Cloudy lens on Zeiss folding camera

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by silverscape, May 21, 2008.

  1. When I wanted to try out 120 film, I went a little crazy on eBay and I ended up
    buying 3 cameras. I got a Yashica A (which I've posted about, and I've had pretty
    good luck with it so far), and I also got a Graflex 22, and a Zeiss Ikon Nettar. I
    haven't tried the Graflex yet. And unfortunately, the lens on the Zeiss is cloudy. I
    managed to clean up the front lens, but would it be possible to take the other lens
    off to clean it? I have no idea how to get to it. I looks like I would have to take the
    shutter assembly apart, and the idea of that scares the heck out of me.

    It's really a shame too, because otherwise the camera seems in great condition.
    The bellows seem to be in good condition, I didn't find any light leaks. I really
    want to try this camera out, but I know there is no way I could take pictures the
    way the lens is right now. It's so clouded that I can barely see through it. I
    always thought folding cameras look so cool and I really want to try using it. So
    would it be possible to clean the that something I could do myself?
  3. The rear element should be pretty easy to remove. Just open the camera's back with the lens folded and try to unscrew the lens. I just use wet tissues for glass-cleaning to wipe off fungus and the like.
    But even with a cloudy lens these cameras can take surprisingly good pictures. Check out this page for interesting examples.
  4. WOW! Awesome pictures! I never in a million years would have thought THAT camera could take pictures like that! I would have expected to see a really soft image with spots all over the place. By the way, I like the conductor's lantern in you pictures! I have one like it. Do you know what railroad it came from? If I could ever find one from Pacific Electric, it would make my day.

    I do know that scratches aren't a big deal. I always used to get really worried if I saw scratches on a lens, but it seems that minor scratches have no effect on pictures. All my cameras have very minor scratches, and I can't tell at all in the pictures I've taken.

    I'm not at home right now, but I'll look at the camera again when I get home later tonight. But the last time I looked at it, I couldn't see how to unscrew the back lens. Have you ever taken one of these cameras apart?

    and Cliff...sorry about posting another thread on the same subject. I didn't know what kind of lens this was.
  5. Vintage lenses and modern, inherently contrasty and vivid films make for a good combination. Good responses.
  6. Chris, I have a Zeiss Ikon 7.7 Nettar camera. Thw lens inside is also dirty, etc.
  7. Hi Chris, the first Zeiss Nettar I got has a pretty cloudy lens. I cleaned the outer surfaces of both front and back lenses and got good results:

    Yours may be in worse shape. To remove the front element is easy;bend back the small metal tab which keeps the front element from rotating 360 degrees. Be careful not to break it off. Now clean the inner surface of the lens. Be sure to double check infinity focus when re-installing the lens. The rear element is harder to remove without the proper tool. If your Nettar is like mine, there are two slots opposite each other on the lens retaining ring. The cheapest way to remove this without a specialized tool is to use the blade from a utility knife. BE CAREFUL! An old dull blade works just as well. Be sure to test fit it to so the metal edge stays above the surface of the rear lens element. If I didn't have film in my Nettar I'd open her up and take a photo for you. The utility blade makes a perfect spanner to get at that rear element. Just thin enough to fit the slots and strong enough to give you some good torque.
    Naptha (lighter fluid) can help remove stubborn grease from inside the lens.
    Then take out your new beauty and show us some pics!
  8. Russ, I did manage to take off the retaining ring, and then the whole lens and shutter assembly came off as one piece. Unfortunately, the INNER side of the rear element is dirty and I have no idea how to take the rear lens off. Cleaning the outside had no effect, it still looks cloudy. Sadly, I think this is just beyond my limited abilities now. I feel like I'm getting in way over my head. It's so disappointing too, because I REALLY like this camera and I wanted to try getting pictures with it.

    In fact, if anyone would be willing for me to send the camera to them to fix it, let me know. I don't have much money, but I'd be open to a fair price. I don't know if I would have much luck getting another camera on eBay that had a working shutter and good bellows. They're going for insane prices in camera shops, and all the folding cameras I've seen in antique shops and thrift stores were in horrible shape.
  9. ...or if anyone (in the US) does have a Zeiss folding camera with good bellows and a CLEAR lens that they would be willing to sell, please contact me off list.
  10. I'll fix it for you Chris. Send me an email and I'll give you my address. It won't cost you a thing. other than the postage.
  11. Chris, even if you decide that you can't use it,now. Don't get rid of it.
  12. Hang in there Chris! You really should shoot a roll through it just to be sure it's really bad. Sounds like Clif will help you out if need be. Can you post a pic of the camera? I didn't know Nettars were going for so much now....must be because of the list!
  13. The rear lens should just unscrew. You can then clean the inner part of those lens elements. If you set the aperture to wide open, and the shutter to B, you should be able to reach through to clean the rear f the front element too.

    As long as you don't unscrew the front lens elements ('cause then you need to reset/check the focus), it's pretty easy to clean these lenses.

    Good luck!
  14. Russ, I wrote to Cliff and he's going to help me out :)

    This thing really needs help from someone who knows what they're doing...because I sure don't!

    And yeah, something's going on because all the cameras that take 120 size film are going for insane prices! In camera shops, on eBay, everywhere. If I bought a Yashica A in a camera shop, I couldn't get it for less than $100. One place wanted $300! (I want some of whatever that guy is smoking!) I managed to get my Yashica A for around $70 with shipping if I remember right...and I considered myself LUCKY. Everyone says that they're not that expensive...well something is going on then! Maybe it is because of this site! I've seen a few Zeiss folding cameras on eBay and they're almost as expensive. It's funny, it's like all of a sudden they're becoming hot items now. Maybe collectors are driving up prices...although these cameras aren't rare, I've seen them everywhere. They're just expensive. I'm not just collecting them, I intend to actually shoot pictures with them.
  15. There are a lot of cameras being sold becaues everyone is getting ready to go on summer vactions. And also it's fishing season. Everyone needs a camera ready to take a picture of their fishin' buddys great pair of bass!
  16. Yikes Clif! What a great test of, uhm, your lenses. I know why those fish have their
    mouths open. ;D
  17. Russ,

    Maybe we should discuss STEAMY lenses rather than cloudy lenses.

    I don't know if the fish can tell the difference between Natural bait and Artificial, but she just leans over the side, then stands up and plucks them off.

    Just a great shot to brighten the day.
  18. LOL...yup, I'm sure everybody's looking at the FISH!
  19. With that size bait she can only catch Large Mouth Bass, the Small mouth Bass can't get a good hold.

    Well anyway I guess I got Chris out of his broken camera blues with that one.

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