Cleaning Smudges on Lenses : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

What is the approved or recommended method of removing the occasional smudge off of a large format lens surface.

I have heard of rubbing alcohol, (a local shop recommended it), but would rather not rub the lens surface with anything if possible.

What works ?


-- Michael Kadillak (, July 05, 1999


If the smudge is minor, I merely breathe on the glass and use Kodak lens tissues to gently wipe it until I can no longer see any smudge. This way, it's only water vapor,assuming you haven't been drinking. :-)

-- James Chow (, July 05, 1999.

The very best method I know is Opti-clean, which involves dabbing a fluid on the glass, letting it dry and peeling it off. It's quite quick once you have got the hang of it. The lens comes up looking like new. It's not cheap.

-- Alan Gibson (, July 06, 1999.

Opticlean has a website: It works beautifully, but is overkill for a smudge. Once I've dusted off any grit, I use a clean, soft cotton or microfiber cloth and breath on the lens. When your condensed breath clears from the lens surface so fast that you've no time to rub, you're done.

-- Struan Gray (, July 06, 1999.

The first rule is "do no harm". Better to leave some dirt on the lens than to make a permanent scratch. Get the dust off before doing any rubbing. I like Staticmaster brushes for this--hold the radioactive cartridge over the lens surface, then lightly flick the dust off with the brush. Kinetronics brushes also work. Compressed air can be used--its more effective after using the Staticmaster radioactive cartridge to discharge the static electricity.

For a light smudge, breath on the lens and wipe gently with lens tissue. Pec Pads are good. Kodak lens tissue is more commonly available. For a heavier smudge, use lens cleaning fluid.

Don't worry about getting the lens perfect. Slight smudges won't make any difference to your photos and too much cleaning might damage the lens. You do need to remove finger prints, because they might etch some lens surfaces.

-- Michael Briggs (, July 07, 1999.

Many thanks to all for taking the time to respond to my question.

I received the following web page on the subject from the nice folks at Schneider and I wanted to provide it for the readers.

Check it out.

-- Michael Kadillak (, July 12, 1999.

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