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Microfiber vs. tissue for lens cleaning?


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#1 Jonathan Fowler

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 08:57 PM

I've been using tissue to clean my lenses from the start, but was recently in a time-sensitive situation and had no choice but to buy a microfiber cloth. Any ideas on the pros and cons of either? Also, aside from the obvious care of keeping the cloth sealed and clean, how and how often should it be washed? Do I dedicate a sections of the cloth to 1-my oily fingers and 2-cleaning fluid. Or do I wash after every use (seems silly)? Or maybe I just throw it in the trash and go back to tissue? Any ideas appreaciated.
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#2 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 09:41 PM

I favor the tissue for cleaning the actual lens and/or filters, but I do use my microfiber for cleaning the eyepiece. This is because I know that the tissue will be clean/untouched when I rip it off the pad, whereas with my microfiber, I'm not sure if it will have picked up finger oils or debris from the last cleaning. I keep my rosco lens tissue pads in a zip loc bag in my pouch, the same with everything that comes in contact with the lens, like a camels hair brush...
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#3 Phil Savoie

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:41 PM

Howdy Jon,

I perfer lens tissue with good cleaner - like Pancro Mirror cleaner. As Patrick mentioned each new sheet of lens tissue is clean and free of any abrasive particles. Like you I have used microfibre in a pinch on glass but for a good cleaning session tissue and cleaner is the way to go.

As lens surfaces are delicate little dears you never want to clean with a dry lens tissue. First blow off dust particles with a blower, clean brush or indirectly aimed canned air. Wet the tissue and starting in the center slowly and lightly wipe the lens in a circular manner. The fact that the micro-fibre cloths hold the dust and dirt particles would make me shy away from using it as my primary cleaning method ? I worry that the trapped debris would scratch the coatings and or glass.

As different countries get tougher on environmental regulations lens coatings tend to get softer and will require good care to gently wipe front and rear elements. A few years ago the EU (European Union) enacted strict regulations on lead, manufacturers like Zeiss put significantly less lead or none in their multi-coatings, this resulted in the newly released Ultra Primes being very scratch and scuff prone due to the delicate multi-coatings.

The micro cloth is still useful to wipe down barrels, camera bits, etc., but best to stick with tissue and cleaner for your glass.
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#4 Paul Wizikowski

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 09:44 PM

I can second Phil's concern. I have had a microfiber cloth (which I keep sealed in my pouch on my belt) produce faint scratches on a lens. I was in a pinch, unable to moisten any tissue and just had to get the lens clean (it had inadvertenly been sprayed with water) and afterwards noticed the minor damage. My guess is even though the cloth was clean it trapped dirt in it and that got spread around. OUCH!

Edited by Paul Wizikowski, 16 June 2007 - 09:45 PM.

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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 12:39 PM

Always tissue and panchro fluid. I carry a cloth but that's never used on glass. I also carry a brush for bits of stubborn dust. It's actually a make-up brush I got from my girlfriend when she went to replace it. I washed it with soap and water to get it clean and it's the best lensbrush I've ever found.
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#6 Robert Glenn

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 11:37 PM

where do u get the pads from? Anything's got to be better than microfiber.. use it once and you get dust in it and I dont think you can exactly wash it out. I put some scratches in my front element because of that :( but they are few and very fine at least
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#7 Bill Totolo

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 08:17 AM

A good habit is to ball up your lens tissues before use in order to break any of the stiff fibers in the paper.
And only clean that lens when neccessary, the less the better.
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#8 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 10:33 AM

The DP from my last feature had a great method for using lens tissue: he recommended rolling 2-3 sheets cigarette-style and then ripping them in half so that the pulled fibers created a sort of disposable brush, which you would then apply fluid to. The idea is that there is no truly solid object in contact with the lens elements.

I was skeptical at first, expecting the fibers to break loose and find a new home on the lens, but to my surprise it worked great, and the torn tissues held their constitution.

I've also learned the hard way that microfibre cloths can cause tiny abrasions and such, but they make great handkerchiefs...
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#9 daria gupalo

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 09:03 PM

as a service tech (eeh.. don't kill me right away, i might have smth to say, maybe not that stupid and worth listening to :rolleyes: )
I've been cleaning hundreds of filters a day when i started.

From my POV (ONLY mine, no studies done and blah, blah, blah, so... no arguments welcome ;) - both lens tissue and cloth are not really good for the filter. Tissue doesn't really clean the filter that good and mostly is a bit too hard for the surface. Cloth - yeah, keep wiping with it, yeah, harder...

Imagine, there is dust on your filter... so with cloth or tissue you actually scratch the glass. Yeah, it is not seen right away, but it will wear off much faster. So if the filter belongs to YOU, which means you own a 500-700 dollar piece of glass with a gell in it... you better take a bit more time to clean it

In my experience, the best way to clan a filter - a lens cleaner and a kim-wipe. Spay on the filter, wipe it out with a new small kim-wipe right away and BE HAPPY both of you - the filter and you..

have i mentioned before it is just my opinion? ;)
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 02:03 AM

as a service tech (eeh.. don't kill me right away, i might have smth to say, maybe not that stupid and worth listening to :rolleyes: )
I've been cleaning hundreds of filters a day when i started.

From my POV (ONLY mine, no studies done and blah, blah, blah, so... no arguments welcome ;) - both lens tissue and cloth are not really good for the filter. Tissue doesn't really clean the filter that good and mostly is a bit too hard for the surface. Cloth - yeah, keep wiping with it, yeah, harder...

Imagine, there is dust on your filter... so with cloth or tissue you actually scratch the glass. Yeah, it is not seen right away, but it will wear off much faster. So if the filter belongs to YOU, which means you own a 500-700 dollar piece of glass with a gell in it... you better take a bit more time to clean it

In my experience, the best way to clan a filter - a lens cleaner and a kim-wipe. Spay on the filter, wipe it out with a new small kim-wipe right away and BE HAPPY both of you - the filter and you..

have i mentioned before it is just my opinion? ;)

This is good to know, thanks Daria. I've been wondering this for a while myself. I was taught to use Pancho and lens tissue as Rory mentioned above, but I've had my doubts about it after scratching a few filters that way. I'll start using kim-wipes now, and keep you service techs happy. :)
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#11 daria gupalo

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 09:25 AM

This is good to know, thanks Daria. I've been wondering this for a while myself. I was taught to use Pancho and lens tissue as Rory mentioned above, but I've had my doubts about it after scratching a few filters that way. I'll start using kim-wipes now, and keep you service techs happy. :)


Thanks for the trust.. just though i have smth else to add

:) just think of it this way ...

if you bought a new car, or have a old, but so dear to you.... would you ever try to wipe it with a dry, even though very soft cloth???? Any auto-body expert will kill you for that... so :) your precious filter is even more reluctant to be scratched

As for lens tissue instead of kim-wipe - just try both and you will see, that if you use lens tissue it not only scratches, but doesn't absorb good enough and there would be residue left on the filter
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#12 Daniel Smith

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 05:03 PM

I use microfibre over tissue anyday...
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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 08:45 PM

I use Rosco lens tissue, works great. I'll second the tearing and wiping with the torn side.

My method, which I learned from John Aliano here in SF is to fold the tissue twice, tear from the edge to the fold then fold again to bring the torn edge together. Then roll it up, apply a little cleaner fluid and with the softer torn edge, wipe the lens from the inside out.

Supposedly, wiping with the soft torn edge of the lens tissue is more delicate and preserves the lens coating. Although, I have experienced a loose fiber here and there, but they're nothing a quick blow won't fix.

If I'm doing some documentary style stuff, I'll carry a microfiber with me, sealed and in my pocket just in case I need to give the lens a quick wipe. But that's only if I'm shooting with a DVX100 or something where the lens isn't extra special.
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#14 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 02:24 AM

As for lens tissue instead of kim-wipe - just try both and you will see, that if you use lens tissue it not only scratches, but doesn't absorb good enough and there would be residue left on the filter

I have a friend who works at a camera rental house up here in SF, and he also concurs that lens tissue, even with the "torn edge+Panchro method" can scratch filters and lens coatings. He says you can really see it when you put the lenses on the projector. Alls I know is, I don't wanna be the guy to put a scratch on an Optimo worth 50k and have to explain to the rental house how that happened -- YIKES.
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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:07 PM

Well, I just bought a box of kimwipes to use on a shoot this weekend and they do seem kinda rough -- like bad toilet paper or something... Now I'm a bit worried. But that's what the service techs at Otto Nemenz use to clean lenses, kimwipes, lens fluid, and compressed air, so I guess the wipes soften up a lot when you wet 'em? :unsure:
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#16 Logan Schneider

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:42 PM

I know ACs who clean lenses with tissue, with microfiber, and even with their T-shirt. I find that a wet tissue to rub on the lens and then a dry tissue to clean it off and absorb the panchro work very well. With a filter I just spray onto the glass and then use dry tissue. Filters can take a beating. Lenses not so much. I always blow them off before using tissue.

I do use a microfiber when I'm on the run. However, the only kind that I like or will use it the Schneider Photo-Clear. It leaves no residue and I've never had a problem with it. And no, I'm not related.

And I do not condone using a t-shirt, but hey, we've all done it once or twice out in the bush.
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#17 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:44 PM

And I do not condone using a t-shirt, but hey, we've all done it once or twice out in the bush.


True. If I ahve to do that I make sure to use the inside since it's less likely to have grit on it.
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#18 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 03:05 AM

I scratched my eyeglasses once by cleaning them with my t-shirt, so I would never do that to any lens.

Also, I shy away from using compressed air on lenses. I don't think there's any immediate danger, I just don't like the chance of the liquid misting onto the lens. A hurricane blower does the trick.
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#19 Sam Wyndham

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 01:57 AM

Hi

I just started using the tissues to clean the lens on my HDV camera. I know I should always first dampen the tissue with cleaning fluid. However without using something dry I find I am left with a small amount of residue on the lens. Is this a problem? Thanks,

Sam
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#20 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 05:33 AM

In the UK Selvyts are pretty standard part of an ACs kit. However, best keep them in a sealable plastic bag on the shoot, otherwise they'll pick up dirt. You can buy them from all the rental houses.

http://creativevideo...r=selvyt-14-5pk
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