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05-23-2008, 03:14 AM   #1
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Can it be cleaned?

Hi everyone.

When I realized Pentax was the camera for me I remembered I had the impression my father had an old Pentax as well. I called him and he said he thouhgt it was a Contax. Hmmm... ok
I came back to Portugal for a short stay and I went to check his camera bag (gathering dust in the closet). what did I see?
A pentax program A, a sigma zoom f4, and a Pentax A 50mm F1.4.
*does the funky dance*
Now to convince my father that he should part with his "contax", muahahah.

I was really happy because I've been looking for nicely priced 50/1.4 for a while (at least an A one).

Now to the not so good part of the story... The lens outside looks mint. The insides... not that good, its got some dust and some strange things. They look like fungus or crystals inn that they seem to extend in a zig-zag way. They seem translucid, but they shine when light reflects on them. The 50/1.4 has a bit, but the sigma has a lot of this (I dont care about this one).

Does anyone recognize this? Can this be cleaned? Is it worth it, or should I keep searching ebay for a nicer one.

Thanks in advance

05-23-2008, 03:19 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by edumad Quote
Hi everyone.

When I realized Pentax was the camera for me I remembered I had the impression my father had an old Pentax as well. I called him and he said he thouhgt it was a Contax. Hmmm... ok
I came back to Portugal for a short stay and I went to check his camera bag (gathering dust in the closet). what did I see?
A pentax program A, a sigma zoom f4, and a Pentax A 50mm F1.4.
*does the funky dance*
Now to convince my father that he should part with his "contax", muahahah.

I was really happy because I've been looking for nicely priced 50/1.4 for a while (at least an A one).

Now to the not so good part of the story... The lens outside looks mint. The insides... not that good, its got some dust and some strange things. They look like fungus or crystals inn that they seem to extend in a zig-zag way. They seem translucid, but they shine when light reflects on them. The 50/1.4 has a bit, but the sigma has a lot of this (I dont care about this one).

Does anyone recognize this? Can this be cleaned? Is it worth it, or should I keep searching ebay for a nicer one.

Thanks in advance

It can be cleaned if you do it as soon as possible. Fungus grow and if you are unlucky, it might set into the coatings. Keep it dry and light. Remove all caps and have it in light dry conditions until you get it apart and clean it. The chemicals you will be using are lethal, so make sure your in a well ventilated place and there is no kids or pets around.

50% ammonia and 50% hydrogen-peroxid

Last edited by Zewrak; 05-23-2008 at 03:37 AM.
05-23-2008, 05:43 AM   #3
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Are proper chemicals accessible, if so where?
Could I do it myself, or would a shop do it for a reasonable price?
I'm living in Edinburgh, btw.
05-23-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
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The trick is in the cleaning - you think you can take a lense apart and put it back together? Good luck pal.

Fungi in Photographic Lens
Fungus and Camera Lenses
Ron Herron's "Mamiya 35mm Cameras" Fungus How-To

05-23-2008, 06:47 AM   #5
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A little dust won't hurt anything, but spiderweb like stuff is almost always fungus.
If you haven't disassembeld a lens before, an A series lens is not a good place to start. My general advice with a lens that has fungus is to wrap it in plastic and throw it in the trash, as it can spread it's infecton to to other lenses.
Having said that, the A50/1.4 is a nice and desirable little lens, so if you have a local repair shop, take it in for an estimate for dissassembly and cleaning, if the repairman thinks it is viable.
Presuming the lenses have fungus, you will also want to clean the camera body, especially the mirror box to ensure that there are no spores in it to spread back to your lenses, and you should probably just throw out the camera bag, as it will almost surely be infected.
05-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #6
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The sigma lens I wouldnt bother, that thing woble too much...
But the lens, I'd take it to edinburghcameras or cameratiks (the shops I know in Edinburgh) and see what can be done...
The camera I was thinking of selling it, but then again, I was thinking of eventually buying a film camera (a really old one) and this did take the photos of me growing up so, it does have some added value to it
I'll see if it can be salvaged as well.

I really wouldnt mind poking around the lens. But I never worked on one, so I think I'll follow the advice and keep my hands of it :P
05-23-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by edumad Quote
The sigma lens I wouldnt bother, that thing woble too much...
But the lens, I'd take it to edinburghcameras or cameratiks (the shops I know in Edinburgh) and see what can be done...
The camera I was thinking of selling it, but then again, I was thinking of eventually buying a film camera (a really old one) and this did take the photos of me growing up so, it does have some added value to it
I'll see if it can be salvaged as well.

I really wouldnt mind poking around the lens. But I never worked on one, so I think I'll follow the advice and keep my hands of it :P
Getting it cleaned by professionals will most likely set you back 100-150$.
05-23-2008, 08:10 AM   #8
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I wouldn't toss the lens. I had an F SMC 70-210 cleaned at my local shop for $60.00 and he did a great job. I think it's worth calling around to see if any shops do the work at reasonable prices.

Don't do it yourself if you haven't taken one of these apart before.

05-23-2008, 08:49 AM   #9
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If it were me I'd take a crack at cleaning it myself. But I like tearing things apart and putting them back together again. So you will have to judge for yourself if you are up to the challenge or not.

I bought a Super Takumar 85mm f1.9 lens a few months back, and it turned out to have a few fungus spots growing inside. I had never done any type of lens repair, but figured I didn't have much to loose to try cleaning it. It turns out that it wasn't very hard to do at all. I used the 50% ammonia and 50% hydrogen peroxide solution mentioned above. It was surprisingly effective at melting the fungus away. As long as the fungus has not etched the glass yet, you might come out with a perfect piece of glass. You would never be able to tell that fungus had been growing in mine.
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