by Philip Greenspun
Remember that your camera is just a tool. Don’t pamper it. You can always buy a new one. If you leave your camera in a closet, it will never get dirty or broken, but you won’t have too many great photographs to show for yourself. Many of the best photographs can only be taken under conditions that will render your equipment wet and/or filthy. That’s life.
The photo at right was the result of spending six hours at the bottom of a canyon in the Navajo Nation. For the entire six hours, sand blew down from the top of the canyon and into a $20,000 Rollei 6008 system. Was there a sickening grinding sound when I focussed my $3000 50mm lens for the next few months? Yes. Did I have to send the camera back to Rollei USA to be cleaned? Yes. Did the camera get stolen in Filthadelphia a couple of years later? Yes. So it really didn’t make sense to obsess over the camera, did it? We can still enjoy this picture even if that 6008 has disappeared. If the camera had been pampered, it would just be in that much better shape for the crook who is using it now.
Basic lens cleaning tools are a blower, a microfiber cloth, and lens cleaning fluid (my favorite: Zeiss). Try to blast dust off the lens with the blower or canned air. Finger prints can be removed with a circular wipe of the new miracle micro fiber cloth (my favorite brand is Pentax because it is nice and thick; about $6). Persistent dirt should be removed with lens cleaning fluid, of which the safest is probably Kodak. Always drip the fluid onto the cloth and then wipe the lens; never put fluid directly onto a lens.
Even if your lenses don’t look dirty, every few months you should give exposed surfaces a cleaning withResidual Oil Remover (ROR). Even if you were able to protect your optics from all environmental sources of filth, there would still be crud condensing on your optics as camera bag plastics outgas. It is tough to verify ROR’s claims, but the optics do look visibly clearer after an ROR treatment and the amazing price won’t kill you.
If you are going to use an expensive lens in a dusty or wet environment and don’t want to obsess over your equipment, keep a B+W UV filter on the lens and count on replacing the filter every year or two.
ORDER ROR LENS CLEANER
Tags: filter cleaner, glass surface cleaner