Would you buy a camera with lens coating issues?
I bought an inoperative "UG" rated Rolleiflex 3.5E Planar from keh to see if I could fix it or at least use it as a parts camera. I did a CLA on the shutter and wind mechanism, cleaned it up, and repaired the meter. Now it works perfectly and looks very nice.
As expected, the taking lens has defects in the coating - not major - but you can see small cloudy spots and tiny pits if you hold it just right. The viewing lens had some fungus on the rear surface which was easily cleaned but left some scarring in the coating. It also looks like some separation starting on the edge (only visible when the lens is removed from the camera).
I took a roll of B&W indoors and can see no difference in sharpness from my almost mint condition 3.5F Planar whiteface. There may be a small loss in contrast.
I'll probably sell this camera when I finish fixing it up. I need to replace a piece of leather on the viewfinder and a couple of fasteners. The meter cover is broken of course and it would take $50-$60 to replace it.
My question is how much I should invest in this considering the lens defects. Would you even consider buying a camera like this and how much of a discount would you expect? You would be buying a Rollei in above average cosmetic condition in perfect working order, cleaned, lubed, and adjusted, but with a lens with issues.
Last edited by hidesert; 09-30-2010 at 11:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
The coating will become an issue if you use it out of doors and the light is coming from the side or hitting the lens off-axis. However, if you are careful and use a lens hood it's probably not much of an issue. Your camera probably has no collectible value but it has a lot of user value left- I say just use it!
Wouldn't be the first time.
Even with damaged coating it could be a decent starter camera for some one on a budget.
I wouldn't worry about it. All my lens have cloudy spots, but that is due to my eyes!
I'd like to say it doesn't matter but after purchasing a few lenses with 'some cleaning marks', I'm unlikely to do so again in the future. Both were so significant that the loss of contrast and the amount of glow dominated anything else in the picture.
A few shots here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=indu...59657594%40N00
I don't mind risking $20-40 a pop for FSU lenses but I wouldn't put down much more than that on a risk. One of these days I'll find an Industar 22 or 50 with a front element in decent condition.
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I kept mine:
I, too, have had a couple of issues with buying lenses that had "small cleaning marks" and creative lighting that hid the ugly truth.
If someone tried to sell me a camera with a lens that had "defects in the coating" I would be suspicious that these defects were caused by overzealous cleaning, and therefore there might be scratches the seller isn't telling me about. I'm aware aggressive cleaning isn't the only cause of coating issues, but it would raise a red flag.
It still might be worth something to somebody, just not to me
i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.
- phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds
To answer your question, I wouldn't buy a camera with lens coating issues unless I was planning to replace the lens.
As others have said, lens issues are often visible in the image. So, when someone says that a scratch or something won't have any effect on the image, you should demand proof. Sometimes it doesn't. But sometimes it does.
I think it really depends on the reputation of the seller and whether there is any trial period.
For example, if someone here tells me that there is a small defect in the lens, but it has no noticeable effect on the image, I'm likely to believe them. And if I get the right to examine and return it if dissatisfied, then I would most likely take the chance. This is a small tight knit community, and nobody want the reputation of being a cheat..
OTOH, if someone on evilBay says it's mint out of the box, but "I don't know nuthin about cameras man" then I just assume it got tested, doesn't work, and they're playing stupid. Or, in the lens example "It such a small defect I couldn't get a picture of it" then it may very well have a knife gouge across the front.
So, yes, I might very well by a less than perfect lens, so long as it's disclosed and I'm not paying a premium price. In my case, the limiting factor is usually the photographer, not the lens.
If a student came up to me and had a camera as you described and wanted to know if it was worth the $150 to $200 it was being sold at -- I'd tell him to go for it. At $300 I would want to do comparison tests like you seem to have already done with your other 3.5E..
If the camera was originally mine and it had those defects in the taking lens, I would consider the defects as marks of strong character -- and would use the camera as if it were perfect. I use a lens shade all the time on my Rolleiflex, anyway. Buying such a camera to use as my main MF camera is questionable. The main question would be if I could afford a camera in such good condition and perfect glass!LOL!
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.