Lens Cleaning

christilou

Legend
Jul 13, 2010
164
Sunny Frimley
I saw a tiny dot on my Oly 12-50 kit lens, wiped it and lo and behold it made the most awful smeary mess now covering almost a third of the lens! Any suggestions, tried gentle rubbing with cloth but hasn't shifted it. Can only think that it's garden related as thats the only place I've used it. Could be sap of some kind?
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
I use a lenspen but I wouldn;t use it on a large sticky/gluey smear of the sort you describe, it would just gum up the lenspen tip nd make it useless.

is it still sticky? has it gone hard? it's hard to know what to suggest without knowing what it is.

if this was my lens (but then I am either brave or foolhardy) I'd get a cotton bud dampened (but not wetted) with isopropyl alcohol and see if I can very gently wipe it off a little at a time, changing bud often. I wouldn't "flood" the lens in case it creeps under the seals and causes proper damage.

[isopropyl alcohol because it is a solvent, is very pure and leaves no residue but is hard to find apart in the UK apart from on ebay; meths is the next most useful thing; or you could sacrifice some vodka at a pinch]

then I'd use something like a spectacle-lens cleaner to finish.

but that's just me .. it would be good to hear what Brian had to say, he's the guru on this sort of thing.

it's worth remembering that if you do end up with a few small permanent marks on the lens ,it probably will make almost no difference you can see to the images (but of course it will affect the resale value to those who think lenses have to be perfect)
 

Lightmancer

Super Moderator
Aug 13, 2011
164
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
What PDH said.

I use gin myself. Don't use anything caustic, or any form of abrasive. A VERY SMALL amount of water on a q-tip may help... did I say VERY SMALL...? :wink:

Modern coatings are harder than you think, by the way. The only lens I ever "lost" through anything on the front element was an old (1980s) Pentax lens that was licked by a cow (yes, I know...) I cleaned it immediately, but about a month later it was clouding over...
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
You have some good advice here. I would only add that if using vodka (or gin as Bill suggests), you should pour yourself a small one to calm the nerves. Take your time....use little of your liquid of choice and relax. It'll clean up...and if it doesn't it won't likely affect your images.

Good luck!
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
if this was my lens (but then I am either brave or foolhardy) I'd get a cotton bud dampened (but not wetted) with isopropyl alcohol and see if I can very gently wipe it off a little at a time, changing bud often. I wouldn't "flood" the lens in case it creeps under the seals and causes proper damage.

[isopropyl alcohol because it is a solvent, is very pure and leaves no residue but is hard to find apart in the UK apart from on ebay; meths is the next most useful thing; or you could sacrifice some vodka at a pinch]

then I'd use something like a spectacle-lens cleaner to finish.
Glad you said that because I've done that but would not feel comfortable telling someone else to! Ah, now that the responsibility lies on your shoulders ;) alcohol or I have used glass cleaner, a q-tip but because the cotton is on a stick be very gentle.. and that is only for gooey or hard dried things. Shooting macro I often get pollen and that can get smeared [you'd think dust is dust but it isn't] so I will use the lenspen or a little lens cleaner and a micro fiber cloth.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
Hehe I haven't told anybody to do anything I've just said what I would do :biggrin:

Slightly more seriously.... gin and vodka or similar "white" spirits contain sugars and oils which don't make them ideal for this sort of thing. Though I imagine Everclear is probably fine.
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
Hehe I haven't told anybody to do anything I've just said what I would do :biggrin:

Slightly more seriously.... gin and vodka or similar "white" spirits contain sugars and oils which don't make them ideal for this sort of thing. Though I imagine Everclear is probably fine.
Except on internal organs :D
 

Luke

Super Moderator
Nov 11, 2011
214
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
Wow, I sat down last night to try to clean my lens, but following Paul's advice I tried a bunch of the everclear stuff.

Next thing I know I'm waking up on the floor with a pounding headache and it's the next day (and I can't find my pants?!!). Man, oh man. It may work for cleaning lenses, but don't drink that stuff whatever you do.

(the above comment is meant to be humorous. At no point (in recent times) has Luke ever consumed Everclear. Also, his pants have not been lost (again..... in recent times). Thanks a lot, you've been a lovely crowd. Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses and come back soon, I'm here all week. )
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
Just to be clear ... I do not support, condone, encourage, promote or endorse - in any shape manner or form - the consumption of Everclear, nor can I be held responsible, or liable. for the consequences of such consumption under laws relating and or appertaining in any legal jurisdiction including the federal US and the states thereof.

You can also clean jewelry with it, by the way
 

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