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Old 12/28/2006, 07:14 AM   #1
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perpetual98's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Oconomowoc
Posts: 1,242
Lens cleaner review...

Saw this over on Toms Hardware this morning so I thought that I'd share it with you guys...

Finally, An Optical Lens Cleaner That Really Works!

Barry Gerber - December 27, 2006 08:02

One Certified Photography Nut With Glasses

I'm a certified photography nut and I wear glasses; the combination means that I spend a lot of time cleaning lenses. Unfortunately, I've found that there are a lot of really crappy lens cleaning products out there. Some smear up a lens worse than before you started cleaning it; others literally remove the coatings from a lens, taking away all of its external glare and light management capabilities. Even the best of them can manage to scratch a lens, even if you've blown away all visible particles first.

A week or two ago, a friend of mine named Marty Winston turned me on to a new lens cleaning product from Origin Laboratories LLC. They make a number of products under the Purosol name, including a cleaner for almost any kind of display. The lens cleaner is called Purosol Optical, while the display cleaner is Purosol Plasma. And, wow does Purosol Optical work! Plasma works too, but I'll concentrate here on Optical.

For many years I've been putting expensive multi-coated (glare reducing) UV-haze filters, usually from Hoya, on my expensive Single Lens Reflex (SLR) lenses. Filters like these protect the lens against fingerprints and dust, and generally provide a little better image when you're shooting outdoors in hazy light.

Filters play another role as well: protection. My wife once dropped one of my lenses, mounted on a digital SLR in a holster camera bag, front-first about four feet onto a nice, hard asphalt road. The filter was destroyed, but it absorbed all of the impact, leaving the camera and lens in perfect working order. If a filter gets damaged, even though it's expensive, it's most likely cheaper than repairing the lens you put it on.

There are a couple of extreme wide angle lenses that I don't equip with filters, but both have a built-in filter-like piece of glass that covers the exterior lens element. I've found that mounting filters on lenses such as these can interfere with the quality of images rendered by the lens. Yes, the built-in "filter" on these lenses can be damaged, and unlike a real filter, replacing a built-in filter almost always requires returning the lens to the manufacturer or a good camera repair facility. But I'm willing to take a chance with these lenses to ensure that I get the best image quality.

Before Purosol Optical, cleaning those expensive filters brought very little joy and lots of aggravation. I bought some of the world's most well-known and expensive lens cleaning products. The best I ever found, before Purosol Optical, was a pre-moistened lens tissue from lens maker Zeiss. These worked fine in some circumstances, but over time they tended to dry out either a little or even completely. There's nothing worse than trying to clean a lens with a dry tissue or cloth of any kind. I also tried the Eclipse Optic Cleaning System liquid and PEC*PAD solution - it also worked most of the time, but not always.

The end result of these efforts was that I had to replace a few large and very expensive filters, because their optical coatings were literally removed during cleaning. Because of the unpredictable results I got with other lens cleaners, I was never able to get up the nerve to clean the built-in filters on my wide angle lenses - not until Purosol Optical, that is.

Purosol Optical To The Rescue

The other day I was taking some holiday photos of the family using my Canon EOS 5D full-frame digital SLR. I accidentally touched the surface of my favorite portrait lens, a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, and saw a ghastly 2" fingerprint running right across the middle of the front of the lens. I took a picture and saw a kind of hazing in the center of the image, right where fingerprint fell on the lens. With a few pictures yet to be taken, I had to switch to another lens so the show could go on.

Afterwards, I simply couldn't bring myself to try to clean off the fingerprint - instead, I just left the camera sitting in the bag. Then Marty told me about Purosol Optical. I ordered a bottle over the Internet along with a microfiber cloth; when it arrived, I was still a bit leery about cleaning the lens, but finally forced myself to do it.

I moistened the cloth - never pour cleaner on a lens! - and gently wiped the fingerprint. It seemed to disappear so quickly that I was convinced it was an illusion caused by the light in the room. So I ran around the house checking the lens: no fingerprint. I ran outside in the shade: no fingerprint. Then I went into the sun: no fingerprint! It really was gone.

So, why does Purosol Optical work so well (and Purosol Plasma for that matter)? Let me quote from the little blurb that comes with the Optical:

Purosol was developed for NASA and the space program, as an alternative to solvent-based cleaners that destroy lens coatings, are environmentally dangerous and contribute to health problems.... [Purosol c]ontains no ammonia, alcohol, glycerin or silicone. Completely solvent free.... Purosol Optical [is] an environmentally friendly enzyme-based formula; Purosol cleans at the molecular level, neutralizing the bonds that dust, dirt, oil and grime use to adhere to glass or plastic lens surfaces. This solution is designed specifically for high-end multi-coated lenses.


Those of you who have read my "Who Designed This Crap?" columns know that I'm not easily impressed with many technologies, and I take vendor claims with a ton of salt. I tested Purosol in a number of tough lens cleaning situations and I can vouch for the claims made by Origin Labs about the almost magical ability of this cleaner to remove dust and dirt, and especially oil and grime. Purosol Optical is truly a miracle product. Gad! I sound like one of those guys on an infomercial. But, it's true. Oh yeah: it works great on my plastic eyeglass lenses as well.

Optical comes in 1, 2 and 4 ounce bottles, and it isn't cheap, but it's worth every penny. Purosol products are available from a variety of vendors. If you can't find them, check out the company's web site at

perpetual98 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12/28/2006, 08:56 AM   #2
Moved On
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 768
warm breath and a nice microfiber will do you just fine..just make sure you blow off any major dust first

05Xrunner is offline   Reply With Quote

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