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  1. #1

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    Cleaning an enlarger lens

    My Schneider Componon-S 80mm f/4 enlarger lens has developed a haze over the last few months which I'd like to clean off, especially as I'm currently experiencing a printing issue which appears to be an optical defect. My initial thoughts are to use a microfibre cloth with a dilute solution of de-ionized water and wetting agent.

    Any comments?

    Tom

  2. #2
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Be gentle and sparing.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  3. #3

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    Sounds entirely wise to me. In the old days, people cleaned huge telescope lenses with wine and a chamois. You might try the Kodak lens-cleaning tissues [I've liked them over the years, wrapped over a cotton swap for small surfaces]. Also, I do not fear using Windex[R] [glass cleaner with various useful additives]. Modern coatings are very resistant to these things. The wetting agents and streak-reducers in Windex[R] seem to work well.

    I might add: laundering the microfiber cloth may be wise.

    Unless the haze is severe, I wouldn't expect noticeable effects in printing. I say that because I have a mid-1930's Rolleicord with non-CLA'd, uncoated lenses, and it makes super photos. The lens is decidedly dirty, but has no fungus.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    I agree, be gently. I have lenses that have been in my possession for 20 years and have only been cleaned a few times. The usual dust will blow off. Some haze will come off very easy. Stuff that does not come off easy is usually from fungus damage to the coating and won't ever come off. So my recommendation is always that if it does not come off easy, then stop. Otherwise you will be the one making those 'cleaning marks' that show up on used lenses

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I agree, be gently. I have lenses that have been in my possession for 20 years and have only been cleaned a few times. The usual dust will blow off. Some haze will come off very easy. Stuff that does not come off easy is usually from fungus damage to the coating and won't ever come off. So my recommendation is always that if it does not come off easy, then stop. Otherwise you will be the one making those 'cleaning marks' that show up on used lenses
    Suggestions on what causes or contributes to haze formation?

    Tom

  6. #6

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    I had to take apart both Componon's that were shipped with my Durst D659. They developed haze on the inner surfaces including the rear of the front element. I'm guessed it was from living in a university darkroom for 40+ years. I had to use two solvents, alcohol and good old Ronsonol lighter fluid as it was not really water soluble, so I guess it might have been outgassing from lubricants in the lens? They sure are nice lenses now.

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kershaw View Post
    Suggestions on what causes or contributes to haze formation?

    Tom
    Storage of enlarger lenses is an issue. I have a few Componon's and used to leave them on the enlargers, that's fine if they get constant use and it's relatively warm.

    Moisture gets inside and as they warm up through use you get a thin film of condensation on the glass, over time this leaves a film on the inner element surfaces. This is probably the haze you describe. I've managed to clean my affected lenses as the elements unscrewed easily and a very careful wipe clean with glass cleaning fluid left them as new again.

    Now I remove the lenses from the enlargers and store in a different dry warm room, (my darkroom is in my cellar). The problem was worst when I used a darkroom attached to the back of the house with no heating.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    I use Nilglass on a lens tissue to bring lens's back sparkling.

    Cheers Dave

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Nilglass is excellent have to agree Dave, it's the best glass cleaner available in the UK and it's what I've used for years.

    Ian

  10. #10
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Sorry Tom, I don't want to hijack your thread.. but...

    Is it a good idea to store Enlarging Lenses somewhere warm and dry (I am thinking of my airing cupboard) ?

    My darkroom is a temporary affair which doubles as the Utility Room - so while dry is generally isn't that warm

    Martin

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