Cleaning Camera/Lens by hand or pay for cleaning?

flight3flight3 Posts: 379Member
edited January 2013 in Nikon Lenses
Hello everyone,

I've been looking at some of my equipment and realized that I should clean it before it really builds up. The only thing is I've heard mix stories from my peers about cleaning the stuff myself. Do any of you have any suggestions on cleaning equipment or should I even clean it myself? I mainly have a little dust/dirt here and there. I have a D3100 body with a 50mm 1.8 and 24mm 2.8 if that helps any. Thanks for any help.
Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR, 50mm 1.8D, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS, Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash www.dreshad.com
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Comments

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    I use a sprayer with distilled water, a large microfiber cloth, and a secret ingredient otherwise known as elbow grease. Make sure to spray the cloth and not the camera. This is how I clean the body and the non-glass parts of the lens. For cleaning the optical glass I use a lens cleaning pen, and a different (smaller) microfiber cloth. For stubborn glass stains I use a lens cleaner liquid on the microfiber cloth.

    The small microfiber cloth is the one that comes in a lens cleaning kit and is more like a chamois. The larger one is what you would buy at a home improvement store or an auto parts store. Its almost more of a terrycloth type material, but still a microfiber.

    Sensor and mirror cleaning are a completely separate topic.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    I think it is a good idea for each shooter to know how to clean their gear. With respect to your body and lenses, I would recommend the Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths Wipes. They work great.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I do not clean my gear unless: Environment of salt air, dust or other containment. Then I use a solvent, water, or isopropyl alcohol, on Q-Tip of other, and use the liquid very sparingly. Quite often a vacuum, and soft brush to remove dry contaminants. My lenses are all with a front filter and these I have been know to clean with a corner of my shirt and a little breath in an emergency...like a dog lick.....Normally I clean the front filter with lens cleaning swabs and light air flow. I would not use any organic solvents. The rear elements of my lenses are never cleaned unless there is a contamination issue. I just try as best I can to keep them clean. Very cautious about changing lenses. I try to have what I am going to use on the bodies before I get to the venue.
    Msmoto, mod
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    What would one be able to use to clean the battery contacts inside a grip.....wondering if baking soda and water on a qtip would be safe
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    I think it is a good idea for each shooter to know how to clean their gear. With respect to your body and lenses, I would recommend the Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths Wipes. They work great.
    +1 on the Zeiss lens wipes. I used to use a lenspen, but those things dry out after a few months. Then I noticed the lens wipes at Walmart and haven't gone back! As for the sensor, I just use eclipse with the sensor swabs. I've never sent in camera or lens for cleaning; all done myself.

  • Rx4PhotoRx4Photo Posts: 1,200Member
    If you're near one, the optical department at Wal-Mart (at least the one near me) sells the 12 x 16 inch Zeiss microfiber cloths for under $3.00 each. This is an incredible bargain. I keep one in each camera bag and also in the car. Great for cleaning camera lenses and my other 2 eyes as well. Also look at getting a Giottos rocket blower as well. Works wonders and keeps you from blowing unwanted moisture onto your lenses with your mouth. I wouldn't pay someone to clean my camera. Repair, yes.
    D800 | D7000 | Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/2.8 | 35mm f/1.8G | 85mm f/1.4G | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art | Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM | Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar ZF.2 | Flash controllers: Phottix Odin TTL

  • flight3flight3 Posts: 379Member
    Oh this is all very good to know. Appreciate the comments.
    Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR, 50mm 1.8D, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS, Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash www.dreshad.com
  • Here in France I've never heard of the Zeiss wipes (but I'll certainlylook out for them) However Eclipse and sensor swabs are available from Amazon - I clean everything myself - seems to work.

    (For the record, I take a shot of the sky (or a bright, even surface) with the widest angle lens I own at f/22. Any dust or oil spots will show up clearly, mainly due to the diffraction at that aperture)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    edited January 2013
    Here's something we talked about earlier:
    http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=36960

    I never squirt/spray any liquid direct onto the body, dampen a cloth and wipe after gently brushing dust off is my advice.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ hodge1969...Cleaning contacts in a battery compartment of a grip or other can be done with the eraser on the of a pencil. Then some contact cleaner with a Q-Tip.
    Msmoto, mod
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    Hi Msmoto,
    thanks for the advice.....I could only think of baking soda(acid residue on car batteries)...had I bought a name brand grip ,I may have never know about the eraser.
    Was at daughter's volleyball tournament the last 2 days....what an absolute blugeoning of pictures......I will put some on flickr tomorrow for advice
  • hodge1969hodge1969 Posts: 9Member
    sorry for hijacking.....new at posting.....I WILL get the hang of this....still trying to figure out where to ask questions.....sorry once again
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    Here is a good video from ThatNikonGuy on cleaning lenses that is useful:



  • Scuderia1Scuderia1 Posts: 82Member
    edited January 2013
    This is how I learned which equipment to use and how to clean my lenses. I clean the rear of every new lens I receive as well (recommended in video).

    Good luck!

    http://photographylife.com/how-to-clean-slr-camera-lenses
    Post edited by Scuderia1 on
    Nikon D800 | Nikkor 50mm f/1.8g | Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 | Nikkor 300mm f/4 (+Nikon TC1.4x)
  • NO NO NO - I'm really sorry, but this guy just did a tragic thing to that 85mm lens (Video 'thatnikonguy')

    I was told (thousands of times it seems when I worked part time in a Nikon dealership in the 70's) to blow off any dust first BEFORE putting anything else on the surface of the lens. Why? Simple, some 'dust' is actually quite hard and rubbing it around with a micro-fibre cloth can (and probably will) cause micro-scratches.
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    I'm a little leery of the Zeiss wipes; I think they are for eye glasses - that could just be me. I use Msmoto's concoction of solvent, distilled water, or alcohol for lenses.

    Darkslide is right. Gently blow off dust and debris off the lens before cleaning, mostly to avoid damaging the coating, although the coating is tougher today than 30-40 years ago.

    Cleaning everything is a good idea, and depending on where and what you do (I did a lot of field work in very dirty conditions) things will need it more often for some more than others. I use filters to avoid cleaning lenses - I do get the argument that it adds an element of diffuseness to my image, but having come from dirty environments, that slight (generally, I buy expensive filters) I would rather replace expensive filters than replace very expensive lenses.

    My best,

    Mike
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @darkslide: You are 100% correct. Using the blower first and then preceding to wipes is the best way to go. I think Matt (video) did mention the blower first, he just did not do it when he went on using his wipes.

    @MikeGunter: I, like yourself, have invested in getting some of the best UV filters for all my lenses, in order to protect my investment in them. So cleaning filters gives me far peace of mind. In fact, my Hoya HD filter have 8-layers of glass they can take a hit and keep on licking.

    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    That is an impressive demo for sure Golf - but they have 8 layers of multi-coat not 8 layers of glass.
    Always learning.
  • "Eight layers of glass - the filter actually weighs more than the lens, but it's ok 'cos I've got a REALLY good tripod..." :D

    Just joking!!
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @Golf007sd I use Nikon filters as well as their lenses. Expensive, but I figure I get their lenses, so...

    I really don't know if it's worth the extra expense, but my collection of lenses do go back a ways, so I suppose they are worth protecting.

    Some would suggest the lessor cost lenses such as a 18-55mm at $100 refurbished might not warrant such protection, and I would tend to agree, but with this caveat, if you're depending on the lens and it gets scratched, you're screwed. I've had my cases taken away from me when I was working years ago, and, in that process, handled roughly. Bad things could happen. The protection afforded is just nice to have, regardless of the lens, if you depend on it.

    Of course, generally, I don't depend on an 18-55mm, but I do carry it sometimes. ;-)

    Cleaning equipment is important, but knowing how and when is likely more important. Dirty lenses pick up flare in bright light and generally make for un-sharp images, but if you're in a really, really dirty environment, you might make matters worse trying to fix things. I've done that myself. No point trying to clean a lens during a monsoon rainstorm - that should be common sense, but when you're very young and have a dirty lens you try to do something.

    My best,

    Mike
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    It just baffles me how some folks will do videos on cleaning lenses, sensors, etc., and are so grossly incompetent that to follow the directions would lead to a high potential for damage. I suppose if one has a "following" that this somehow gives one the idea they may actually know something. I have seen these videos and in several instances the failure to use air to remove the dirt or dust which may be present is somehow not recognized. Cleaning the rear element should IMO be done only if it has been smudged or some foreign material has gotten on it. I have many lenses of forty years old and have not cleaned the rear element except to blow off dust.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,072Moderator
    The guy on the vid that Golf put up on the 16-35 thread must be superman. I could not squeeze a rocket blower that vigorously while holding the camera body face down out in front of me and looking intently into the video cameras lens without touching something - even the sensor itself - with the tip of the blower. I will not even mention his wiping action....

    @Msmoto: +1 on your comments about 'followings' and the assumption of knowledge they bring - or maybe we should feel sorry for the guy because of the pressure he is under to keep posting 'content' to keep up with Googles rules?
    Always learning.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    I know that some of You will not follow my point of view, which is... if You have a t-shirt You have a clean lens :) especially if You have filter on it.
    as for cleaning sensors... well, let the professionals do it - too much possibilities to break the sensor considering that the price of proper cleaning tools is almost the same as cleaning it at service point.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    OMG, and I thought maybe I was the only one to clean a front filter with breathing on the filter and wiping with a clean corner of a T-shirt. It is simply a pragmatic process, if something gets on the lens during a shoot and no other possibility of cleaning exists......actually with the waterproof case on the camera, wiping the front window after water splashes is SOP.
    Msmoto, mod
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 410Member
    I am a frequenter of the corner of shirt technique as I often don't have time to fish through my bag for an microfiber cloth (press photography doesn't wait for you)... Additionally the microfiber camera cloths don't absorb water easily while a cotton tee does. Any drops of precipitation on your lens are impossible to remove in a timely manner with most camera cloths...
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
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