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Don't judge a lens by the scratches
Old 05-13-2016   #1
p.giannakis
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Don't judge a lens by the scratches

I saw this lens being advertised locally for 30.



It is a 28 f/2.8, not sure if it is the Ai or the AiS version. When i arrived to view the lens and collect it, my heart sunk...
This is how the front element looks like.



The front element is destroyed. All scratches are deep enough to be felt with my finger. The picture above is taken with my mobile, there are a number of fine scratches in a "S" shape that are not visible on this picture. There is also a small one on the rear element too, a very faint one but visible.

I turned down the offer. The gentleman told me to make an offer and take it otherwise he would throw it away. I bought it for 5.

I returned home and put it on my F4s - I shot the remaining 6-7 frames of Fomapan 200 just to test it.

Here are some pictures.

Minimum focusing distance and wide open (f/2.8)


With the sun just outside frame (on my left) - aperture f/8


With the sun inside the frame - aperture f/16


Another one at f/11


I need to be buying more scratched lenses....
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Old 05-13-2016   #2
Jockos
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Problem is more often resaleability than performance. You may end up with a pile of lenses that you cannot sell or trade.
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Old 05-13-2016   #3
jonmanjiro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
It is a 28 f/2.8, not sure if it is the Ai or the AiS version.
AiS version.

That front element isn't destroyed, its just got character! The lens performs as I'd expect with that amount of scratches.
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Old 05-13-2016   #4
p.giannakis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
The lens performs as I'd expect with that amount of scratches.
I don't have another copy to compare it - do unscratched copies of this lens perform any better - I was quite impressed with this one in terms of sharpness and flare control.
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Old 05-14-2016   #5
John Bragg
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I have one in pristine condition and it is one of the best lenses I own. Those are fine shots for such a damaged lens and perhaps the only clue to its state is the ammount of flare in the shot with the sun in. Get a lens hood and it will improve even more ! You got a lot of lens for the money just enjoy it and shoot lots more fine photos.
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Old 05-14-2016   #6
jonmanjiro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post
I don't have another copy to compare it - do unscratched copies of this lens perform any better - I was quite impressed with this one in terms of sharpness and flare control.
I should have added "just as well as an unscratched lens" after "The lens performs as I'd expect with that amount of scratches".

The scratches on your lens are pretty minor really, and while they certainly affect resale value I doubt you'd see any difference in performance between your lens and an unscratched lens. As for the flare, its possibly partially due the scratches but even an unscratched AiS 28/2.8 can flare so I'd wager the scratches are an insignificant factor here.

To see a well and truly destroyed front element and how much impact the damage has on image quality, check out this!
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Old 05-14-2016   #7
Fixcinater
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Is there any haze inside the lens? If it needed a cleaning and got one, you may notice even better contrast.

You may be able to improve performance by "filling in" the deepest/widest scratches with black ink to reduce scatter.
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Old 05-14-2016   #8
CliveC
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Front element damage doesn't really show in the image all that much. It causes more flare perhaps. Rear element damage, on the other hand... Pretty much the further back the element, the more impact any imperfections will show in the image.
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Old 05-14-2016   #9
Huss
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The thing to do with scratches like that is fill them in with a black permanent marker pen.
Seriously.
You won't see it in your images, but it will help prevent lens flare.
(You can always remove the marker with a little alcohol)
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Old 05-14-2016   #10
Range-rover
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I have a Rolleiflex Twin lens and the front element has it's fair share of marks,
but show's nothing in the pictures which come out clear as come be. Plus you
have one of the great Nikon manual focus lenses which is great from the get go.
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Old 05-14-2016   #11
p.giannakis
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Thanks for the comments guys. I also have a Voightlander Heliar with a chip on the front element. I am still shooting the test roll with it, I will post some pictures in the future to show you how it performs...
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Old 05-15-2016   #12
Bille
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p.giannakis View Post

I need to be buying more scratched lenses....
Do you like the hazy, low contrast look?
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Old 05-15-2016   #13
Rob-F
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If someone had shown me these pictures and asked me to guess what they had been taken with, I'd have guessed one of the old uncoated "legacy" lenses such as a 50mm Summar, or the old Zeiss folding rollfilm camera my grandfather had; or maybe my own uncoated nickel Elmar on my Leica II. Except you were able to get this character with a wide-angle lens, not just a normal one. Not bad for the money!
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Old 05-15-2016   #14
Huss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bille View Post
Do you like the hazy, low contrast look?
I kinda have to agree with Bille. These shots, technically, are severely lacking which does show that the scratches have caused issues.
Try the black marker and see if that makes a difference.
Even though the lens was almost free, your film/developing/scanning time isn't..
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Old 05-16-2016   #15
DanskDynamit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jockos View Post
Problem is more often resaleability than performance. You may end up with a pile of lenses that you cannot sell or trade.
since when that was a problem for photography? I think most of us are on this to make photos, right?

http://kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html
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Old 10-27-2016   #16
p.giannakis
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I prepared an update on this. Here is how this scratched lens compares to my like-new AF Nikkor 28-70 f/3.5-4.5

http://pansfilmcameras.blogspot.co.u...ched-lens.html

Enjoy.
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Old 10-27-2016   #17
Timmyjoe
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I second what Clive is saying. Years ago I had the privilege of working on a film with a very experience DP. I was mentioning that one of the lenses we were using appeared to have a hairline scratch on the front element. He said not to worry, it would only show up if light hit directly on the front of the lens, at a particular angle. He was careful that the light didn't, and sure enough, you couldn't see the scratch in any of the final footage we shot with that lens.
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Old 10-27-2016   #18
David Hughes
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Hi,

I've often wondered what would happen if I painted the scratch edges with, say, a black felt tip pen. I guess it would reduce the stray reflections.

Regards, David
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Old 10-27-2016   #19
Huss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
The thing to do with scratches like that is fill them in with a black permanent marker pen.
Seriously.
You won't see it in your images, but it will help prevent lens flare.
(You can always remove the marker with a little alcohol)
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

I've often wondered what would happen if I painted the scratch edges with, say, a black felt tip pen. I guess it would reduce the stray reflections.

Regards, David
Already answered
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