HELP: Slight smearing on the front of the lens element after short usage outdoors.


jericho77

New Member
Jul 19, 2013
312
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0
Singapore
#1
Hi everyone. I uses my RX100 M3 occasionally during overseas trips. Before using it, the front of the lens element was very clean under bright light sources (I've cleaned it with lens cleaner after my last usage months ago).

However, after 1 day of usage during tours. I've noticed that there are some slight markings on the front of the lens element under bright light sources. Especially if you view it against bright light sources on certain angles. I am very careful with my camera and do not let anyone else handle it. How did those marks make their way on the lens element when I have not touch it with my fingers? Under normal lighting, I could not see those markings at all.

If I were to use the camera indoors at my home, I can use it many times without any smearing on the lens element. So I believe that it was caused by air and vapor outdoors that are not visible to humans.

So the question is should I clean the front of the lens element with wet lens cleaner every time after using it outdoors because there will definitely be some markings on front lens element after every single use. Or clean it when there are some serious finger print smudges? Will leaving those slight markings on the lens element harm/eat away or causes fungus on the lens coating? I would like to avoid doing too much cleaning on the lens. Thanks.:think:
 

SilverPine

Senior Member
Jul 8, 2007
4,539
6
38
Singapore
#2
Show us some photo showing your current front lens element will help to find out the problems.
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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#3
I was with an Australian friend passed few days, a professional photographer, we were doing some stock shoots, when we walked out of the hotel, because of wet weather these few days, his 5D MK3, mounted with L lenses, the lenses get foggy straight away, he just use the corner of his T-shirt wipe it off.

I told him that some photographers here will faint when seeing he doing these. :)
 

#4
I was with an Australian friend passed few days, a professional photographer, we were doing some stock shoots, when we walked out of the hotel, because of wet weather these few days, his 5D MK3, mounted with L lenses, the lenses get foggy straight away, he just use the corner of his T-shirt wipe it off.

I told him that some photographers here will faint when seeing he doing these. :)
Guilty of doing that to my two most used lens, Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 and 24-70mm F2.8 when I could not get at my cleaning cloth or forgot to bring it alot. Scared a few photographers doing it. heheh Have yet to scratch them. The glass elements are not that wimpy
 

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sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
4,490
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#5
Guilty of doing that to my two most used lens, Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 and 24-70mm F2.8 when I could not get at my cleaning cloth or forgot to bring it alot. Scared a few photographers doing it. heheh

Last month I did a few shooting days onboard marine vessels, inside the cabin is aircon, outside its hot sun and lens will condense immediately, used my shirt. Halfway suddenly it stormed and rained, my 14-24 dripping wet, used my shirt again. Later saw salt residues on my cameras. Used my shirt again. Lucky got wear shirt! If not have to use my pants!

Photos more important then gear. Many people have it the other way round.
 

jericho77

New Member
Jul 19, 2013
312
0
0
Singapore
#6
Show us some photo showing your current front lens element will help to find out the problems.
currently is very clean after cleaning. however, if i were to use it outdoors. after awhile will have some smearing.
 

Aug 17, 2005
407
0
16
Northern Singapore
#7
Guilty of doing that to my two most used lens, Nikon 14-24mm F2.8 and 24-70mm F2.8 when I could not get at my cleaning cloth or forgot to bring it alot. Scared a few photographers doing it. heheh Have yet to scratch them. The glass elements are not that wimpy
May i know do you all attached a lens filter on the lens? Or it's no filter and it's that front glass element of the lens that you are cleaning?
 

shierwin

Senior Member
Dec 29, 2008
3,440
8
38
East Coast
#8
May i know do you all attached a lens filter on the lens? Or it's no filter and it's that front glass element of the lens that you are cleaning?
Can mount protective filter on the RX100 lens?
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
12,492
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Pasir Ris
#9
currently is very clean after cleaning. however, if i were to use it outdoors. after awhile will have some smearing.
The closer any dirt is to the sensor the more likely it is visible. Things on front element will hardly affect the picture.
Show us a picture, otherwise we keep guessing what you got there.
 

#11
May i know do you all attached a lens filter on the lens? Or it's no filter and it's that front glass element of the lens that you are cleaning?

I never use filters as protection for my lens for almost 20 years and my 14-24mm does not allow for filter mounting without spending $ 300 to 500 for a filter adapter for it heheh..

In the age of Lightroom I can take out UV correction without a filter and whatever light adjustment. I had a lens that had it's front element damages by a filter. (Contrary to what salemen like to scare customer to up-sale a filter or two when you buy new camera.) During a stumble with the camera around my neck, accidentally hit a protrusion and the impact smash the filter inward and the glass fragments impact and scratch my front lens element which resulted in an expensive replacement. heheh That was the last time I use a filter. The scratched front element did not entirely ruin all photos depending on what F-stop I use.

I rather clean my lens with my tee shirt then use a filter that is smudged if no choice. If you think a smudge on your lens will ruin your shot.. how is that difference from a smudge on a filter too? I am not rich but at the end of the say, If I want to get the shot bad enough and if something do happens like scuff my front element ... well that's life. If I am always fearful of can happen to the gear I own, I should leave that at home in a nice cabinet and/or buy a cheap point 'n' shoot camera or smartphone to shoot everything.

On hindsight since the 80s, I have only damaged gears like 4 times. The latest casualty is my 24-70mm which in my rush to change lens in the rain while sling with a camera, umbrella and a half slung backpack on my shoulder in the stormy rain while waiting for LKY's coffin on the canon was driven by. While struggling to change the lens, my 24-70mm fall off my DLSR. Unluckily miss the flower bed by a few inches but hit the concrete kerb and sustain a few hard bounce flicks.. destroy the zooming stuck at 24mm. After cursing under my breath, mount it back to test and was surprise AF still work at 24mm. So I carry on shooting the road procession scene in the rain now without the umbrella. The camera gear is water resistance but I carried that stupid umbrella was because of my backpack half open to change lens.. thus the lens on the DLSR not properly clicked in fell as I place other back into the bag heh.. Lens has dirt from the fall and finally resting in the flower bed. I use my now slightly wet cleaning cloth to clean before putting the hood back to shoot. The hood was to shelter from the rain.




Yes.. that lens is damaged for a second time. (damn boss' son broke it first time around) The time it cost me $900 to repair by Nikon Service Center who in fact charged me for a brand new lens. Repair might be more this time as the zooming is stuck but if they sell me a new one like the last time again, I will sell it and buy the new 24-70mm F2.8E just announce. heheh.

Yes.. unlucky but that's life. If you worry about losing the investment you put in your gear or big repair bill if you damage it then stick to cheaper priced gear so you don't fear losing your hard earned cash, Doing so, you have to accept living with lower quality results, less flexibility in what you shoot and limited features..eg.

Would I use a rougher material to swipe my lens then tee shirt? Common sense should be your deciding factor and knowing the gear you bought well. Most gear are tougher then you think. If you worry about using the right cloth to wipe your lens then buy lots of it and keep them every where to ensure there is one ready to use when needed. hehe..

The only filters I use are my cir polarizer and ND filters. To prevent vignetting while shooting I have to remove UV filter before putting on polarizer filter and then put it back after shooting. No thank you.

If you want to buy filters to protect your front element, make sure you but good quality glass brand and get the super slim thread filter to ensure vignetting is kept to a minimum unless you use Lightroom or other photo editing s/w to counter it or your camera has anti-vignette feature. Never stack multiple filters on your lens.
 

Octarine

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 3, 2008
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Pasir Ris
#12
Another alternative for filters are lens hoods, some lenses come with hoods in the box.
A lens hood catches blows and knocks nicely and since it is the softer material it will give way rather than forward the impact to the lens. Definitely cheaper than a new lens front element, not forgetting the actual function of blocking stray light.
 

Aug 17, 2005
407
0
16
Northern Singapore
#13
Thanks to Sammy for sharing your shooting experience. I'm still learning how others use and shoot their pic with their gears.
I bought a mix of new and used lenses. I'm not a pro and don't own a lot of lenses. Some lenses don't have filters on it. I'm thinking of not to buy any more UV filters and perhaps even remove those existing ones.
Really good UV filters cost quite a bit. Getting a cheaper ones to protect the lens will compromise the quality of the lens.
 

catchlights

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 27, 2004
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Punggol, Singapore
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#14
Camera and lenses are just merely tools for you to take pictures, paying so much attention on those trivial things on the tools, you will really missing the big "picture".
 

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sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
4,490
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#15
On filters, a Hoya HMC that cost $35 works the same as the BW that cost $95. The tests show there are minute differences and that's where you pay $50 to $60 more for 2-3 single digit percent of difference that the eye can't tell. So long as it is multicoated, you are good to go.

I filter most of my lenses whenever possible because I drive my gear hard and use them in all sorts of places and situations. Its easier to rinse a filter under a tap with soakwater to get rid of splashes from saltwater/saliva /cooking oil/cake and cream from parties, than slowly clean the actual lens itself, sometimes going from shoot to shoot you got no time.

There are also situations that I don't bother.

Some people will clean the filters/lens and exam under the light closely looking for another smudge to get rid of, don;t waste your time, no different to the pic. The more you clean and rub, the more the coating is going to flake off with wear and tear. Dont get obsess with it.
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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lil red dot
#16
On filters, a Hoya HMC that cost $35 works the same as the BW that cost $95. The tests show there are minute differences and that's where you pay $50 to $60 more for 2-3 single digit percent of difference that the eye can't tell. So long as it is multicoated, you are good to go.

I filter most of my lenses whenever possible because I drive my gear hard and use them in all sorts of places and situations. Its easier to rinse a filter under a tap with soakwater to get rid of splashes from saltwater/saliva /cooking oil/cake and cream from parties, than slowly clean the actual lens itself, sometimes going from shoot to shoot you got no time.

There are also situations that I don't bother.

Some people will clean the filters/lens and exam under the light closely looking for another smudge to get rid of, don;t waste your time, no different to the pic. The more you clean and rub, the more the coating is going to flake off with wear and tear. Dont get obsess with it.
I filter my lenses too, because i shoot in harsher conditions as well as kinds why just wanna touch them lenses. ;)

Then again, I find great value in Kenko Zeta filters. at $59 for a 77mm they are extremely easy to clean and scratch resistant. I just use my shirt to clean it most of the times in the field.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
4,490
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#17
I filter my lenses too, because i shoot in harsher conditions as well as kinds why just wanna touch them lenses. ;)

Then again, I find great value in Kenko Zeta filters. at $59 for a 77mm they are extremely easy to clean and scratch resistant. I just use my shirt to clean it most of the times in the field.
Exactly. Also in the field if its a few fingerprints I dont clean coz its not going to affect the pics, if shooting into the sun I just use my shirt and wipe. And no need microfibre shirt :)
 

#18
Thanks to Sammy for sharing your shooting experience. I'm still learning how others use and shoot their pic with their gears.
I bought a mix of new and used lenses. I'm not a pro and don't own a lot of lenses. Some lenses don't have filters on it. I'm thinking of not to buy any more UV filters and perhaps even remove those existing ones.
Really good UV filters cost quite a bit. Getting a cheaper ones to protect the lens will compromise the quality of the lens.

No problem. Just a few more pointers. I have always believe in one thing when I get a lens. If it comes with a hood. Always use it. I never think of it as an option. It's always on my lens. Some hood might be too shallow (especially wide to ultra wide lens) to protect against a protruding object impacting it but help to some extent. That damage to my 24-70mm, I had the hood on it and still got damage but think it save the lens from failure to function entirely but kept the elements from cracking or misaligned at 24mm and AF working heh The hood snap off on impact with the ground. Hood did not even break still. But that hood was well designed.

The other thing you can try to help you understand and get over any phobias you might have over smudges and stains. Mount your camera on a tripod and shoot one shot at a average detail scene, then you smudge on the lens with your finger one time in the middle of the element, shoot another series of shots in various F-stop and then you do another set with lots of smudges on the lens and then do the same again at various f-stop. Then examine all the photos on your computer to see how "bad" smudges really are with effecting the photos you shot. May surprise you to find almost if not all your shots are fine.

I have lens with multiple specks from back side of glass elements that look like oil splats and it does not show up until I had it on very small f-stops and sometime it still does not show up. How I got those oil splats you might ask? Some mechanism inside the lens I think are coated with too much lubricate and are light viscosity. Using my air blower to blow dust off my rear portion of my lens, the jet of air that went deep into the lens cavity managed to jet off some of those oil to cause it to splatter on the back side of the element. So lesson to learn folk. That happen to my old 18-70mm DX kit lens.

To say only expensive lens has super coating on their element I think is wrong in these day and age. Even the kit lens is built to some uniform exacting standards when we talk about general lens coats that protects the lens NOT those Nano coating, ED..etc.

I do get smudges on my lens way more often then dropping my gear or accidentally damaging my gear from cleaning by like 100 to 1 times. .. usually from kids poking at my lens when my camera is slung on my side on a black rapid strap. Especially the bigger the front element the more itchy fingers want to go near and touch. heh. When you do street shoot on the go, you can not afford to have a lens cover on all the time. It comes with the territory. So I always check my lens once i get out of a train and any crowded place.

Never share the same cloth as the one you use to clean your spectacles if you wear them. Because you will be transferring oil to the camera cleaning cloth and end up smudging your lens instead of cleaning your lens. If you sweat a lot like me, never have your cloth in your pocket or you get sweat on the cloth.
 

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