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

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Subject: Re: [Leica] To filter or not? [Long]
From: (Ted Grant)
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 18:43:49 -0800

Whomever 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.
>Why?  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.>>>>>>

Jeeeeeeeeeeeesh you guys are just too techie!!!!!!

Hell all I've done for 48 years is put my hot breath on my Leica and other
lenses and use the cut out part of cotton undershorts ( well worn and
comfy) and cleaned the lens sparkling clean!

Sure I can understand how if you put all that other stuff on any lens you
are going to wreck it,. but lets get serious lens cleaning here. First what
the heck are you cleaning off?

I mean a little dust is taken care of with a breath blow or an old soft ear
syringe squeezed hard. Maybe salt spray is a little tough, but a very clean
hankie/undershorts & warm breath cleans it quickly and efficiently. Remeber
always rub in circles!  (I can just see the techie folks cringing in their
socks!) :)

Stickie things are a a bit more difficult, but what the hell, a little
rubbing alcohle on a piece of undershorts will take it off nicely without a
trace or scratch! :)

Generally good old fashion hot human being breath and a soft butt end cloth
with a gentle touch will look after 99% of lens dirt.  You don't need to
get high tech with Leica lenses, particularly after seeing a Leica
technician clean a lens. Until then,  you have no idea what lens cleaning
is all about! :)