lens dust and cleaning

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hi folks---

thanks for all your helpful comments here and emails. It seems that dust is quite common inside lenses (especially older ones). my 50/1.7 was especially FULL of what appeared to be dust. someone informed me that since it was sitting in the attic for years, that this was probably the cause. so, i recently swapped the 50/1.7 for a 50/1.4 which is quite clean.

can anyone offer advice on how to clean these lenses (my collection = 28/1.8, 40/1.8, 50/1.4, 135/3.2). i have adhered to the advice i found elsewhere about NOT cleaning constantly everytime you see a little spec. i keep UV protectors on and always cap both front and back of the lens and i am anal about putting them away, etc...

i cleaned all the lenses when i originally got them a couple months ago by dusting with brush, then blowing a little compressed air, then cleaning with some cheapo lens solution and a microfiber cloth. (no lens tissue, i have been advised, because the fibers can get into the lenses). i do this on front and back elements.

then for regular, weekly, maintenance, i just clean off the UV with a microfiber cloth.

i would welcome to hear others "cleaning regimines" (when? and how?).

couple other questions:

do you recommend the UV protectors or skylight filters? or are they simply a waste? AND is it okay to throw a filter on TOP of the UV (like an 81A warming or a polarizer?) or should one take off the UV first?

sorry for the rambling questions....

thanks, paul.

-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000


A Dirty Story


Good concerns, and they're probably as many answers as there are people.

I don't "scrub" lenses or filters hardly at all, certainly not regularly. When there's a need (fingerprint or, more often, "haze")I'll first remove abrasive dust particles by lens brush and the "dustoff" spray. Then a few drops of Kodak lens cleaner on a clean micro-fibre cloth (washed regularly and stored in a ziploc bag) does the trick. Usually just the dustoff will do..

I keep a UV or 1A or haze filter (no matter which) on each lens for protection, both in storage and in the field. More important is probably keepiong the rear cap in place.

I don't like to shoot through TWO filters unless it's for a desired effect.

These techniques have served me well in worldwide travels, including many backpacking and mountaineering trips, and most recently while shooting at the rock quarry I manage. www.daltonrock.com

Finally, I try to avoid subjecting my equipment to extremes of temperature. My theory is that extreme temperature fluctuations can cause the air inside a lens to "pump" in and out, possibly introducing dust particles, or causing inside anti-reflective coatings to flake off.

Camera optics certainly aren't sealed up like riflescopes are, and scopes are known to leak...


-- Anonymous, February 15, 2000

Lens Cleaner

A little recommendation...I have used Kodak lens cleaner for many years, but I found some Zeiss cleaner at Wolf Camera recently and couldn't resist it. I had an old filter with gorp on it that had resisted my previous efforts at cleaning...the Zeiss stuff with a microfiber cloth made short work of it. I put a fingerprint on my Leica Mini recently and the Zeiss handled it well. The price isn't excessive, I think it was $5 for a lifetime-supply size bottle. And it looks really cool with the Zeiss logo.

-- Anonymous, February 17, 2000

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