Does this lens need cleaning?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Roundabout, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    This is a Topcor 58 1.8, from a Topcon which I recently pulled form a cupboard after about 15-20 years.

    I've taken a few shots with it (about 8 from a roll of film, before I changed cameras), which seemed OK - although I haven't looked that closely. But I've noticed that the lens has some white cloudy areas inside it (I've indicated what I mean in the image), which I thought at first were just reflections. I'm not worried about the dust (of which there is lots), but I'm wondering what these areas are and if I should/can do something about it?

    This is never going to be my main camera or lens, so it's not a huge issue. But it would be nice to get the most benefit from it, if possible.

    lens.jpg

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Beware , if it is fungus , it spreads to all of your other lenses in the home. Its not worlds most expensive , best lens. You can replace it from ebay if it is important. Throw it. No risk you needed. Check your all other lenses also in all possible way , was the cloud there before ? Where are you living at ?
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    To me, they look like unevenly deposited haze from old lubricant inside. If you look REALLY closely, do you see any web/tentacle like structure growing out of the whitish area? If it's fungus, you'd often see these growth....
     
  4. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    The lens and camera were in a cupboard London. I'm keeping them wrapped in a bag separate from the rest of my kit.

    I've no idea how long this has been there, I've only just pulled the thing out of a cupboard a couple of weeks ago.

    There doesn't appear to be any web/tentacle like structure (sounds like something out of Alien). It's more like opaque cloudy/milky bits, on a piece of glass inside the lens (it doesn't appear to be on the inside of the outer lens).
     
  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I do not want you to break this or ruin this but, for me, this would be a simple matter of removing the front ring (should screw off) and then unscrewing the metal ring that holds the element in place. Then I would use straight ammonia water and an ultra clean soft tissue and wipe it clean. Most likely the fungus (or most of it) would come off. I do this sort of thing every day.

    With due respect, Mustafa, I have not found that to be the case with fungus spreading to other lenses. Fungus grows in dark, moist environments and if it is not too advanced, can be washed off. If left to grow thickly, it can etch into the glass. Still, in those cases many days in bright sunlight (by the window) can lessen this annoyance. - David Lyga
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I'd try cleaning it like David posted. A Topcor lens like that is not so easily replaced in the USA. As David posted, fungal spores are everywhere, they just need the correct conditions to grow.
     
  7. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    And, removing the elements, especially in normal lenses, is quite easy. What I do (as frugal as I am out of necessity!) is this. I take a tiny bit (1" x 1") of duct tape and fold it over a couple of times to make a tiny square. I do this twice to have two squares. Then I carefully place each square about 180 degrees apart on the metal logo ring around the front element. Then with a blund pair of scissors I carefully place each knife on a square and apply a bit of pressure and turn counter clockwise to unloosen the logo ring.

    I do not remember if this specific lens is done this way as some lenses allow one to turn (by hand) the entire front metal housing (with the filter thread). If it does not turn by hand then do what I said with the scissors. I wish you were in Philadelpha: I would do this for you. - David Lyga
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    ... and something my wise mentor told me. If you have to apply more force than a light "umph", something is wrong. Never apply too much force!

    When I take my lenses apart, I always use a black marker and write a small dot ON THE LENS to show which side is top before taking out the lens out of place. It's really easy to accidentally flip them and not being able to tell which side is which.

    If you are not comfortable with this, please don't try. It's really easy to mess it up. I only do this on lenses that if I mess up, I don't have to cry.
     
  9. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Thanks everyone.

    I'll have a look at the lens and see if I feel confident about opening it. Otherwise, I have another lens which needs fixing, so I will take it to my maintenance guy at the same time.

    By the way, I have only been able to find 'cloudy' amonia so far. Would that have been OK to use?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  10. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    How do you re-collimate the lenses when you re-assemble them to ensure that the elements are centred to a datum line, and are parallel to each other ?
     
  12. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    You, tkamiya, speak truly. And as far a flipping the elements, this is not so much a problem with 'normals', but with something like a '24', watch out! And as the 'avatar' proclaims: do not force anything.

    Benjiboy: collimating the lenses is 'done' by the very structure of the housing. Simply put them back the same way (and same side and with all rings and spacers) that they came out and you have no problems. The metal ridges on the housing guarantee proper placement. They CANNOT be out of line if you do this.

    Good you brought this up, Benjiboy, because the HARDEST thing to master is proper CLEANING of elements. If you use straight alcohol you will not remove the static electricity and the dust will cling tenaciously (even after the glass LOOKS clean by simply glancing at it but not if held up so a lit bulb is behind it). I use straight household ammonia but you can also dilute it about 1+3 if you wish. OR... a bit of tap water with a drop or two of dish liquid in a cup is good: you must put in enough dish liquid to be able to remove the static electricity, but not so much that a residue of soap remains on the glass after wiping it off. It's a bit like washing windows.

    I take a round element and do this: with CLEAN fingers spread a few drops of this cleaner on each side of the glass. Spread the liquid evenly. Then with an EXTREMELY CLEAN, SOFT tissue do this: take the element and hold it in one hand (I am left handed so I hold the element in my right hand) with only your index finger and thumb holding the sides of the element. Then, in gentle circular motion, place the tissue in your other hand and slowly turn the element as tissue contacts each side of the element. Keep turning the tissue to a clean part of the tissue (in order to prevent re-wetting dry glass). Get ALL the glass cleaned, leaving no part untouched. This not only removes all dust but treats is so that any remaining can be easily blown off (make certain that there is NO saliva near your lips!).

    The FINAL test is to do this: hold up the element to a light bulb and confirm that it is TRULY spotless. Then you must act quickly to put it back BEFORE dust settles on the glass. The FINAL, FINAL test is to hold the whole, completed lens, at max aperture, up to a lightbulb and be rewarded with a truly clean lens!

    This is easy to do if you have LOTS of practice (as I have). Remember, the static MUST be removed or you will NOT get dust-free glass. - David Lyga
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2013
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I don't. What do you suppose I do when faced with a lens that's pretty old and not worth enough to spend money on professional repair? Well, in those cases, I carefully take it apart, do what I can, and carefully put it together the way they came apart. It works well enough and for the purpose intended, it's fine. If I mess up, oh well...

    Obviously, I don't do this for my high-dollar Nikkors or anything else that matters.
     
  14. Roundabout

    Roundabout Member

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    Forgot all about this thread.

    I eventually got a pro to clean this for me, as part of a CLA for the camera body also. It came out fine and usable.
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    the bright spots definately look like reflections.the dust spots are no worry.In the bottom right, I see possible oil on bldes?but I see no fungus anyehere.
     
  16. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    We buy medicinal ointments in plastic tubs if you keep them they are useful,
    Rubber kitchen gloves ditto.

    Scissor the gloves, into doughnut of correct size use pillbox of correct size as friction wrench.
    Eat chocolate bar...
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Very wise.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Good idea.

    Generally I have also found that if I cannot remember the last time I cleaned a lens, it is time to clean the lens.
     
  19. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    The best lens cleaner I have come across is a heavy weight microfiber lens cleaning cloth and ones breath. Wash the cloth regularly and air dry. Do not use fabric softener or detergents with fabric softener. I toss mine in the wash with regular fabrics and plain detergent.
     
  20. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Member

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    Fungus does not spread from one lens to another. Rather, the conditions which cause fungus in one lens also cause fungus in other lenses. The prime conditions are high humidity and dust (dust is a nutrient for fungus). This is what Zeiss says about fungus: http://www.zeiss.com/camera-lenses/en_us/website/service/fungus_on_lenses.html
     
  21. oldtimermetoo

    oldtimermetoo Subscriber

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    Does this lens need cleaning

    From my days studying such things we found that fungus spores are all around us all of the time and only need the correct enviroment to become active. As said above, if cleaned early there should be little or no damage.....Regards