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Thread: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

  1. #11
    Jim Graves Jim Graves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Sacramento, Calif., USA

    Re: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

    Well ... I am certainly not the most experienced shooter on this forum nor the most discerning nor have I done any testing ... doesn't interest me. But I shoot virtually all older, bargain lenses in varying states of decline. If I limited myself to pristine, new lenses, I'd have only 5 or 6 ... this way I can afford to try all kinds of lenses.

    If I have an actual chip in the glass, I color the chipped area with a black Sharpie pen ... but the normal wear-and-tear scratches I don't even worry about ... and, as far as I can see, in normal shooting, the blemishes simply don't make any difference. Heck, if you read the literature, they used to claim that bubbles (and the lens makers used the plural) in the glass were a sign of quality.

    To me it comes down to what you are confident shooting ... if a pristine lens makes you more confident in your shooting ... by all means, use pristine lenses ... if the state of the glass is not an issue for you ... shoot it, learn its signature or style and use it if you like it ... if you don't like it, you haven't got that much invested. [By the way, the photos you have posted, made with your damaged lens, are gorgeous.]

    Here's a link to a page that has often been posted on this subject that is both amazing and informative (certainly NOT micro-scratches, though): LINK

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

    Hermes, that stamp analogy is very interesting and funny. Never thought of it that way.
    Jonathan, my Aero Ektar has a dark brown rear alement and some fungus around it. It is a type of lens though, that would be hard to see any flaws since it is already quite soft and has weak contrast.
    The test with the cracked glass is hilarious but it does make a point.

    I personally don't mind having not-perfect lenses. I can't afford the nice ones anyway. Almost all my lenses have some degree of fungus.
    Thanks Jim for the compliments.

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Re: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

    A couple of remarks.

    Large format lenses are not generally meant to be used wide open.

    Used that way, you have very little depth of field, so a slight focusing error or shift from the gg to the film can make a very large difference.

    So, it is hard to evaluate the quality of an image taken wide open because of such matters.

  4. #14
    Deardorff Sales and service
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

    I can't tell you how many of my lenses in my collection have "micro scratches". Everyone shoots just fine and has a "sweet" f stop. What's funny is the young students out of design school would never buy one in this condition. Oh what they do not know!
    Ken Hough Deardorff Refinisher since 1982
    Deardorff Factory refinisher / remanufacturer 1982-88
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  5. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: Micro scratches - What do they do to a lens?

    Wel I wish I could photograph these scratches. In this case they look more like the lens was rubbed agaisnt an abrassive surface. I made a lensboard and mounted it on the Speed Graphic. I'll post tests when I have some time to shoot.
    So true about students. It took me years after school to get me a Hasselblad, nowadays they get one within the first semester.

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