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Another Retina IIa Lens Haze Thread
Old 01-26-2015   #1
eckmanmj
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Another Retina IIa Lens Haze Thread

I've read the posts here and on other sites about cleaning (or more precisely, the inability to clean) haze off of an effected lens.

From my research, the Xenon is especially prone to haze on the front element facing the shutter.

My Retina IIa is one of the best looking specimens I've seen in a long time. The leathertte is perfect, no peeling, no Zeiss bumps, no green corrosion. The film counter works fine, and all movements of the camera are fluid and smooth.

Other than VERY light wear marks on the bottom and top plates, Id say this camera is a 99/100 with the exception of that haze.

I've read several threads where people throw out all of these suggestions on how to polish off haze. Everything from silver polish to toothpaste to ketchup have been suggested.

The last thing I want to do is make this any worse. If this was a beater Retina in terrible shape, I wouldn't care so much, but seeing how many of these cameras are in poor shape, I want to keep it as nice as possible.

So, is there any product that any of you have personal experience using (preferably on a Retina) and can attest works well?
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Old 01-26-2015   #2
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In case this helps, here are two pics of the camera. I didnt intend on taking them on the colored tile floor of my son's bedroom, but I was sitting there and liked how the colors looked, so I took this real quick just a few minutes ago.

Sorry to those of you with slow Internet connections. Its actually a lot more difficult for me to resize pictures first, rather than just sending them to Wordpress.



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Old 01-26-2015   #3
colyn
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Have you tried unscrewing the silver front part from the black rear part of the front element componant? Sometimes the haze in on one of these inner elements.

If you have never done it unscrew the front componant from the shutter and turn it up side down. You will see 2 tiny grub screws. These screws are tiny and can get lost easy and you will need the correct fitting screwdriver so as not to damage the head if them. Once unscrewed you can then unscrew the parts but be careful that the front element does not drop to the floor and break.

Use a Q-tip dampened in alcohol to gently clean the exposed elements. Afterward use canned compressed air to blow away any lint or loose trash.
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Old 01-26-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colyn View Post
Have you tried unscrewing the silver front part from the black rear part of the front element componant? Sometimes the haze in on one of these inner elements.

If you have never done it unscrew the front componant from the shutter and turn it up side down. You will see 2 tiny grub screws. These screws are tiny and can get lost easy and you will need the correct fitting screwdriver so as not to damage the head if them. Once unscrewed you can then unscrew the parts but be careful that the front element does not drop to the floor and break.

Use a Q-tip dampened in alcohol to gently clean the exposed elements. Afterward use canned compressed air to blow away any lint or loose trash.
I have unscrewed the front element, but never separated the front 2 elements. I saw the two screws you were talking about, and Im not against giving that a shot, but my understanding is that this haze is common to Retinas and that simple cleaning with alcohol is not enough.

If I do take apart the front two elements and attempt to clean them, will I have to collimate the lens? At what point do I have to worry about throwing off focus by opening up the lens?
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Old 01-26-2015   #5
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This haze is common to all lens that have spent years in storage under not so good environments not just the Retina. I've also come across several without any trace of haze and currently have 2 cameras that are flawless.

I've done this to several IIa's and cleaned the haze off the rear of the front element. All lens performed flawlessly afterward. If the haze shows up on the inside of the rear cemented pair then the problem is balsum going bad..
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Old 01-26-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eckmanmj View Post
I have unscrewed the front element, but never separated the front 2 elements. I saw the two screws you were talking about, and Im not against giving that a shot, but my understanding is that this haze is common to Retinas and that simple cleaning with alcohol is not enough.
You may have to unscrew the front element retaining ring to separate them. I don't have a IIa, but a few other Retinas. If it's oil on the lens you may need to use naphtha/lighter fluid. Anything stronger might wipe the coatings off.

Quote:
If I do take apart the front two elements and attempt to clean them, will I have to collimate the lens?
No. When you have put everything back in place, the focus point should be where it was before.

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At what point do I have to worry about throwing off focus by opening up the lens?
Maybe if you swap the lens for one from another camera, or do something to the lens standard or focusing mechanism. To be sure, leave the shutter in the camera!
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Old 01-26-2015   #7
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I used to think that the entire haze problem with the Retina IIa Xenon lenses lay in the balsam layer. I believed this right up until one day I cut the cemented pair out of the brass mount, separated the two pieces of glass, and cleaned them. The haze was still there, and now I could clearly see it was actually on the surface that faces the shutter. This surface is quite concave, so that unlike convex surfaces, it is difficult to see imperfections on the surface. So, although the balsam layer might be the problem in your case, it is just as likely the problem is caused by deterioration of the glass surface. This is not an unknown problem, and since it is uncommon, probably has something to do with the specific optical glass chosen for that particular element.
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Old 01-27-2015   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Sherlock View Post
I used to think that the entire haze problem with the Retina IIa Xenon lenses lay in the balsam layer. I believed this right up until one day I cut the cemented pair out of the brass mount, separated the two pieces of glass, and cleaned them. The haze was still there, and now I could clearly see it was actually on the surface that faces the shutter. This surface is quite concave, so that unlike convex surfaces, it is difficult to see imperfections on the surface. So, although the balsam layer might be the problem in your case, it is just as likely the problem is caused by deterioration of the glass surface. This is not an unknown problem, and since it is uncommon, probably has something to do with the specific optical glass chosen for that particular element.
When you say 'the surface that faces the shutter', do you mean the lens elements that are BEHIND the shutter facing forward, or the lens elements on the front of the camera facing the front of the shutter?

I did the flashlight test on the front lens elements and theres definitely haze here, I dont know about the internal elements yet, because Im not sure I want to go that deep into the camera.

Since I know that at least some of it is on the front elements, what is the best method to "polish" it off? I already tried 91% rubbing alcohol and Ronsonol, neither of which made a difference.
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Old 01-27-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eckmanmj View Post
When you say 'the surface that faces the shutter', do you mean the lens elements that are BEHIND the shutter facing forward, or the lens elements on the front of the camera facing the front of the shutter?

I did the flashlight test on the front lens elements and theres definitely haze here, I dont know about the internal elements yet, because Im not sure I want to go that deep into the camera.

Since I know that at least some of it is on the front elements, what is the best method to "polish" it off? I already tried 91% rubbing alcohol and Ronsonol, neither of which made a difference.
I think what Chris is talking about the the rear most element of the front lens componant..

I suspect deteriation of a lens element can be caused by oil that sits on the surface for many years can cause lens coating issues which may look like haze..
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Old 01-27-2015   #10
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If you want some pointers, Mike, here is my Ia repair set. I haven't gotten around to doing the IIa yet.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/769958...7635658065954/

PF

ps: It's not so much that it takes a while for your large files to load, but you are using more bandwidth than the owner of the site would like. Sooner or later, if everyone wants to hog bandwidth, then we are going to have to pay for the privilege of using the forum. So it's more a matter of Internet etiquette, as opposed to the time taken to resize your files. And folks get tired of having to scroll the screen back and forth to read posts, and see photos.
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Old 01-28-2015   #11
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I think Colyn has it right. It is almost certainly something to do with oil and the glass reacting in some fashion. The interesting thing here is that this does not happen with Rodenstock Heligon lenses used in exactly the same Retina model. This points to the deciding factor being the glass, not the oil.
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Old 01-28-2015   #12
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Quote:
The interesting thing here is that this does not happen with Rodenstock Heligon lenses used in exactly the same Retina model.
The Heligon is uncoated, is it not? So the culprit would be the coating on the SK glass
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Old 01-28-2015   #13
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No, all the Heligons fitted to the Retina IIa are coated.
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Old 01-28-2015   #14
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I have found a few of the IIa's that had been relubed at some point with white lith grease and the lens surfaces facing the shutter were hazed over by the excessive bleed and vaporizing of white lith. This grease should never be used. I prefer a good moly grease purchased from micro-tools

Chris... if I recall SK lens have a different type of coating than the Rodenstock. This may be why Rodenstock lens don't seem to be affected by haze. I've got a couple of IIa's with the Rodenstock lens which had been stored away for years and the glass is clear as a bell..
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Old 01-28-2015   #15
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G'day Colyn,

I don't think the coating explains it, because there was never a problem with either the f/3.5 or the f/2.8 Xenars on the Retina Ia.

Regards, Chris
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Old 01-29-2015   #16
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G'day Colyn,

I don't think the coating explains it, because there was never a problem with either the f/3.5 or the f/2.8 Xenars on the Retina Ia.

Regards, Chris
Thanks for the information Chris. I never noticed..
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Old 04-03-2015   #17
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Over the last several years I have bought a number of IIa's and IIIc's as well as a several IIc's on eBay. All 3 models have the Xenon lens. Of the IIa's and IIIc's I've had to return maybe 98% of them because of uncleanable haze as well as fungus. But every IIc that I have bought none had fungus or hazing..

Based on my experience I'd have to say the IIc is the best of the bunch.. All three are fine cameras as long as one can be found without hazing or fungus..
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Old 05-04-2015   #18
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Over the last several years I have bought a number of IIa's and IIIc's as well as a several IIc's on eBay. All 3 models have the Xenon lens. Of the IIa's and IIIc's I've had to return maybe 98% of them because of uncleanable haze as well as fungus. But every IIc that I have bought none had fungus or hazing..

Based on my experience I'd have to say the IIc is the best of the bunch.. All three are fine cameras as long as one can be found without hazing or fungus..
Thanks for the info Chris. I may pick up a IIc if I find one for a good price. I really like the Retina line, but the haze on mine is discouraging.
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