Thread: Sensor Cleaning
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Old 22nd December 2017
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Re: Sensor Cleaning

Originally Posted by iso View Post
Otto, close to the heart this. Just for Specs though. Must admit I use Methylated Spirit.....for glass cleaning, but do wonder if it degrades the coatings. The only reason I have tried it, it that it smells very like the stuff they use in Opticians.
Any Chemists here that can enlighten me. (IPA sounds very aggressive)
Ok, my degree was in Chemistry although I've never worked in the industry or in academia. What I do know is this...

- For cleaning lenses and such like the essential point is that the substance needs to be volatile (evaporates easily) and leaves no residue. Therefore, you should avoid cheap methylated spirit since it will likely not be pure enough to be residue free.

- Lens coatings are usually made from magnesium or calcium fluoride, applied to the glass by vapour deposition. Some metal oxides are also used. Some manufacturers are also using fancy "nano surface" coatings which use silica nano particles.

- In general all these lens coatings are very robust and will not be damaged by alcohols - although methanol has been suspected of corroding indium tin oxide coating applied to some Sony sensors (not those used on Olympus cameras). This led to Eclipse cleaning fluid (which was basically 100% methanol) introducing a new version (E2) which was predominantly iso-propyl alcohol (IPA). There's little wrong with IPA aside from the fact that it's less volatile than methanol so took longer to dry which tended to leave streaks. They've replaced both now with Aeroclipse which is mainly a fluoro-ethyl ether (1,1,2,2-Tetrafluoroethyl-2,2,2-trifluoroethyl ether) with a bit of ethanol. This works very well and has no known corrosive effects on coatings (but it is more toxic than IPA).

- The biggest risk to any cleaning of lenses, sensors etc is physical scratching caused by grit. For that reason, always make sure to use a blower or lens pen first (dry clean) before wet cleaning and make sure the cleaning cloth/pad is scrupulously clean. For sensor cleaning, only use a clean, freshly-opened swab designed expressly for sensor cleaning.

- The other potential risk with wet cleaning is excess fluid going where it shouldn't. This is only a problem if you overload the swab. You only need a small amount of fluid - follow the instructions and you'll be fine.

You might find this site helpful for cleaning products and guides:
E-M1ii, Pen-F and too many lenses
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iso (23rd December 2017), Otto (22nd December 2017)
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