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Summicron problem - advice needed
Old 03-12-2017   #1
Doctor Zero
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Unhappy Summicron problem - advice needed

After a long hiatus (children, going m4/3 and autofocus...) I am back on Rangefinderforum. And in need of advice.

I have a Summicron 35, v4. When I had a Bessa, 35 mm was never my favourite focal length and on m4/3, I don't have much use for 70 mm equivalent either. But - looking at the lens from the rear there is a circular spot in on one of the elements. It is not fungus since it is so nicely round. See the attached picture. Any idea what it might be? Beginning of separation of elements? On m4/3 I don't see it having an effect on the pictures (e.g. a picture of a flat wall does not show any obvious discoloration/change in sharpness).

Second question, what might be a good strategy? Try and be objective. Do I send it for repair then sell it? Or just offer it for cheap, and if so, what is cheap?

Thanks for any advice.

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Old 03-12-2017   #2
Godfrey
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Actually, "so perfectly round" could indeed indicate a fungus beginning. Many fungi colonies are perfectly round until they encounter an obstacle.

I would send it to Leica or DAG for an inspection and cleaning, immediately. It will have much more value if it is clean and the optics perfect, generally more than the cost of a service.

A Summicron-M 35mm v4 is a desireable lens. Someone on the Leica Users Forum was asking me just yesterday if I was selling one (no, I'm not; I have a v2 which I love and will never sell). Review the websites of credible Leica dealers (Tamarkin.com, BHPhotovideo.com, etc) and search for sold offerings on EBay to get a feel for current prices. Then offer it here, on Leica Users Forum, and on EBay to obtain the broadest buying audience.

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Old 03-12-2017   #3
Robert Lai
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I don't think that it's separation, as that usually starts from the edges. When you look through the lens at a brightly lit surface, do you see any fine strands to suggest fungal hyphae?

Another possibility, since the spot is so close to the center of the lens: close your aperture down slowly, and see if at some point the aperture encompasses this spot. Now, do the aperture blades adjacent to the spot show oil? It may just be off-gassing of oil onto the glass. This may have happened if you stored the lens in an excessively hot area, such as the glove compartment of your car during the summer time. If it is this last one, then it is fairly inexpensive to get it cleaned up.

Trying to sell a lens which potentially has separation or fungus will SEVERELY impact negatively upon your price, so it is worthwhile getting a professional opinion on this.
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Old 03-12-2017   #4
Robert Lai
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I know you're in the UK, so you will have to find a local Leica expert. For such a lens, I wouldn't trust it to just anybody who claims to be a repairman.

However, Don Goldberg told me recently that you can actually smell fungus most of the time. It has a musty, mouldy smell.

I hope that you haven't been keeping it inside a leather case or pouch. Leather is a breeding ground for fungus. I had a Super Ikonta A sent to me from the UK once that was filled with fungus. The case and the bellows were completely rotted out from the fungus.

A Nikon F prism was sent to me with its case from Japan (another humid / damp country). The case was filled with fungus. Sover Wong removed the traces of fungus from inside the prism housing for me. The case went into the trash bin ASAP.
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Old 03-12-2017   #5
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I'd send it to Alan Starkie. He is in the UK. It's hard to tell from one pic but it could just be a spot of haze or it could be fungus; it's possible it will simply wipe clean. That won't affect photos but it will the price
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Old 03-12-2017   #6
Mr. Fizzlesticks
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That is either fungus or oil. Seperation in the middle of the elements usually looks like a snowflake.

I agree with the others. Send it in for cleaning. It will be worth much more if it is clean.
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Old 03-12-2017   #7
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Thanks, all, for the advice. I cannot see any fine strands, nor oil on the blades. I did determine it is between the rear element and the aperture blades, for what it's worth. I've contacted some repair people.

And I'll need to dig through my profile: I (sadly!) moved from the UK to the US - in MA in fact.
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Old 03-12-2017   #8
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Looks like fungus to me either take it to a local repair shop (must be quite a few in London) or fix it yourself, its not a difficult or complex lens to strip and clean. Or if you don't want the bother stick it on the big auction site and I'm pretty sure you will be surprised at how much it sells for!
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Old 03-12-2017   #9
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My bet: it's separation. I've seen a round spot of separation many times in other maker's lenses. Don't know about Leica that much, but it happens this way a lot.

Regardless, if you like the lens, I'd shoot it as is. That tiny amount of problem won't be noticeable on photos, if the rest of the lens is crystal clear and not haze.
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Old 03-12-2017   #10
Rob-F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goamules View Post
My bet: it's separation. Regardless, if you like the lens, I'd shoot it as is. That tiny amount of problem won't be noticeable on photos, if the rest of the lens is crystal clear and not haze.
But if it's fungus, it could spread and get worse! Some say that placing the lens in sunlight will arrest the fungus.
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Old 03-12-2017   #11
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If you're in MA send it to Youxin for a quote; he's there.
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Old 03-12-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
If you're in MA send it to Youxin for a quote; he's there.
I was unaware that Youxin Ye had the collimation equipment necessary for disassembling and reassembling...? I know Don Goldberg does.

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Old 03-13-2017   #13
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It won't need to be collimated, just cleaned
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Old 03-13-2017   #14
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The separation I've seen in the past that shows up as a circle has been more like a clear bubble. I can't really see the image in the OP that well, but it looks more fungus-like to me. It seems to have "stuff" within it.

To be safe, I'd get UV light, strong UV light, in that lens right away. Then hope its either not fungus at all, or the fungus was found, killed, and cleaned away before it can cause damage. It would be a real shame if it was there long enough to start etching.

Strong, full sunlight (too bad its winter) and/or strong medical sterilization UV light will kill the fungus, or at least send it into a state of suspended animation (I'm completely blanking on the correct term here). And if its not fungus, no harm in having done the light treatment. In fact, it could be kind of prophylactic; any fungus that was present would be dead now
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A picture paints a handful of words
Old 03-14-2017   #15
Doctor Zero
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A picture paints a handful of words

Tried to get a better picture of the spot - this is about the best I can do... And again, thank you all for your advice. Likely sending it to Youxin Ye, since he is local, and we'll go from there.
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Old 03-14-2017   #16
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Good luck. Youxin will turn it quickly
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Old 03-15-2017   #17
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One easy way to confirm that this is not separation (which it's not): The effect of separation is to introduce a pair of glass/air interface surfaces which do not exist in the unseparated surrounding area. As we know, each glass/air surface creates a reflection of 4% of the light that strikes it (cemented surfaces are not AR coated); therefore in the separation spot you have what looks almost like a mirror, a very bright reflective spot that's bouncing 8% of the incoming light back to your eye. This is often also accompanied by rainbow colored bands near the edges of the separation, which are essentially newton rings reflecting different colors based on the distance of separation between the 2 glass elements.

Fungus or oil are the likely culprits here, and fungus the most likely. If removed without delay there will probably be no damage, but if left unattended it can be very destructive.
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Old 03-15-2017   #18
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It looks like fungus. I've cleaned literally hundreds of lenses, and seen numerous cases of fungus which looks just like this. Removing it will be easy enough, though there is a fair chance that it has eaten through the interior lens coating. I use cerium oxide paste with a pure cotton swab to remove such fungus. The most difficult part of the job dealing with dust, it takes longer to remove every visible particle than it does to remove the fungus. Good luck with the repair, it looks routine enough.
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Old 03-22-2017   #19
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Quick update: the lens is back from Youxin. I sent it last Thursday (16th), it arrived on Saturday and it was back in my house Tuesday (21st) in the morning. Talk about quick turnaround. Lens was CLA'd and the fungus/mold was on the fifth element and removed. So the lens looks clean, focus is silky smooth.. as good as new for a 24 year old lens (based on the serial number and Puts' list). I'll put up an ad for it on RFF in a few days.

Thank you all for your input, it was much appreciated.
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