View Full Version : Is it Worth it?

Andrey Donchev
16-Feb-2006, 01:54
Hallo, About an year ago I bought on e-Bay an older Copal - NO.1 with free "C.P.Goerz Berlin Dagor Ser.III f:6,8 210mm No.120375". I really bought it for the shutter, but the lens was welcome too, of course. When I received it I noticed two things. First the lens cells and the shutter was packed and shipped separately. The lens cells threads and those of the shutter matched, but how to be sure that the elements spacing is exact, when they are put in place? Second: After closer inspection I noticed numerous cleaning marks on the front and especially on the rear element and, what I thing it is, since I never saw before, a fungus trail on back surfaces of the front and rear lens groups. So my question is: Is this lens WORTH sending it to, let's say, John Van Stelten at Focal Point Optics, for re-polishing, re-coating and re-cementing and after that to someone else (Grimes) for CLA of the shutter (it is nice) and checking the lens spacing and some other things? I'm a 5x7 landscaper. I plan to go further in size after few years and I love old lenses, but is THIS lens worth that? It will be painfully expensive for me!

Thank you very much in advance to all of you!

16-Feb-2006, 03:55

"Worth" - That's a really tough question to answer since the value of "worth" is so individualistic! :)

That said, from my understanding, these lenses are not the sharpest tacks in the universe but the images they produce have a very nice "look and feel" about them. Apparently, the tonality of these lenses is reputed to be quite "smooth and graduated" in comparison to most modern day lenses.

Therefore, if the lens was mine to "decide" upon... I'd personally send it in to have it repaired. I've had various shutters CLA'd in the past and they've not cost all that much to have done. But, I suppose the cost can depend on a good number of different factors.

Once repaired... I think you'll have a unique lens. :)

Now, you mention that cost is a critical issue... may I suggest that you communicate with the different technicians and get them to provide a rough estimate of the cost prior to proceeding with the actual repair?

At least, that's probably what I would do if I were in your shoes. :)

One person's 2 cents worth.

Hope it helps! :)


Andrey Donchev
16-Feb-2006, 04:41
Henry, Thank you very much for your answer. You are completely right about the meaning of 'WORTH' and about the need to contact as many as possible different technicians. I put the CLA of the shutter and the check of the elements spacing is, in this case, in background. The primary question for me is the re-polishing/re-coating/re-cementing the lens. The problem is that Focal Point Optics is the only place I'm aware of for this job. I'll appreciate deeply information for other technicians/companies in this field!
Thank you once again!

16-Feb-2006, 05:29
No, its NOT!! send it to me as I'm in need of a copal no 1 shutter!!

Why not test it as-is and judge from that?

And if you are not 120% happy, sell it! Given the market for 210mm lenses you might just find a nice one for less than or close to the CLA and repair cost. Or a 210 G-Claron in barrel that fits directly into your copal no 1.

my 2 cents

Morten :-)

Steve Hamley
16-Feb-2006, 05:29

Probably not worth it. The glass has to be separated for coating, so recementing is $180 per "joint" at Focal Point, and a Dagor has 4. The coating is a bit less per surface, but there are 4 surfaces that need coating. So you're looking at $1,500.

You can buy any new 210mm lens for that except maybe the 210mm Super Symmar XL.

You could also buy a pristine coated 8-1/4" Gold Dagor or 8-1/4" Gold Dot Dagor for less, keep the Berlin Dagor and have 2 lenses


Denis Pleic
16-Feb-2006, 05:30
Andrey, another (much cheaper) option is to send the lens elements for recoating to Gevorg at Araxfoto in Ukraine.

From what I understand, the repolishing and recoating is done at the Arsenal factory in Kiev.
I had a front element of a Leitz Summicron recoated by Arax foto, and I'm more than pleased (both with quality and with the price) :)

Contact info: http://araxfoto.com

Andrey Donchev
16-Feb-2006, 06:54
Thank you very much for your posts. Steve, thank you for the sober words! I think I'll take the steps recommended by Denis! Thank you very much, Denis. Since I'm from Bulgaria (we are almost neighbors), sending the lens to Ukraine will be much more cheap & easy then to US. I bought the shutter an the lens for less then $100, so if I even loose the lens the deal is still good enough. I'll report back to the group what was happened at ARAX. Maybe this will be good please for rebuilding old lenses. Thank you and lot of luck to every one of you!

16-Feb-2006, 11:21

WOW! I didn't realize it cost that much for such a job... sobering words indeed!



Given Steve's posting... No!



Richard Schlesinger
16-Feb-2006, 11:27
By all means make some images with the lens AS IS and see how you like them. I f possible make a fewwith another lens of the same focal length, or just the same photograph with another lens - same set, lighting etc. Only then, decide whether to spend more money and time. Of ten, at least in my experience, (Berlin Dagor I had coated) the difference was basically almost zero. Try it. You may like it!

William Mortensen
16-Feb-2006, 14:47
Whatever you do, DON'T make any images with the lens before having it worked on. If you do, you run the risk of finding out you liked it better before the work was done...

Leonard Alecu
20-Jan-2009, 14:36
I just bought the lens from ebay #180316199940.
Until biding I ask the seller who made the coated. The seller answer that it is original coated, not made...
I bid on this auction but after this I understand that it was stupid to believe the seller. Afterwards, I paid the seller because I don't need an unpaid strike from eBay. I know how difficult is to reinstate the account.
Today I read this Thread and I discover that I bought your lens.
Please send me more info about the history of this lens.
Thank you very much,
Leonard Alecu

Brandon Draper
20-Jan-2009, 15:14
I guess the LF community is a small world:)

20-Jan-2009, 19:27
If you go apug.org and look up Ian G there is a theread about places to get lenses fixed a couple in the USA and one in the land Down Under : the one down under is very reasonable about it prices :! Good luck

20-Jan-2009, 21:34
Whatever you do, DON'T make any images with the lens before having it worked on. If you do, you run the risk of finding out you liked it better before the work was done...

Send the shutter and the glass in for just the shutter repair.

Then shoot the lens. Many very good lenses have been made mediochre by "fixing" them without seeing what results can come from them. The novelty of sketchy, scratchy, slighlty fungi'd lenses have been surprising to many.

I am serious....Shoot it. It doesn't sound like it was all that special when it was new. Sometimes a "senior" decrepit lens is preferable.

21-Jan-2009, 00:01
My late 30's 12" Goerz AM OPt Dagor was factory coated after WWII, Your new lens must have been coated many years after it was made particularly as according to the serial number is between 1900-1908.

Strange too how the lens went from Bulgaria to Korea, but then as Andrey was contemplating sending the cells for repolishing etc so it's quite possible he sold it.

Try the lens, I didn't expect much from my Dagor and it's an excellent performer, if any repolishing & coating was done properly it could be equally as good.


21-Jan-2009, 02:22
Just noted that Adrey was sending the lens to Arax, it will have been repolished and coated to a high standard. Unfortunately the service is no longer offered which is a great pity as he was highly recommended by a number of people.


Leonard Alecu
1-Feb-2009, 00:48
The seller was honest and the payment has been refunded.
Thank you for helping me.

Steve M Hostetter
14-Feb-2009, 06:08
now you know why fleabay sounds like such a good deal