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Cleaning recommendation for lenses on new 8x25 Terra ED binoculars (1 Viewer)

PCH BIRDER

Active member
I received my new bins from B&H about a week ago. In a separate thread I will post my experience, but in short, I love them more every day I use them as eye placement against the upper eyelid (wearing no glasses) becomes more natural and automatic. I have noticed some very small spots on the lenses and want to be sure they clean up and are not a problem while I'm inside my 30 day return window.

I'm getting ready to order from B&H a package of the Zeiss pre-moistened wipes, along with a new air blower and a new camel hair brush. My thought was that I would blow, use the brush if needed, and then clean the lens very gently with the pre-moistened wipe, finishing with a lens cleaning cloth that has never been used (saving the one that came with the binocs in case it must be returned). I know that the general wisdom on cleaning is do as little as possible, but if I don't clean I won't know for sure that I didn't get a pair with small spots in the lens. I don't think that is the case but I want to find out while I can still return if necessary.

And having written this, it just occurred to me that perhaps I should call B&H before doing any cleaning to be sure that would not be a potential problem for a return?

Any thoughts, recommendations or cautions? Thanks very much.
 
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LucaPCP

Registered User
Supporter
I wash them by putting them under the faucet, at low water volume, so the water carries away any dust. Then, I wash my hands and I touch with my finger a bar of soap, and very gently wash the lenses with my finger. A final rinse under the faucet, a shake, and I let them dry. This minimizes risks of scratches.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Many folks use running tap water to clean their binos but I am nervous of doing this because it seems to me you can't be sure the water has removed all the particles and with the lenses wet it must be hard to see remaining particles. So Luca I clean my lenses like this: blow, always brush, breathe on normal marks like raindrops etc, use Zeiss wipes on any other marks, breathe on the lense to finish with a clean microfibre cloth. When brushing try to hold the binos with the brushed lens facing down somewhat so disturbed particles fall out of the eyecup. Afterwards check the rainguard which may have received particles falling down from the brushing.

Lee
 

LucaPCP

Registered User
Supporter
Lee, difficult to know which technique is the best. I haven’t scratched any lens with mine, and I use the same technique for my coated glasses too. On the other hand, my technique works only as long as the binoculars are waterproof!
 

PCH BIRDER

Active member
Lee, difficult to know which technique is the best. I haven’t scratched any lens with mine, and I use the same technique for my coated glasses too. On the other hand, my technique works only as long as the binoculars are waterproof!
A quick update. I just had an excellent conversation with the rep at B&H. They really are terrific to deal with. He said it was fine for me to clean the lenses and if the imperfection is still there then send them back. No problem. And all I have to do is call them within the 30 day window and I'll have another 10 days for a return. So I have nothing but good things to say about B&H, they continue to provide the best customer service I know for optics. That said, I will use they Zeiss pre-moistened cleaning cloth simply because they have some chemical combination in there that they think is optimal. Thanks to all for your feedback.
 

PCH BIRDER

Active member
Following up -- I got all the cleaning stuff from B&H and carefully cleaned 3 older bins of mine to be sure there no issues with the Zeiss pre-moistened cleaning cloths. I blew and brushed, then used the pre-moistened cloths, finishing off with a Zeiss microfibre cloth. Perfect! No spots, no issues. Love their pre-moistened cloths. Then I did the same on the new Terras and the lenses came up spotless! They are keepers. I'm really happy with them. I'll post some further thoughts when I have a little more time on the bins themselves in the other thread where I was asking questions about them. Thanks to everyone for the feedback and help.
 

ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
What's really intriguing is that Zeiss sells those wipes intended for glasses, camera lenses, and binocular lenses... but advises using only water to clear their lenses. And Leica specifically warns to NOT use alcohol or other chemical cleaners. Presumably alcohol and other cleaners may degrade the coatings. Funny thing is that the Zeiss wipes contain alcohol. o_O

I would go with blowing off any dust first, then use breath and clean microfiber cloth. Then, if necessary, some water on a microfiber cloth. I would save the Zeiss wipes for eye glasses and iPhone and iPad screens.
 

PCH BIRDER

Active member
If Zeiss is advising that you should only use water (which I haven't seen myself -- where did you read that?) then they are saying two entirely contradictory things because the Instructions that come with the box of their pre-moistened cleaning cloths feature illustrations of how you should use the wipe on your binocular lens. And their written instructions discuss the use of the wipes for your binoculars. They specifically say, "Open the packaging of one of the wipes and unfold it. Clean your lens by making circular motions from the center of the lens outward. Dry the lens immediately with a microfiber cloth." If Zeiss really is conveying contradictory messages on cleaning their optics, well then we should bring this up with Zeiss customer service and see what they have to say.

I just did a little more looking online and think I may have found at least one source of possible confusion -- I see that Zeiss makes two different products, "Lens Wipes" and "Pre-Moistened Cleaning Cloths" -- It is the pre-moistened cleaning cloths that are included in the cleaning kits they sell for optics. It is true that these cloths do have alcohol, but perhaps they have refined that usage in a way that is optimal for high end optics.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
From Zeiss website:
Care and maintenance

The binoculars feature the ZEISS LotuTec® coating. The effective protective coating for the lens surfaces noticeably reduces contamination of the lenses through a special smooth surface and the strong beading effect connected with it. All types of contamination adhere less and can be quickly and easily removed, smear-free. The LotuTec® coating is also durable and abrasion resistant.

Please do not wipe coarse particles (e. g. sand) from the lenses, rather blow them away or use a fine brush to remove them. Over time, fingerprints can corrode the lens surface.

Breathing on the lens and polishing with a clean optical cleansing cloth is the easiest method of cleaning the lens surface.

Dry storage and keeping the outer lens surfaces well ventilated, especially in the tropics, helps to prevent a possible mould film forming on the optics. Your ZEISS VICTORY SF binoculars require no further special care.

(Salient point is that these Zeiss instructions do not suggest using either of their lens cleaning products!)

Leica goes even further on their website:
From Leica website:
Your Leica Ultravid binoculars need no special maintenance. Use a soft lens brush or a blower to remove large particles of dirt, sand, etc.

To remove fingerprints etc., first wipe the eyepiece and lens with a damp cloth, then dry them with a piece of clean, soft chamois leather or lint free cloth.

If the binoculars, particularly the rotating eyecups, are very dirty, simply rinse them under a running faucet.

Always rinse off salt water.

Moisture inside the central focusing unit (visible through the scale window) will dry quickest when the two rings (3/4) are unlocked. Alcohol and other chemical solutions must not be used.
 

PCH BIRDER

Active member
From Zeiss website:
Care and maintenance

The binoculars feature the ZEISS LotuTec® coating. The effective protective coating for the lens surfaces noticeably reduces contamination of the lenses through a special smooth surface and the strong beading effect connected with it. All types of contamination adhere less and can be quickly and easily removed, smear-free. The LotuTec® coating is also durable and abrasion resistant.

Please do not wipe coarse particles (e. g. sand) from the lenses, rather blow them away or use a fine brush to remove them. Over time, fingerprints can corrode the lens surface.

Breathing on the lens and polishing with a clean optical cleansing cloth is the easiest method of cleaning the lens surface.

Dry storage and keeping the outer lens surfaces well ventilated, especially in the tropics, helps to prevent a possible mould film forming on the optics. Your ZEISS VICTORY SF binoculars require no further special care.

(Salient point is that these Zeiss instructions do not suggest using either of their lens cleaning products!)

Leica goes even further on their website:
From Leica website:
Your Leica Ultravid binoculars need no special maintenance. Use a soft lens brush or a blower to remove large particles of dirt, sand, etc.

To remove fingerprints etc., first wipe the eyepiece and lens with a damp cloth, then dry them with a piece of clean, soft chamois leather or lint free cloth.

If the binoculars, particularly the rotating eyecups, are very dirty, simply rinse them under a running faucet.

Always rinse off salt water.

Moisture inside the central focusing unit (visible through the scale window) will dry quickest when the two rings (3/4) are unlocked. Alcohol and other chemical solutions must not be used.
Thanks for posting all of that -- It really does seem like they are conveying two somewhat opposing messages at the same time -- everything you've just quoted from the website vs. the fact that they include the pre-moistened cloths in their cleaning kits for binoculars and scopes and camera lenses (plus illustrations for cleaning binocular lenses with their instructions that come with the cloths). It would be interesting to reach out to someone in Zeiss optics and ask them to please explain what may (or may not) be a self-contradictory message. Of course it is the Leica site that is the one saying alcohol and other cleaning solutions must not be used, whereas it appears that Zeiss is silent on that exact point. Kind of a mystery.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like it would be great if someone here who has access to Zeiss could do an interview with a Zeiss engineer or exec and get them on the record about how we should and shouldn't clean our binoculars --because right now it really does seem like they have left the question ambiguous.
 
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ZDHart

Well-known member
Supporter
Thanks for posting all of that -- It really does seem like they are conveying two somewhat opposing messages at the same time -- everything you've just quoted from the website vs. the fact that they include the pre-moistened cloths in their cleaning kits for binoculars and scopes and camera lenses (plus illustrations for cleaning binocular lenses with their instructions that come with the cloths). It would be interesting to reach out to someone in Zeiss optics and ask them to please explain what may (or may not) be a self-contradictory message. Of course it is the Leica site that is the one saying alcohol and other cleaning solutions must not be used, whereas it appears that Zeiss is silent on that exact point. Kind of a mystery.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like it would be great if someone here who has access to Zeiss could do an interview with a Zeiss engineer or exec and get them on the record about how we should and shouldn't clean our binoculars --because right now it really does seem like they have left the question ambiguous.
My hunch is that since Zeiss makes money on their wet cleaning tissues - perhaps more than they make on binoculars? - they aren't going to come out and say that alcohol-based cleaners should be avoided. For them, it makes the most sense to recommend using breath to clean (on their website) and just be silent on using cleaners.

As I recall, even Apple recommends only water moisture to clean screens of their devices, which I don't believe are coated with any special coatings.

For Leica to come straight out stating to AVOID alcohol and other chemical cleaners... tells me that avoiding those products with Zeiss lenses too probably makes good sense.

I have an ample quantity of Zeiss wet lens wipe towelette packets and have no problem using them on my eye glasses, iPhone, iPad, and even computer screens... as well as on my keyboards and some other items. But just to be on the safe side, I'm going to avoid using them on my very expensive coated alpha bin lens surfaces, whether they be Zeiss or Leica bins.

If need be, I'll go with a damp microfiber cloth, though I would not think that perhaps one or two uses of Zeiss alcohol-based lens wipes (after significant blowing off of any dust or other loose contaminants) would cause noticeable damage to a coated lens surface.

I wouldn't bet on obtaining any "official" statement from Zeiss saying to avoid using their wet wipes on their lenses and bins. My guess is that a Zeiss engineer would simply suggest using your breath (or water) and a clean micro fiber cloth, without any advisory against using their Zeiss wet wipes.
 
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PCH BIRDER

Active member
Just out of curiosity I went and looked again at something I had seen on the B&H website when I bought the wipes. It is the Zeiss Representative answering a question about the safety of using the wipes on coated lenses. This is what they posted:

ZEISS Lens Cleaning products are safe for use on multi-coated camera lenses. For more information, visit: Cleaning Products

Answered by Representative May 18, 2020

Two of the products in the Zeiss cleaning kit are the pre-moistened cleaning cloths along with a bottle of the cleaning solution (presumably the same formula as the wipes). Are multicoated camera lenses distinctly different than multi-coated binocular lenses? I doubt it as to the issue we're discussing.

So, it does seem like they are declaring their products safe on our binocular lenses. But everything else you posted from Zeiss as well as Leica's instruction (unless for some reason Leica's coatings are different to Zeiss coatings in some critical way) does lead me to pretty much come around to your point of view -- I'll just use water unless their is s smudge of some sort that is resisting just water, in which case I would use their cloth with the solution. I would guess that their cloths are safe, but less is probably more in this case and I'll only use a pre-moistened cloth when I really need to. Thanks for all the feedback. I had no idea this issue was as complicated and contentious as it is!
 

John A Roberts

Well-known member
Australia
Hi ZDHart (post #9),

I was interested to see Leica's prohibition against using 'alcohol or other cleaning solutions', since I couldn't remember that being said by them (or by Zeiss or by Swarovski). Since it seems that it must be a recent change, I decided to look back through some of the Leica instruction manuals.
They can be found at: Downloads // Support // Service & Support - Leica Camera AG

And:
• the 2013 Ultravid manual has no mention;
• by 2017, the Noctivid manual states 'Do not use alcohol or chemical cleaning solutions on the binoculars' and;
• by 2019, the Retrovid manual states as a seperate dot point 'Do not use alcohol or chemical cleaning solutions on the optics or housing'.

So it's a relatively recent change - and an important one for Leica owners to know - since:
• it's contrary to what some commonly do, especially when cleaning lenses;
• it seemingly may result in either physical damage or the accelerated breakdown of materials, and then;
• it may have implications for someone who sends in a unit for servicing!

It would be useful to know if it's due to an abundance (overabundance?) of caution, or if it's necessary due to changing to more eco-friendly materials.
It also seems to indicate that the outer lens coating AquaDura, is not all that dura.


John
 

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dorubird

Well-known member
Romania
For years I have been cleaning my lens photo filters and binoculars successfully, without problems, using the following sequence of operations:
1 blower, blower, blower
2 brush-to dislodge any abrassive dust particles
3 blower-again
3 breathing on the lens
4 Lenspen -it is a very effective tool to removing traces of grease like smearing or fingerprints
5 blower-again
Cleaning is done with fine and easy movements by return
Also, when I see traces on the lenses, I try to wipe it immediately so not to let them stick hard
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
From Zeiss website:
Care and maintenance

The binoculars feature the ZEISS LotuTec® coating. The effective protective coating for the lens surfaces noticeably reduces contamination of the lenses through a special smooth surface and the strong beading effect connected with it. All types of contamination adhere less and can be quickly and easily removed, smear-free. The LotuTec® coating is also durable and abrasion resistant.

Please do not wipe coarse particles (e. g. sand) from the lenses, rather blow them away or use a fine brush to remove them. Over time, fingerprints can corrode the lens surface.

Breathing on the lens and polishing with a clean optical cleansing cloth is the easiest method of cleaning the lens surface.

Dry storage and keeping the outer lens surfaces well ventilated, especially in the tropics, helps to prevent a possible mould film forming on the optics. Your ZEISS VICTORY SF binoculars require no further special care.

(Salient point is that these Zeiss instructions do not suggest using either of their lens cleaning products!)

Leica goes even further on their website:
From Leica website:
Your Leica Ultravid binoculars need no special maintenance. Use a soft lens brush or a blower to remove large particles of dirt, sand, etc.

To remove fingerprints etc., first wipe the eyepiece and lens with a damp cloth, then dry them with a piece of clean, soft chamois leather or lint free cloth.

If the binoculars, particularly the rotating eyecups, are very dirty, simply rinse them under a running faucet.

Always rinse off salt water.

Moisture inside the central focusing unit (visible through the scale window) will dry quickest when the two rings (3/4) are unlocked. Alcohol and other chemical solutions must not be used.
For guidance directly from Zeiss go to: Cleaning Products

And here Zeiss clearly state "ZEISS cleaning products allow you to remove even the smallest dirt gently but effectively. They are suitable not only for camera lenses, filters and spectacle lenses, but also for binoculars and LCD displays such as those on your laptop or smartphone", and then the cleaning kits and wipes are described.

Lee
 

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