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Photography Question 
Kathleen Rinker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2007
 

Lens Cleaner


Can anyone recommend a lens cleaning solution that won't leave a residue on the lens. I went to my local camera store and bought a lens cleaning kit but the solution leaves a residue and spots on my lens.


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8/5/2007 4:23:31 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  It could be that you're not using the solution properly. The correct technique is to get rid of the big chunks of debris on the lens first with a blower or brush or can of air like DustOff. THEN apply a couple of drops of cleaner DIRECTLY to a few pieces of lens tissue and gently (and I mean GENTLY) wipe the lens from the center to the edges. (I prefer Olympus brand or Kimwipes techwipes from Kimberly Clark as other types I've found tend to leave lens tissue lint behind).

Depending on how moist you get the tissue, you may need to dry the lens with additional pieces to remove any residue and spots. Breathing on a lens helps give you a little extra moisture to do that but use caution with that technique as toxic garlic breath may adversely affect the coating.

The best lens cleaner I've ever used is called ROR or "Residual Oil Remover" made in Chicago and sold in small bottles by B&H in New York. Use it as I suggested above, but you need to buff the lens with clean tissue afterwards to get rid of residue. If you're leaving spots behind, check your application technique. That sounds like too much cleaner or misapplied.

Remember that you should never ever put lens cleaner directly on a lens as it may penetrate the seals and dampen the interior of the lens barrel. That may produce spots on the exterior glass surfaces or a culture medium essentially (if it does penetrate the barrel) for mold and mildew. These are bad things for lenses.

Some prefer using one of those lens cleaning cloths. Most of the other pros I've talked to are inclined to agree that those things harbor bits and pieces of debris or lint after awhile that can actually scratch lens surfaces. So, we stick with lens tissue.
Take it light. ;>)
Mark


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8/5/2007 9:53:51 AM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  I used to use ROR; however, last year I discovered a product called Eclipse that beats anything that I have ever used. It never leaves a residue and when used with the Pec Pads (same company makes both) it is so easy that anyone, with or without experience, should get excellent results. You use only a couple of drops on a pad and swipe the lens from side to side – do not go backwards, just one direction – and the lens will be very clean. BTW: Eclipse is actually medical grade methanol. I’ve been told that you can use denatured alcohol – which, supposedly is methanol – in place of Eclipse to save money; however, I have not tried this.

Irene


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8/5/2007 10:44:04 AM

 
Kathleen Rinker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2007
  Thanks Mark and Irene. I did use it on Kodak brand lens cleaning paper that is supposed to be lintless that came in the kit. The solution doesn't have a name it just says for use on all optical glass surfaces. You know the cheap stuff. Anyway I will try the ROR from B&H, I just love that store. Thanks again for answering so quickly.


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8/5/2007 11:06:17 AM

 
Alan N. Marcus   Best to use Everclear purchased from the liquor store. This is pure Ethel Alcohol (ethanol). Formula for a quality camera lens cleaner is 25% ethanol 75% distilled water. You can safely add two or three drops of liquid coconut oil soap per quart or liter (aides to clean and is the best possible anti-fog agent.). Any brand or vodka is ethanol mixed with 50% distilled water. It will work just fine as is or you can cut it adding distilled water. Formula is 75% vodka + 25% distilled water. You can’t buy a better lens cleaning solution.

Alan Marcus (dispenser of marginal technical advice)
ammarcus@earthlink.net


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8/5/2007 2:52:36 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I'd prefer Alan's lens cleaning solution with a twist of lemon...(shaken, not stirred) :)

Seriously though, I've only used commercially designed lens cleaning solutions sparingly...and only when a blower brush or compressed air first removed the heavy contaminants.
A circular motion is indeed recommended with a small amount of solution on the lens cleaning tissue...followed up lightly by the same motion with a dry tissue.


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8/5/2007 3:21:11 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Alan – thanks for reposing your “recipe” for lens cleaner. I know that you posted this once before, just a couple of weeks ago, but I could not find it with the search function and wanted to try your idea. Eclipse is, hands down, the best lens cleaner that I have used and I know a lot of pros swear by the stuff; but, it is not cheap and since ethanol will do the same thing…well, it is certainly worth a try.

Bob – I wish that I didn’t have to clean my lenses so often, but since I do a lot of my shooting in fairly dirty places, I end up cleaning nightly. I always use my rocket blower to remove surface particulate and then use the Eclipse fluid and the pec pad. Sometimes I think that I must be doing something wrong, since I know photographers who only have to clean their lenses once a week or less. But, if I don’t clean mine every night then my images the next day have little odd bits that are not part of the image!

Irene


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8/5/2007 4:44:04 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
 


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8/6/2007 4:41:59 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I think that Alan's solution is great with Bob's receipe. I'm gonna start consuming that first then I won't CARE about cleaning lenses. Why didn't I know this sooner? Thanks !!!! Can I make these with a little umbrella and a slice of lime ??
M.


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8/6/2007 8:55:15 AM

 
Kathleen Rinker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/3/2007
  Very funny Mark. Thanks all for your input.


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8/6/2007 9:30:36 AM

 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Mark,

Do you want that frozen or on the rocks?


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8/6/2007 10:07:42 AM

 
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