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02-13-2020, 01:08 AM   #1
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Would you buy a PLM with damaged front element?

Hi,

I've seen for sale a HD 55-300 PLM at a very good price (160 €). However, the front element is damaged, here is the shot :



Seller says "there are two marks on the front element, it's not me but the previous owner who did not mention this defect before selling online. However it should not affect IQ. The lens was also full of dust and professionally cleaned."

What do you think?

02-13-2020, 01:29 AM - 3 Likes   #2
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Any damage like this has the potential to cause loss of some contrast through flare, in adverse conditions.

Having said that, my Tamron 90-300mm has a scratch, several millimetres long, fairly central on the front element and I don't notice any problems under normal circumstances.

There is an "old trick" which involves filling small scratches like this with black paint. If the light can't get into the scratch, it can't get scattered

As to the price, that's your call
02-13-2020, 01:48 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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Yes, I would. I have a FA31 with lots of tiny scratches on the front and it works without any problems. Fingerprints are much worse or scratches on the back lens.
02-13-2020, 03:42 AM - 3 Likes   #4
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I'd be more concerned about the "full of dust" and "professionally cleaned" claims than the tiny optical damage. How did it get so full of dust?? And who was the "professional" cleaner... a Ricoh / Pentax service center, local camera and lens repair shop - with (or without) specific knowledge of the lens, or a competent hobbyist? It's one thing to disassemble, clean and re-assemble a simple old manual-focus prime lens... but quite another to carry out the same service thoroughly and competently with an optically and mechanically complex lens such as this.

If you decide to buy it (and 160 euro is a very attractive price), just make sure you have the ability to return it for a full refund if there are any problems. Then, when you receive it, test it fully. Try it out at all focal lengths, view the images at 100% reproduction to look for de-centering and any other obvious issues, use it in AF and MF modes, check that it focuses to infinity and minimum focus distance, and moves back and forth throughout the entire range without difficulty.

02-13-2020, 03:48 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I wouldn't have trouble buying it. Just know that it will be a little more prone to flare than if those marks weren't there. But honestly, I don't shoot sunrises with a 55-300 lens very often so it wouldn't be a big deal to me.
6 Days Ago   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I'd be more concerned about the "full of dust" and "professionally cleaned" claims than the tiny optical damage. How did it get so full of dust?? And who was the "professional" cleaner... a Ricoh / Pentax service center, local camera and lens repair shop - with (or without) specific knowledge of the lens, or a competent hobbyist? It's one thing to disassemble, clean and re-assemble a simple old manual-focus prime lens... but quite another to carry out the same service thoroughly and competently with an optically and mechanically complex lens such as this.
I agree I also wondered how a lens could get that dirty. If the seller is not lying, it was a repair shop : Réparation Photo | Réparation Horlogerie | NIKKEN FRANCE

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
If you decide to buy it (and 160 euro is a very attractive price), just make sure you have the ability to return it for a full refund if there are any problems. Then, when you receive it, test it fully. Try it out at all focal lengths, view the images at 100% reproduction to look for de-centering and any other obvious issues, use it in AF and MF modes, check that it focuses to infinity and minimum focus distance, and moves back and forth throughout the entire range without difficulty.
Unfortunately, returns are not allowed by the seller, but I did buy it nonetheless, with the ebay assurance just in case. Of course I'll check everything you mentioned. I'll keep you all informed.


Let's hope I will have more luck than the last time when I tried to buy a DA 16-45 last week, pristine-looking in picture, with indeed very clean front and back lens, but with the aperture level bend, the A-pin missing on the mount (there was a hole) preventing aperture control from the body and a loose screw floating inside the lens sometimes blocking the zoom ring. At least, I'm pretty sure aperture level won't be a problem with the PLM.
6 Days Ago   #7
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I'd go in a different direction and keep looking. They are not that expensive of a lens new with warranty, and if buying used, I'd hold out for a nicer one. Not that this is going to be terrible optically, but it would always bug me, and unless on a severe budget, I'd save longer and get a copy without dust, scratches and an unknown history. And I see you've snagged the lens, so hopefully it will be just fine. I have a tendency to be a bit obsessive on this type of stuff.

Last edited by clickclick; 6 Days Ago at 07:00 AM.
6 Days Ago   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
I have a tendency to be a bit obsessive on this type of stuff.
But I also am like that. I would be completely mad if I damaged my lens like this. But since I am not the one who damaged it and I got a fair price for it (because of the damage), hopefully I won't feel bad as long as IQ is not impacted. Can't be worse than the horrific purple fringing my current Tamron 70-300 is showing at the long end, can it?

6 Days Ago - 4 Likes   #9
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If it only concerns the damage
There are two minor damages in the front lens of my Sigma 70-200 mm.These give absolutely no problems in image quality
Attached Images
 
6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bertrand3000 Quote
But I also am like that. I would be completely mad if I damaged my lens like this. But since I am not the one who damaged it and I got a fair price for it (because of the damage), hopefully I won't feel bad as long as IQ is not impacted. Can't be worse than the horrific purple fringing my current Tamron 70-300 is showing at the long end, can it?
LOL - no, probably no worse! I will throw out that this type of damage is why I'm in the UV filter camp..... I know all the arguments of lens hoods do just as well, and blow it off, and on and on, but that never seems to match my world. But I've been amazed at the crud that accumulates without visible impact to the image. Here, check this out. It really gives an interesting perspective and reinforces you should be just fine.

Lens Rentals | Blog
6 Days Ago   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
Oh my. This was unexpected. Cannot tell which lens it is ; I sincerly hope no Pentax lens were harmed during the writing of this blog post. Looking at the "scratch", it looks like it was done on purpose for science.
6 Days Ago   #12
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If you think about it, a mirror lens produces a good image even though the entire central portion of the front element is blocked out!
Minor dings, small scratches etc. won't noticeably affect the image 99% of the time. A more major ding/impact mark could be blacked out with matt paint. A front element covered with microscratches (and lost/damaged coatings) from eg repeated bad cleaning is muuch more problematical, I have had a lens like that that was unusable, contrastless almost foggy images from that.

If the price is right ...
6 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #13
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I recently got a supposedly little used F 28 in "like new" condition, and as I always do when I get new gear, I look at it very closely. So with this lens, I thought it looked ok, two little scratches on the lens body, but the front lens seemed fine... unless I looked at it at an angle, from very close, with light hitting it in the right direction, I could see some smudges. I tried to capture it with my 100 macro, focussing was difficult because I could barely see it, until I used my phone's flashlight at a certain angle up close. It looked horrible when I zoomed in on the result. Took me quite some time to calm down and realize what I had done: did everything in my power to make myself mad about it. I had told the seller and he said he had barely used it and said he didn't see anything wrong with it, and to be honest I believe him, because I could barely see it myself until I looked very, very close. I don't think it can have happened when cleaning the front element, it's almost dead center and maybe fell down into the dirt once... who knows? What I know is, I don't see anything in the pictures I have taken with the lens so far, and if I just use a lens hood I don't think I'll ever see anything in the images that got there due to those marks. Stop worrying and love the lens and the pictures it produces. So I'm with everyone else here who says those will probably have no effect on image quality at all. As to the dust and the "professional cleaning", that is another issue altogether. The price is right, so I guess you could even try for yourself and not lose any money when you sell it again disclosing all of the lens' flaws.

Attached 1:1 crop of the scratches on my lens and full image it was taken from as reference.
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PENTAX K-S2  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-S2  Photo 
6 Days Ago   #14
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I've had lenses which suffered that type of minuscule damage. There was no change at all in the photo image quality.

I did buy one lens which had a damaged internal element - a chip or deep scratch clearly visible. Looking with a jeweler's loup, it was like a nail had hit it hard. It did have an image quality problem and I returned it.

The closer to the front, the less noticeable an effect will be, if any. In my experience, I haven't seen increased flare or lack of contrast. You may want to try a tiny dot of black ink, but really, I wouldn't even do that.
3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #15
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I received the lens yesterday. It looks like in good shape and produces great pictures. In the negative the zoom is stiff, but not enough stiff while zooming out past 55, so I may enter "retractable" range by mistake, something you cannot do with the 18-50. Besides, the hood is missing.

Still, for 160 €, it was a bargain.
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