Jump to content

Summicron 50mm Type 5 - Took it apart and cleaned it, should I have?

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)



Yesterday I brought home a Leica M6 with a Summicron 50mm Type 5 (built-in hood). It's my first Leica camera and lens. Both seem to have had little use, they are in very good cosmetic condition, little wear...


When I got home last night, upon close inspection of the lens under a lamp, I noticed something I hadn't seen before buying. On the edge of the front element, when light was hitting at a very specific angle, one could see marks or stains, can't quite describe it, around most of the edge, almost like it was lubricant.


At first I thought it was on the outside, and I cleaned it, but it remained, that's when I realized it was on the inside of the front element.


I couldn't resist the temptation, and tried to unscrew the ring with the lens description. It unscrewed, so I carried on exploring... Undid a retaining ring after that, and the front group came out. Another ring on the back of the front group, unscrewed that, and the front group divided in two, and you can reach the back of the front element.

So I cleaned the back of the front element, with standard lens cleaning fluid, and it appears to have worked, the lens seems perfectly clean with no marks whatsoever.


Reassembled it with caution and it's on the camera, which is halfway through the first roll... Still haven't bought the adapters for my digital cameras.


After I did it, doubt started to creep in... Could that have been some kind of coating on the inside of the front element? Could I have removed it just by cleaning?

The only time I saw coating damage was in an old Mamiya TLR lens, the coating was kind of peeling off around the edges, but it looked different, it had an edge to it, and kind of chipped off.

In the Leica it wasn't like that, it looked stained, smudged almost, no edge to it.


Does anyone know if this lens has any coating on the inside of the front element that is sensitive enough to damage by cleaning like this?


I also read a thread here that states that all inner coatings since 1960's are hard, and not likely to be damaged by simple cleaning... I hope that stands true in this case...


It seemed to me that the front-side of the back element from this front group indeed was coated, but I did not touch that, as it was clean and perfect.


Any insights are appreciated... Thank you very much!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Franco, thank you for your input.


Unfortunately I have no friends with digital Leicas. I do, however, have a Fuji X-E1, just ordered the Leica-M adapter from eBay, so I can use the Summicron on it, should be here by the end of the week...


The roll in the M6 right now is 24 exposures, so I'll probably have it out and develop it tonight or tomorrow... I'm hoping all is well with it...


The meter appears to be working, it's in the ballpark with my Sunny 16 estimates... When I get the roll out perhaps I'll try to test the shutter speeds...

Also it's my first time using a rangefinder focusing system, still getting used to it... Are these prone to malfunction or misalignment with lenses?

Sorry for the slight off-topic!

Anyway, here's a quick phone snapshot of my new "baby"!



Cheers, and thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don`t think that there is any danger that you have destroyed something, but of course there is no way for you to check that the reassembly so to speak is within standard.


I don`t think what you have done is that rare, and possibly reassembly is not as diffcult as we think. If it works well, it should be ok.


A friend of mine who is a professional photograper told me how he at one point of time dropped a movie lens in a shallow river. He took it apart, dried it overnight and put it together in the morning and it served him well for many years afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites



Thanks Franco, that's my intention...

Developed the first roll on Monday night, yesterday I was out all day on a job but when I got home yesterday night I scanned the negatives.

The focus checks out - it's spot on in every shot.

Still had time to test the shutter speeds with a homemade sensor I built a few months ago, all speeds are good.


Here are a couple I uploaded to flickr. (Still have to hone my developing&scanning skills).


Twirly little thing... por soundsk, no Flickr


My ol' boy... por soundsk, no Flickr


Cheers, and thanks for the help!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Keops
      Hi there. Today while taking photos with my MP I realized some kind of liquid had dropped on the back of my camera. It had been dried before I noticed it. As a reflex I immediately clean the thing but the same stuff had also snuck on to the light seal cloth that covers the parameters of the back door. How can I clean the residue on the light seal? Or should I bother? I am afraid of the possibility of the strange liquid damaging the light seal.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
    • By Eclectic Man
      With mirrorless cameras exposing the sensor whenever a lens is changed, dust and other particles can become attached to the sensor.  as the sensors tend to heat up with use, I wonder if particles can become 'baked on'.  The question I have is, how frequently do people clean their camera's sensor?  And how do you clean your sensor, do you just uses a blower, a brush, wet clean with swab or a sticky gel like Eyelead?
      I believe that my ageing 'rocket' blower, where the bulb is made of rubber, is decaying and actually deposited fine particles on the sensor when I used it.  How can I check, and what is the design life of a rubber blower brush?  Some spots on my SL2 sensor took quite some removing with an alcohol-based wet cleaning kit and gel-based Eyelead.
    • By mark_pw
      Sometimes the dirt trapped in the lens grip can be too stubborn to be brushed off by a tooth brush.
      A bamboo chopstick can help.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!
    • By barcoder
      I have somehow managed to get a little condensation behind the protective glass for the LCD screen. I've never applied one of these protective screens myself before, but would like to remove it as it's a little annoying. Any suggestions/best practices other than just ignore it? 😉 Thanks!
  • Create New...