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12-28-2009, 08:15 AM   #1
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Should I crack open this lens or let it be?

So my father in law gets back from his travels today and sees I have bought a pentax. Says he has a lens for me that he bought new in the 70's back when he was a pentaxian.

So this is Koichi's lens


SMC Takumar 3.5 135mm - one of the later versions with all the dongles out the back for the ES and later Pentaxi

Wow! Manna from heaven! It's rainin' lens... halleleuja... Nice to live in Japan, where pentax lenses are probably already in your attic. (I'm hoping he finds his 50mm kit lens soon!)

.....buuuut, while dusting the back element I found this:

GAAAAH! At first I didn't know, because I have never seen fungus in a lens. It seems to be on the inside surface of the final element before the camera body. The rest of the lens is in great shape, and as it is I really doubt that this will destroy any pictures, but my question is:

should I
a) ignore it, it won't be bad for years (It has been in a box for so long already)

b) spend some cash and get it serviced by a pro (I don't know but I'm betting this will be pricy in Japan)

c) [this one is my favourite] rip it apart (gently) myself, hit it with peroxide and put it back together? I have found two fairly good disassembly instructions for this lens and a contemporaneous 50 / 1.4;
Disassembly and Cleaning of the F1.4 50mm Super Takumar Lens (with pics)
Favorite Classics / Pentax Super Takumar f/3.5 135mm (this exact lens)
and it seems within my humble means, but I would kill myself if I ruined this lens. Karma would demand it. It's in nearly mint condition other than the fungus.

What road should I take? Another thing to note is that what I first thought was grime around the edge of that element now looks like not quite so aggressive parts of the mold as well. Has anyone gotten a lens cleaned in Japan who could tell me how much it'll cost?

Thanks in advance


Last edited by JesseDavis; 12-28-2009 at 07:35 PM. Reason: divined the MobileMe linking format!
12-28-2009, 08:19 AM   #2
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try option a first... take some photos and see if it effects anything...

if it makes things crap, then ask a pro how much it would cost to get it serviced...

if it costs a lot.. go for option c...

nice and simple eh?
12-28-2009, 08:26 AM   #3
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There's no telling whether the fungus is cleanable, or if it's in the middle of two lens elements that will need to be separated. That would not be a task you could manage.

I would also be worried about the fungus spreading to another lens. It's not a big deal if you only have a 50mm and 28mm to go with it, or something like that, but if you have thousands of dollars worth of lenses, I would get rid of it immediately.

If it were my choice, I would sell it damaged, maybe get $20, and look for a new one in better condition. But I don't know if the lens has any particular sentimental value to you, or anything like that. I don't know repair costs where you are, but where I am I can get that problem taken care of for about $50.
12-28-2009, 08:55 AM   #4
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I gotta say, I think you made the right call going with the K10D and the macro. You're getting a lot of use outta that FA 100mm already! :P

I'd be uncomfortable using or repairing that lens. I don't think you'll get too much out of it even in good condition, since you already a 100mm lens.

12-28-2009, 12:36 PM   #5
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Try taking some photos with that excellent lens, then decide diy or pay someone to clean it; keh wants $35, someone local $50 (fair price), or http://pentaxs.com/ . Yokohama, dunno.



Buy another, for practice.

Using the correct tools to remove inspect and clean the rear element in that lens is not overly difficult. Clean dry particle-free environment. Proper size screwrivers. Lens ring spanner. Cleaning supplies.

Last edited by rhodopsin; 12-28-2009 at 01:18 PM. Reason: add service option
12-28-2009, 02:51 PM   #6
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I have 2 of this lens. When I got them one had fungus and the other had very sticky oily aperture blades. The fungus will probably not affect the image quality too much as it is but it may get worse and it is annoying knowing it is there. I have now cleaned both of them and they are now both spotless and show no trace of any work having been done.

If the fungus is on the rear element only as it was on mine, then you will only have to remove this and this is best done from the back. There is a single rear element on this lens and there are no cemented elements so no need to worry about separating and re-cementing them. A diagram of the inside of this lens can be found here Die Cast Pro - Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f/3.5 Index. To remove the rear element you will need a spanner wrench but these relatively cheep and once you have it it will turn out usefull again and again. Peroxide will probably clean the fungus off very effectively but but I have never needed anything stronger than methilated spirits and cotton buds. This should be a fairly straightforward job and if you are practically minded than it is probably worth a try.

I have never worried much about fungus spreading as spores will get everywhere anyway and the best way of preventing new infections taking hold is to make sure that the fungus doesn't get suitable growing conditions.
12-28-2009, 07:22 PM   #7
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So nice to be on a friendly forum. Thanks to all for your advice.

QuoteOriginally posted by PrimeObjectif Quote
I gotta say, I think you made the right call going with the K10D and the macro. You're getting a lot of use outta that FA 100mm already! :P

I'd be uncomfortable using or repairing that lens. I don't think you'll get too much out of it even in good condition, since you already a 100mm lens.
Yes, but my FA 100 Macro is HEAVY. Plus 135 (167.5 on APS-C) will give me just a little more reach to catch the birdies. However scroll down to get the willies re: fungus.

QuoteOriginally posted by MattGunn Quote
....If the fungus is on the rear element only as it was on mine, then you will only have to remove this and this is best done from the back. There is a single rear element on this lens and there are no cemented elements so no need to worry about separating and re-cementing them. A diagram of the inside of this lens can be found here Die Cast Pro - Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f/3.5 Index...
THANK YOU! That is great. I was worried that this would be in a fused element, the drawing will be very useful should I decide to do it myself. I am going down to Tokyo now for a screwmount adapter and some advice, maybe a lens spanner. Since it was free it seems a shame not to get it fixed or try myself. I am unemployed though so buying another lens for 'practice' ( rhodopsin) is out of the question.

The free pentax gear continues, Koichi pulled out this:

and this (Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - 35-105mm F4-5.6


The camera has a broken LCD and wont turn on, and I haven't fount the battery charger. The Lens is well reviewed but takes terrible pictures. This is why:


The fungus you see there is ubiquitous. It creeps me out having it on the table next to my k10 and good 100mm lens; I am getting really paranoid about everything now, even though I would logically agree with those who say the spores are everywhere anyway, and you should focus on keeping things dry. Fungus is on every element, was on the outside of the back element, just ewwww.

The camera and lens have been kept in a leather walkaround case for about ten years in a closet in a country where humidity is abou 99% at 30 degrees for 7 months a year. I'm taking this lens to Tokyo too but I have no hope. Looking through it on my K10 (I was verrry leary about putting on my nice uninfected body) the autofocus was inconsistant, the image flared and ghosted. *cry* I guess I am still looking for a wide angle lens.

Last edited by JesseDavis; 12-28-2009 at 07:34 PM. Reason: Divining the secrets of mobileMe linking format
12-28-2009, 07:30 PM   #8
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wrap everything up in silica gel to minimise moisture

as long as you do that, the fungus and any spores shouldnt germinate

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