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09-29-2011, 08:32 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Restoring an old m42 lens


A few months ago, I was at the photo lab talking to the owner. We were looking for some old lighting equipment and somehow we ended up in a small storage room behind the storage room, behind the studio, behind the store. Something like an attic within the attic. You get the idea. In there, I found a pile of dust that resembled a lens. It was this dented old Vivitar screwmount 135mm f2.8. He said I could take it if I wanted since it was pretty much useless and it may have been there for years.
Back home I dusted it off and noticed some fungus inside. It seems it could still be saved. However, the dent is quite severe. It must have been quite a hit. A modern plastic lens would have not survived that kind of punishment.

The dent prevented proper disassembly to reach the fungus and clean it. So with nothing to loose I grabbed my Dremel tool, a hammer (yes, a HAMMER) and a wodden dowel. A few precision blows got the ring back into rounder shape. Then I grounded the area very carefully. Eventually I was able to disassemble it for service.

Cleaned it and everything went back together. I still need to clean it properly on the outside but I took a few test shots with my K100DS.
These have absolutely no processing.
The lens is quite sharp, but contrast is not that impressive. But it is VERY usable.
I noticed the pics came out a hint dark. I was using AE-L button to take a measure stopped down. Not a big issue since this will most likely be used in full manual mode.

It is hard to focus manually on the K100DS with big apertures. This shot is wide open f2.8 Notice the focus area is a bit behind the ball.

Same shot at f22

The lens says Close focus. How close is Close focus? It goes to 2:1
These were shot at closest focusing distance. No crop nor post-process of any kind.

In conclussion, I think I have a keeper! I can use in all my bodies from the SV and Spotmatic, all the way up to the K20.


09-29-2011, 08:40 PM   #2
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Nice job! And a lesson for those with bunged lenses.
09-30-2011, 01:01 PM   #3
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Nice fixin' job, thanks for the pictures. I have the shorter version of this lens (90mm/2.8) and it's stunning after a little p-p.
09-30-2011, 07:59 PM   #4
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Again, nice job! Great story, I felt like I was reading a little story-picture book. I bet you feel pretty proud, I know I would.

10-03-2011, 08:47 AM   #5
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I present my old new friend....

After its test drive, the lens came in for a beauty spa session.

Just before...


Like sports cars, in lenses, clean and beauty are nothing without performance....

Who would have thought that after over a decade or two left for dead, abandoned in a warehouse, it would see the light again?

10-03-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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On a lens with very similar damage I mounted the lens in a lathe and turned the damaged part of the thread off, as much as I could but still leaving as many threads as possible, then I put a step ring in the thread and secured it with Loctite.
To prevent damage from the lathe chuck I just wrapped the lens barrel in tank tape, and obviously tightened the jaws very lightly. Then took very light cuts. It worked a treat.
10-03-2011, 03:37 PM   #7
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Awesome story! And great job on the lens!
10-03-2011, 04:54 PM   #8
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That is a Komine build "Close Focus" 135 a rare, good older lens and has some value. The Vivitar serial #28 identifies it as a Komine build. Some extension tubes and you can get close to 1.1. That is a great save.

10-03-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the comments!
Any idea when this was built? I'm thinking maybe early 70s?

10-03-2011, 09:33 PM   #10
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That would be my guess, maybe late 70's. They made a good number of M42 mounts well into the PK mount age as M42 fit a number of other camera bodies.

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