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Cannot Find a Good Copy of the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM - Giving Up!
Old 05-18-2017   #1
NathanArizona
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Cannot Find a Good Copy of the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM - Giving Up!

I went over a month and a half searching for a mint condition copy of this lens because of the way in rendered but every copy I received either had scratches on the outer surface of the elements and two had glue/separation issues on 2/3 copies that I tried and tested and returned. In each case, the eBay sellers had 100% feedback and stated that the glass was in mint condition. Even on the third round, the seller told me the lens was in "like new" condition without anything wrong with the glass!

Is it just me or has the quality that sellers have been promoting going steadily downhill in recent months/years? I've almost given up looking for used lenses on eBay and I feel it is fruitless and a waste of time looking for an excellent copy pf the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM - which I wanted so badly. I love the way it renders but couldn't get and find what I was trying to locate... :/

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Old 05-18-2017   #2
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IMHO some buyers have rather unrealistic expectation of lenses that are more than 60 years old. Chances are the lens were LN, or in other words they were in no better condition when they left the factory.

Buy new.
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Old 05-18-2017   #3
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IMHO some buyers have rather unrealistic expectation of lenses that are more than 60 years old. Chances are the lens were LN, or in other words they were in no better condition when they left the factory.

Buy new.
I've been buying vintage lenses on eBay for 15 years now and have (for the most part) had excellent buying experiences with good quality glass that was as described. I purchased Konica Hexanon, Rokkors, Russian Zenit and Rangefinder lenses, the Pentacons, Carl Zeiss, and many many others with no issues until this past year. I would have lived with the scratching, but the lens separation and glue issues really hurt the quality of the glass for night shooting with bokeh and specular light sources.

I heard the LTM lenses from Canon's old rangefinder line were notorious for balsam separation and these glue issues, even reading that on these forums which I am new to BTW, but I was okay with taking the lens apart to clean up haze but the glue issues are just hard to overlook! :/

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Old 05-18-2017   #4
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I mean a month and a half is nothing really.
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Old 05-18-2017   #5
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This is what shows up in the bokeh which is visible separation that is sometimes hard to see when looking through the lens but is painfully obvious in images.

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Old 05-18-2017   #6
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A few more examples of what I'm talking about:





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Old 05-18-2017   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanArizona View Post
I went over a month and a half searching for a mint condition copy of this lens because of the way in rendered but every copy I received either had scratches on the outer surface of the elements and two had glue/separation issues on 2/3 copies that I tried and tested and returned. In each case, the eBay sellers had 100% feedback and stated that the glass was in mint condition. Even on the third round, the seller told me the lens was in "like new" condition without anything wrong with the glass!

Is it just me or has the quality that sellers have been promoting going steadily downhill in recent months/years? I've almost given up looking for used lenses on eBay and I feel it is fruitless and a waste of time looking for an excellent copy pf the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM - which I wanted so badly. I love the way it renders but couldn't get and find what I was trying to locate... :/

Nate
Here's a question: Do you want to use the lens, or collect it?

I would never use a mint lens. Once you start using it, it is no longer mint. "Like new" is a weasel term, but again, once you start using it, it's not "like new" anymore. If you want the lens to use, then deal with the fact that all the used lenses have been used - that's why they're in used condition.

Canon lenses of that era are notorious for element separation, and there are quite a few old lenses that have very soft glass - to the point where finding one without cleaning marks is practically impossible. If you want to use the lens, you settle for this, it's not going to ruin your photos.

I've been looking off and on for Schacht Travegon for a few years now. I very stupidly sold the first one I had because it wasn't perfect. I've not found another that was in as good of condition. Oops. And it's been several years.
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Old 05-18-2017   #8
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Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Here's a question: Do you want to use the lens, or collect it?

I would never use a mint lens. Once you start using it, it is no longer mint. "Like new" is a weasel term, but again, once you start using it, it's not "like new" anymore. If you want the lens to use, then deal with the fact that all the used lenses have been used - that's why they're in used condition.

Canon lenses of that era are notorious for element separation, and there are quite a few old lenses that have very soft glass - to the point where finding one without cleaning marks is practically impossible. If you want to use the lens, you settle for this, it's not going to ruin your photos.

I've been looking off an on for Schacht Travegon for a few years now. I very stupidly sold the first one I had because it wasn't perfect. I've not found another that was in as good of condition. Oops.
I have several vintage lenses that I use, some of which I have shot for years where the glass is vintage but clean with no separation, major flaws that ruin the bokeh. I'm talking the Tomioka 55mm F1.2, Porst 55mm F1.2 and lenses like the Pentacon 135mm F2.8, Jupiter-9, Jupiter 37A, old industar lenses. This only seems to be a repeat issue with the Canon? I'm okay with using mint lenses, but is the separation issue so common with the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM that it is "impossible" to find one without the separation? I've come to the realization that I can live with the micro scratches and cleaning marks, even haze (which can be cleaned) but the separation is unnerving which is why I probably need to totally give up on this lens and go settle on something like a more recent Minolta Rokkor 58mm F1.2 lens!?

I simply loved the way the Canon rendered the bokeh... It's a shame this has to become an issue for night shooting. It's why I got the lens for street shots and narrow DOF at twilight and late after dark...
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Old 05-18-2017   #9
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I see a few on ebay right now with no apparent separation. Also check the classifieds section of this forum, one was sold not that long ago, and they're hardly rare lenses, so I'm sure another will appear.
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Old 05-18-2017   #10
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I see a few on ebay right now with no apparent separation. Also check the classifieds section of this forum, one was sold not that long ago, and they're hardly rare lenses, so I'm sure another will appear.
I'm wondering how the F1.4 version compares regarding the issues with the F1.2 glass?
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Old 05-18-2017   #11
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I thought the main problem with this lens was haze that has etched on of the middle elements.
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Old 05-18-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanArizona View Post
I went over a month and a half searching for a mint condition copy of this lens because of the way in rendered but every copy I received either had scratches on the outer surface of the elements and two had glue/separation issues on 2/3 copies that I tried and tested and returned. In each case, the eBay sellers had 100% feedback and stated that the glass was in mint condition. Even on the third round, the seller told me the lens was in "like new" condition without anything wrong with the glass!

Is it just me or has the quality that sellers have been promoting going steadily downhill in recent months/years? I've almost given up looking for used lenses on eBay and I feel it is fruitless and a waste of time looking for an excellent copy pf the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM - which I wanted so badly. I love the way it renders but couldn't get and find what I was trying to locate... :/

Nate
You can send it for professional recementing and polishing, will cost money, but if that's what you want this may be a sure way to get a working copy.
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Old 05-19-2017   #13
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The going rate for a decent Canon 50/1.2 LTM starts at about $400 with the really nice ones selling for $500-600 or so. Occasionally they can be found for less than $400, but most of these have issues. It's a very fine lens IMO.
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Old 05-19-2017   #14
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Have you ever tried Yahoo Japan Auctions? Some items are more common there than on eBay. But also, some sellers in Japan sell on both sites.

This one looks rather clean https://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/c594032672
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Old 05-19-2017   #15
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Bellamy can almost certainly find you one if your willing to pay his fee.
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Old 05-19-2017   #16
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Originally Posted by sepiareverb View Post
Bellamy can almost certainly find you one if your willing to pay his fee.
I wonder how is Bellamy return policy? I stick with *bay because the return is almost no hassle for me (minus the return shipping fees, and the hassle to get custom to return my taxed money since I'm returning, unless you guys don't pay custom tax), all the other auction site charge some premium especially those that provide middle-man service like the japan auction, and is impossible to do any return.

My experience with japan auction site is that even the picture look ok, but balsam issue or fungus is very difficult to spot from the picture, and often not it will be masquerade as slight fog or something (I suspect due to the country humidity and what not influence a lot of the condition of the old lenses).

Since we know that a particular lens has higher degree of said issue, I would advice against gambling another round with your money, the return shipping you paid multiple time has probably certainly enough to get what you have in your hand fixed professionally.

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Old 05-19-2017   #17
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How about here?:
http://www.kevincameras.com/

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Old 05-19-2017   #18
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How about here?:
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You'll most likely pay through the nose, but you'll get a good copy. Having said that, it seems that the 50mm f/1.2 will need regular disassembly and cleaning of internal haze, no matter what.
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Old 05-19-2017   #19
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You'll most likely pay through the nose, but you'll get a good copy. Having said that, it seems that the 50mm f/1.2 will need regular disassembly and cleaning of internal haze, no matter what.
I think that once some one starts chasing that last bit of perfect condition, the price increases get to be larger and larger for very small increments of better condition.
For me, I'm content with "good enough". If the imperfections don't affect the results I am trying to get, I don't get too worried.
That said, balsam separation would, for me, trump most other issues.

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Old 05-19-2017   #20
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I once owned the 50mm Canon f1.2 lens.
It was kinda soft at full apertures.
Lent to a friend it was returned all scratched on front element!
Lesson leant, No MORE LOANS.
At a Camera Sale, a guy wanted my lens for the whole lens, as his was rusted and corroded.
I let it go for a pittance(he insisted to pay) as his front element was near perfect.
Lenses this old are bound to show wear..
A 50mm Nikkor 1.4 that has fungus and scratches that i use,
is still sharp! At one stop down, even the edges!
I don't make monster BLOW ups.
Seeing faults in Bokeh is for those small minded pixel peepers.
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Old 05-19-2017   #21
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I've had atleast 5 of these roll through my work bench.

Only one of those I could not remedy as it had deep etching from fungus that left everything mushy soft even stopped down.

Typically you just need to crack the rear group open and clean haze caused by outgassing lubricants.

A nice lens if your willing to put the bench time in, I doubt you'll find an example cheaply without having to clean it. It is a persistent problem that will re-appear in a cleaned lens.

Maybe the 1.2 isn't for you! The 1.4 does not appear to suffer this fate (atleast as often)
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Old 05-19-2017   #22
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I've had 3 or 4 of the Canon 50/1.2 and some have haze. Never seen bad separation like you show in that one shot, if that is indeed the lens you're showing. It's hard to tell, but it looks like about 1/5 of the surface is separating, which is very bad. You'd implied Canon RF lenses are known for this. They are not. I've had many of them, and never seen separation in any. I still have the 35/3.5, 35/1.8, 35/2.0, 50/1.2 (2 of them), 50/1.5, 50/1.8, and numbers of the longer ones. None have separation.
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Old 05-19-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
I once owned the 50mm Canon f1.2 lens.
It was kinda soft at full apertures.
Lent to a friend it was returned all scratched on front element!
Lesson leant, No MORE LOANS.
At a Camera Sale, a guy wanted my lens for the whole lens, as his was rusted and corroded.
I let it go for a pittance(he insisted to pay) as his front element was near perfect.
Lenses this old are bound to show wear..
A 50mm Nikkor 1.4 that has fungus and scratches that i use,
is still sharp! At one stop down, even the edges!
I don't make monster BLOW ups.
Seeing faults in Bokeh is for those small minded pixel peepers.
It's worth noting that you have to be very careful with filters for the f/1.2. Most will hit the front element, so you either have to find lenses made specifically for it, or use an empty filter rim as a stand-off.
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Old 05-19-2017   #24
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Well everyone is different about what they will accept in ageing lenses. My collection of Pen F Zuikos would make the OP gag, or perhaps faint dead away, but I'm not very picky except for price.

Oh, one more thing. Never, I SAID NEVER! look through through a vintage lens with strong sunlight shining through the lens. Maybe not even a almost new lens either.
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Old 05-19-2017   #25
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I've had 4 of these, none have had separation issues but a couple have had damage from the common haze.

I've kept the first one I got from a thrift store, it's been the sharpest/highest contrast of all of them.

Keep trying and/or get a 1.4 to tide you over while you search for the perfect 1.2.
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Old 05-19-2017   #26
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b) I always had the best experiences with Japanese sellers, they're particularly careful regarding the packing when mailing abroad. Reason: they know that postal services of other countries often aren't as wary as the Nippon Yū-sei Kabushiki-gaisha, formerly Imperial Japanese Post.

The only hazed and fungused equipment I have bought has been from Japanese ebay sellers who had 100% ratings and described the items as like new..
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Old 05-19-2017   #27
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Well everyone is different......

Oh, one more thing. Never, I SAID NEVER! look through through a vintage lens with strong sunlight shining through the lens. Maybe not even a almost new lens either.
Where does this rank compare to running with scissors?

But seriously, I though direct sun light helped keep fungus at bay?

B2 (;->
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Old 05-19-2017   #28
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Where does this rank compare to running with scissors?

But seriously, I though direct sun light helped keep fungus at bay?

B2 (;->

I think he means to examine the lens like with the flash light test.
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Old 05-19-2017   #29
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I've had a couple and still have a black one


15fbpicM9canon50_01 by f4saregreat!, on Flickr

Both had to be stripped and the elements cleaned of oil from the aperture blades, its the kind of lens you would search for a longtime to get one in perfect condition, but there are quite a few about that make great users.
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Old 05-19-2017   #30
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I too have been hoping to luck into one of these lenses in adequate condition. I'm quite practical in my expectations, but I agree with the OP that substantial separation is unacceptable. I didn't think these lenses were notorious for separation though.....the haze issue is very, very well known.

My strategy will probably be to wait until one shows up here in the RFF classifieds (competition!) from one of our own who are knowledgable about lens condition and will tell me definitively whether the lens has separation, haze, scratches, fungus, STDs or whatever.
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Old 05-19-2017   #31
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I’ve owned a Canon 50/1.2 for decades. Like most, my lens has haze, which takes me ten minutes to clean (easy-peasy). The element just behind the aperture shows some staining (because it’s rare-earth glass) which has no impact on image quality. You don’t need perfection, something 75% of that will do.

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Old 05-19-2017   #32
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I think he means to examine the lens like with the flash light test.
Exactly!
I shoot pictures with lenses, if it works, it works. Doesn't matter anyway since mostly I have no other samples to compare results with. Use film only and only make small to medium (4X to 6X) enlargements. There is only so much one can do with postage stamp sized negatives unless one is willing to work very hard.
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Old 05-19-2017   #33
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I had one come in recently that looks very clean already but has some haze and an oily aperture. I haven't checked it out fully yet, but I've done my share of cleaning those lenses and if the glass is good, I can get it back to excellent condition.
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Old 05-19-2017   #34
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I am sure Kevin Cameras can locate you a top condition one if you don't mind paying his usual top-shelf prices. The Canon 50mm f1.2 in LTM is not a super rare lens.

http://www.kevincameras.com/gallery/...tax/?g2_page=2
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Old 05-19-2017   #35
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In desperation a few years ago I bought one in pretty ordinary condition for a very reasonable price ($160). Well, reasonable considering the price paid for these lenses in good condition. The lens had bad cleaning marks on the front element but I figured it would be OK if used carefully with a hood and that the lens would be likely to be a somewhat soft and flarey when shot wide open in any event. And so it has turned out. It is fine for use in specific circumstances and has turned in some interesting images although I would never use it for general work, especially in its condition. But it is good for portraiture. Here is an example of a work colleague I snapped one day on my Leica M8 (or maybe my M3 and then scanned - I can't recall):



PS These lenses are easy to disassemble and clean. If you buy one that is a bit fogged it's not hard to take them apart and clean the elements. Google it - there is at least one very good description of the process available.
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Old 05-20-2017   #36
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I am sure Kevin Cameras can locate you a top condition one if you don't mind paying his usual top-shelf prices. The Canon 50mm f1.2 in LTM is not a super rare lens.

http://www.kevincameras.com/gallery/...tax/?g2_page=2
He may also suggest cheaper alternatives to the dedicated hood (which can cost as much as the lens itself).
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Old 05-21-2017   #37
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I truly gave up the hunt for a good copy of this lens after 3 eBay returns with different sellers - 2 of which listed lenses with glass in mint condition but turned out both had glue and lens separation issues. Last night, I pulled the trigger on a CLA'd radioactive copy of the Minolta Rokkor 58mm F1.2 as part of my plan to find an alternative that wouldn't cause such a headache as the hunt for the Canon has. It's one of those lenses I will start hunting for again in the future when more time and resources allow!
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Old 05-21-2017   #38
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there is a clean one local to me that I have taken a look at. If you send me a PM i can send you the contact info.
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Old 05-21-2017   #39
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the Minolta Rokkor 58mm F1.2 as part of my plan to find an alternative that wouldn't cause such a headache as the hunt for the Canon has
I did the same thing. I sold my Canon 50mm F1.2 and original Canon Hood and replaced it with the 58mm F1.2 MC Rokkor. I have not regretted my decision.
Below is a test image from the F1.2 MC Rokkor on Eastman XX movie film.


Minolta XK #9 by Nokton48, on Flickr


Minolta SRT-101 #17 Nikon LS2000 by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 05-21-2017   #40
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The time for these, I'm afraid, might be over.

When I got to know and love this lens in the late 1990s and early 2000s, these lenses were coming up on being 50 years old. We're 20 years past that. There was very little discussion of unstoppable haze back then, and if here was, it cleaned right off. Because it was just oil.

As Leica collectors know, the 1950s was a time when engineering was far ahead of material science. Bad glass that essentially rusts, soft coatings that easily degrade, and lubricants that outgas are problems. There is a point at which - especially for inner elements - you've ground down past the haze and even past the AR coatings that incidentally keep humidity and chemicals off the glass itself. I suspect that's why people are suddenly talking about having to de-haze all the time.

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