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How well will a Summar benefit from a cleaning?

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As the "strange person still shooting film", tidbits from the film era sometimes finds my way. Mostly just junk, however this old couple landed on my table the other day.

The camera is obviously used and abused over its lifetime and probably deserves retirement after 90 years.

The Summar certainly shows its age as well, but to my surprise, the uncoated front and rear elements appear has minimal scratches and operation is fairly smooth. Inside is another matter - as would be expected there is a lot of haze.

Below are two photos, one taken with the Summar @ f4 next to a 20 years younger Elmar 50/3.5 also @ f4, no need to specify which is which.

I am still debating with myself if I should throw money after the lens to have it cleaned.

Does anyone here have an opinion on the haze in a Summar would clean up?





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with uncoated lenses the haze inside may usually be cleaned with not too much effort. In many cases only the 2 surfaces adjacent to aperture have haze. I believe that the lens would benefit from cleaning


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Haze is one of those 'wooly' descriptions with little actual explanation of what is its cause. Amongst the reasons I have seen quoted for haze are condensed lubricant, oxidation of the glass surface, deposition of airborne material, contamination by chemicals, etc.. If correct, most should clean off with the possible exception of chemical contamination or oxidation. In other words if something has merely accumulated on the glass and not chemically bonded to it then it should clean ok. One other possibility is aging of the glue (Canada Balsam or synthetic in later lenses) used to bod elements together which can take place, especially if the lens has been stored in poor conditions (too hot, too cold, damp). Canada Balsam can show up as hazy if it is deteriorating and it can start to yellow too. Whilst removal, separation and rebonding are perfectly possible, they either need to be done by oneself or they will easily become uneconomic if anyone can be found to carry this out professionally.

So basically, cleaning should be well worth while provided the lens has no chemically bonded deposits on the glass nor separation. If the outer surfaces are pretty much flaw free I would think that a good CLA would be well worthwhile myself. I've had lenses CLA's with haze and they have come back near pristine.

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Thanks all. 

I know "haze" may appear for different reasons. I just wanted to know if common knowledge may indicate that Summar lenses perhaps had a better or worse chance of successful cleaning.

Anyway, Jerzy will take a look at it and we'll see how it goes :)

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Summars very often show degradation of the cement between two lenses. This was a production fault from the very beginning and can only be cured by specialized services. If you see small „bubbles“ inside my guess would be for cement degradation. If it is a more or less regular greyish surface it may be „normal“ haze which can be cleaned easier.

Though looking at the results you show I should not worry too much: you have to accept that an uncoated Summar is much less contrasty than a postwar coated Elmar. 

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Here two examples from two Summars which show no haze, both at f/4

1. uncoated:

2. coated

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