1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Legacy lenses - Unlucky with fungus...

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Touche, May 16, 2012.

  1. Touche

    Touche Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 22, 2012
    Am I just really unlucky? Is ebay just filled with unrealistically described crap?

    Having decided to buy a few cheap prime lenses I've been watching ebay for a while. I bought a cheap Canon FD 28mm f2.8 described as having no scratches, haze or fungus with nice pictures... this is what turned up:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    fungus1 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Fungus behind the rear element. The seller refunded me fully and let me keep the lens.

    I bought a Voigtlander Ultron 50mm f1.8. Looked to be in beautiful condition, was described as having no haze or fungus and was very cheap on buy-it-now. So I pulled the trigger... This is what turned up:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-02 04.04.26 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-02 04.08.38 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    As you can see it is hazy and has another patch of obvious fungus :( 

    So I sent it back and the seller has refunded me fully...

    Now I've bought a Canon FD 85mm f1.8 described as "spectacularly clean" with no marks on the glass... This is what turned up:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Fungus by toucheroar, on Flickr

    (To be fair it is very difficult to see and photograph this patch without looking carefully and has no effect on the image). I've just sent the seller pictures and will be again asking for a refund as I actually paid a high'ish price as it seemed to be in such nice condition.

    So 3 infected lenses all described as having no fungus bought within a couple of weeks. Should I just give up on buying legacy lenses? Seems like a lot of hastle. I wouldn't be annoyed if I was buying shady looking items but all of these looked to be nice items from knowledgeable sellers :-\
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Lumixy

    Lumixy Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 21, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    It does seem like you have been through a lot of hassle... :eek: 

    I have no experience about legacy lenses but your pictures are very helpful to show me and other people what to look out for.

    I think I will just stick with the newish Voigtlander lenses for the moment. I don't want to get my fingers burnt.

    Hope your luck changes and you get your hands on some nice gems :thumbup:
  3. bdobyns

    bdobyns New to Mu-43

    May 16, 2012
    You have clearly had a run of very bad luck.

    I've bought over a dozen lenses from ebay sellers, just in the last month, typically bottom-feeding and paying $20 including shipping on average, and no more than $50 for the most expensive (a Nikkor 300mm f4.5).

    Only one of my purchases had fungus or haze, and that one was advertised as having fungus, including a good picture of the fungus.

    All my sellers were in-country for me (USA buyer / USA seller). I've not tried buying from the many russian/eastern european sellers, or the english and australian ones. Partly because shipping alone would push the cost of the entire transaction above the threshold of impulse buy.
  4. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Unless the seller is posting photos where you can verify claims of "no scratches or fungus" you have to be careful. Given the images you've posted I'd say your bad luck has been to purchase from dishonest sellers. It's great that you were able to get refunds but I would still leave poor feedback because they may try similar tricks on other buyers in the future.

    I've purchased 5-6 used lenses from ebay in the last year and most were fine. The one bad one was described as "like new" but actually had heavy clouding from fungus, I should not have bid because the posted images were not detailed enough to tell but it's hard to resist. In that case I had to go through ebay's buyer protection process to get a refund because the seller would not respond.
  5. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    I think you've been unlucky. I've only had one poorly described item - which was a punt on a nice lens from a non expert seller - turned out to be cloudy with a bit of fungus. Would have been a bargain, as it was got a refund without difficulty.
  6. Touche

    Touche Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 22, 2012
    Well I've had a refund for the FD 85mm 1.8... So now I just have to decide whether to attempt a clean myself, send it off or just not bother and use it like that as pictures are fine.
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    It would probably be a good lens to give a CLA to. I don't know enough about that lens to say if I would suggest doing it yourself or sending it off though.

    I think you might want to try a different source for legacy lenses. See if there are any traders in your local area who might be able to supply old lenses... Some might run small local shops, or f you browse around your local online classifieds (ie, like Kijiji or Craigslist), you may notice somebody posting a lot of lenses on a regular basis. If so, you've probably found yourself a local trader. My city is rather small, but I still have one of each of these two sources.

    Or better yet... maybe stick with the Classifieds on this forum. I have never gotten a bad lens off of this board! Even the lenses I've bought here in more heavily used condition (which have always been sold as such) have still had perfect optics, but most of the lenses I've had from here were in excellent condition both externally and internally.
  8. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
    I've bought (and sold some) 8-12 legacy lenses, all with no fungus or haze. Many off fleabay. I think you've had a bad run of bad luck.

    You can view an ebay seller's history to help sort through a bit.
  9. billgreen

    billgreen Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 4, 2012
    Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
    Bill Green
    Sadly, more often than not, fungus cannot be "cleaned". Most fungi will "etch" the glass or lens coating. So even if you clean the fungus off it leaves behind an etched pattern wher the fungus was.
  10. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Dublin, IE
    It all depends on where you are buying from. In my experience, fungus is really common in hot and humid climate (e. g. Japan, India, Southeastern China)... Not so much in Europe.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. billgreen

    billgreen Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 4, 2012
    Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
    Bill Green
    Very good point. I bought and sold used cameras for various businesses over a 20 year span. If older equipment came from Florida or anywhere along the gulf coast you could almost count on fungus. The worst case senerio was receiving old quipment from a humid region, in a leather bag that had been stored in a dark closet for a couple of years or more. Fungus was given. OTOH, if it came from the south west, for example, fungus was rarely an issue.
  12. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Yeah, definitely seems like a run of bad luck. I've bought nearly a dozen old lenses over the past couple of months (many purchased based on scant description and low res photos) and have only had a single lens which required more than a superficial cleaning to be assessed as in "excellent" condition. In my experience, only a very small percentage of the old lenses I've looked at have had issues as bad/obvious as the problems in your photos.

    That said, it seems like at least in the first two cases, the sellers did right by you. Hopefully you will get similar satisfaction on the 85mm f/1.8.

    I'd be interested in seeing how much the fungus bloom on the 28mm really effects image quality. It's possible that the lens may still deliver usable results, though the location of the fungus (on the rear element) really couldn't be worse. I've read that you can "kill" fungus by exposing the lens to UV light, but this basically will just stop the spread.

    As far as writing off legacy lenses altogether based on your string of negative experiences, that seems reactionary. There are lots and lots of good lenses out there. I've written a post that attempts to assist in evaluating lenses that you might find helpful, though it sounds as though you've been fairly prudent. One other option might be to try someone like KEH or B & H. I've never personally purchased a lens from them, but I understand that they are very conservative with their quality assessments. You may end up paying a little bit more than you would through eBay, but you'll basically eliminate the types of unpleasant surprises that you've encountered.
  13. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Talk about a bad run of luck! I've bought lots of glass from Ebay with no problems. At least with Ebay you do have Paypal Protection from misrepresented items.
  14. RSilva

    RSilva Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 24, 2011
    I guess you had bad luck with that buy, but I don´t believe that those fungus will have any effect on image quality. I have tested lenses side by side with and without fungus and could not see the difference, but this depends on the optical formula and the amount of fungus. From my experience you really have to have a heavy amount of either fungus or scratches on the glass to see picture quality decreasing. Fungus spots on the side of the glass are usually harmless.
  15. heedpantsnow

    heedpantsnow Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 24, 2011
    One other thought: I've read some say that putting a lens with fungus with other clean lenses is a recipe for disaster; others have said that it's no worse than normal air given that the spores are already everywhere.

    Anyone have any thoughts on that? I was just thinking if it's true he may want to keep them separated from the rest of his gear.
  16. Touche

    Touche Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 22, 2012
    You couldn't make it up! I've bought another FD lens... described as in "Good Condition". This one is an FD 24mm f2.8... and again it's infected with fungus!

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-22 09.52.50-1 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-22 09.53.50-4 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Again I've contacted the seller asking for a refund... I'm getting a little sick of this game...
  17. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I think you have to look at a sellers history.. because if many are not use to selling many lenses they do not know what they are really looking for and simply copy something from another lens seller.
    Not everyone recognizes fungus on a lens. I have purchased 2 lenses that were said to be in great condition with no scratches or marks on the glass and just need a cleaning. I got my money back on both and had to return them , but during communication with the sellers they admitted they didn't know much about camera lenses and thought it was just dirt and that fungus would look like mold or something else.
    I would stick to buying from cameras places like Keh or someplace like that for your expensive legacy glass needs.

    But yea , after over 5 years of legacy lens buying experiences , I can tell you there's always a chance for a run of bad luck.. It happened to me three years ago with four lenses in a row one summer. Two with fungus, two were broken on other ways.
  18. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Wow, that really stinks. Hopefully your luck will turn before you completely swear off old glass.

    You've really got some good shots of examples of what to avoid when judging lenses. Would you mind if I used some of your photos in my How to Evaluate Used Lenses post?
  19. G1 User

    G1 User Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 20, 2010
    Too bad to hear of the bad run.
    If the fungus is on the front block of elements (2-4 elements), the glass etching will most likely NOT effect IQ at all. Those elements are to gather light, more than focus. The Rear Block (4-8 elements) especially the last group including the very rear element, are what focus the light on the sensor. IF, the etching, if deep, it may effect the final IQ, but, if small and near the edges, maybe not.

    I have a Canon FL 50mm f/1.4 (Early 6 element Sonnar as the last LTM model) that had fungus, My local repair guy cleaned it up, but, little pin-point dots where left, a lot, if I Looked at the lens held up to a bright light. BUT, No Effect in IQ...
    View attachment 207414
    Nicks Trip to getting a Haircut by Peter Arbib, on Flickr

    View attachment 207415
    Nicks Trip to getting a Haircut by Peter Arbib, on Flickr

    View attachment 207416
    Nicks Trip to getting a Haircut by Peter Arbib, on Flickr

    So, take some samples, and see for yourself. You do want get them cleaned so the fungus is gone though...
  20. Touche

    Touche Mu-43 Rookie

    Mar 22, 2012
    Sure you can use my pictures :) 

    Another day... another infected lens? My 5th fungus infected lens has turned up today :( 

    This is a Canon FD 70-210mm f4 "Macro" which was described as being "mint". The body is pretty much perfect but it's probably been stored away somewhere and not seen sunlight in years because it's got loads of fungus! I got it pretty cheap off ebay as I wanted a 200mm lens and thought the macro function would be useful.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-29 14.52.42-2 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Here's what it looks like on my E-PL1:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Untitled by toucheroar, on Flickr

    I've had a play around with the macro function at it's closest focus setting and this is all it can achieve:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-29 15.03.48-4 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    Compared to the Olympus 14-42 kit lens at it's closest setting:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    2012-05-29 15.05.20-4 by toucheroar, on Flickr

    The Olympus 14-42 can focus closer and seems sharper (probably because of the fungus on the 70-210 Canon Zoom). Still I would have appreciated a nice cheap 200mm lens... Ahh well... I've contacted the seller and asked for a refund... they have agreed...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.