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02-23-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
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Have you ever bought a mystery lens?

I'm just curious how many people buy a lens that can not be clearly identified on ebay?
I think my best mystery lens was a vivitar series 1 70-210mm 3.5 ver 3 for 15$. After long and careful examination of the pictures and a couple of questions to the seller I had a good idea of what it was but was not positive. The seller knew nothing about lenses so couldn't answer questions very well but it was obvious she was trying. It was listed as the filter and the seller didn't even know the filter could be removed. It turned out to be in very nice condition. What mystery lenses have you bought? Best or worst?

So I just won 4 canon fd lenses (I wanted canon fd lenses for some lens modding I am working on). Any guesses on what they are? It kind of looks like the seller is making the common mistake of listing some as the filter description. I paid 8.50$ plus shipping (still waiting to see what shipping options from the seller are but the listing said 12$ priority and there was no option for zipcode so I'm guessing that was flat rate, but I'm in the next state over). I just beat out a buyer with over 3000 feedback by 50 cents. My bid was only 63 cents over his. I guess I annoyed a lens flipper (my guess anyway).

The description is

"4 Vivitar Lenses



Vivitar VMC Skylight 1 A 55 MM 35-105 MM

Albinar-ADG Auto 2x tele-converter c?FD

CPC Phase 2 52 mm UV Haze FD 50mm 1:1.8

Vivitar 1.1 M-R Macro Focusing Zoom 1:4.5 70-210 MM

These items were used for an AE1 Programmer

Items are in very good condition

Shipping can be changed to suit buyer and price will be recalculated."

I'm thinking vivitar 35-105mm 3.2-4. A 3.5 constant would be nice but not possible with a 55mm filter

I didn't find anything about cpc making a 50mm 1.8? If thats the filter and its a canon, that alone pays for the auction. Any 50mm 1.8 will serve my purposes so I already got what I needed and I don't seem any 50mm or 28mm going any cheaper than 20$ when specifically searching for one so I think the auction has paid for itself if they are in fact in good condition (honestly, in so so condition the 50mm would still server its purpose).

Any thoughts about what I got or stories about your own mystery lenses?

02-23-2012, 10:43 PM   #2
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My best: Listed as bellows plus Tiffen-Kodak lens. Actuality: M42 Bellowscope with Steinheil Culminar VL 105/4.5 with Kodak step-ring and Tiffen UV filter. Total of US$41 shipped. Or maybe the best was the unknown 55mm with dented front thread for US$2.25 shipped. Actuality: Sears-Tomioka 55/1.4 and the thread was easily un-dented. I know I've picked up some other mystery beauties but I don't remember exactly which now.
02-23-2012, 11:09 PM   #3
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Didn't know what a Rexatar 100/2.8 was

... but I do now.

Product shot and sample of its work
02-23-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
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Oh yeah, my first set of Yashica lenses was a total blind grab and I had no idea of what I was getting. I was on Goodwill and saw what looked like a whole kit of them with an FX2 and saw that it was only up to $10 with a minute to go. There were tons of accessories too. Filters and other stuff in a bag. I really liked the looks of the FX2 so I went for it. I bid $40 and ended up paying $12. Shipping was listed at about $8 so for $20 I figured I probably get a major deal even if half of them turned out to be no-name junk. They weren't. All of them were good lenses. There was an 50MM ML in the batch and an excellent 75-200MM a great 28MM wide angle DSB. The FX2 is actually a really decent camera though it's built like a tank and is very heavy to use.

Later I bid on another lot to get an FRI which I coveted madly the moment I laid eyes on it. I picked up another batch of mystery lenses with that. That kit I paid more that time, like $100 because a black FRI is a camera that a lot of people that like Yashica really want but I got a 135MM ML another 50MM ML, another decent 28MM, and a really stellar 75-300MM Vivitar, couple of others. As it turned out later all those ML's and particularly the 135MM turned out to be very good lenses and among the Yashica people they're very much in demand. A year or so later that 135MM goes for like $100 sometimes by itself, and two wide angles often fetch $56-60 a pop.

All in all I think I paid $120 and I got $500 worth of cameras, lenses, and other gear. I actually have far more Yashica gear than I want now but that's okay. Next to Pentax I like Yashica gear the best and I can't say I am displeased to have it at all. My FRI is an excellent camera, one of my favorites and I use it a lot actually. Most of Yashica gear it almost feels like Pentax to me. The FX2 is heavier but with the FRI in hand it's almost like I am shooting with an SPII.


Last edited by magkelly; 02-24-2012 at 12:32 AM.
02-24-2012, 02:37 AM   #5
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Yes... one's arrived this morning. Pentax Profile 35-70mm cost 6.50
02-24-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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On 2 occasions in the past year, relatives have called me up to say they found a " a bunch of lenses in a bag and it's 10 bucks. Want it?" You bet. Takumars, old Pentax M50's and 55's, a JC Penny 135/2.8, lots of filters. All have been usable and in pretty good condition. Also in the mix have been several old flashes which still work and I will use them off camera. I found some old Olympus OM lenses also which were on their way to a trash bin, in very good condition. I don't have a use for them but I thought it was a sin to trash good glass. I know they can be modified but they are redundant with my Pentax glass.
02-24-2012, 09:14 AM   #7
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A while back I bought a K1000 on ebay, listed as "Pentax camera with lens". The only picture (blurry) showed a camera with the lens cap on the lens, but I could tell that it was a Pentax lens, so I bid on it and got it for $40 shipped. I received a MIJ K1000, in excellent condition with a Pentax M 35mm f/2.0! Both worked fine, Sweet!
02-24-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
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I tried this and just bought 5 lenses in a box. I saw a small picture of those lenses and only one lens could be identified. It was Pentax M 50mm 1.7. I thought it would be nice to have it so I bid for it. Other lenses were Minolta Vectis V 28-56mm/4-5.6, Prakticar MC 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5, YASHICA AF 35-70MM F3.3-4.5 macro and Promura c.p. mc 38-70mm/3.5. For 38 I got all this, but there is always a catch. Closer inspection revealed fungus in that 50mm

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02-29-2012, 08:42 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ErZi Quote
... but there is always a catch. Closer inspection revealed fungus in that 50mm
Nice fungus shot! Shoop-out the numbers and you've got a nice semi-abstract.
02-29-2012, 09:47 AM   #10
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I got the 4 mystery lenses. One was in fact a canon 50mm 1.8 (that alone paid for the auction). It had a stuck aperture which turned out to be lubricant. It also turns out it is the easiest lens there is to clean the aperture. Pry out the front plastic ring (everything I read said it screws out so I scratched up the plastic ring trying, but thats just cosmetic), undo 3 screws, the front group of glass falls out as a unit, undo 3 more screws, the entire aperture assembly comes out as a unit. Wash the entire aperture unit and reassemble.

Others were a vivitar 35-105mm 3.2-4 (maybe some potential there), a vivitar 70-210mm 4.5 (bla, I have a dozen or more similar lenses including much better ones), and the albinar 2x teleconverter (bla again).

Edit, just saw a canon 50mm 1.8 in my watch list, identical to the one I got go for 42$. I paid 18$ for all 4 so I guess thats a win.

Last edited by ripit; 02-29-2012 at 09:57 AM.
02-29-2012, 10:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
Edit, just saw a canon 50mm 1.8 in my watch list, identical to the one I got go for 42$. I paid 18$ for all 4 so I guess thats a win.
$42 for a Canon 1.8? FD? Two years ago they were like $20. I paid $28 for a T70 and a Canon S.S.C 50 1.4

Maybe it's time to sell.
02-29-2012, 10:19 AM   #12
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I got a mystery A lens that I was sure from the terrible pictures was a 50/1.4. Nope! 1.7. But I did score an M 50/1.4 that was shown but not mentioned in an ad.

Oh and I got a Vivitar lens that was titled "35mm lens" when the lens was in fact a 24mm lens, but apparently meant for 35mm film :-)
02-29-2012, 10:37 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
$42 for a Canon 1.8? FD? Two years ago they were like $20. I paid $28 for a T70 and a Canon S.S.C 50 1.4

Maybe it's time to sell.
Prices are all over the place for the 50mm 1.8, probably because there are so many out there. There are plenty that went for 20$, though a lot of those seem to be as is, seems to look good etc. kind of listings. Here is the one that went for 42$

Canon 50 mm f/1.8 FD Lens | eBay

As far as that 50mm ssc 1.4, I would suspect you could easily double your money. One of them sold for 110$ but that was properly described, in ex+ condition from a camera store. The cheapest recently on ebay was 61$ (there was one cheaper but if you read the question and answers, it was a 1.8 and seller didn't know anything about lenses).

Canon glass seems to be getting more and more expensive. Probably because they can be used on some of the mirrorless cameras. Minolta glass still seems to go pretty cheap except some of the actual minolta brand glass. Even off name canon fd glass seems to be getting expensive.
02-29-2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
Prices are all over the place for the 50mm 1.8, probably because there are so many out there. There are plenty that went for 20$, though a lot of those seem to be as is, seems to look good etc. kind of listings. Here is the one that went for 42$

Canon 50 mm f/1.8 FD Lens | eBay
That's a New FD. The one I have is a S.C. (ver. II) with the silver ring. The ver. II was the first to have 5 aperture blades instead of 6. None of them are worth $42. The 1.4 on the other hand is a nice lens, even if it is rather large. It's 70g heavier and 2.8cm longer than my A50/1.4.
02-29-2012, 11:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
That's a New FD. The one I have is a S.C. (ver. II) with the silver ring. The ver. II was the first to have 5 aperture blades instead of 6. None of them are worth $42. The 1.4 on the other hand is a nice lens, even if it is rather large. It's 70g heavier and 2.8cm longer than my A50/1.4.
It seems someone was willing to pay 42$, but then again, I have seen new stuff sell for over suggested retail a time or two.
The one I got was the new version same as that listing. I also have the older sc version (not sure which of the sc versions) that has been sitting around with the mount tore off with the intention of converting to k mount. I needed a faster fd lens for testing, but the kids knocked over the tray of parts for the sc so I can not restore it. I'm not going to complain about 18$ with 3 other lenses.

As far as the 1.4, I have been keeping an eye out for one (any brand as I can convert it) for several months and never seen one go for 28$. Probably the closest are some of the minolta 58mm 1.4 that have a rep as not so great wide open, but even those go for more than that. I can not justify spending a lot on one though, as I already have good 50mm 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0 lenses. I also have a fuji x-fujinon 50mm 1.6 that I haven't had a chance to pay much attention too yet. I'm not sure if its good.Come to think of it, the fuji was a mystery lens too. I got 5 camera bodies for about 18$ shipped (wanted them for parts) and the 1 included mystery lens was the fuji.

maybe 3-4 years ago, the store where I got my first dslr had shelves of film lenses in great condition cheap. I really wish I knew then what I know now. Availability has gone down and prices have gone up even in the last few years, as more cameras and adapters that adapt are bought.
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