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Monday, 17 January 2022


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The paperweight might still be salvaged with some judiciously applied glue. It needs to be something thin - watery consistency - that binds to glass. The stuff used for patching small windshield cracks might do the trick.

The 28mm PC lens is indeed made by Schneider in Germany, for Leica R. But it is also available in many other mounts. One can, or at least could still a few years ago, buy different mounts direct from Schneider to mount it to different cameras. I bought that lens second hand and then got a Minolta mount for it, to use on Sony A900. It is not an adapter, one needs to unscrew some 5-6 screws to remove the existing bayonet and replace with the new one.

Why do guys like breaking stuff?

Probably 30 years ago I was rock climbing with some friends at the Shawangunks in New Paltz, NY. At the time I wasn't climbing or belaying so I was taking pictures of a friend climbing. I heard him yell "rock", and an instant later while viewing through my FM2's viewfinder, saw and felt a rock hit the front of my 35-105mm lens. Left a good chip in the front element. Sent it to Nikon and they replaced the front element(s). From that incident on, all my lenses had UV filters on them at all times.

I'd slather a little clear lacquer on it and keep it as paperweight/doorstop should one have an elegant door. The breakage pattern is spectacular (although the recurring bad memories might not be).

Ouch. I'd be surprised if an existing owner isn't willing to buy it for parts. The front element group, at least.

JG has removed the nicely machined shift mechanism from the rear of the lens (thus exposing the rear element in the manner pictured), so that part is presumably safe, too.

I did buy an old collapsible summicron 50/2 to try out for the "experience" for about 300 Euro at the time. It was in pretty awful condition, focusing was a pain because the focusing cam was really dry but more importantly, the front element was made of a softer glass compound and heavily scratched (and not coated). It was quite sharp but light sources not dead on centre would cause flare.

So, given the state of the lens, price, and lack of multi-coat, I decided to try and polish out the scratches using cerium oxide powder. It worked -- the lens now works perfectly without the flare. Don't give up on old lenses, even if they are scratched!


In the five-and-a-half years since my guest post, I have assembled several more FrankenKameras -- my favorite being No. VII, which mated a Sony A7R (and occasionally a Samsung NX 500 that I use for IR photography) with several brands of vintage 35 mm format lenses -- and I'm now hard at work on my eighth FrankenKamera, which will mate a Fuji GFX 100S body with Pentax 645 lenses and provide a generous range of the rear rise / fall movements that are essential for the type of nighttime photography I enjoy.

In fact, it was the FrankenKamera VIII project in-process that lead me to adapt my Leica R 28mm PC lens to a Pentax 645 mount, as the few available 28 mm lens options were all too large, too heavy, and too expensive for my preference and budget.

Because this is a PC lens, it projects an image circle large enough to cover the sensor of the 100S and a bit more. With my present preference to frame my photos for the 16:10 format, this meant I would have several millimeters of rise / fall movement available, which should be more than sufficient for the majority of scenes I photograph.

The fact that I already owned this lens was also a factor, because there's no way I would pay today's market price for one. Sadly, I won't be replacing it for the same reason, so until another 28 mm lens option is available, I will have to live with the 33 mm end of the 33-55 zoom or 35 mm prime being my shortest focal length.

Which certainly is not the worst result possible, as I could have dropped the body instead of the lens ... yikes!

Here's a kindred spirit who also empirically tested how much damage you could do to a lens. I share this link with people who get very concerned when they find a spec of dust inside the lens. http://kurtmunger.com/dirty_lens_articleid35.html

My condolences to JG for that poor lens. Even the boldest overseas eBay seller would not be able to describe it as "EX+++++"

I dropped a 35 Summilux-M (pre-ASPH) - "ouch!" - onto a concrete floor sometime back. There was a visible dent at the flange but the lens still worked fine.

In the mid 90's, when I was going through what I refer to as my "Ansel" phase, I shlepped 40 pounds of Canon cameras, L glass, and a tripod around the wilderness shooting landscape photos. One day I was on the rim trail of the Yellowstone Canyon shooting photos of the falls when I dropped a Canon 300/f4 L lens onto the ground where it bounced over the edge of the cliff and plummeted downwards. With little hope I hiked down the switchbacks of the trail into the canyon, and there several hundred feet below where I had been standing I found the lens which had bounced off boulders on the way down before coming to rest on top of a rock. I examined the lens and the glass looked OK but it would not focus. Fortunately, I had fully insured my gear so I called the insurance company, honestly told them what had happened and said I was going to get a repair estimate for the lens and let them know the cost. They said, "Forget it, the lens is totaled, we will send you a check to replace it." I said, "are you sure?", but they just sent me the check. I sent the lens in to Canon and they were able to repair for only a couple hundred bucks and it worked like new. So, I ended up with a check and a repaired lens!

That reminds me of the Top Gear episodes where they tried to kill a Toyota pickup.

[That was amazing. Never saw that before. What an advertisement for Toyotas! --Mike]

No replacement parts available?

Ironically those soft front elements meant that Leica stocked replacements for them for decades, though I think they have run out now.

How did the "marble floor" fare in the encounter with a chunk of glass and metal? Could be the more costly repair...

Oh, that absolutely must be a desktop curiosity/paperweight. I love objects with an interesting history, and 'ruined' expensive objects often have a great story behind them.

If worried about the loose glass, simply paint on several coats of clear finger nail polish to keep all the bits in place.

Wow, this was a rare and expensive lens. And he disassembled it and dropped the optical unit.

Pretty funny " still took halfway decent pictures."

Mike J

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