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03-03-2015, 08:39 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 6
Lens maintenance & cleaning

I'd like to thank B&H folks for being available. I'm new around here and recently sold a bunch of Canon gear to focus more on medium format film photography. Money is limited to around $1100 for a used kit.

Right now I'm looking at many Pentax 645 Nii bodies and lenses. The first lens I want for this body is a 45-85 based on this review and others. I've seen them listed new between $650 to $2500. But, most of the used 645 Nii lenses I see are from Pacific Rim sources. And, many of those units list 'dust' and/or 'slight fungus' as part of the sales disclosure. (Typically, if a lens has dents or abrasion I'm not interested.) However, purchasing a lens with ANY material inside its housing strikes me as dicey. So, my question is, "Is it cost-effective to buy a used lens with known debris/fungus on the inside of the housing and have it cleaned and re-sealed?"

Thanks for any advice.

I've heard many times that little specs of dust or debris on the elements inside the housing have no noticeable effect on performance. And, that's probly' right. But, fungus seems to be another issue altogether.

03-06-2015, 09:14 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 866

Welcome and thanks for the shout out.

If you take even a new lens and look through it up close you will see small particles of dust that are highly magnified. Even cleaning marks on front elements of older legacy lenses have little negative effect.

"Fungus" is entirely different and the cause like with any mold, what or how was the lens exposed to moisture and how deep inside the lens does is go is a concern. I'm afraid this is a chance you'll have to take and I would strongly recommend making your purchase from a reputable dealer handling used equipment.

I know how enticing some gear can be especially when hard to find. Be careful because as my mother always tells me [not that I ever listen] cheap can be expensive. YMMV

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03-07-2015, 12:14 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Original Poster
Thanks a lot for the response: valuable observations and advice for an amateur. I had no idea that dust and assorted imperfections could be present in a new lens. And, I do like my mushrooms without lenses attached to them. Fortunately, discretion has saved me from lenses with fungus.

And, of course, your Mother was right. I actually recently did as you suggested and feel better for having purchased used gear from a reputable dealer in the United States. It's really difficult for me to send hundreds of dollars thousands of miles for gear that 'might' be ok with the possibility of having to ship the item back. There's no free lunch but $120 shipping and however much duty $ would put a nice dent in the cost of Pacific Rim gear sold by Americans in America. Not a slam against Pacific Rim sources as I'm sure most are very reputable. But, sources of more local logistics just make me feel better about things.

Thanks again for the response. Apparently, it can get pretty expensive to 'attempt' to remove fungus from a used lens.

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