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  1. #1
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Is lens fogging that big of a deal?

    I recently bought a very inexpensive 50mm Summicron DR. It does have some fogging, though. It isn't real bad, but it is obvious when you shine a light through it.
    If I am shooting BW, will it make a significant difference beyond some reduction in contrast? I'm happy to get it cleaned, but don't want to bother if if isn't necessary.

    Thanks -- Mark

  2. #2
    Tom Nutter's Avatar
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    You may get some extra lens flare occasionally, but who knows, you might also end up with a unique look, so if it works for you, then awesome!

    There's a chance also, that if you set the lens in the sun, some of that might clear up a little.

  3. #3

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    Any modification of the original lens specifications will result in degradation but the question is how much? Since you don't have a Mint DR for comparison, then the best you can do is use the lens and see if the results satisfy yourself which they probably will.
    Any repair to the lens is wasted money.-Dick

  4. #4
    mablo's Avatar
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    I clean most of my older rangefinder lenses by myself. Older rangefinder lenses are surprisingly easy to dismantle. All you need is a cheap spanner wrench (from *Bay), a cheap set of very small screwdrivers, lots of Q-tips and some lens cleaning fluid (from *Bay). Then just google for instructions or try rangefinder forum for more information.

    I recently had a slightly fogged old Canon 50mm/1.8 RF-lens. It was okayish when fogged but after 30min cleaning job it became a star performer.

  5. #5
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Any lens fog will have a marked impact on lens contrast, it doesn't take much before a lens is pretty much useless except for special effects. I have a Zeiss Ikonta & Novar that's unusable because of slight lens fog.

    Ian

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Any lens fog will have a marked impact on lens contrast, it doesn't take much before a lens is pretty much useless except for special effects. I have a Zeiss Ikonta & Novar that's unusable because of slight lens fog.

    Ian
    For some, that special effect may be as useful as a primary lens. A friend shoots with a lens that has a completely scratched front element for low contrast and flare.

  7. #7

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    I have a Retina II which has slight fog,or something, and I wouldn't change it as it gives really lovely soft focus low contrast which work very well for the right subject, such as portraits of ladies, and I use it a lot, I suppose I could get the lens cleaned, but the images it creates are so nice that I prefer to keep it as it is,wonderfully sharp but slightly low in contrast, lovely
    Richard

  8. #8
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Thanks Ian, that is the answer I suspected. I've never had a fogged lens before so I wasn't sure. I tend to like nice, crisp images in the area that is meant to be in focus. Ah, well, simple enough to just send it out to get a cleaning.

    Thanks all -- Mark

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Fisher View Post
    Thanks Ian, that is the answer I suspected. I've never had a fogged lens before so I wasn't sure. I tend to like nice, crisp images in the area that is meant to be in focus. Ah, well, simple enough to just send it out to get a cleaning.

    Thanks all -- Mark
    There's two basic types of lens fogging.

    The first is from the lubricants and is fairly easily cleaned, condensation can be similar in enlarger lenses depositing a fine dust haze.

    The second is more insidious and is caused by atmospheric pollution, some glass used by leitz and Zeiss in particular from somewhere around 1930 (new glass types used mainly for faster lenses) is soft, it's very prone to scratching and also atmospheric attack. Leitz Summars are very suscepible and also some Tessars - newer 1930 computations and only a few focal lengths and also Novars.

    So there's a situation where a 135mm/150mm Tessar from about 1930 (ish) and up to 1938/9 is prone to going soft but lenses before or after are fine.

    Leitz also had a problem with out gassing from the barrel lubricants leaving a deposit on internal elements, which only begins to show up years later. That may be the issue with your Summicron.

    Ian

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    I have had good success removing that fog. If you leave it there it will give low contrast images of high contrast scenes. Low contrast scenes should image OK.

    If there is damage to the coating, there is nothing you can do about that. So the bottom line is that if all the fog does not come off with GENTLE cleaning, it represents permanent damage to the coating and will not get any better no matter what you do (unless you own a coating maching). So don't go and scratch the lens with tough abrasive cleaning technique.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=63370

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