Who's A Mucky Boy, Then?

on May 02, 2017
Have all your photographs started to look like Ridley Scott movies? Are the heads of all your portraits surrounded by a golden halo...even when they are photographed in the shade? Is each landscape reminiscent of Yorkshire in 1954 during a power outage? Well clean your blessed lens, then! Oh I am as guilty as the next mole of leaving the front of the lens to collect all the mucilage, grit, fingerprints, and hairs and then blindly groping my way through a photo session by feel. The autofocus struggles feebly and the lens hunts back and forth. It beeps forlornly. Eventually, we have the relief of a depleted battery and the thing shuts itself down and we can all go out for a drink. This is not the answer in every instance, however - sometimes you have to give in to pressure form the client who insists upon seeing something in the final print and then you really do have to clean the lens. It is a dangerous moment - once the layer of clag is off the front element so much light pours through the eyepiece that you risk the fate of the vampire in the sunlight. This is just a small list of the commercial products available to clean the front of a lens. We've omitted the Giotto Rocket Blowers and similar products from other makers - they are only suitable for people who are neat and clean anyway. Real photographers- the ones who get peanut butter on the front of the Summicron - need tougher solutions. 1. The microfibre cloth. These are advertised to wick up water and oil from the glass and not let it down again. By and large they work, and are such little things that you can afford to have one stashed everywhere. Don't just hide one in the side pocket of your roll around equipment case - you'll never have it when you need it. Get a half a dozen and distribute them in messenger bags, cases, photovest pockets, and suits. You never know when some Archbishop will spit on your lens and if you've got a cloth ready you can be clean before the fight finishes.
Microfibres are washable, and get better with repeated use. It is a valuable thing to own, because if you have one of the genuine Camera Electronic microfibre cloths you are entitled by law to return to the shop and buy more cameras and lenses. 2. The tissue paper packets. Too small to blow your nose on, but big enough to use as a mop on the surface of a lens. Some people use them dry, but I have always used them with a drop of detergent in a shot glass of water as a wet wipe - they are cheap enough that you can repeat he treatment frequently and use a couple to mop things dry. Don't be put off by the different packets - they're the same thing.
3. The strange little kit. Well, this IS strange...and cheap...and we've got a million of them. But it does have a tiny blower brush, a small microfibre cloth, and a bottle of something. You could do worse than try it as it is likely to be water with a little alcohol in it.
4. Lens Cleanse. This is the big leagues. The big dirty leagues. This is the save-your-hide kit when that joke about the peanut butter becomes horrible reality. You know those cute YouTube videos where the dog sticks its nose onto the photographers lens? Dogs noses destroy any glass surface...after you have put Fido out you need to get the dog snot off the lens right away.
The Lens Cleanse packets are a wet towel and a dry towel - you can get about 5 standard fingerprint cleans from the wet bit before it dries. It has an enzyme base that dissolves organic matter and the dry towel has a polishing effect after the surface is clean. You can actually feel the surface get slicker as the process finishes. Here again, get a pack of 12 of these things and stash one in all your camera bags and satchels. They will also remove gudge from computer screens and keyboards so if the K key finally will not move give the thing a scrub and see if you can fix it. For the right Lens Cleaners for your gear come in store and visit one of our trained staff members.