Lens cleaning services: Youxin, DAG, Sherry, John van Stelton
I'm not sure why I had to write John's full name...
I have no lenses that are in urgent need for servicing but I'm planning, in the future, to buy some Leica LTM and M lenses. Most of my lenses are Canon/Nikon and are more or less fine, I think, and I don't think they need cleaning and I'm not particularly attached to most of them. I plan on selling some anyways...
I'm interested in Leica LTM but I know that the the lenses are problematic, and for that reason, I would hardly trust anyone online to say that they are clean. Same with Leica M, although they have probably aged better, if I spend $1k+ on a lens, then I might as well get the most of it.
DAG and Sherry seem to be the "best". Nobody really knocks them down, Youxin is cheaper and faster turn around but has a bit mixed reviews. John I only hear good things but he isn't heard so often.
1. Anyone know the comparative rates? Youxin is $50 and is very good with his emails/communication. I haven't contacted the other two but I'm sure the answer is: it depends. I'm just wondering the order of magnitude. I might talk to them on monday and mention the lenses that I'm interested in.
2. Anyone have bad experiences with Youxin? He is very prompt with his emails and friendly, I like that, but he seems to be the least reputable. If I had a real expensive lens that was a mess, then I'd probably go with DAG, but if I were looking into cleaning some relatively inexpensive lenses with some minor issues, then Youxin might be good enough.
Buy in a shop inspect real carefully, pay premium.
Buy from an on line dealer with a reputaton and a written policy for returns, pay premium
If you buy a slightly fogged lens online then it may not clean up, it is very expensive to ghave reground and recoated, and may not be practical if it is a cemented pair...
Some lenses fog over after a few years, however they are stored - ask for quote/estimate and turnaround before you send for repair...
I actually bought my beloved M2 from Youxin Ye after he CLA'd it, and I've had a 50mm collapsible 'cron serviced by him as well. Really fine work as far as I'm concerned, though I can't compare him to the others you mentioned.
you are approaching this with the wrong attitude == there is a lot of really nice glass out there, no reason to buy defective stuff with the idea that you will have it serviced -- servicing costs will eat up any savings over buying good to start with (voice of sad experience talking here).
plus some servicing can bite you in the butt -- that haze? Might not just be haze, might be etching on the glass from oil outgassing requiring a new lens element. This happened to me, cost $200 for a 2.8 elmar 50mm.
Buy local or from a reputable dealer like KEH.
youxin ye serviced my m3 and 3 lenses about 7 or 8 years ago ( i can't remember )
he also reskinned most of the body for me.
i picked-up and dropped off inperson ( i am in the area ) and he showed me his workbench &c.
all i can say is he is a really nice guy, and he does work that has been trouble-free.
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I think the mixed reviews of Youxin are explained by the fact that he can't do some of the more complicated work that DAG and Sherry are willing to try. If he knows he can't do something he'll send it back to you instead of trying, which might annoy people if they're impatient. If I'm getting a CLA for a lens or camera, I'll send it to Youxin every time--he's faster and cheaper than the others. If there is something more complicated, involving lens recementing or the electronics of an M7, I'd send it to Sherry, DAG, Van Stelton or Leica.
Originally Posted by summicron1
I fully agree with your advice. Better buy a fully functional equipment in the first place, than have it serviced afterwards.
It would be a loss 90% of the times.
Buying defective items (at bargain prices!) makes sense only if you can repair them on your own.
That's my experience, for what it's worth...
From the quote above, i get that you had a lens element permanently damaged by lubricant outgassing.
Are you sure?
I have more than 150 large format vintage lenses (2/3 are in barrel), and i've never seen such a thing.
Maybe the culprit is the grease used in focusing barrels, which is not present in LF lenses, but i wouldn't take it for granted.
I've owned my share of old 35mm lenses (including many LTM ones... i've just sold a nice Russar 20mm in chrome), and i never found an hazy lens which was uncleanable.
Most of the times it was just haze coming from polymerized lubricants, which free volatile substances over time.
Sometimes the glasses were left dirty for long time, in a humid environment, so that some spores could start a fungal growth.
One time the front glass of a Roussel lens was completely covered by a thick layer of what looked like hardened tree resin.
ALL of them were successfully cleaned, with no outside help.
That's why i am very curious about your experience.
AFAIK the only glasses that were subject to glazing, or other physical degradation, where the early, unstable "new glasses" made before the end of the XIX century (very few made by Schott, most made by french or british glass foundries). Very soon the unstable ones were retired, and new ones with better specs were made available.
Then there is the yellowing of glasses containing thorium... but that's another story.
You reported something i am not aware of. So i would be happy to learn something more about it.
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Getting back from digital to LF (mostly 5x7" and 8x10")
selling Linhof Technika III 4x5" (fifth version, graflock back), Mamiya Press outfit + lenses, plus many LF lenses
trading for soft focus lenses with 8x10" coverage - EU users preferred
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well, sherry krauter told me that, i have to assume she was being honest. Apparently it happens a lot with 1950s leica lenses. she had to replace an element, which was why it cost $175 plus shipping and handling.
Originally Posted by cyberjunkie
it's a great lens now.
Optical glass is not like window glass.
Some of the glass used by Canon and Leitz (at least) in the late 50s will fog (sic etch) in situ, even in temperate climes.
I got a nice paperweight, you can polish and recoat but expensive, and may degrade the lens performance.
Some of the fogging is wipe of...
I've used DAG, Youxin Ye and Steve Choi for CLAs and strongly recommend Steve. Not inexpensive but fantastic work: Steve's Camera Service.