Cleaning marks on lenses

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by jglass, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    I've asked this in a different form on the rangefinder forum, but I'm interested in getting a broader view on this question. I have a lens with a fine web of cleaning marks on the front element, which I am considering returning for a refund.

    What I want to know is whether there is a substantial group of people who use such lenses without problems or if such marks bother people as they do me. I figure for another $100 or so I can get a cleaner sample. But, the negatives from this lens look pretty good.

    I'd be interested to hear comments on this .
     
  2. Randy_Va

    Randy_Va Member

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    If I bought a lens advertised and priced as very good quality and received one with major cleaning marks I would return it immediately. However, I have bought a couple of lenses with major cleaning marks at a DEEP discount and do not see them in my photos, I am sure that at certain angles to the sun they would show up, and there are probably other problems that I don't notice. Still my ugly 105mm 1.8 with dings and cleaning marks is my favorite lens, I did get a great deal on it though.
     
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I agree with Randy. If the lens is as advertised, and you got it at a good price, then use it. If you feel that you've been mislead, then do what you must to return it.

    Believe me, cleaning marks don't bother the image at all except for maybe a bit of extra flare in some situations. A lens hood goes a long way to fix that and you should be using one anyway.
     
  4. Galah

    Galah Member

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    This may sound a bit apocryphal, but I remember reading somewhere that it was the custom for early photographers to lightly sandpaper the front element of their (new) portrait lenses before putting them to use.:smile:

    Anyway, I do have some "legacy" lenses with a web of fine scratches on the front element. Some have unmentionable things lurking inside as well, but none of them appear to be affected by any of this in actual use.
     
  5. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Though, the only way to really tell if it makes a difference would be to compare the results with those from the same lens in pristine state (hoping sample variation doesn't play a role).

    A loss of contrast often won't be noticed unless directly compared with a contrastier image.
     
  6. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    if you use a lens hood and the sun doesn't hit the fron element directly then you shouldn't have a problem-one of the best lenses we ever owned was a old Nikon 18mm that had a front element that looked like it had been sandblasted

    It was also one of the sharpest lenses you could have owned......
     
  7. eSFotos

    eSFotos Member

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    Cleaning marks on front element generally are not an issue other than slight loss of contrast.
    However, any marks on rear element will show up on the photo if stopped down.
    This is my rule of thumb for buying lenses ...
     
  8. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I agree with your comments, eSFotos.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Somethings "bother people as they do me" and considering you stated that the negatives look pretty good, you still are bothered by it. Spend the extra money, get a lens without cleaning marks, or you will always have some regret.

    JMHO
     
  10. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies. I paid a bit for it and now I believe there is a blob of some sort on the rear element that doesn't seem to come off with gentle brushing/blowing. I believe I'll return it and no worries cause it's from KEH! I will talk to them about it being more an "UG" than a "BGN."
     
  11. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I buy almost exclusively from KEH, as they are the best. While I realize that their BGN condition often exceeds the "excellent" items of other sellers, I go with EX and up with lens purchases (if available and resonably priced, I usually choose EX+). With cameras and such, I usually opt for EX+. While some like to argue that cosmetic condition "means nothing," I have found (in numerous purchases) that it is often a fair indicator of the manner in which an item has been treated, and thus the quality of service it is likely to offer. There are exceptions of course, but, overall, there is a reason why an EX+ F3 is $349 and a BGN F3 is $115...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2010