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anthonym3

LEITZ ELMAR/ SUMMITAR

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I have a 9 cm f = 1:4 ELMAR serial number 355277 circa 1937 in surprisingly excellent optical condition however I am a bit puzzled. . It appears to be lightly coated,it shows a bluish and light pinkish hue. I know that LEITZ did not coat lenses until the post war era but perhaps this lens was returned to have coating applied. Any suggestions or information will be greatly appreciated. Also I have an f=5 cm 1:2 SUMMITAR with light fungus between elements. Does anyone know who in the U.S. services vintage LEITZ lenses? Again information greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Youxin Ye has done a great job doing such service on old Leitz lenses for me. His normal turnaround can be slow depending on workload, but he also offers rush service at no extra charge. (Of course, if everyone request rush service it all slows down, so I don’t generally ask for it.) 

Don Goldberg (DAG Camera) was Leitz factory trained and can also do great work on almost any Leica lens. He has more extensive factory and custom equipment, and Youxin once suggested I send a lens to Don for optical collimating. I tend to use DAG for more modern and expensive lenses and cameras.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/10/2020 at 4:42 PM, anthonym3 said:

I have a 9 cm f = 1:4 ELMAR serial number 355277 circa 1937 in surprisingly excellent optical condition however I am a bit puzzled. . It appears to be lightly coated,it shows a bluish and light pinkish hue. I know that LEITZ did not coat lenses until the post war era but perhaps this lens was returned to have coating applied. Any suggestions or information will be greatly appreciated.

I guess it would be theoretically possible for a lens to get "accidentally" coated if it was stored long-term in an appropriately contaminated container that out-gassed molecules which then settled on the lens. Let us hypothesize a felt-lined case where the glue or manufacturing chemicals evaporate and the molecules settle out on the glass over years.

That is essentially how intentional lens coating is created (vapor deposition), and if it forms a coating roughly as thick as a quarter-wavelength of some colored light, it would show a color just like "real" coating, by way of reflections off the glass and the coatings that are exactly a half-wavelength out of sync, causing constructive/destructive interference (like the colors in an oil slick on a wet pavement).

https://www.scienceabc.com/eyeopeners/why-does-petrol-create-a-rainbow-on-water.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_coating

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-reflective_coating

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_vapor_deposition

I've certainly see antique optical glass of other types (old microscopes or binoculars) that acquire a colored patina with aging.

See also: https://ancientglass.wordpress.com/2019/09/25/what-is-the-iridescence-on-ancient-glass/

(One of my college jobs was working in an electron-microscope lab, where we sputter-coated samples for scanning EM imaging. ;) )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputter_deposition

Edited by adan

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Many prewar Leica lenses were later coated. Leitz themselves offered to coat their non-coated lenses for many years (and for a very reasonable amount of money),

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I have 19th Century lenses that have acquired something of a yellowish tinge with age, possibly from Balsam or some other glue used in the manufacturing process. As mentioned already, Leica had a program for coating lenses for many years. I have lenses where I own both coated and uncoated samples of the same model and both types have their charms even when used with modern digital cameras. Super saturated is the current fashion, but the softer looks of yesteryear have a lot to recommend them too.

William

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Posted (edited)

I have had a coated Summar for 20 years.

Non coated LF lenses have been known to pick up coating in storage.

Edited by tobey bilek

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Lens coating supposedly originated when optics developers noted the some old lenses that had formed a surface patina had better performance than new, clean lenses, so coatings were tested to determine the effects and find the appropriate materials to use. The science has come a long way since then.

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My coated Summar (1935) is my favorite Leitz lens. Very sharp in the center and remarkably good contrast, especially when compared to my 1932 uncoated Elmar. 

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