Lens Cleaning

Lens cleaning is one of the most common problem for photographers. I think most of us has experience of carelessly touching the lens with fingers. The oil and fingerprint is really difficult to clean. I tried a few different lens cleaning products from the camera shop, none of them work as well as I expected (after cleaning, I can still see a thin layer of oil).

Finally I find the perfect lens cleaning cloth, not from the camera shops, but from a supermarket’s home cleaning department.

Lens / screen cleaning is not easy

We want crystal clear lens! I think everyone knows that fingerprint and oil is really difficult to clean. For mobile phone and the screen at the back of DSLR, you may just use a tissue or your cloth to clean it… It is not really matter if there is still oil on the screen, because you may touch it with your face / nose again when you use the mobile / DSLR. But it is a completely different case for lens, a thin layer of oil can be quite disturbing; we want crystal clear lens!

I tried quite a few different lens cleaning products from cameras shops, including cleaning cloths and cleaning liquds. However, none of those cleaning products can completely remove the oil / fringerprint, when I take a very close look, I can still see a very thin layer of oil. We want crystal clear lens!

There is chemisty / physics behind why oil stick on things. Surface tension is caused by bonds. The stronger the bond, the more surface tension.


Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth

One day, when I was shopping is a supermarket’s home cleaning department, I saw this “3M Scotch-Brite High-Performance Cloth“.

lens cleaning 3M packing

lens cleaning 3M packing

Well, this cleaning cloth is from 3M, from the pictures I guess it is for cleaning glass and screen. So, I turn it around and check the detail.

lens cleaning 3M packing 2

lens cleaning 3M packing 2

Basically, the description means, this cleaning cloth can remove oil without use of chemical… and sounds quite high tech… also it is from 3M… although it is not cheap for a clean cloth… I bought it.

Happy lens cleaning

I was very surprised by how well this microfiber cleaning cloth works. One of my lens was touched by finger and cleaned by other cleaning cloth; I clean the center part of the lens with this microfiber cleaning cloth… wow ~ I see a spot of crystal clear glass! The very thin layer of oil is removed!

lens cleaning 3M

lens cleaning cloth from 3M

I have a closer look at the 3M cleaning cloth, from normal distance you can see the surface is made up of a lot of small squares.

lens cleaning cloth 50

lens cleaning cloth close up

When I take a very very close up picture with EF 100 macro lens, I can see that the surface of the 3M cleaning cloth is actually made up of a lot of microfiber balls.

lens cleaning cloth 100

lens cleaning cloth macro - taken with EF 100 macro

Here are the pictures on the package:

lens cleaning tech 1

lens cleaning tech - high performance cleaning cloth make of microfiber

lens cleaning tech 2

lens cleaning tech - microfiber traps all the dirt

lens cleaning tech 3

lens cleaning tech - microfiber 1/50 of a hair

You may find this microfiber cleaning cloth at shops, it came with a few different package, but inside is the same thing.

lens cleaning 3M 1

lens cleaning 3M 1

lens cleaning 3M 2

lens cleaning 3M 2

lens cleaning 3M 3

lens cleaning 3M 3

How to get the lens cleaning cloth?

Well you may find it in supermarkets, or you may find it at:

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Posted in Others | No Comments » February 8th, 2009

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