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Tiny group of bubbles inside of Pre-Asph Summilux lens?

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Hi everyone, 

 

I recently purchased a type II Summilux 35mm and when I shine a light through the front I can see very clearly a large grouping of tiny bubbles and what looks like a streak of some kind  opposite of it inside the lens.  The coating on the front and rear are clean and the aperture blades are clean, and I can only see these when I tilt the lens in the light.  When I shine a light through the lens it is very apparent.

 

Can anyone explain what I'm seeing here?  Any info would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

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The dots could be fungus. The streak lokes like a scratch - or just dirt on an internal element.

I'd send it to a competent technician for a CLA.

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Possibly. But that would be a lot of bubbles for relatively recent glass. Then again, QC failures happen all the time...

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What happens, if you turn the lens perhaps 45 degrees?

In both pictures the lens is in the same position.

Jan

Edited by jankap

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Fungus takes many forms, I've learned... I'm not an expert, but I have seen a few lenses diagnosed with fungus by people more competent than me in this respect - and early manifestations of the disease sometimes show little white spots that are (unlike dust) rather neatly arranged. But, frankly, it's hard to say until the lens is opened and examined by someone competent.

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On an older lens but the Elmar my father used as an enlarging lens had loads of bubbles in it. This was in the day his semi-professional Wray enlarger used a 250 or more watt Osram incandescent projector bulb which threw out a lot of heat. I am guessing this boiled the balsam used to fix the elements together. The main lenses he used on the enlarger were Wray 1¾" and 3¼" enlarger lenses (no focusing helicoid), which either used special balsam or were balsam free to withstand the heat, as they had no bubbles in them. When I first got my M4, the only lens I had to use on it was the old Elmar, which I thought would be absolutely useless. It was not as bad as I feared but once I had earned enough to buy a second hand 50 Summilux-M II, that was a very noticeable improvement. 

 

The other thing I wonder if it might be is deterioration/flaking of the anti-flare paint on the inside of the barrel. The exposed metal could then reflect light onto the surface of an element. 

 

Wilson

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Looks like lens separation to me, basically two glued lens elements coming unstuck on the one side. Lens should work okay though.

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Same to me. For me it would be a reason to return the lens.

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The good news is that balsam separation is repairable because its possible to separate elements bonded by balsam and re-glue them with a modern adhesive. Finding someone who can do this well might not be so easy although there are a few who can.

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If it is separation, there may be a major problem in getting that repaired. I think this lens dates from 1969 by which time, Leitz Canada may have changed from the natural Canada Balsam to the later synthetic UV cured epoxy balsam. I remember speaking to Malcolm Taylor about these and him saying he hates trying to separate these lenses. To separate, you have to boil them up for hours in a pressure cooker full of the very nasty and poisonous chemical, methylene chloride. Even after doing this, it is very easy to damage the elements trying to separate them. 

 

My personal view would be to return the lens for a refund and find another. There is no great shortage of these lenses, with over 28,500 of them made in various finishes over the 28 years of production. With lenses, I usually try to find the most recent lens I can of the variant I want. The lens of the OP is in the first two years of production, so there are still another 26 years worth of more recent lenses to chose from. 

 

Wilson

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I would say it's signs of separation also, both the 'bubbles' and the 'streak' on the opposite side. Unless it was an absolute bargain I would also return it.

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Thank you for all the comments!  I shot a roll through it and it doesn't seem to affect picture, however I am concerned for resale value later own the line.

 

It will probably increase the potential of the lens to flare as well as reducing resale value. I'd test it against the light - the 35mm pre-aspheric Summilux does flare somewhat anyway, so you don't really want this to increase if possible.

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If it is separation, there may not be anyone to repair it.  It is not a total loss, my 50mm Summilux (1st ver.) has a rather large bubble and it shots beautifully, also diagnosed as separation, I had a chance to return it but the image IQ was excellent, so I shoot it and enjoy the images.     

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The group covers a large enough area I wouldn't call it a "tiny group of bubbles" - but rather a "group of tiny bubbles." Perhaps this lens was owned by Don Ho?

In any case, I'd probably keep it and not worry.

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