Lens cleaning

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul Westwell, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Hi all.

    Having recently purchased a Fuji S5000 I was telling someone how I clean my
    lens by breathing on it and wiping it with my hanky to which they responded
    with panic!

    Am I likely to do any harm, are their coatings really that delicate... is
    the damage already done?


    Paul Westwell, Sep 19, 2004
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  2. There are usually tiny bits of material on a hanky that can scratch the
    coating. The accumulated scratches will be worse than the dirt.
    Marvin Margoshes, Sep 19, 2004
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  3. Paul Westwell

    wayne Guest

    if the camera has the mount get a filter for it so you scratch the filter.
    I found the moist lens cleaners made for plastic eyeglass lenses seem to
    work pretty well. They look like wet naps!

    wayne, Sep 19, 2004
  4. Paul Westwell

    Bill Crocker Guest

    A clean hanky is perfect. They're soft cotton, and will do no harm. Your
    breath is just condensed moisture, and would not carry any contaminants.
    Take a shot of Jack Daniels, before breathing on the lens, for those really
    stubborn spots! :) You do have to be careful about rubbing the lens
    however, as particles on the lens could scratch it. They recommend you use
    a camels hair brush. Preferably from a camel that hasn't spent too much
    time in the desert.
    Bill Crocker
    Bill Crocker, Sep 19, 2004
  5. Years ago I was a photography student and had the time to use a proper lens
    kit....as a working photojournalist I don't have that time. I keep a
    protective skylight filter on all lenses and wipe them with my tee-shirt
    when necessary. I buy a new protective filter as necessary...about every
    year....and that is mostly from big scratches...not the little ones from
    cleaning. (I don't use a lens cap as too often I forget to take it off and
    miss the first and usually best shot.
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 19, 2004
  6. How often do you clean your lens??? It should need cleaning only
    rarely. Few lenses are ever damaged. Lenses and not as sensitive as they
    were many years ago. However I am going to guess that more lenses are
    damaged by cleaning than by anything else. Almost all of that cleaning is
    excessive cleaning.
    Given a clean hanky, not one that has been in your pocket with loose
    change and who knows what for three weeks is fine.

    The safest leaning would be a puff of clean dry air, as from a clean ear
    syringe. Next would be a clean camel hair brush. Your method is good (a
    true lens cleaning tissue, used once and discarded would be better) for
    smudges etc that will not come off with the air or brush. In any case,
    don't clean unless it is really needed.

    I don't subscribe to the "protective filter" thing many people and
    almost all camera salespeople try to say is necessary but decide for
    No, no lens made today uses the kind of soft glass and coatings that
    started all this fear. I might add that even back in the old days, the
    "damage" did not really do much real damage. It is mostly worry and not
    Not likely.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 19, 2004
  7. Forget the hanky and buy yourself a microfibre lens cleaning cloth. A
    perfectly clean hanky won't do much damage, but if it's in your pocket
    collecting grit it may do. No, the real advantage of the microfibre
    cloths is that they absorb oil (e.g. from sweaty fingerprints - and by
    definition all fingerprints are sweaty) much better than cotton fibres.
    They are not that expensive, can be washed when soiled, and last a long

    Don't clean your lens unless it really needs it.

    Breathing is fine, I have done it myself for 30 years and never
    experienced any problem. It helps to emulsify oily marks and get them
    absorbed in the cloth. Avoid spitting on the lens though - wipe your
    lips before breathing on it..
    David Littlewood, Sep 19, 2004
  8. Spitting can be real bad if you are eating something gritty!
    Gene Palmiter, Sep 20, 2004
  9. Gotta agree with you on this one. But they sell a lot of filters that
    Randall Ainsworth, Sep 20, 2004
  10. Some did when I was in the business. Lucky for me I did not have a boss
    that believed in that kind of customer treatment even though we often made
    much more from the sale of accessories than the camera.
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 20, 2004
  11. Paul Westwell

    Frank ess Guest

    Even breathing can be dangerous in Los Angeles, Mexico City, and...
    Frank ess, Sep 20, 2004
  12. I suggest you temper that statement with something about where. All
    most every consumer type camera that I see (friends and relatives) has
    a lens covered with finger prints as a minimum and sometimes splotches
    of other stuff. Drive along the Pacific (within 1/2 mile) and watch
    the crud build up on the lens. Heck it builds up noticibly on the
    side view mirrors and the windshield. A minimum cleaning every 2 days
    is need and often more than once per day. I haven't cleaned my
    digital camera lens since I bought it about 2 weeks ago, but then I'm
    where the humidity is normally less than 35 percent and very careful.
    Yeah, and what glass or coating has the hardness of quartz, the most
    common component of sand?
    George E. Cawthon, Sep 20, 2004
  13. Umm. I'll bet that besides trying to keep dirt away from your lenses,
    that you clean then as often as need to be immaculately clean. Most
    professionals are pretty finicky.

    The most important point that no one has made yet is that if you do
    brush the lens, turn the camera toward the ground so that the
    brushed-off stuff falls away from the lens. Same for just blowing on
    the lens, hold it above you so that any blown off stuff falls away and
    yes, for pete's sake blow the spit out of your mouth before blowing on
    the lens.
    George E. Cawthon, Sep 20, 2004
  14. Paul Westwell

    stan Guest

    Yes. Follow the directions in the manual that came with the
    camera to clean the lens.
    stan, Sep 20, 2004
  15. Paul Westwell

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Joseph Meehan wrote:

    Lens pen..

    Keep a blower to remove loose dust and a lens pen to wipe
    of the inevitable fingerprint that crops up from time to time.

    Lens pens are approved by Nikon and Kodak. They even sell
    their own brand.


    You can buy third party (non-Nikon, non-Kodak) lens pens for quite a
    bit less. I wouldn't be without one in my camera bag.
    Jim Townsend, Sep 20, 2004
  16. Paul Westwell

    Jer Guest

    George E. Cawthon wrote:


    Sometime several times a day, depending on the relevant exposure to
    doggy snot. :)

    Jer, Sep 20, 2004
  17. Yes, I take care to avoid them getting dirty, make sure they are clean,
    but only clean them when necessary. Usually once per week suffices when
    in active use. I don't clean them just because of a few tiny specks of
    Good point.
    David Littlewood, Sep 20, 2004
  18. Paul Westwell

    Nostrobino Guest


    My dog was never that interested in my camera lenses, but he sure used to
    get a lot of nose juice on the windshield. :)

    Nostrobino, Sep 20, 2004
  19. Paul Westwell

    Nostrobino Guest

    [ . . . ]
    Fully agree. I think every time I ever bought a lens the salesman would ask,
    "Wanna filter to protect the lens?" as though that were the purpose of a
    filter. I have never used a filter "to protect the lens" and in 50+ years
    have never damaged a lens surface yet. A friend of mine kept a Skylight 1A
    on the lens of his rangefnder 35 to "protect" it; over time it got stuck so
    fast it could not be removed by any ordinary means--and by that time a lot
    of dust had worked its way inside. Some "protection."

    Nostrobino, Sep 20, 2004
  20. Paul Westwell

    Nostrobino Guest

    I think lens coatings are pretty hard and not that delicate. I clean my
    lenses by breathing on them and then wiping them too, but I use lens tissue
    or microfiber (if handy) or facial tissue (otherwise), wipe very gently, and
    do this only when it really seems necessary. For me that isn't very
    often--generally speaking I believe too little cleaning is better than too

    Nostrobino, Sep 20, 2004
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