Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/11/20

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Subject: [Leica] Re: never cleaning a lens (poor lens!)
From: Jim Brick <>
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 18:09:46 -0800

There was some talk awhile ago about anybody being able to search the
archive. And we all know that Leica Solms is a member of this list. I can
imagine their thoughts after reading this post. 

What ever you do, don't go to a Leica Clean & test event. And never send
your lenses in to be repaired. The glass and coating will be scrubbed with
everything from shirt tails to well used chamois. I hope you never meet
Ernst Hartmann. He *scrubs* with a well used chamois!

You can clean Leica lenses weekly for years with no detrimental effect. The
coating is HARD. Now if you are using sandpaper...

The photographs I take with my 22 year old Leica lenses, cleaned regularly,
form images equally as good, if not better, than they did 22 years ago.

Do you know what a lens coating does? Do you think that a $20 filter has a
harder and better coating than a $1000+ lens?

It looks to me like the placebo effect is alive and well out there in Leica

You can use all the filters you want. No one cares. But your discourse on
"why you never clean your lenses" is just plain wrong. I hate to be so
blunt, but bad information should be nipped in the bud.


At 08:21 PM 11/20/98 +0000, you wrote:
>The first thing I do as soon as I buy a new lens is to put on a UV filter
>(Leica doesn't recommend the use of Skylight filters since they change the
>color transmission), and I never clean the front or rear lens elements. 
>Some time ago I realized that some of my slides, taken with those lenses
>that I cleaned more often, didn't have as much contrast as others.  
>I mentioned this to a friend, and he said he had reached the same
>conclusion years ago.  Never clean a lens!!!
>Today's MC and glass are harder than they used to be -- but most lens
>cleaners are solvents, and over the period of a few years, you are going to
>remove some coating or even scratch the lens.  All it takes is some cheap
>lens cleaning paper.
>I do, however, clean my Glass filters with a solution of 80% ether and 20%
>ethanol (grain alcohol).  For my plastic and resin filters, I dilute a drop
>of hand soap (that doesn't have moisturizer) in 1/2 gallon of destiled
>water.  After blowing the dust off, I apply it to the filter with a piece
>from an old cotton T-shirt that has been washed time and again.
>As for used lenses, I do buy them (I'm talking old here, not last month's
>demo) but I just don't expect them to perform as well as when they were
>new.  With this in mind I've been pretty happy.
>I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of fire on this one, but those skeptics can
>run this simple test: buy a quality filter ex. B + W and clean it
>occasionally with a handkerchief for a year.  You will see how the glass
>becomes etched.