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08-23-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
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Vivitar TX Mount - Focus Ring Repair?

I found a bargain on a TX-mount Vivitar 35mm f/2.5 on Ebay ($50 with the TX to P/K adapter). Had to have it as I wanted a lens in that length to fiddle with on my K-30 and I love charming old lenses.

As soon as it arrived of course I went on a shooting spree (!!), but was initially disappointed when I thought the lens had a soft infinity focus. After a brief look at the lens, I realized the focus ring is stopping/sticking at about 3 meters/9 feet. (At first I did not notice it because the infinity mark on the focus ring "sticks" at the f/16 hyperfocal mark on the static ring between the focus ring and aperture ring...) I was relieved that it wasn't just a rotten lemon, but now I am consumed with how to take the brakes off and let the focus ring spin to the infinity mark.

The lens feels positively glamorous and is crisp within about 10-12 feet, of course. Is there any hope of letting the focus ring spin to infinity?

I have racked my brain as to how to search for a solution to this problem, but I can't find a way to word this question for a fruitful search on these forums or through Google. If this sort of problem has been solved on another thread, please direct me!

Thanks for any help!

08-24-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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I don't remember whether it's possible to put the TX adapter on incorrectly. You might try taking the adapter off and remounting it first, just because it's easy. A very small change in the mount distance will make a big change in infinity focus.

All lenses have some adjustment for infinity focus but they are not all built the same. If no one pipes up with some concrete advice on this lens, you'll have to figure out how it's built and where the adjustment might be. I have an older model of this lens, a Vivitar 35/2.8 in M42 mount made by Tokina, the same maker as yours. See the two larger common screws between the 0.6 and 0.7 marks? If I unscrew the right hand one, I can turn the focus ring beyond the infinity mark. There are a couple of smaller common screws on the focus ring as well. I suspect if I could find my smaller screwdriver, I could loosen them all and reset the focus ring to another position.

Your lens probably has a rubber grip, not metal. If it's the exact same build, the screws are hidden under the rubber. A couple of other possibilities are screws under the trim ring around the front element, or screws around the front barrel. Once you get a few parts off the front, figure out the adjustment that allows the front element to get a bit closer to the mount, change that and reassemble.
08-24-2013, 10:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

I did remove the lens from the mount and put it back on again. A couple times. I did not do much fiddling with the lens off the mount. I had read that taking the lens off the mount and manually holding the lens closer to the sensor, to try and "correct" any issues that might be occurring due to the distance created by the adapter, was one possibility of diagnosing a focusing problem. This is not something I attempted because...

I am fairly confident that the error in achieving infinity is caused by the focus ring, which seems to be damaged/blocked/dirty and cannot be rotated fully.

I actually threw in the towel, after my days-long and fruitless online serching, and I took the lens into a mom-and-pop repair shop in Shawnee, KS (Gass Camera Repair), since I was up in the city today... I will call them at the end of the week to hear his verdict on the fixability of the lens...

The lens you've pictured is similar to the one I have, but not exact in design. Besides that mine has green lettering where that lens has red, the focus ring on my 35mm is knurled. "Made in Japan" is the same, but my adapter is for the P/K mount, whereas that one looks like the M42. I understand the differences are not life-altering, but I do not recall seeing these screws on the focus ring of my copy, so I'm not sure I would be able to make the adjustments you suggested...

We'll see what happens. Life's a mystery.

Thanks again!
09-07-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Final Verdict:

There was a "jam in the helicoid" and to administer the repair would be roughly twice what I paid for the lens, so I will be returning it. Bummer. I liked it.

On the plus side, Clarence, at Gass Camera Repair is a super chill old dude with TONS of knowledge and gear and he was practically giving things away. I chatted with him for a while about all sorts of topics and ended up giving $60 for a nice old Pentax M SMC 135mm f/3.5 portrait lens with front and rear caps, a Hoya skylight filter, and a carrying case, plus a Promaster 2x teleconverter and a 24-exposure roll of Kodak Gold 100 speed. He says he is in the process of closing up shop to retire and is trying to sell off most of his goods. (He has all sorts of film cameras and manual lenses and accessories, not just Pentax.)

If you are in the Kansas City area, go visit this rad old guy while you can!


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