How many different interchangeable lenses do you have?

Started 2 months ago | Polls thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 42,730
Re: A couple of things, then Frankenlenses

ProfHankD wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

petrochemist wrote:

I'm surprised you allow multiple examples of the same lens if you're after users numbers. They would count to my mind if the duplicates have bee modified in some way (elements removed or flipped) but I'd say that makes them a different lens, with more than just sample variation in their behaviour.

The idea behind that was that if you have and use multiple copies of the same lens model, there must be a reason. It could be sample variation, or it could simply be that one is the "sacrificial beater" and another is the "formal dress lens" -- i.e., one copy you'd take to a beach party and the other you use only for studio work. Anyway, if you have and use more than one, they must seem different to you in some way....

Another reason. I sometimes have bought a lens that I was disappointed in but could be made better. I like it so re-buy one to get a pristine example.

Spare parts/backup copy is perfectly reasonable.

... about Canon LTM lenses ... What causes this?

Coatings used on internal surfaces were often quite soft, and the Canon LTM lenses apparently used a coating that fungus found particularly inviting -- a really bad combo.

... I once bought a job lot of eight train wreck Helios 44 lenses so that I could practice “repairing” them. ... I have half wondered, in my wicked sort of way, that I should obtain a H-44 with pristine glass and fit it the glass into one of my grunge bodies which was otherwise in great working condition although “ugly look”. ... Has anyone else fitted perfect glass into a working-well but battered looking lens body?

Lots of folks in the former USSR play mix-n-match with old lens parts to make "Frankenlenses" -- that's a large part of why there are so many "fakes" out there. Unfortunately, we're not talking about carefully-calibrated optics aligned on an optical bench, but "hey, this looks pretty similar to that cracked element." Really beat-up metal parts can be made attractive by extreme polishing -- a trick I first recall seeing some Greek eBay seller doing en masse with M42 Pentax lenses about a decade ago, but since then I've more often seen it on various USSR reworks. The dead giveaways are the "rare zebra version" of lenses that never were zebras -- you simply throw the really beat-up black ring(s) on a lathe, then sand-off just enough finish to get through any nicks and scratches, and finally polish. The other hint this has been done is that the surfaces usually don't end-up perfectly flat, but have a slight curvature. This type of re-working is what makes really messed-up body parts passable as a "like new" collectible.

Personally, I don't really have a problem with salvaging parts from unit-non-functional lenses in these ways... until it comes to advertising them as rare versions in like-new condition. IMHO, they should be proudly described as "upcycled" old lens components in custom, hand re-worked, housings. Knowing how people are, I wouldn't even be surprised if that type of honest marketing of them would sell more at higher prices.

Agreed, but in my defence - these are all 1970’s Helios 44-2 lenses and for my purpose “the uglier the better”  It should be possible enough to get a (truly) pristine version of this common as muck lens and swap the glass without issues.  I am just the sort of person who does not like an effectively perfect lens (of its type) just to make “a grunge-lens statement” no matter how wickedly devilish the black humour.  On the other hand the 1978 version I just dragged out as an example is working fine with excellent smooth focus action, good aperture action (a bit loose, maybe could do with a little lubrication resistance?).  The oily aperture blades cleaned up well but some very slight traces of oil have re-appeared.  Externally the body is scratched and has a paint smear from some earlier life (looks a bit ugly).  But there are  no dents and the filter ring looks used but is intact.  The glass in this one is not too bad - others I have are much worse.  So if I find the time and inclination I might best swap lenses with one of my other “rescues” and leave this particular one as a “character” lens

My own Frankenlens is a Komura 150 made for Bronica S and adapted back to M4/3, I can also use it on any mount that will adapt to EF.  But it involves a focusing element and a series of adapters.  Takes quite good images but it is a bit of a lump.  I bought the lens for a project that failed and not wishing to have another lens that I could not use I then went to the trouble of adapting it to my (owned) camera bodies.

As a result I can now adapt another Bronica S lens should the notion overcome my common sense - which is unlikely.

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Tom Caldwell

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