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Photography Question 
Steven Ruggles


Hi there can anyone help?

Am still a new photorapher & just got a vivitar series 1 67mm 70-210mm f3.5 mocro focusing zoom lens.
And payed very little for it? the lens is in exceptionally cosmetic & mechanical I tryed it out on my AE-1 & AL-1 & found that the image was a little bit hazey & not as sharp as my other lens.
After taken a closer look at the lens (optics) I found that it has the odd bit of dust (not a problem)but there is a lot of very very very small fine what looks like white fibers on the optics.
that I can see by eye but not when the lens is on the camera.
can anyone tell me what it is ? what I can do about it & if I will show up on the photos I take

many thanks


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1/4/2007 6:18:44 AM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Steven,

Without actually seeing the lens, diagnosis is a guess.

First a little tutorial:
Cameras could function without a lens. We can replace with a pin-hole. While this is novel approach, the resulting image can be improved when we substitute even the most simple of lenses. This would be a single piece of glass or plastic shaped to resemble the lintel seed. In fact that’s the origin of the word “lens”.

Sorry to report that such a simple lens has pitfalls. These are, but not limited to:

Spherical aberration a condition whereby light that passes through the edges of the lens comes to a focus closer to the lens than rays that pass through the center.

Astigmatism produces a distorted image caused by misshape curve. The curve is not symmetrical and differs horizontally as compared to vertically.

Chromatic aberration whereby different colors fail to focus on the same plane.

Pincushion and barrel distortion.

We attempt to correct each and others by construction of a compound lens. These are made using a succession of lens elements, some convex and some concave some dense some light material. Different combinations are used to correct shortcomings.

Now often lens elements are in direct contact with each other. Thus the potential that they become slightly separated. You might not know it but, air acts just much like a glass element. Often compound lenses are cemented together to prevent trapped air space. The cement used (glue) must be transparent.

Today we have all manors of clear transparent cements and resins. Yesteryear, it common to make lens glues out of living organisms or their excretions. One such glue is Canadian Balsam. This is a clear ester made from tree sap. It was common to use this cement between elements.

Most organic materials are food for something. Canadian Balsam is a favorite meal for some mildew spores. Over time these microscopic organisms drift into the lens barrel carried by air currents or moisture from heavy handed cleaning techniques. The spores grow and likely these are the spots you see. Additionally, even if no mold or mildew, the cement can separate and that might be what you are seeing.

Sorry to report, once infected or separated the only cure is disassembly and re-cementing. This would not be appropriate for the lens you describe.

Likely these defects are mainly cosmetic and will not have much impact on image quality.

Happy New Year to all.
Alan Marcus

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1/4/2007 7:41:34 AM

Steven Ruggles   Hi Alan

many thanks for your time was a great help just one or two more questions way would it not be appropriate to disassembly and re-cementing. this lens & will there be a point in time when I will no longer be able to use this lens

happy new year to you

many thanks again


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1/4/2007 12:15:12 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi again Steve,

First I might be wrong on my evaluation. However, upon re-reading your description, I think its separations. Probably caused by heat (automobile in summer) or the cement has become brittle due to maybe age and storage conditions. Now consider that a lens like that is quite a complicated apparatus. You need to work on it in a clean room and you need the proper tools and supplies and you need an optical test bench. Such resources are available during manufacture and assembly. It is possible these resources have been maintained and you can send the unit in for a repair estimate. Please consider that time marches on and the maker has moved on to new produces. Stated another way, lens costs are as low as they are due to economy of scale. The first one you make costs you a million bucks. Now the 100th one might only cost you $200, the 500th one might cost you $30. Now you sell the product for say $175. That’s economy of scale. I think it will cost more to have this one repaired than it will cost you to purchase of a new and better unit.

Best of luck,
Alan Marcus

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1/4/2007 4:20:37 PM

Steven Ruggles   Hi Alan

Thank's for takeing the time to get back to me is much appreciated. of course you are right as the lens only cost £14. will save my money & purchase a new and better unit .

all the best


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1/5/2007 6:17:21 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  i don't disagree with Alan in his assessment that a repair might cost more than a new lens.

That being said, there is currently, and to my [limited] knowledge, ever a zoom lens like that Series 1 70-210 mm zoom. What hasn't been discussed is tha e fact that it was the very first Series 1. It has a fixed f/3.5 lens, something unique when was introduced, fast I mean.

More important, its macro feature allows focusing to 4 inches. That's right, four inches. Nothing comes close to that today, even full fledged macros.

AFter almost 10 years of manufacture, Vivitar replaced it with a smaller, lighter lens with variable focal length and a 62 mm filter size. Optically this, the second generation of this lens that had four iterations, couldn't compare with the original.

The lens is well over 30 years old. And, that's the rub. PArts and repair skills may not be available any longer. But, you have nothing to lose by seeking a cost estimate from a reliable repair shop.

You can still buy the lens from Adorama. I know because, when I recenetly sold my to them, I checked what the availability of the lens is. For my money it's a great lens for the semi-automatic camera body.

Oh, I also owned the Series 1 28-90 mm zoom, another wonderful piece of glass.

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1/5/2007 11:32:14 AM

Steven Ruggles   Hi John

I agree with you & Alan & is hard to know what to do dont want to just hand it over to some one that may or may not know what thay are is an exceptional lens will have to do my research first be for letting anyone look at it.bit of info for you The first edition was designed by Vivitar (Ellis Betensky had a hand in it) and built by Kiron. (67mm filter-macro engagement collar)) It is a professional caliber lens, with a 1:2 macro feature built into it. It was the first zoom, designed with the aid of computers, that truly rivaled the OEM lenses of the time. That was in "76." It is a very high quality zoom, that will deliver professional quality results. but sure you already know all this as you did have one.

thank's for all your comments

all the best


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1/5/2007 2:02:18 PM

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