Is this "oily" lens haze?
Old 04-17-2018   #1
oculus
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Is this "oily" lens haze?

I purchased a Leica II with Hektor 50/2.5 from a popular online dealer of used and rare photography equipment. Both the lens and the camera were described as having been CLA'd. The camera seems fine (great, actually) but I notice rainbow/oily circles in the lens. Is this "oily" lens haze? Should this have been removed by a CLA?
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Old 04-17-2018   #2
Fixcinater
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That looks like separation of elements to me, oil just shows up as a transparent haze in my experience.

If it is separation, it would mean the elements glued together would need to be heated or chemically by solvent fully separated and then re-glued to be back into full shooting shape. This is not part of a normal CLA, it takes specialized equipment to do so to factory specs. Whether factory specs are absolutely required is up to some debate, some folks have done it themselves and gotten fine results in their garage/shop with home-made tools.

I had a Summitar 50/2 Leica lens that had more than half of it showing separation in the front group and it shot OK. Flared more than an Summitar might normally, but with the big shade and not shooting directly into the sun it was basically fine. Sharp as it should be.

You can try shooting it if your intent was to use it, but as a collector piece it's value has gone down and as a lens to use it has dropped significantly.
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Old 04-17-2018   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
That looks like separation of elements to me, oil just shows up as a transparent haze in my experience.

If it is separation, it would mean the elements glued together would need to be heated or chemically by solvent fully separated and then re-glued to be back into full shooting shape. This is not part of a normal CLA, it takes specialized equipment to do so to factory specs. Whether factory specs are absolutely required is up to some debate, some folks have done it themselves and gotten fine results in their garage/shop with home-made tools.

I had a Summitar 50/2 Leica lens that had more than half of it showing separation in the front group and it shot OK. Flared more than an Summitar might normally, but with the big shade and not shooting directly into the sun it was basically fine. Sharp as it should be.

You can try shooting it if your intent was to use it, but as a collector piece it's value has gone down and as a lens to use it has dropped significantly.
Thanks for responding. What causes the "rainbow" circles?
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Old 04-17-2018   #4
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It's hard to tell from the picture but I have also encountered this "rainbow" affect on certain uncoated lenses, like the Triotar on the early Rolleicords. What I mean is: it may not be separation. I would have to see it in person and at various angles to make that determination. Have you shot with it yet?
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Old 04-17-2018   #5
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The very rare, and much sought after "Rainbow Hector"! Makes all your grey day photos that much nicer.

But seriously, yeah, it's probably separation, or a breakdown of the glues causing that refraction pattern. Usually starts from the outer edge and works its way inward to the center. Might lower the contrast a bit since it's so wide spread on your example, but usually has minimal effect as long as it hasn't progressed far from the edges. My 50/2 Nikkor has separation, but I don't notice it in the photos.

Would have been nice if the seller had told you about it. See if you can get a partial refund, as it definitely detracts from the value of the lens.

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Old 04-17-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
It's hard to tell from the picture but I have also encountered this "rainbow" affect on certain uncoated lenses, like the Triotar on the early Rolleicords. What I mean is: it may not be separation. I would have to see it in person and at various angles to make that determination. Have you shot with it yet?
Yes, in fact I shot a roll of Tri-X with it today. I must have been the only one in Philadelphia who was glad to see such a gray and dismal day -- perfect to test an uncoated lens!

The negatives look great, actually. I've just scanned a few for you to see. I stayed around f5.6 for most of these, but occasionally dipping into f4. I'm actually surprised at how sharp and contrasty the lens is.

Now I know someone will say/think: then what you are complaining about? Use the lens and enjoy it! Indeed. But my concern is whether the phantom rainbow circles prognosticate imminent doom for the lens.
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Old 04-17-2018   #7
Crazy Fedya
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I don’t think its separation. It looks like blooming to me. Blooming is a naturally occuring oxidation of uncoated glass that inspired invention of lens coating.
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Old 04-17-2018   #8
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Here are a couple more from today. The lens actually gives a nice rendition.
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Old 04-17-2018   #9
oculus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy Fedya View Post
I don’t think its separation. It looks like blooming to me. Blooming is a naturally occuring oxidation of uncoated glass that inspired invention of lens coating.
Thanks. I did not know about blooming until now.
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Old 04-17-2018   #10
Mr_Flibble
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I agree, it's blooming.

Enjoy your Hektor. I love mine!
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Old 04-18-2018   #11
David Hughes
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Hi,

My money's on natural blooming, so don't get it cleaned off.

Be careful of what they say about it on the internet, Taylor noted and commented on it in the 1890's and a commercial version of it was announced in the 1930's but some claim it was a secret process, not revealed until after WW2. Not secret enough to keep it out of the 30's photo magazines...

This might help:-

https://mhcocm.wordpress.com/2011/12...ical-coatings/

and this is about Taylor and another of his contributions to photography:-

http://www.willbell.com/tm/ChapterB.3.pdf


Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 04-18-2018 at 00:31. Reason: Extra LFCR's again...
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Old 04-18-2018   #12
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It is a separation. I had it on a summitar. I primitively tried to heat the lens and pressed it hard. I was able to get rid of the separation but it ruined the front element by millions of scratches. So the main point of the story is that "dont try to do it yourself"
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Old 04-18-2018   #13
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I agree that it is only so called 'natural blooming'. It has no real effect and is not really a fault. Erik knows the technical details of how it happens to old lenses. Some of mine have it and it is not a problem. It looks a bit like the rainbow effect caused by a thin coating of oil on water. From what I can see it really does not look like separation.

Don't worry about it, just treat it as part of the joy of old lenses!
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Old 04-18-2018   #14
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The ones say *separation*, the others say *blooming*, but -- at least as long the user of the lens doesn't get a *bleumourant* face colour -- what about ... bloomeration?
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Another picture of the rainbow circles
Old 04-18-2018   #15
oculus
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Another picture of the rainbow circles

I am grateful for everyone's weighing in on the glass. Thank you.

Here is another picture of the rainbow/oily circles in better light. There is a slight texture to it. I should also say that it does not appear on the edges of the lens.

Many thanks, again!
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Old 04-18-2018   #16
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It's hard for us to see on pictures, but you can move the lens in your hands and make a guess where the rainbow colors are. Look up where the cemented pair is (it's just one, right?) in a Hector, if it's not there, it must be blooming.
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Old 04-18-2018   #17
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The 5cm f/2.5 Hektor consists of 3 cemented pairs.
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Old 04-18-2018   #18
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The separation I am used to seeing is more irregular / "blotchy", and with a translucent "amberish" tint to the affect areas...

An "11 oclock" Hektor in "feet". Wow.
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Old 04-18-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post
The 5cm f/2.5 Hektor consists of 3 cemented pairs.
Oh that makes it difficult then, I hadn't found the right schematic apparently.
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Old 04-18-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
The separation I am used to seeing is more irregular / "blotchy", and with a translucent "amberish" tint to the affect areas...

An "11 oclock" Hektor in "feet". Wow.
Is it particularly rare?
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Old 04-18-2018   #21
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Production was 1930-36, about 10,000 units, total. Probably on the rarer side of screw-mount lenses.

With s/n 125xxx, yours should be from 1932.

Early versions were nickel, and the the 11 o'clock focus-tab lock. This interferes with slow-speeds knob on the III / III-a / III-b, so the focus lock was revised to the "7 o'clock" orientation.

I would think a version in "Feet" (for English and American markets) would be rarer than one in "Metres".

Folks with early cameras (nickel hardware) like to find nickel lenses...

If I got to pick & choose, I'd want one in "Feet"... with good glass...

My vote is for "bloom"; get a hood and go shoot and don't worry about it.
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Old 04-18-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
Production was 1930-36, about 10,000 units, total. Probably on the rarer side of screw-mount lenses.

With s/n 125xxx, yours should be from 1932.

Early versions were nickel, and the the 11 o'clock focus-tab lock. This interferes with slow-speeds knob on the III / III-a / III-b, so the focus lock was revised to the "7 o'clock" orientation.

I would think a version in "Feet" (for English and American markets) would be rarer than one in "Metres".

Folks with early cameras (nickel hardware) like to find nickel lenses...

If I got to pick & choose, I'd want one in "Feet"... with good glass...

My vote is for "bloom"; get a hood and go shoot and don't worry about it.
Thanks. I definitely got it for shooting, not for collecting. It is my first LTM camera (I normally use an M4 or a digital M-P both with modern Leica glass). Loading the camera isn't nearly as difficult as I had been led to think, and focusing can be done with good precision given the long focus throw of the Hektor.

Anyway, if it is "blooming" I do not understand why that is a desirable phenomenon, nor why it wouldn't be cleaned in a CLA. Any thoughts?

Thanks again.

Kudzu
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Old 04-18-2018   #23
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Some of the the other respondents to this thread will have to speak to the "blooming" phenomenon.

I have a black Leica II from 1932, s/n 77xxx with a nickel 11 o'clock Elmar 50. Both slightly brassed, but very nice.

I have a couple of black III's from 1933, a chrome III from 1934 that was my "daily driver" for several years, a III-c "stepper", a III-c converted to -f / black-dial, self-timer, and a III-f.

As you might guess, I really like screw-mount Leicas.

The -c/f BD ST is in my go-bag right now, wearing a coated Summitar, along for the ride are an un-coated Elmar 35 from 1940, and coated post-war Elmar 90 and Hektor 135, FIKUS hood, and other notions. It is my user RF kit. Sometimes the body changes-out.

I have black-paint Elmar and Hektor long lenses, and someday will assemble "period" kits to go with the black-body Leicae.

Granted I like the machinery, but I also enjoy taking pictures with them.

A hood is generally a "must" when shooting uncoated glass.

Mr Flibble and Erik van Stratten both take some EXCELLENT photos with vintage Leicae and uncoated lenses, and share some of their work here in the LTM department.

Please share some more pics of your II when you get a chance.



LF
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Old 04-18-2018   #24
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Blooming is naturally occuring oxidation of uncoated glass. It is a simplest form of coating, and inspiration for modern coating process. It is believed to slightly increase contrast in uncoated lenses. I am not sure if it is cleanable. Most people will try to leave it intact, wiping their lenses gently, only if necessary.
From a last photo it definitely looks like blooming.
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Old 04-18-2018   #25
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It's only lens bloom. No worries, I have seen this dozens of times. Has zero effect on anything. Really nice IQ from the lens too. The shots look nicely retro.
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Old 04-18-2018   #26
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Lens bloom. The Rolleiflex old standard I use which has an uncoated tessar has the same rainbow pattern
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Old 04-18-2018   #27
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Seeing that 2nd photo of the front element, I change my answer: blooming.

The first photo made it look more internal. Apologies for jumping the gun and not requesting better photos!

Keep it intact, don't polish it off. I had a Zeiss folder with blooming, it definitely gave higher contrast results than the similar model I had without the bloom, both with otherwise clean glass. I did not notice any change in sharpness and anyway, two individual samples is not enough for proof of that.
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Old 04-18-2018   #28
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Just let it be, Oculus. It could be damaging to remove it. And I totally forgot about blooming, even though I have a few lenses around here with that.

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Old 04-18-2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oculus View Post
...Anyway, if it is "blooming" I do not understand why that is a desirable phenomenon, nor why it wouldn't be cleaned in a CLA. Any thoughts?

Thanks again.

Kudzu
Hi,

Blooming happens naturally as lenses get old and Taylor noticed in 1890 that blooming improved the lens. It does this by cutting down the reflections; in other words just like modern coatings do. And many people think it does it very well and so don't do anything that might remove it because the lens will not work so well afterwards.

The rainbow pattern is a give away and shows it isn't the lens separating. In other words rejoice at your luck!

Regards, David
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Old 04-18-2018   #30
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Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
Mr Flibble and Erik van Stratten both take some EXCELLENT photos with vintage Leicae and uncoated lenses, and share some of their work here in the LTM department.
Oh please, if my ego inflates any more I won't fit through the door
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Old 04-18-2018   #31
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That’s a different phenom: ‘ego bloom’

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Old 04-18-2018   #32
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That’s a different phenom: ‘ego bloom’

Laughing out loud...


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Old 04-18-2018   #33
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I am very grateful. While I do not do anything nearly worthy of the name photography, I will try to share some images taken with my rainbow Hektor.
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Old 04-19-2018   #34
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Here are a couple from yesterday's outing. The II is a lovely companion in the forest. Light and sturdy. The lens, I think, gives a nice rendition and certainly enough contrast (although I used a development which would enhance contrast a bit). A keeper, to be sure.
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Old 04-19-2018   #35
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I have heard of the “blooming” effect, but why is it in concentric circles showing the colour spectrum? I think it might be Newton’s Rings from incipient separation, but probably not something to agonize over all that much.

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Old 04-19-2018   #36
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I have heard of the “blooming” effect, but why is it in concentric circles showing the colour spectrum?
It's a good question.
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Old 04-22-2018   #37
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Possibly has to do with the way the glass is polished
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Old 04-22-2018   #38
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Congratulations with your beautiful blooming Hektor. The blooming arises all by itself. It is to me a miracle when it occurs and when not. It has to do with the composition of the air and the type of glass.

As others have said, blooming improves the quality of the lens. The phenomenon inspired the invention of coating.

So never remove it. It looks very beautiful on a lens. I also have a blooming Hektor, on wich I am very proud.

Funny, but I've never seen it on a Summar. Undoubtedly this has to do with the glass type. I also have a blooming Elmar on a Leica IA. Beautiful lens.

Erik.
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Old 04-24-2018   #39
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Funny, but I've never seen it on a Summar. Undoubtedly this has to do with the glass type.
Erik.
I will have a look at my Summars, I'm not sure about this.

(90mm Elmar blooms nicely!)

Michael
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Old 04-24-2018   #40
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I will have a look at my Summars, I'm not sure about this.

(90mm Elmar blooms nicely!)

Michael
Take it all back. No blooming on any of my Summars. I have good clean examples coated and uncoated, the others are, well, dirty or display the remnants of coating.
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