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Thread: Clean it or Leave it?

  1. #1
    (Shrek)
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    Clean it or Leave it?

    I bought the cells from a Wollensak Velostigmat Wide Angle Ser. III (5x7) a few months ago, mounted them in a Betax #2 I just happened to have extra (that's why I bought the cells), and promptly forgot all about it until yesterday. While researching this on LFPF, I came across several comments to the effect that people have had these incredibly dirty, hazy lenses and have enjoyed using them as 'soft focus' landscape lenses, only to eventually clean them and find out that as an ordinary wide angle, they're nothing special.

    I had a look at mine, and sure enough it has the worst case of 'haze' (I think it might have progressed beyond 'haze' to 'slime') of any lens I have ever had in my possession, so before trying to clean it I took it out for a whirl. Here is the result (4x5, unknown aperture since I don't have the scale, 1/10 on Fomapan 100). I can shoot more carefully and cut back on the flare a little, I suppose, but this is never going to be a sharp lens unless I do some serious cleaning. So what do you think? Clean it or Leave it?

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    Clean it.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    If you like you soft focus really soft and diffused then use it as is. If you like less soft then clean it. Just remember that it is easy to clean but not easy putting the haze back on, so think about your prefernce first.

  4. #4
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    Leave it alone!! There are plenty of clean lenses. Beautiful shot.
    Mark Woods

    Large Format B&W
    Cinematography Mentor at the American Film Institute
    Past President of the Pasadena Society of Artists
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    www.markwoods.com

  5. #5

    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    Compose some artsy-craftsy statement about that image and the marvelous qualities of your slimy lens and put it on eBay with a minimum that makes you happy. You will find out pretty quickly how much you risk by cleaning it.

  6. #6
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    I would clean it. That photo you posted is just too soft for my taste. If it tickles your fancy, however, keep it as is.

  7. #7

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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    That's pretty bad. The lens may be incorrectly assembled, or even be missing an element/group. Spacing of the cells is critical on these lenses.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  8. #8
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    That's pretty bad. The lens may be incorrectly assembled, or even be missing an element/group. Spacing of the cells is critical on these lenses.
    I've re-shot with the lens indoors to try this, it seems sharp (ha!) right to the edges, in my experience incorrectly assembled lenses might make an image in the center but they very quickly deteriorate as soon as you get off-axis.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I really do think it's just a bad case of gunk on the elements, and resulting flare in my examples. I still haven't decided what to do, I have plenty of period wide angles for 5x7, I don't need to add another mediocre lens to my gear bag.

  9. #9

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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody_S View Post
    I've re-shot with the lens indoors to try this, it seems sharp (ha!) right to the edges, in my experience incorrectly assembled lenses might make an image in the center but they very quickly deteriorate as soon as you get off-axis.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Wollensak2.jpg 
Views:	132 
Size:	32.0 KB 
ID:	80651

    I really do think it's just a bad case of gunk on the elements, and resulting flare in my examples. I still haven't decided what to do, I have plenty of period wide angles for 5x7, I don't need to add another mediocre lens to my gear bag.
    Yes, I can see the sharpness better in this picture........(trying-to-keep-a-straight-face smiley)


    Clean the poor thing! These are decent lenses. You can always smear vaseline on it if you want the fuzzy-wuzzy look back.
    One man's Mede is another man's Persian.

  10. #10

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    Re: Clean it or Leave it?

    For several reasons; curiosity, usability, and more I would clean it and see if it can be used. Right now, it's just a wacked out piece of glass, which you could replicate by taping a few old eyeglass lenses or something together.

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