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Cleaning Salt water and Fresh water off the Lens


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#1 Darryl van Slack

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 10:46 PM

Does anyone have a good tip for this, I shoot a fishing show, and both salt water and fresh water constantly get onto my lens, i use lens cloth and alcohol wipes, and i still have problems with fogging up, smudges taking forever to come clean. I need to be able to get as clean as possible as quick as possible. so i dont have to stop recording to clean it off quick. Is there something i can treat the lens with to repel water easier.
Thanks everyone
Darryl
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#2 Tom Jensen

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 11:40 PM

I know it's an extra piece of glass but have you considered an optical flat or UV filter on the front? I'd blow off any sand or grit first and use lens tissue and a liberal dose of lens cleaner. Wipe slowly and make sure it isn't scratching. Wipe from the edges towards the center.
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#3 Seamus Mulligan-Ferry

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 11:47 PM

I know it's an extra piece of glass but have you considered an optical flat or UV filter on the front?


Along those lines, but just a thought--Would there be a disadvantage to coating a Clear filter with something like Rain-X? The filter may be ruined at the end of the shoot, but it could be worthwhile for a production of this sort.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:08 AM

Along those lines, but just a thought--Would there be a disadvantage to coating a Clear filter with something like Rain-X? The filter may be ruined at the end of the shoot, but it could be worthwhile for a production of this sort.


Beat me to it. Rain-X really does help for shooting where there is a lot of spray. If you keep it Rain-Xed, you can keep it pretty clean with canned air and a towel. DO NOT just put rain-X on the lens itself. It shouldn't hurt a flat but it may damage the coatings on a lens. I'm not sure if it would or not but I wouldn't chance it.

One trick I use, that may or may not help you, is to keep a flat in the mattebox and remove it for takes. That lets the DP and operator see through the lens and frame up, etc. but also lets you keep the lens clean. After takes you can clean anything that got on it during the take, replace the flat, and you're ready to go for the next one.

I'm guessing your show doesn't really work in "takes" but I think the flat would still help. It will allow you you shoot and shoot and just remove the flat when it gets dirty and keep shooting. That will effectively double your shooting time between having to stop for cleaning and you can clean everything off when you have the time. If you have an AC, just get 2 flats per camera and he can keep feeding you fresh flats as they get spotty and you never have to stop.

No matter what you do, every bit of glass will need to be cleaned properly with fluid at the end of every day. Salt water is bad news for cameras in general and I would guess that it isn't good to let sit on lens coatings.

Edited by Chris Keth, 26 May 2009 - 11:10 AM.

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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 12:15 PM

I was on a show once at Leo Carrillo State Beach when a big wave rolled in and knocked the time code slate into the water. It was completely wet inside and out, the batteries were smoking. I grabbed the slate and took the batteries out right away. I took the slate apart the best I could and dunked it a few times out into a bucket of fresh water. I then took a hair dryer that I kept in my kit and dried the think for about 20 minutes. Threw some batteries back in it and it worked fine.

I heard another story from one of the Maysles I believe about dropping a Nagra in a Amazon. They shipped it in fresh water to keep it from corroding and it worked. Nothing corroded I mean.

When I was at Otto's someone dunked a Sachtler head in water but didn't say anything. It was returned on a Saturday and sat in a case until Monday, just enough time to ruin the head.

If you drop a lens in saltwater, I would suggest rinsing it with fresh water. If you are out of the country and you drop it in saltwater, pack it in fresh water and send it. It doesn't much time to start corroding and it has to be rebuilt anyway. If any parts inside a lens corrode, the chances are it will not be salvageable. The elements might last but the housing will oxidize rather quickly.

If you get saltwater on the lens, use a healthy dose of lens fluid on a Kemwipe. Not so much it goes into the retaining ring. But you want the saltwater to dissolve into the Pancro. Then wipe it off. It will streak but then you repeat the process with less fluid.

If you even remotely think you got water in a lens, send it back to the rental house ASAP. Don't take chances.
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#6 Michael Collier

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 01:36 PM

Well your sort of in a pickle. Flats work, but if your talking about the screw in kind often they fog more than without. If you can get a matte box for your camera and use square filters you'll be better off, because the air between flat and lens isn't trapped. Just make sure your donut fits properly.

I am sure you've already done this, but when in run and gun mode near a lake, I will bring some ND with me to make sure I keep my aperture low. Then you'll at least defocus anything that is on the lens, and a quick wipe with a cloth will be enough. If its full sun outside and your at an f11 or f16 with the sun back lighting your subjects, you will see every microbe and speck of dust on the lens. If its at a 2.8 you will have much more leeway in what is acceptable/non visible. But this of course is the non-ideal run and gun situation.
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#7 Bob Hayes

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 10:43 PM

Here is one way to go. It spins and fits on your video camera deflecting rain. There is another system which uses compressed air and a nozzle mounted to the matt box. I also works great but I can’t find it anywhere.

http://www.innovisio...oad/spintec.pdf
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:00 PM

Here is one way to go. It spins and fits on your video camera deflecting rain. There is another system which uses compressed air and a nozzle mounted to the matt box. I also works great but I can’t find it anywhere.

http://www.innovisio...oad/spintec.pdf


Well that's cool! I was aware of something that worked on the same principal but what I had seen was much larger and more cumbersome and not at all suited to handheld work.
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