Once upon a time a place called USENET was the domain of educated people (being military, education and government) but was beset upon by AOL (who came to be known as Assholes On Line) who flooded into these forums with opinion based often enough only on Wang King views. Perhaps this occured at about the time of the death of King Wu?
I have discovered that Wang King has a new biological weapon ... let me tell you about that via an anecdote..
Recently it has come to my attention that there exists some anxiety about the effects of windex on chromatic coatings on surfaces (such as lenses, filters and probably the filters covering camera sensors) there exists some threads out there on the internet on the topic, which are usually devoid of any actual facts and logic is substituted with fear and ignorance.
While being unclear as to how to even identify the coatings these folks were quite certain that windex would destroy them. Knowledge based on ignorance ...this reveals the threat ...
Kindom of Wang and they should be ignored or avoided.
As the internet is a digital domain these zombies can only be represented digitally, for the actual personas behind them are even more frightful.
So I issue you with this warning: when you encounter them deluding some poor innocent, remember that engaging them will only make things worse (even if you didn't say Jehova). Remember that these creatures are attracted to noise.
In contrast, a logical person may ask if there is any harm in Windex-alike products to a lens coating and if so what would that be from? Of course that requires a little examination of its own.
But first, I started using windex after I read years ago a whitepaper written by a lens making company called Schneider, I will link to it here (but who knows if it ever shifts). That paper gives the guidelines for lens cleaning:
First, use a soft camel's hair brush or air to remove any solid particles from the lens surface. This will prevent scratching during subsequent cleaning steps.
Next, you need to select a cleaning solution and tissue. Use Kimwipes, Kodak lens tissues, or a clean soft lintless cloth (there are some made for the purpose). Never use Kleenex or paper towels as they can contain abrasives. It is always best to start with the most benign cleaning fluid and progress to stronger solvents if necessary. Glass cleaner, such as Windex or Kodak lens fluid, is a good starting point.
The underline is mine, it is to demonstrate that Schneider suggest windex and list it as "most benign".
They then go on to make some important points on technique:
It is important to remember to apply the lens cleaner to the lens cleaning tissue before use. Never wipe a lens with a dry cloth!I can only assume this applies to crap devices like lensPens (sees people circling and circling with them in attempt to clean : shudder) or anything like a microfiber cloth. It won't erase your coating instantly (only a Wanger would think that) but it will polish it off and erode the quality of it over time.
They go on to clarify directions and say:
Take your moist cleaning tissue and, starting at the center, wipe in a circular motion around the lens. Do this in one direction only. Do not back up. Discard the lens tissue frequently, usually after each wipe of the lens. You want to discard any dust or grit that the tissue has picked up rather than scratching the lens with it on your next wipe. Cleaning should be done gently and quickly. It should take no more than 30 seconds to clean one lens surface. If it takes you longer than this, you are probably working too hard and may be damaging your lens in the long run.So don't spray your lens directly (who knows where the fluid will run to) and instead apply it to the cleaning tool (as I have said above).
But what about ammonia...As it happens I don't use windex, but a windex-alike product called Glitz. I had assumed that it contained some ammonia (as I had the impression that windex did too). It turns out that the product I use does not contain ammonia, but instead (according to the Materials Safety Data Sheet for it) contains Ethanol and 2-Butoxyethanol (as well as some other trace elements not detailed).
Of course many compounds (you know, like the chromatic coatings) have some level solubility and thus could be dissolved by a solvent. Each compound has its own solvent, some are dissolved in water, some are dissolved in benzene, some in alcohol ... the list goes on.
So while my windex-alike product does not even contain ammonia, the Zombies of Moronity still sledge it and look to a product by Kodak called Lens Cleaner. Seems a worthwhile suggestion but when you look up the Material Safety Data Sheet of Kodak Lens Cleaner something interesting emerges:
============= Composition/Information on Ingredients =============
Fraction by Wt: > 99%
Other REC Limits:NONE RECOMMENDED
Ingred Name:AMMONIUM CARBONATE (CERCLA)
Fraction by Wt: < 1%
Oops ... looks like while Wangers are saying windex is bad because it contains Ammonia (except as I'll show in a moment it doesn't always contain ammonia) and will rip the coatings off (oh, but they don't know how to see a coating anyway so you'll just have to worry about that), and Kodak Lens cleaner is good ... tragically it seems that Kodak product does contain Ammonia.
Laugh? ... I nearly shat.
Dad, whats a solvent?Next lets look quickly at solvents. To act, a solvent requires both concentration and time. Lets give an example, such as alcohol being a solvent for something. Putting neat alcohol onto a cloth you can see the effect when you wipe a ink-jet print - it strips the dye off fast.
If you were to water the alcohol down (not using it neat) it will have less effect. If for example you were to put a thimble full of alcohol into a liter of water it would essentially have no effect at all.
So what is the concentration of Ammonia in windex? Well hard to be sure, but according to Wikipedia its quite small: 0.05% of 28% ammonia.
So less than a thimble of a dillute ammonia in a bucket.
So even if ammonia was a solvent for the compounds in lens coatings, when a small amount of very dilute solution is added to moisten a paper cleaner (and facilitate the oil from a fingerprint being absorbed away) there is pretty much bugger all risk (and perhaps zero) to your lens coatings.
It gets worse for the anti-windex wangers as it turns out that there are three windex products for glass, of which only one contains ammonia. From the product FAQ:
The following products do not contain ammonia. They can be used in cases where ammonia is not recommended for use on surface. Windex® Crystal Rain™ ...
Which would mean that the screaming hysteria of don't use windex has pretty much got no substance to it at all.
This has got to be the Emperors New Clothes of lens cleaning.
The King is dead, long live the King! King Wang King Wang King WangKing WangKing Wanking wanking