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.