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View Full Version : Balsam separation (affect on second-hand price/opinions)?



Josh K
2-Sep-2018, 11:26
Apologies if this is not the right forum, I'm new :)

I'm considering a Schneider 110mm SS XL, but it looks like there's significant (?) balsam separation around the edges. How much consideration to price should this bring? I've done some general reading (here and elsewhere) and the consensus seems to be that separation should have at worst a mild decrease in contrast / flare resistance and that a well maintained lens should have no separation throughout the life of the lens assuming properly stored. It sounds possible to repair it as well but I believe that approaches the cost of the lens itself, so I'd rather get one in good condition and continue to maintain it well over fix it up.

I have pictures of the lens in question here https://imgur.com/a/R2zyrAK, any advice would be appreciated.

duff photographer
2-Sep-2018, 12:50
Apologies if this is not the right forum, I'm new :)

I'm considering a Schneider 110mm SS XL, but it looks like there's significant (?) balsam separation around the edges. How much consideration to price should this bring? I've done some general reading (here and elsewhere) and the consensus seems to be that separation should have at worst a mild decrease in contrast / flare resistance and that a well maintained lens should have no separation throughout the life of the lens assuming properly stored. It sounds possible to repair it as well but I believe that approaches the cost of the lens itself, so I'd rather get one in good condition and continue to maintain it well over fix it up.

I have pictures of the lens in question here https://imgur.com/a/R2zyrAK, any advice would be appreciated.

This looks like the known issue that afflicted many early 80mm XL and 110mm XL lenses. I'm not sure the cause was ever officialliy explained properly but it isn't balsam separation (there are only three air-spaced lens elements in the front element group). The most logical explanation was outgassing but also heard it was an attribute of the coating. Those lenses under warranty had the front element group replaced by Schnieder. Those days are gone of course.

However, I understand that the haze inside the lens can be cleaned, akin (but not the same?) to Leica lenses that also suffer from 'hazing'. The haze occurs on the inside of the front element, so this must be removed to have this done.

The price should take into account the cost of cleaning by a competent repair outfit (Schneider, for example, may still do this for its lenses and I guess they will be more expensive than a third party).

This is assuming I've interpreted the images correctly. :)

Cheers,
Duff

Josh K
2-Sep-2018, 13:11
Interesting, thanks Duff. Do you have any more links or resources about this? I imagine the affect on image quality is the same as separation?

duff photographer
2-Sep-2018, 14:48
Interesting, thanks Duff. Do you have any more links or resources about this? I imagine the affect on image quality is the same as separation?

No official links/resources I'm afraid. Schneider didn't advertise the issue and just dealt with it on an individual by individual basis.

Googling "Schneider super-symmar 110mm XL haze" will produce the usual forum discussions but I haven't seen anything firm. My info came from the people I bought the 110mm XL from, which then developed the haze. It was returned to Schneider under warranty and received back with a new front lens group - no problems since. That was over 10 years ago.

From what I gather, the effect of the haze is to reduce resolution at its worst (a search of the forums, including this one, may give an idea). Some have likened the haze to a photo effect for dreamy portraits but have not tried this myself, nor want to, for obvious reasons. Might be interesting to experiment though but perhaps only if you know that the lens can be be properly cleaned afterwards. As in my last post, this is assuming that it is indeed haze shown in the images you provided :) By the way, ignoring the haze, I'm also assuming the highlighted specks in the photos are highlighted dust particles and/or small isolated patches of haze.

By the way, a good/mint 110mm XL goes for between 600 and 1000 ($780 to $1300) - price depends on who's looking for one, not necessarily on condition. I see one with haze sold for 470 ($600) on ebay a couple of months ago.

Bob Salomon
2-Sep-2018, 15:03
Interesting, thanks Duff. Do you have any more links or resources about this? I imagine the affect on image quality is the same as separation?

Here is some reading for you:

https://www.google.com/search?q=lens%20separation&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1

Drew Wiley
2-Sep-2018, 16:55
Schneider made some defective 80's and 110's. You need to avoid them. There is probably a data base giving the serial numbers of the earlier ones affected. It's a different issue than ordinary benign peripheral "Schneideritis".

EdSawyer
2-Sep-2018, 21:11
I would avoid that lens and find another one if you are the buyer. If the seller, then starting at half a normal one's value seems about right.