$1 Lens... Now what?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Absinthe, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Ok, so I couldn't resist. I picked up a "Kodak Projection Anastigmat f:4.5 161 mm " lens.

    I figured, what the %@$# it's only a buck!

    So the Fstop ring is kind of loose, and the screw that holds it in place, seems to turn without much resistance. On top of that, there looks like there are spider webs inside it. As well the very rearmost element had a sort of darker (darker than clear) halo around it.

    So for a buck I have a fun little toy, to play with on my desk. However, as a learning experience, and since it is only a buck, what do I have? And what are the steps and techniques to learn/practice to fix them.

    I assume what I think looks like spider webs is fungus. I have heard this is killed by direct sunlight, how much and how long? Can this lens be taken apart or is it cemented together?

    I can look through this at something in fairly clear focus, then flip the lens around and it stays in focus, does that mean it is symmetric?

    Are there shutters big enough to hold this? I don't have my calipers here with me, but it seems pretty big..
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    It is an enlarging lens in barrel.

    It is a tessar type. If it is like the other EKCo lenses I have, the front and rear cells should screw out of the barrel. The front cell contains two elements with an airspace between them. The front cell's rear element should unscrew. The rear cell contains a cemented doublet that can't be taken apart.

    Killing fungus isn't enough. It also has to be removed and the glasses cleaned.

    At even odds, there's no shutter the lens' cells will go into. And since it is an enlarging lens it will be useful as a taking lens only closeup.

    In general, buying a lens in barrel in the hope of finding a shutter its cells will fit makes poor economic sense. A used lens in shutter usually costs less, often significantly less, than buying a lens in barrel and having adapters made that will allow the cells to be put in a shutter and buying the shutter. And the result of putting a crappy lens in barrel in shutter will be a crappy lens in shutter. Better just to get a decent lens in shutter.

    There are exceptions. Before offsetting income, which reduced the net cost to around $250, buying a 38/4.5 Biogon in an obscure and unusable shutter and having it put in a new Copal #0 cost me $700. Well worth it, even without the offsetting income. But the 38 Biogon is an exceptional lens and a Projection Ektar isn't.

    Until you learn more -- at the moment there's little evidence that you know what you're doing -- don't buy anything. A new acquisition is a distraction. Even for $1, your new paperweight is a distraction.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan
     
  3. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Thanks Dan. I assumed from the "Projection" that it was an enlarging lens but wasn't sure. Here is what I have determined. With firm pressure against my palm, I was able to unscrew the rearmost cell. Upon further forensics I determined, that this is not the first time it has been opened. I see toolmark "slips" on the flat surface of some of the brass. I was able to clean the cell with a lens wipe, suggesting that the dust and crud (thumb print?) came from the ham-fisted-ness of the previous owner.

    I assume the halo I see is either a failure of the coating, or if this in fact 2 cells together, one being convex and one being concave, then perhaps what I am looking at is the beginnings of "separation."

    What follows is the iris. It operates relatively smoothly, though there are no detentes. It also appears to have some substance on it, though it looks like rust, it feels a bit more like very old dry grease.

    From here I can access the rearmost aspect of the front cell. I believe this to be where my "spider webs" live. Funny, I can see a pattern here, but it doesn't look spiderweb like at all unless the rear cell is screwed back in. (Cool!) Reminds me of the toy with the parabolic reflector that let you see a button, but you couldn't press it, because it was down in the reflector.

    A swipe of the lens cleaning tissue removed some more cruft and a little air removed most of the dust. I felt the texture of the area that I was thinking to be fungus with the edge of my fingernail, and it does in fact have a texture that would suggest that it is either proud of the glass or has etched it.

    I will attempt to clean this with something a little more aggressive than this lens tissue, and perhaps some kind of lens cleaner or solvent? Either way, it is relatively minor and doesn't really show through when looking through the lens at something as opposed to looking askance into the lens :smile:

    Remember Dan, I am also trying to learn some rudimentary repair and service techniques as well as acquire equipment. So, obviously, I don't know what I am doing. :smile: But, I would rather not know what I was doing, and learn on a $1 lens than not know what I am doing and learn on a $700 lens.

    As for not buying anything until I learn more... the question comes to mind, "How will I learn more without having stuff to learn on?" Can I convince people to send me their junk gratis so I can take it apart and mess with it?

    In the front of the lens there are threads. There is a name plate that has all that writing I quoted in the earlier post. Is that physically part of the front cell or does that come out then the cell is screwed in behind it? I am guessing something like a suction cup on the glass of the lens would unscrew this, or do I have to use something wider to unscrew the "name plate" first?

    I am not intending to put this into a shutter, unless someone had said something like, "Those fit into a standard blurf." But I will cut me a board and try and mount it so I can see the image on my GG. It seemed to project an image of my double windows at 8 feet away into an image circle about 7" or 8" on my opposite wall from about 6 or so inches away at 4.5. Certainly no perfect test but impressive still to see the magic :smile:

    It would be nice to find a retaining ring to fit but worse comes to worse I will glue it to a board or put a big rubber band on it to hold it to a board. I can see how it does in my enlarger, too, or perhaps put it on the polaroid mp-4 to replace the little tominon I stole :smile: to turn that into a Frankenstein enlarger, or dedicated macro camera, Scheimpflug be damned! :smile:

    I am having fun, and hopefully I will learn something, if nothing else but what some of these things are called. Thanks for the luck, I think a buck for the paper weight is pretty lucky.

    Who knows, maybe after it is cleaned up, I can call it "Rare" and put it on eBay and send my kids to college :smile:
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Dismantle the lens and clean the elements with Listerine to kill and remove the fungus.
     
  5. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Thanks Jim! Are there any concerns I should have with the Listerine damaging anything else?
     
  6. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Absinthe,
    Boy, you can do lots of stuff with only a buck in it.
    The decorator ring should unscrew. That's the ring with the information on it.
    Then there is normally a thin ring with spanner notches holding the cells in place.
    You need to be aware of the orientation of the cells when you remove them. It's possible to reassemble some lenses with the elements out of order. In most newer lenses, not so likely(think lowest common denominator).
    If you have separation it's a good time to learn how to re-cement elements.
    The almost universal solvent, Acetone will get things apart for you, a small container to drop the group into & let it work for a day or three. Some of the early glass was pretty soft & I have broken an element by trying to rush the process. Only did that once & like you with a lens that was inexpensive.
    To recement a group, it's gotta be clean(acetone & lens tissue). Use "crystal Clear", it's a UV curing optical cement for-----gluing stuff like this together. Most Ace hdw. normally stock it.
    If you try this be careful using the CC it only takes one drop and you sure as hell don't want any air bubbles in it. Apply one drop to the concave element & carefully set the convex element in place and gently rub both elements together to spread the glue. Once the glue is spread, Do not separate the elements or you'll introduce bubbles, Align the elements, wipe the excess from the edges and expose to UV/sunlight. It takes about 24 hrs. to cure.
    I use two "V's cut into small pieces of hardwood to align the edges.
    BE careful with the alignment, The Crystal Clear is really permanent so if something is slightly mis-aligned it no longer fits into the barrel.
    The edges if the glass also have to be painted black after the glue dries, I've tried using a brush but the application is too thick and uneven. Black lacquer or enamel works with two or three LIGHTLY applied coats.
     
  7. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Now with only a minor amount of encouragement from my opposite thumbs I was able to unscrew the front cell (without even touching the glass ... mostly)

    For those that are following this thread the nameplate is integral to the front cell.

    So I have extracted the cells, and will treat them to some mouthwash later tonight. Is there any service to be performed on the iris? Other than being careful not to drop the barrel and spill all the little blades all over the place. There are so many of them the circle is almost a perfect circle...
     
  8. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Thanks John! This sounds like fun. I am not sure I have the "v-notch" image clear in mind yet though. As for the decorator ring, it is all connected to the glass. I am not sure how to describe this, but to start with there are no spanner notches or holes anywhere. The glass parts seem to be integrated into a threaded metal part (of which the decorator ring seems to be part) I can take digigraphs of this later.

    Ok, so the cells and iris are in the barrel. When I remove a cell, it has a glass component and a metal component (I assume the glass is glued into the metal) so I have been calling the combined glass and metal component a cell. It may have one or more "elements" in it? What is the metal part that holds the element groups/pairs/singles called once you removed the elements from the cell ( I assume by delaminating them with a solvent )?

    Speaking of solvents, what is your opinion of MEK? It is available and I was told it does the same as Acetone, but is less volatile and thus will not evaporate as fast (better for soaking?)
     
  9. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    You might also put the lens cells out in the sun for a day. The UV can help kill the fungus, though it won't remove anything that's there.
    juan
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Absinthe, depending on the lens EKCo lenses' elements are held in by swaging or by retaining rings. Elements that are swaged in can't be extracted without ruining the lens; once removed they can't be replaced. Don't ask what swage means, look it up.

    Retaining rings can in principle be unscrewed.

    Trim rings (that's what they're called) are usually screwed in. They are usually removed with a rubber fixture that's essentially a rubber stopper with the center cut out so that it won't contact the glass.

    Depending on your lens vintage, its rear cemented doublet was glued with Canada balsam (soluble in acetone, also in the MEK you have) or by a uv-curing synthetic (known to be soluble in acetone, I'm not sure about MEK).

    If the diaphragm turns smoothly leave it alone unless you want the joy of ruining it. "Stuck" diaphragms are cause by gunk in the barrel, not by gunk on the leaves.
     
  11. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Thanks Dan! Yes I know what swage means. In the locksmith field we have swaged hinges, similar process I assume, however, for the lens I assume that makes it "not user serviceable"

    This diaphragm seems to operate quite smoothly though sluggish. However, none of the individual leaves seem to stick. It is just an all around feeling of thickness, like walking through thick mud. The screw that retains the diaphragm adjustment ring to it seems to be free spinning however it does carry through to operate it well enough, and doesn't fall out even with a fair amount of shaking and tapping. I have not tried to unscrew it, but if I did I am not certain I would really want to do much with it. I may have to wave my hand over the diaphragm and pronounce it "cherry". I already had to rebuild one with many fewer leaves and that kind of sucked. :smile: Should these move smoothly on a lens this old? I assume I could just give it a soak in something without getting too aggressive with it if I am feeling lucky. :D

    I have used Canada balsam in the past to secure slide covers to glass slides for use in microscopy. Nasty sticky stuff, but to my recollection it didn't dry clear. However, back to swaged vs retaining rings for a second. If there is a retaining ring, there should be some indication. Either exposed thread, or a seam or spanner notches or holes or even set screws of some sort right? I will have to give these a very close look tonight with some magnification, but I am leaning towards the metal being formed around them.

    Both elements seem to be pretty well fixed into the metal of their respective trim rings. It both cases, however, there appears to be exposed (though possibly painted) glass. For example if I turned the front cell over, and looked at it, there are 2 steps as though a smaller concave/convex lens (shaped like a giant contact lens) were laid into a similarly shaped though slightly wider lens. I wouldn't discount the possibility that this is the exposed seam of a glued pair but to the eye there is no indication of that.
     
  12. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Absinthe,

    If you want to screw around with oddball lenses in barrel, I would suggest investing in a Speed Graphic with a working focal plane shutter. That's the bomb for little goofy lenses, magnifying glasses, whatever. If you can glue it, jam it, or staple it to a lensboard, you can shoot with it. Scummed up lenses can look pretty cool. If you haven't seen the little you tube dealy I did on the Speed, check it out.
     
  13. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Thanks J. (BTW, loved your youtube thing...)

    I have been watching for the SG's them, but they seem to go pretty high.
     
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  15. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Listerine is pretty good stuff, damn near no sign of fungus left. However, now I seem to have moisture within the front pair. Hopefully it will dissipate cleanly. See what happens :smile:
     
  16. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Well a few minutes near a lightbulb and it is all gone. Lens is back together and ready to be played with...
     
  17. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    PICS!

    (From the lens, not of it.) :D
     
  18. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    gotta rig it to a camera first
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Aww poop,

    I had forgotten about glass held in place with swaging. I've got one here like that. I've been thinking of removing the swaged portion to get the glass out & replace it with a brass or aluminum ring with a burnished edge to retain the glass.

    The "v" notch I was referring to is pretty simple. If you imagine a rectangle with the short edge wider than the diameter of the lens. you cut a v into it kinda like this <O> The O represents the elements. In my very fine art work the v's should be slightly wider than the glass and tall/thick enough to touch both elements. You can just push them together, it's not really clamping anything, just keeping the glass from shifting.

    Now ya done it! moisture betwixt the elements You can try drying it out under a lamp, if there's no metal, possibly micro-wave it. Really low power really short times & repeat.
     
  20. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Poop? hmmmm.

    Ok I follow on the v-notch kind of what I was thinking, just had to make sure.

    I just let it sit under my desk lamp, and in a couple hours it was fine. So if you look into thi slens you can see that it isn't perfectly clean. Some very minor flecks and dots here and there, I am assuming to be deposits from the water and evaporation within the airspace. The spiderwebs are all gone, and it all looks pretty good. Now all I have to do is either attach it to something, either camera or enlarger and do something with it... or perhaps a digigraph and on to ebay!! We'll see how I feel, I think I have a 3" coming soon to play with next. This one has a shutter, but I think it is a 2x3 normal rather than a 4x5 wide not to mention the pile of 35's on the floor (almost can't wait to dig into the Pentax K1000)

    Thanks to everyone for the help on this thread. This was a fun forray, maybe the next one will be a bit more difficult...

    I think I will keep this lens and mount it to the camera for a shot or two, maybe I can find some polaroid for my polaroid back to play with.
     
  21. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    3" is not normal for 2x3. 4" is normal for 2x3. 3" is approximately normal, perhaps 5 mm short, for nominal 6x6.

    Did you by any chance buy an oscilloscope camera lens?
     
  22. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Dan --

    I meant normal as opposed to wide angle. It is a "Wollensak 3" (75mm) f 1.9 Oscillo-Raptar 1:09X coated lens in an Alphax Heavy Duty Synchro Matic Shutter", great guess!!!. I haven't played with an Alphax shutter yet, so it sounded fun.

    Let's see, my 330's had 80's as normal, and they were 6x6 the RB had a 90 and that was 6x7 so I guess 75 is pretty short for the whole 6xX thing. Regardless, I don't think it will cover 4x5 at all.

    Since you mention it, however, I have an oscilloscope camera on the way too, as well as an electrophoresis camera... Still don't have a fingerprint camera, I let a bunch of them go for like $9 or $10 a piece a while back.

    Once I get my Kodak Reflex II back together and prove that a roll of 120 will go through it, I may try and snag a few of them... Unfortunately I let a whole pile of them get a way a few months back for next to nothing.

    Seems until I get my darkroom built, I am playing camera repairman. However, since I have a Polaroid back to play with, I may have to actually take a picture or two pretty soon.
     
  23. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Sucker! 'scope camera lenses in general and Oscillo-Raptars in particular are useless for shooting out and about and not very good closeup either. Yours was probably made to cover 3x4, if not 3x4 then 4x5, at 1.09:1. The shutters oscilloscope camera lenses are in are often, not always, useless except for front-mounting.

    The lenses/shutters on gel-cams, the 127/4.7 Tominon in Copal Press #1 excepted, also have limited usefulness. I'm happy with my 127/4.7 Tominon on 2x3 but I understand its coverage is marginal for 4x5.

    Instead of squandering your small monetary units on junk, why don't you accumulate them until you can afford what you claim you really want? You'll be happier unless you've been dissembling and so will your wife.

    My neighbor Charlie Barringer (google him) used to give me a hard time because he didn't understand why I'd acquired my seemingly disparate lenses etc.. Eventually I explained to him: good lenses, shutters and adapters for them as required, that I could use on my little 2x3 Graphics. And accessories that I could use on the same cameras. All at relatively low prices, including the 38 Biogon. What's your rationale for acquiring your apparent junk?

    BTW, I've bought one loose 'scope lens for the shutter it was in, one 'scope camera to educate myself about the shutter that was in it, and another 'scope camera for its Ilex #3 Electronic Shutter and controls. Came out slightly ahead when I decided that the first shutter and first camera wouldn't do and sold them. What's your exit strategy?
     
  24. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    Dan --

    I may not have mentionned this, but I have a multifold interest here. One of which is to learn repair, and how each thing goes together and interacts. There are some things, like a $500 car that aren't going to appreciate but most likely will not depreciate much either. I don't think I am wasting my money when it is small amounts to aquire stuff that I can take apart, and if I end up with extra parts, or slip with a tool and gash something or just plain get fed up with, I can throw it in the trash and not have my feelings hurt. If in the process I end up with something usable, then that's gravy and a lucky find and it will get used.

    One the other path in a similar vein is building some cameras. There are some traditional and also some foldup and primitive designs I would like to do once I get my wood shop going again. (there is a whole garage problem that involves a rockband and some other issues which is a much longer story all together). So having some bits and bobs to design from, or use in the process can be useful.

    On the third path is a NFP I am looking to create for the furtherance of non dig as a "Fine Art" with emphasis on it continuing to be taught at the Middle and High school level. This will involve grants or loans of some equipment, curriculum to be provided, and service on the equipment as well.

    All this is baby steps to these goals.

    Lastly is my own desire to shoot some stuff!!!! To experiment with differnt processes and all that as well.

    Granted, I want a good closeup lens for my rig. I also want a reasonable wide angle as well, and perhaps at some point it would be nice to have something that could be used for a portrait. I would probably do with some better lenses on my Omega D5 as well as the D2.

    I can piss away a few bucks here and there if in the future it will help me to gain either knowledge, experience or equipment. I assume in the beginning, it will more likely be the former than the latter.

    Whatever I end up with that I don't choose to keep and is saleable will go on ebay or trade to someone else that has a need for that and something for me. What's left will get donated to whatever organization I have at my disposal for the tax benefit. Worse comes to worse I can make art, or burn ants :smile:
     
  25. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Goldfield Olds 54

    Done with a 161mm Kodak Projection lens. Mine has three little arms sticking out of it so it looks like sputnik. It fit in a Compur Press #1 shutter. I felt it had a real 1940's textbook etched kind of picture quality to it. This printed well at 11X14. The cells are still laying around my house somewhere. I see them every once in a while. See, go make pictures. This was 4X5
     
  26. Absinthe

    Absinthe Member

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    The Wollensak Oscillo-Raptar got here tonight. Now, this is a cool looking lens. A couple things I am noticing. There are 2 additional threaded rings I am assuming originally connected it to its oscilloscope. The front one has an o-ring on it. Because the shutter is silver, and the tubes/barrels/whatever they are called (the things the cells are screwed into) are black, it would appear that they should just screw out of the shutter. However, I am wondering if they are glued or somehow otherwise threadlocked? I can also see clear residue around each of the cells, that would suggest they are glued in place as well? Is this normal? I am considering reaching for the acetone...

    Other than that, and the shutter seriously needing a cleaning, this is a very clean lens. But the coverage circle is way small (at least on my wall) :smile:

    More as I figure it out!
     

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