How to clean a camera lens

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Version 2 (video may not show):

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Version 4 (whole camera approach, video cameras)

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Comments

  1. #1 John
    June 12, 2011

    The video you have requested is not available.

  2. #2 Hal
    June 12, 2011

    Using alcohol on a coated lens? A good way to mess up a lens.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    June 12, 2011

    There is indeed controversy regarding the use of alcohol. http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000lqh

  4. Video 3 is wider than the visible area of this blog, hiding even the play␣this␣on␣youtube button, fortunately chrome has rightclick→copy␣link␣address.

    (2) has the best music, (3) is the scariest method (I would not even put sticky tape onto the lens of my cheap Z3).

    Before starting, one should wash the hands to avoid smearing ones skin oils onto the lens.

    One should be careful when buying isoprop: Until recently, it was sold as a mild, skin-friendly desinfectant, und this usage is now outlawed in Germany (and possibly elsewhere) because it is too mild (i.e. does not kill all germs), which in turn caused it to disappear from most shops. As a replacement, one often finds solutions of solid germ-killing substances in 70% isoprop, and the solids will remain as residues on the lens (i.e. the same problem as with denatured ethanol).

    I did not try methanol – it is more polar, so it should be friendlier to plastics (this is not a problem by itself, but dissolved substances from the plastic parts might end up on the lens), but it might attack anorganic coatings on the lens itself – does anybody know something about this?

    When washing lens cleaning cloth: Don’t use normal laundry detergents, and fabric softener is even worse (both will leave residues behind in the cloth). Water and sodium carbonate are sufficient – there are no major amounts of dirt to be washed out, and a lens cleaning cloth doesn’t need to smell like perfume or to glide gently along your skin anyway.

  5. #5 Doug
    June 14, 2011

    #1 is the way I’ve always used and I’ve never damaged a lens. I would never use alcohol on a coated lens. #2 is far too anal – it’s necessary to clean lenses in the filed often enough. #3 is just plain scary – rubbing little grains of dust into your $1000 lens plus likely leaving minute traces of stickiness on the lens to attract even more dust – no thank you.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    June 14, 2011

    There’s a lot of good advice building up here. Maybe this blog needs to make a new video. All I need is a dirty lens….

  7. #7 energy balance
    June 14, 2011

    is the way I’ve always used and I’ve never damaged a lens. I would never use alcohol on a coated lens. #2 is far too anal – it’s necessary to clean lenses in the filed often enough. #3 is just plain scary – rubbing little grains of dust into your $1000 lens plus likely leaving minute traces of stickiness on the lens to attract even more dust – no thank you.

  8. #8 Prof. Erkan Umut
    July 8, 2011

    YOU CAN USE ALCOHOL ON CAMERA LENS!
    Best lens cleaners like rosco, etc. for pro use contain Ethanol (Ethyl Alcohol), or Isopropanol (Isopropyl alcohol)!
    The most people say No No No for alcohol, because they don’t know anything about solvents…

  9. #9 Robert Bruce Thompson
    July 8, 2011

    We Real Men use collodion. Pour it on, let it set, peel it off. It takes everything with it, and it won’t harm coatings. Owners of high-end telescopes have been using it since the 19th century. If your telescope has a $1,000 (or $10,000) objective lens or mirror, you *really* don’t want to touch it with anything.

    You used to be able to buy the stuff in drugstores as “Nu-Skin” or something like that. Kind of a liquid Band-Aid. Nowadays, I just make it up myself by dissolving nitrocellulose in a mixture of ethanol and diethyl ether.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    July 8, 2011

    Huh. I clean my eyeballs with that stuff!

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