Incense

by Bart Arondson

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I often visit an antique shop that sells gadgets like old cameras, equipment and lenses. I'm particularly interested on buying an old macro lenses from Sigma, Ricoh, and Nikkor. I would expect the following conditions when purchasing an old lens:

  1. Manual Operations
  2. No electronic contact
  3. Compatibility issues (which I am aware of)
  4. Manual Focus (not an issue since I'm targeting a Macro Lens)
  5. Dusts inside it (since it has no electronics, I guess just cleaning it will do, professional service maybe)
  6. On a Positive note, the build quality is arguably better since most of it is Solid.
  7. Cheaper

So what should I do whenever I purchase old lenses from 1980's to "Restore" (if that's the correct word) the whole item? If there's anything that I should checked before purchasing it, what are those? Thanks!

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#5. You'll want to find a way to re-align the lens if you do disassemble it. There are some toys to have handy when you do. One is a collimated light source that will set you back several month's pay if you don't want to have a fixed focus "lens baby" as a result. Maybe cross off #5 until you have an optical bench. –  Stan Sep 13 '13 at 17:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have bought a few old film lenses and they are great to use! BUT, there are some things to consider first. Mine would be:

  1. What will it be used on? - There are many bodies out there and some just will not fit. Mirrorless cameras are great for these old lenses due to the flange distance and there are many adaptors out there for different lenses. Know that the lens and body will be compatible.

  2. Operation: Move the aperture/focus rings. Are they stiff/smooth? Do the blades get stuck? Check the aperture leavers? Do they get stuck?

  3. Condition: Does it have internal fungus? You state that you'll restore them so I'm not sure if you know how to dismantle and clean them with the appropriate solvents?

  4. Adaptors: Once you know the compatibility of them, some adaptors won't let the lens focus to infinity. Sometimes modifications are needed to have the lens fully operable on a different body it wasn't designed for.

Other than that, researching the mounts of the actual lenses before hand and see what are compatible. Wouldn't hurt to ask the store owner, they might know something. Research should probably be number 1 but that isn't always definitive so I left it till last.

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