View Full Version : Taking apart and cleaning lenses
In my other intense hobby, music recording, I love buying old beat-up junk, taking it apart, and repairing it. I've refurbished tons of synthesizers, guitars, tape decks, etc. over the years and have amassed a nice collection of functional stuff on the cheap.
So how hard should it be to do this with lenses? Is there some online primer about disassembling lenses, cleaning haze and dust, lubricating, reassembling? Does it depend on the lens? Would I need specialized tools?
If anyone could point me in the right direction (Brian Sweeney?) I'd be grateful.
All I know is that you can get a lens spanner wrench and a "rangefinder" spanner wrench at microtools.com.
Rick Olesonís site (http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-27.html)has a large selection of manuals. There are other sites that also have manuals, potentially different ones, and there are sellers on thE Bay-area auction site that have manuals as well.
A tutorial might also be useful.
If you check the Russian RF section of this forum, you will find several threads on repair (we are increasingly becoming a FIY community) and a number of links to repair sites. Some of them are repairmen (and are quite good in their area, but slowly declining in number), other sites show the basics (and sometimes more) of repair.
One of the more interesting FIY sites is the Kiev Survival Site (http://www3.telus.net/public/rpnchbck/index.html). It has several lens disassembly tutorials (many pictures) for specific Kiev RF/Contax lenses. Pay attention to the discussion about helicoids. Lenses from other manufacturers are disassembled in a different manner, but this site gives a general idea of what is involved in disassembling a camera lens.
The pictures also show many of the tools involved. Iím aware of at least 2 types of blades for spanner wrenches: straight, like a screwdriver, and round, to fit in a hole. There are sizes of each. Additionally, some are offset. A good set of screwdrivers, most likely metric, is also a must.
There are also other tools that make things easier. A suction-type pickup device (looks like a small suction cup on a tube), to pick up lenses is also a good idea (keeps fingerprints off the lens); maybe a couple of sizes, since the front element of a Jupiter-8 (50mm/2) is very much smaller than the front element of a medium format CZJ Flectogon (50mm/4). A rubber mat (similar to a sink drain cover) is also useful.
There is, of course, more, but this is a reasonable starting point. Iím almost at this point, but I find it easier and cheaper to locate a local camera repairman whoís willing to try to repair lenses. Naturally, I check lenses first, to make sure that repair isnít too costly (cleaning needed, maybe a sticky aperture, etc.).
I basically just web-searched for online hints, bought some basic repair books, a simple spanner, and some fine screw drivers. Bought some junk lenses to take apart, then worked my way up to the Jupiter-3, Jupiter-8, Canon RF, Collapsible Summicrons, and RF nikkor lenses. I lucked-out and found a through the lens viewer for setting the focus on LTM lenses. Those, some files, patience, etc- a real practice makes you not screw up everything that you touch hobby.
Thank you, Brian, that's a great start!
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