I guess it is now safe to breathe on your lens to clean it

A quick update: Nikon USA removed the sentence from their support page where they suggested not to breathe on your lens to clean it because the lens coating could be damage. I guess it is now safe to continue to clean your lens by "fogging" it.

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  • Todd

    yeah um no kidding Nikon

  • Aldo

    I always do it after using mouth wash it enhances the nano coating…

    • Doctor

      A baking soda mouthwash or chewing tums is strongly recommended particularly after eating a pastrami/corned beef sandwich and pickles BEFORE blowing on ANY lens!!

  • NRA Advocate

    I laughed out loud at that last post. Funny to see all the pseudo-scientists proffering quasi-scientific rationales for why breathing on one’s lens could damage the coatings. And as if butting a smoldering cigarette out on the front element would not!

    Nice to see that common sense finally prevailed at Nikon.

  • Art

    My pet alien will be happy. He was deeply troubled to find out that his acidic saliva was damaging the nano coating. At the same time, the documentary film maker James Cameron never seemed to have lens problems when filming his alien documentaries and there was drool all over the place.

    • Bernard

      Phewwww !… I’m breathing again ! I got some comments about my lack of knowledge in chemistry which have now gone down the drain. Thanks Nikon ! Sure I’m no expert in chemistry but, like many, I have been doing that for decades and my lenses are as good as when I first got them 🙂

  • AlphaTed

    My wife said I’m “acidic”. :/

    • Calibrator

      Don’t worry: She told me that, too.

      • Bernard

        Now that this problem is solved, can we check if it’s OK to spit on the lenses ?… :oD

        • Calibrator

          It’s OK unless you are a llama!

          • Bernard

            Or, in that case, if we have a Nikonos ;o)

      • mielu

        same wife? cool 😀

  • studio460

    I got scared when I first read that and then Googled it. Your breath is full of acids! I’ve been breathing on my glass for decades. Maybe it’s still not a good practice?

    • Iris Chrome

      The breath is acidic but no more than natural unpolluted rain or plain air humidity.

      • apollo

        Well no. Our breath is full of acid gasses from our stomach so it’s a lot acidic than rain and air humidity. Why do you think I say this? I’m studying medicine.

        • Well, Unless you live in NYC or LA 🙂

  • Jorge

    Wow. Thank Goodness! i was getting worried as I’ve only been doing that for 38 years now. LOL

    • so you’ve been doing it for 38 years and yet it got you worried

      • Phil

        I believe it’s called sarcasm

        • And I believe it’s also called sarcasm. People are so dams used to emoticons

          • Micah Goldstein

            People are so dams! They stop up much too!

      • Fish

        It must be terrible having no sense of humor. At least your parents didn’t lack any “Sharbeen” lel.

        • Why isn’t mt comment sarcasm :-/ I think ur being a little rude.

          • Chang

            Mostly because your statement in no way sounds sarcastic. A sarcastic rebuttal to an already sarcastic comment is not going to be obvious unless you make another exaggeration yourself. You just responded with the logical comment from someone who didn’t “get it”.

  • freakor

    cheap DX kit lens, you can breath on it…
    canon lens, you can pee on it.

    • gsum

      Ah but what’s the resale value of smelly used Canon lenses?

      • canon for life

        It will increase the value of a canon lens 😛

  • Riceboy

    Class action for everyone who sold their lens on eBay after reading the original support docs.

  • Benjamin JD

    Would that be considered a Firmware upgrade to fix the “coating gets a bit flaky when breathed upon” bug?

  • A swig of quality bourbon and you should be good to go.

    • Steven Georges

      I totally agree, but I thought we were talking about cleaning lenses?

      • never noticed alcohol breath before? 😉

  • There’s nothing new here. I was first told about this soon after I bought my first camera in the 1960s. The moisture in breath contains a suspension of fat particles which condense on any cold surface. This forms a greasy layer which then oxidises, producing an acid as a by-product which will etch glass. Old photographers used to use the tail of their shirt to wipe lenses, but modern microfibre cloths would be better at removing the grease. You might have noticed the same thing with the inside of your car windscreen. If you don’t clean it regularly it gets all smeary and, if it’s left too long, is really difficult to get rid of.

    • stuntmonkey

      There’s hardly any fat in in your exhaled breath, unless you are spitting on your lenses. If your breath can etch the glass, you must be scared to take your lenses outside in the rain… where the pH go be around 4.0 or lower if you live in a polluted area. The condensation from exhaled breath is for the most part pH neutral. The reason why your windshield smears is because of condensates from volatile substances in the plastics in your car… or in some cases, a leaky heater core, in which case it’s actually antifreeze on your windshield.

  • Spy Black

    Damn! After I spent $20,000 on a laser lens cleaning system…

  • foo

    So did Nikon remove the statement because it wasn’t true… or because Nikon marketing is afraid of lost sales from the bad publicity? (“Proof that Nikon coatings are crap, says Canon fanboys”). Personally I’m sticking to using a LensPen whenever I can.

    • studio460

      Exactly my question as well!

  • Stephen

    (i) there are no volatile acids in human breath, obviously we are roughly pH neutral, maybe some amines or thiols in our breath but that is a good thing from a lens cleaning point of view.

    (ii) the condensed breath is for all practical purposes is distilled water, there are few solvents that are so powerful while remaining innocuous. Certainly not damaging to any optical coating.

    Why did it take so long for Nikon to figure this out? Leica has always known and supported this, maybe it is a matter of experience and scientific insight.

    • studio460

      Sounds good. Yes, I understood our breath to be distilled water. I guess I can still breath on my lenses.

      I usually breathe on the lens first, then lightly swab with Rosco lens tissue to wipe away any surface dust, then moisten a new tissue with a liberal amount of Rosco lens fluid to suspend any remaining particulate matter, swab, then take a new tissue and swab any remaining fluid residue.

    • Where’s my…

      The point is maybe, that when noob breathers breathe on a lens, they do it directly so that high speed spit residues from throat and mouth, caught in the breath, may hit the lens. It’s hard to instruct people to breathe on a lens properly – away from the lens surface without seeing the glass, not into it, so that it’s out of the path of spit. For noob breathers spit smear results in rubbing etc. and increases chances of cleaning marks, as same category of lens owners tend to use the same microfiber cloth multiple times without washing, getting sand dust building up in the cloth. Instead of teaching a new way to breathe to millions of camera owners, it’s much easier to say: Don’t breathe into the lens. Those who know how to breathe properly understand the message.

      • fjfjjj

        “noob beathers” omfg

    • maybe the guy who originally posted that was snorting coca cola? cola is very acidic, so if they’re coughing it up… ;-p

  • Guess, it was absurd from the very beginning…

  • `/1nc3nt

    let’s continue the pseudo scientist discussion.

    what happen if we change the word breathe with spit?


    • m35g35


    • spitting is good!

      it’ll digest and remove any fungus 😉

  • neversink

    Ahhhhhhh…. Breathe in… Breathe out…. Breathe in…. Breath out….

    I’ve done this to all my old lenses for years. Stopped breathing on them when I switched to digital, though I have been known to breathe on the filters of my newer lenses. Glad to know all my old manual lenses have not disintegrated due to my breath.

    Now what about dog breath — Can my dog breath on my lenses??

  • inginerul

    Even the smallest debris, dust speck, can produce a scratch on your lens. Even if you can’t see it, it will be there, and it will multiply each time you clean the lens. This is exactly why you should allways wear a filter !

    I have high qualiyu UV filters on all of my lenses, just so I can avoid any and all types of damages to my front elements. I dropped a sigma 20 1.8 with a pro digital filter, from Hoya. On the stone paving in a church, none the less. It landed on the front, dismantling the filter, but the lens was ok. On two ocasions i allmost distroyed front elements on two lenses I was using without filter at that time, and I filled a front element of another lens with tiny scratches from repetitive cleaning. I learn my lessons, I can’t even imagine cleaning the front element of any lens by moisturising it with my mouth..

    • kyoshinikon

      You sir have not done a serious outdoor shoot… I have never scratched a lens by cleaning it and I use the tail of my shirt for crying out loud! Press photogs don’t have time to meticulously clean their gear out in the field

      • Steven Georges

        And . . . that’s why I use Skylights and UV’s.

  • pierre

    is it possible to take pictures with a Nikon body and lens ?

  • Ben

    S%^T! I just scrapped all my gear and went to Canon, Now you tell me!

  • Helvio

    The user’s manual of my two Nikkor lenses says: “clean cotton cloth or lens tissue moistoned with ethanol (alcool) or lens cleaner”. Why the Nikon web page says only Lens Cleaning Solution???

  • Rusty Cardores

    Personally I like to clean my lenses with farts… it works extremely well, but can be a little embarrassing when shooting weddings.

  • Guest

    Maybe Nikon took it down to ensure we damage our lenses and send them in for repairs, generating more revenue for them 😛

  • Ralph

    I avoid cleaning my lenses wherever possible, the 14-24 is a pain that way, by using filters. I wash my filters with soapy water, I don’t use the scrourer though. I’ve been wondering if I could just put the filters in the dishwasher, I suspect the powder is to harsh for the coatings.

  • srfotog

    Too late now. Been doing it for 45 years that I’ve been a photojournalist.

  • I just let out a huge sigh of relief… right on to my Nikon optics.

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