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proper lens cleaning


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#1 blain murphey

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Posted 05 February 2009 - 09:45 PM

Hey all,

Could anyone give me tips to cleaning cleans, supplies i need, what is the best out there. ect. I have a micro fiber cloth and some lens tissue and some cleaning spray. Anything else I need. Not really sure how to get a lens cleaned the way the professionals would
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 12:43 AM

Kimwipes and pancro are all I use, along with canned air. First I'll blow off any excess of dust. Then get a couple of kimwipes and crumple them up. Spray a couple spritzes of pancro on the wad and then start in the middle of the lens going out. As you wipe, roll the tissue so it picks any solids up onto the tissue rather than pulling them across the surface. Use as many kimwipes as you need to, they're cheap. If you have a little haze from the pancro at the end, use a dry kimwipe and buff it off. make sure there's no dust or anything that could scratch since you're doing it dry. Give it a little puff of air to get any kimwipe sheds off.
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#3 Chris Fernando

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 01:08 PM

I'll just add that you should always try to get as much as you can off/clean before you start using lens cleaner - you may not even have to resort to using the Pancro.

Minimizing what you're using and how you are using it (while still getting the job done, of course) is always best when it comes to lens coatings.
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#4 Jordan Ledy

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:26 PM

Kimwipes and pancro are all I use, along with canned air. First I'll blow off any excess of dust. Then get a couple of kimwipes and crumple them up. Spray a couple spritzes of pancro on the wad and then start in the middle of the lens going out. As you wipe, roll the tissue so it picks any solids up onto the tissue rather than pulling them across the surface. Use as many kimwipes as you need to, they're cheap. If you have a little haze from the pancro at the end, use a dry kimwipe and buff it off. make sure there's no dust or anything that could scratch since you're doing it dry. Give it a little puff of air to get any kimwipe sheds off.


I was recently on a shoot (just PAing, i'm working my way up), and i asked the ACs about proper lens care: they both told me to NEVER use canned air on a lens. The lens elements are extremely sensitive, and using compressed air can corrode the thin coatings on the lens, essentially ruining the lens forever. For the exterior element, it's not a cardinal sin, but canned air should really never be used on the interior lens. Throw in for a proper kit and get a torch to manually blow away dirt and dust, they aren't that expensive and it'll save in the long run.
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#5 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:35 PM

Are you sure they were not talking about the interiors of a camera, about the procedure of 'checking the gate'?
I have never heard that using proper canned air is bad for lenses.
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#6 David Rakoczy

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 06:50 PM

I have never heard that using proper canned air is bad for lenses.



... or for blowing out Magazines for that matter..... which could be considered the interior of the camera.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:37 AM

I was recently on a shoot (just PAing, i'm working my way up), and i asked the ACs about proper lens care: they both told me to NEVER use canned air on a lens. The lens elements are extremely sensitive, and using compressed air can corrode the thin coatings on the lens, essentially ruining the lens forever. For the exterior element, it's not a cardinal sin, but canned air should really never be used on the interior lens. Throw in for a proper kit and get a torch to manually blow away dirt and dust, they aren't that expensive and it'll save in the long run.


Those bulbs don't work worth crap. Canned air is fine as long as you don't get the cold propellant on the glass. That is bad.
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#8 John Brawley

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:44 AM

Those bulbs don't work worth crap. Canned air is fine as long as you don't get the cold propellant on the glass. That is bad.



I have always cleaned lenses the way I was trained by a very experinced lens technition that used to work at the company i used to work at.

He was Canon trained, and zeiss / Angenieux as well.

He said in the field the best thing was your breath. He hated all the cleaning products as they leave a small residue behind.

The trick is to use a tissue like a kim wipe, wipe in one direction in circles from the center to the outside and do it once only and then throw the tissue away. The worsth thing you can do it to use the same bit of tissue (with the grit you've picked up) and then do it again !!

In the workshop, I used to watch him pinch a tissue between needle point tweezers (!!) to clean the surfaces in the same manner. A ball of tissue, in circles, middle to outside and one pass before throwing the tissue. He used pure alcohol as cleaning fluid. You need to be careful of this as it will sometimes dissolve plastics, and paint (that may be on the outer mounting rings.


jb
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#9 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 February 2009 - 12:54 AM

I have always cleaned lenses the way I was trained by a very experinced lens technition that used to work at the company i used to work at.

He was Canon trained, and zeiss / Angenieux as well.

He said in the field the best thing was your breath. He hated all the cleaning products as they leave a small residue behind.

The trick is to use a tissue like a kim wipe, wipe in one direction in circles from the center to the outside and do it once only and then throw the tissue away. The worsth thing you can do it to use the same bit of tissue (with the grit you've picked up) and then do it again !!

In the workshop, I used to watch him pinch a tissue between needle point tweezers (!!) to clean the surfaces in the same manner. A ball of tissue, in circles, middle to outside and one pass before throwing the tissue. He used pure alcohol as cleaning fluid. You need to be careful of this as it will sometimes dissolve plastics, and paint (that may be on the outer mounting rings.


jb


You just described basically what I do. I don't use tweezers, but I don't think those are required.

BTW, pancro is just a particular concentration of isopropyl alcohol. Check out the MSDS.
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#10 Michael Panfeld

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:41 PM

The Dustoff type of canned air contains many oils and other contaminants that can affect the lens. Try compressed CO2. It is free of contaminants and has a higher pressure so it blows off the dust more easily. I use the Powerclean system. A little more of an investment than Dustoff, but quality is always costs more.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:05 AM

The Dustoff type of canned air contains many oils and other contaminants that can affect the lens.


No it doesn't. See the MSDS for Dustoff Plus. One ingredient.
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#12 Daniel Porto

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 07:54 AM

Are you sure they were not talking about the interiors of a camera, about the procedure of 'checking the gate'?
I have never heard that using proper canned air is bad for lenses.


The gaps between glass on the lens aren't air tight and using such a high pressure does have the potential to blow into the glass
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#13 Michael Panfeld

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 01:00 PM

No it doesn't. See the MSDS for Dustoff Plus. One ingredient.


The MSDS only lists the hazardous chemicals, it doesn't list the "inert" ingredients. Here is a link to some information that compares dustoff type aerosols to Powerclean CO2 (yes, it is marketing material, and no, I have no affiliation with either company.

http://www.micro-too...temCode=54100-F

Edited by Michael Panfeld, 11 February 2009 - 01:00 PM.

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#14 DS Williams

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Posted 02 March 2009 - 07:03 PM

So have we come to a conclusion here as to weather canned compressed air is corrosive to lens elements?

This concerns me, as I clean my lenses with compressed air at first then microfibre cloths after
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#15 Ralph Keyser

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 01:10 PM

No, I don't think there is any indication that canned compressed "air" is corrosive.

The link that Michael provided does not make any claims about Dust Off style aerosols being corrosive or containing contaminants. It does mention the liquid that can come out of those style of cans, which is a well known danger of using compressed air. Some folks I know won't use aerosols on lenses for that reason alone. The link also references EPA and OSHA studies on harmful emissions, but I couldn't find any evidence to support that claim.

Personally, I think people get far too worked about this topic. There are a number of viable approaches to cleaning lenses. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you.
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#16 Michael Kubaszak

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:41 AM

I was always told to never use canned air on the front or rear element of any lens, by a long-time cameraman and current rental house owner.
Filmtools sells a great blower(better than a hurricane), some AC's I have worked with or for have used those inky dinky bulbs and they suck, get a quality blower!
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#17 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:07 AM

Ajax, boom, boom, the blue dot cleanser. With the extra strength to get lens bright.
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#18 Alex Wuijts

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:41 PM

Yes, a little breath and a bunch of kimwipes was the way I was taught as well by an AC with 20 years of experience. Use a wooden cotton swab with a little acetone for stains that won't go away with the aforementioned method. Squeeze the cotton swab flat with pliers to clean hard to reach spots. You can use a toothbrush to clean the teeth of the focus and aperture ring.
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#19 Chris Keth

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 05:47 PM

Ajax, boom, boom, the blue dot cleanser. With the extra strength to get lens bright.


...get lenses bright, huh? I wonder if enough of it could make me a set of T1.3 S4s... ;)
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#20 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:05 PM

So have we come to a conclusion here as to weather canned compressed air is corrosive to lens elements?


It's fine, just use Dust Off with a 360 Vector nozzle, and do a couple quick sprays to clear the nozzle of dust and possible liquid before you blow the lens. I usually use a hurricane blower before I go to the higher pressure of a Dust Off anyway.

I use my breath in a pinch if there's a finger print on the rear element or something and I gotta get the lens on stat, otherwise I'll Pancro everything that can't be removed with air (compressed/blower/lungs)
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