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Here’s a little background and information about lenses, how they operate, what can go wrong, and how to care for them.
Zoom lenses operate by moving internal and external lens groups back and forth, either by a turning or by a back-
For the lens to focus at all focal lengths a number of cam barrels and rollers are used to position the elements within the lens.
These are precision made parts, that, if damaged or distorted by impact, the smooth function of the zoom and the critical positioning of the optics, will be compromised.
Modern lenses contain circuitry, connectors, contacts and switches which communicate with the camera.
The constant flow of information tells the camera where the zoom is positioned, how far the aperture should be closed and which direction the focusing drive should turn the lens to set correct focus. The circuitry does NOT like water, especially salt-
Older or lower cost lenses use regular micro motors to drive and adjust focus, and are usually a little slower in operation.
As you can appreciate impact (yes, gravity can be a pest), intrusion of sand grains or liquids can cause serious damage your lens, while dust contamination mainly affects contrast.
Impact damaged zoom lenses may be repairable, but a repair to be economical, some kind of compromise often has to be accepted. This may be in the form of slower focus or tightness when zooming, but saves you having to buy a new lens.
Good quality manual lenses feature extra fine, and multiple helical threads, which mesh accurately and provide fine, smooth focus.
Many old lenses give superior or interesting images when used with an adapter on a digital cameras, and can be well worth restoring.
Common service needs with older lenses are: aged lubricants causing tight, loose or jerky focusing and sticking diaphragm blades due to oils. All these problems can be fully remedied to restore the lens.
Fungus and atmospheric fogging can be somewhat more problematic. Fungus growth is generally more of a problem in humid and coastal areas. If you discover fungus spots within the lens, early cleaning attention is essential if you want to save the lens and prevent coating damage.
The ‘operating’ table.
Using vintage manual focus lenses with DSLRs
An interesting aspect of old lenses is that they frequently perform better than their modern, expensive cousins.
Some even provide better contrast and definition, and can produce interesting, old fashion image effects.
The availability of ‘mount adapters’ makes it easy to fit an old lens to a DSLR. Making good use of your old, rather that discarding them, makes good sense.
So, if you have a new fancy digital snap machine with interchangeable lens, why not try out your old lenses?
I specialise in restoring classic and vintage manual focus lenses such as:
Canon, Jupiter, Jena, Meyer, Nikkor, Praktica, Pentacon, Rokkor, Takumar, Tokina, Soligor, Zeiss, and more.
I also offer service to most Canon AF lenses. However, due to Nikon’s and Tamron’s policies of not supplying parts any more, I no longer repair their AF lenses.
It is difficult to promise a good result when attempting to clean fungus or haze, that has been present for some considerable time.
All such cleaning is carried out strictly on the following
To have a lens serviced please make contact by email, detailing lens brand and model, and describing the problem to be fixed.
An obligation free estimate will be provided by return.
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