Are some lenses uncleanable?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by IloveTLRs, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I just picked up this Summarit 50/1.5 the other day, which is in pretty bad shape (it was cheap.)

    As you can see from the photos, it's very foggy and there are some scratches on it. The shop told me that it cannot be cleaned, but I'd like a second opinion from the people here. I know scratches can't be fixed, but what about the fogging?

    The last picture is a sample photo from it.
     

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  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    It depends. If it's just haze on the element surfaces, then yes. If it's degradation of the cement between the elements, that's a more complex process.

    And occasionally you'll encounter haze that can't be removed except through repolishing.
     
  3. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I have no idea what kind of haze this is ...
     
  4. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The pic looks good to me. It would be hard to get that look if you tried. I'd call yourself blessed, leave it alone and shoot with it.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like haze that I've had cleaned or cleaned myself from older lenses. Even if there is fungus that has permanently etched the coatings or the glass itself, there's usually a lot of gunk that can be removed with a cleaning, and the lens may be quite usable. I'd say it's worth sending to a qualified repair technician who can disassemble and clean the lens and recollimate it afterward.
     
  6. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    I've heard other people try the following:

    Look up the lens formula and find out which surfaces are concave and which are convex. Then as you slowly tilt the lens from side to side look for the reflected image of the haze on each lens surface and from that work out which surface the haze is on. It may be too hard, especially with coated lenes, but it's probably worth the effort.

    Denis K
     
  7. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I have a 50mm f1.5 Xenon (I believe it's the same lens as yours only older) in a similar condition. I'm planning on opening mine just to clean out some of the loose junk (mostly flecks of black paint I think) but I don't think I'm going to poke at the haze too much if at all. I'd second 2F on just using it for those times you want that particular look. I asked a question about how to open this lens up - here's the thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum147/63610-ltm-lens-cleaning-repair.html

    Dan
     
  8. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    The "lens that cannot be cleaned" is one that is etched by fungus. The fungus eates into the glass and it is a one way ticket... but as Dave says, you can usually get the gunk off at least. A bit of fugus damage you can live with.

    A good tip is to use one of those little mini torches with a single blue LED in it. In subdued light shine the light in from the back as you look through the front and it makes all the muck on the lens surfaces stand out much more clearly than white light, especially diffuse light.

    Doing this with my own lenses showed me that a LOT of my lenses have some fungus in them, even one I thought were clear, but sometimes I think we worry too much. Who was the guy with a lens that had a dead fly, a lose spring and several bits of muck rattling about inside? Was it certo66? It is on a webite somewhere. A lens full of garbage, but the pictures were excellent.
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    You saved $270 on a Lensbaby.
    jeff
     
  10. deisenlord

    deisenlord Member

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    The front element of my dad's 53 summarit was covered in small cleaning scatches, and I mean covered. Looked like it had been rubbed with a sandy cloth for 40 years.
    John at Focalpoint re-polished and re-coated it and it looks like new.
    Ike
     
  11. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    The inner elements of the Super Ikonta coated Opton lenses have very soft coatings and can be literally wiped off. I know this to be true!
    I'm not sure, but I believe the inner coatings of some Leitz lenses are the same.
     
  12. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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  13. Shan Ren

    Shan Ren Member

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    As others have said, try shooting with it for a while. i have a couple of lenses that people have given me because they were 'no good', in other words, dirty, scratched or hazed. For a certain look they are truly wonderful. One is a very old screw mount 90mm elmar that looks like someone used sand paper on the rear element, but boy, does it do great things with highlights and flare.
     
  14. Old Micky No 9

    Old Micky No 9 Member

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    Yeah, I agree with Shan. These faults can definitely give an extra touch. I´ve got an old scratched Summar myself. Pretty cool for Zone 5 pix and portraits.
    Cheers Micky
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    My old scratched Summar is up there among my handful of favorite lenses, and definitely number one in the "most beautiful" category. There is nothing I have found that is remotely like it! I want something just like it for medium and large formats....
     
  16. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    I have had a trio of lenses given to me a 35, 50 and 90 I sent them all at to Sherry to have them get an upper body cleaning, given the the elements needed cleaning and the mech was still in working condition. She did great work for me, maybe $60 to $80 each. She told me the 50mm was in the worst shape and it would not do well with stray light due to what was left of the coatings, but if I wanted to drop some more $$$ like $190, she would re-element the lens. This was the 50mm colapseable lens, F 3.5 I believe. She did wonders on these lenses. You can contact her at: http://www.sherrykrauter.com/.

    The 90 and 35 came out really perfect for as old as they are. I'd feel comfortable sending her anything.

    I like that saving money on a lens baby thing for you M camera. I use the not so perfect 50mm and 80% of the time it is just great, just flair and such is a bit much. Before I had them cleaned I took the M2 and lenses, yes the M2 was a gift too, out west and photographed old Indian dwellings. The look was so amazing, high grain film, old hazed lenses, could not ask for more perfect match. I'll have to find some of the scans and post a few, even hazed lenses have great value.

    Lee