able to find
    anything similar since. even Eclipse fluid isn't as good.

    Perhaps I could ask you my question about Isopropyl alcohol? - does it leave
    any residue?, and is it safe for lens coatings?

    Epoch, Sep 16, 2006
  10. Epoch

    frederick Guest

    It should be safe for all lens coatings etc.
    Another poster mentioned lower purity grades. Pure Isopropyl alcohol
    leaves no residue. Of course nothing is 100% pure, but the grade sold
    as 100% here (NZ) is no problem. I suggest to avoid lower purity grades.
    It is slower evaporating than methanol for sure - but fast enough not to
    be a problem. Usually when cleaning a dslr filter, the absolute minimum
    is used - one or two drops on an entire pec-pad. As you wipe the pad
    across, you can see the trace of alcohol on the surface behind. From my
    experience the trick is to move the pad at a speed where you can just
    see the last traces of alcohol evaporating from the glass a mm or two
    behind the pad. Streaking etc is from redepositing stuff removed from
    the lens surface, and particularly any trace of oils from your skin, or
    trace of any contaminants on a surface that the pad has been in contact
    I have used the same technique for cleaning dslr low pass filters for
    cleaning internal elements on disassembled lenses, and it is excellent.
    Work with very good light on the lens - ideally with a black
    background so that any tiny smear or speck can be seen. Never touch any
    part of the pad with your fingers, or allow the pad to touch a surface
    that is not spotless. Clean and dry your hands, as well as any
    equipment (tweezers/wands etc) thoroughly before you start.
    frederick, Sep 16, 2006
  11. Epoch

    frederick Guest

    Freon is IIRC a Dupont trade name for their CFCs, including
    refrigerants. Unfortunately, it was destroying the Ozone layer.
    Damn shame - I've never had car air conditioning that worked as well as
    the ones I had in the 80's.
    frederick, Sep 16, 2006
  12. Epoch

    eds Guest

    Do you wear glasses? Use the stuff that optometrists sell for cleaning. They
    also have lintless papers. Most glasses are optical plastic and much less
    tough than camera lenses.
    eds, Sep 16, 2006
  13. Probably Freon TF. It was not flammable like petroleum-based solvents,
    and not toxic to people. I remember computer service people buying it
    in gallow jugs.
    It turned out to be one of the CFCs most harmful to ozone. So it went
    I get pure isopropyl from an electronics supplier (Active Electronics).
    It evaporates without residue. I have also gotten stuff that is
    supposed to be pure isopropyl from a pharmacy, though I haven't tried
    the evaporation test on it.

    Isopropyl is one of the first things I try (after mild detergent and
    water) for cleaning things - it seems to be less agressive than either
    methanol or ethanol on plastics, for example. I have used it on lenses,
    to remove blobs that regular water-based lens cleaner would not.

    Dave Martindale, Sep 16, 2006
  14. Epoch

    Epoch Guest

    Yes, I remember Tandy saying something about that when I asked where my
    Freon had disappeared to.

    Not many UK cars had air-con in the 80's Most do now - probably because of
    all the damage done by Freon ;)

    so many substances are getting banned now - brake pads don't last because
    asbestos has vanished, and the new compounds seem to wear the brake discs
    (rotors) remarkably quickly - or maybe they're just using softer metal
    because some ingredient for the steel is now on the verboten list.

    I don't know what things are like in New Zealand, but the UK is in the grip
    of safety mania! - it's now illegal for household electrical work to be
    carried out by anyone who is not 'competent' (read 'Registered Tradesman'),
    Gas has had the same restrictions for some years, smokers are near to being
    lynched by roving teams of Government Health Inspectors, various products
    are now starting to come with the sort of warnings that, until now, have
    been the stuff of urban legends ('Never Operate Your New Flymo While Taking
    A Shower', that sort of stuff!) and every supplier or retailer of goods and
    services is in a state of near panic, and constantly thinking ten steps
    ahead to try and determine whether their actions are going to land them in
    civil litigation!

    It's awful, really - one suspects that it's all part of a sinister plan to
    reduce the population to an infantile state of utter dependency , prior to a
    totalitarian coupe. If so, it's succeeding brilliantly - the nation that
    carved out the greatest empire the world has ever seen, that endured the
    agony of the Somme trenches without a Grief Councilor to bless themselves
    with, and who stood firm while the Nazi's bombed cities to rubble, are now
    too nervous to switch on an electric light bulb without consulting
    appropriate instructions first.

    If I win the lottery, I'm on the first available boat to somewhere sane , no
    doubt about it!
    Epoch, Sep 16, 2006
  15. Epoch

    Rob Guest

    Yes, I was going to give that idea.

    Lencrafters have some wipes that are packaged one wipe at the time. It
    can be used on Anti-reflective coatings.

    What ever you use, make sure it is meant for AR coating. Stuff does not
    smear much at all, and lenses get pretty clean.

    Hope it helps,

    Rob, Sep 16, 2006
  16. Epoch

    Bob Williams Guest

    Did you try breathing on it and letting moisture from your warm breath
    condense on the lens? This produces pure water.
    Then wipe it off with a piece of microfiber cloth.
    That combination is super safe and will remove even "oily" smudges.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Sep 16, 2006
  17. Epoch

    frederick Guest

    Things are the same in NZ now for sure.
    There's few sane places left to go in the world.

    The only way we can still escape fairly well for a few days at a time is
    on our small yacht.
    Sadly, and always "justified" by the irresponsible actions of a few,
    there is always talk of new regulations for this.
    At the moment you don't need a certificate to say that the navigation
    lights work - if they don't, then you get run over by a big ship at
    night and if you are lucky enough not to drown, you are left with a big
    fine from the authorities and a boat at the bottom of the sea. You
    don't need a registered gas fitter to connect up the cooker. If you use
    gas and connect things badly, then perhaps you will get blown 100 metres
    in the air one day. These things do happen, and after the
    investigation, there are calls to regulate. As things are going, one
    day the calls will be stronger, and there will be too few left to resist.
    frederick, Sep 16, 2006
  18. Epoch

    Mike Coon Guest

    I'm amazed, because I had read (I have a subscription to a yachtie magazine)
    that NZ were one of the most stringent and wouldn't even let you get your
    feet wet without meeting their list of working safety gear on the yacht.

    Mike Coon, Sep 16, 2006
  19. Epoch

    David Kelson Guest

    Fast Drying
    We use it on the movie set for all things optical.
    Best regards, David
    David Kelson, Sep 16, 2006
  20. Epoch

    David Kelson Guest

    Fast Drying
    We use it on the movie set for all things optical.
    Best regards, David
    David Kelson, Sep 16, 2006
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