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Thread: How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Cork, Ireland
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    296

    How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

    HI guys

    I'm looking at buying a cheap 4x5 lens at present which is described by the seller as having some balsam separation. I'm just wondering how problematic it's likely to be.
    I've never had a lens with that issue before

    I've shot sharp, contrasty images on a lens with haze, another with fungus and rear element scratching, so i'm just wondering what your collective experiences are.

    Is the problem likely to increase or accelerate with time?

    thanks

    D

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
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    6,014

    Re: How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

    Edge separation with Canada Balsam cement remains pretty stable over decades, whilst changes with synthetic lens cement are more difficult to predict. I have seen total separation occur during the stresses of postal transport.

    Balsam breakdown can involve displacement of the lenses away from alignment without this being obvious from the outside.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Blue Jay, CA
    Posts
    2,355

    Re: How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

    Hard to say without seeing it, but Steven is right, this tends to be quite stable. And even a good sized ring of separation makes no difference at typical LF taking apertures in the f:22 range. If the separation is on just one side (not a ring) I'd be more concerned.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Cork, Ireland
    Posts
    296

    Re: How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Crisp View Post
    Hard to say without seeing it, but Steven is right, this tends to be quite stable. And even a good sized ring of separation makes no difference at typical LF taking apertures in the f:22 range. If the separation is on just one side (not a ring) I'd be more concerned.
    thanks guys, without seeing the lens I guess it's safer to side-step it, it's not much cheaper than a non-problematic example so probably not worth the fuss, thanks, D

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,130

    Re: How problematic is Balsam separation in a lens

    agreed, unless it's rare or a huge discount, just move on - there's no shortage of most LF lenses so no sense taking on a bad one unless the incentive is there.

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