Should I care about clean clean lens filters?

I have a "touch" of OCD, and if I spot a single fingerprint on my lens filter, I will literally spend minutes, if not tens of minutes, getting it cleaned off. I may even stop what I am doing, cleaning the filter to a spotless state, and then go on. If it is not easily cleaned off using my lens-pen, I will pull out the Leica cleaning cloth and go to mattresses on that f.....

So, am I crazy? Probably yes, but does a single fingerprint on a filter matter at all?


  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member

    It may induce glare or loss of contrast if there s a strong light source in or closely outside the frame.

    Get some residue less fluid and a cleaned (but not worn) 100% cotton soft t shirt (no printing).

    Always blow or brush off dust first, as the dust may be hard and scratch if rubbed.
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,287Member
    I have to admit, I have some fairly dirty filters on my DSLR. They work more like transparent lens caps than anything else.

    That being said, I don't really notice a huge difference in image quality, even though it's fairly dirty.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    Silly perhaps, but I feel that my camera can see better than me so if I can see the crud, so can my camera... :D
    Always learning.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,443Member
    To clean it 100% take some domestic bleach over with finger then wash under the tap and dry with a hairdryer...wet rain spots can send the focus crazy
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    True confessions: I will clean a finger print or other foreign material from the front element, but will simply blow dust off if possible. I am fairly fastidious about protecting the rear elements, and because of this I have not cleaned one in several years.

    In several years I have cleaned the front of my 400 only once or twice, usually after being at the beach or shooting in the rain.

    And, I have just finished some shots at a dirt race track, but fortunately the track was so over watered by the heavy rains we have been experiencing , the dust was very low up in row 46.

    Small specks on the front filter do not bother me. However, as I do use a protective filter in most cases, I have been know to use a shirt tail after breathing on the front filter.....not recommended, but oh well...

    My final conclusion is that if a chemical, i.e., ocean spray with salt, actual pieces of a wind blown foreign material such as dirt or mud, or a finger print with who knows what in it, is present I will attempt to clean this off because I think it will damage the coating on the lens or filter. Big spots will most likely create some degradation of IQ, IMO.
    Msmoto, mod
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,744Member
    It will be out of focus so will be minor. I don't blow my brains out on keeping the front element clean and I have only noticed something when it is fogged over. Dirt on the sensor is a different story.
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