phony "fungus" on front lens of a 4.0/210mm and CLA $$$s

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by chris_wagner|5, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Hi All,
    10 days ago I sold a new 4.0/210 mm lens on eBay. It was just that, new. Purchased as new from a well known dealer and never used by me. For the posting, I took some 2 MB photos with a bowwowed Samsung point & shoot camera, but even those should show that the front lense was free from any blemishes.
    The lens sold for only 92 euros with free shipping. IMHO, the buyer got a great bargain! Anyhow, he claimed there was fungus on the front element . He e-mailed some bizarre and useles photos of terrible quality. Now the lens looks as if it had been stored openly in the Adams Family'sd cellars for a century.
    Q1: are you familiar with such eBay scams by buyers? A trick to lower the price?
    Q2: How do you treat fungus?
    Q3: worst case - fungus inside the lens barrel, on some inner elements, how much do you expect to pay for CLA service (clean, lube and adjust)?
    Q4: are lens elements still being held in place by some glue like cement? How long does it usuall take to take a lens apart and pout it back together again?
    Thanks a lot for any comments? I'm not familiar with fungus, but here, I'm upset becasue of an obvious con. Moreover, the guy should remove whatever he sees on the surface - it wasn't there when I photographed and mailed the lens!
    Happy Holidays to you All!
  2. Fungus will be impossible to see in the picture you've posted above. Unfortunately this means your picture doesn't preclude the fact the lens could have fungus.
    Fungus generally takes the form of ultra fine fibres that appear similar to silk or spider web. It can generally only be seen through the lens (not by looking at the lens). Inspection is done by looking through the rear element with the front element facing into a strong light source. Any sign of cobwebs in between the elements is an indicator of fungus.
    It's generally not treatable. Fungus grows from micropores that are not visible to the eye, so while you can perhaps remove the fibres, you have no guarantee that the micropores are also removed. It spreads quickly (it's airborne), and fungus growing in one lens can transfer to other lenses in the vicinity.
    Not sure about the chances for repair. All advice I've heard in respect of fungus is that once a lens is infected it should be destroyed/binned to prevent it spreading further.
    In any event, if the lens you've sold does have fungus any treatment would require absolute disassembly of all parts and immersion in bactericide, followed by a re-build and re-collimation of all the lens elements. It would be an expensive procedure. Which is why conventional advice is generally to bin the lens, rather than face an uneconomical repair.
  3. It's hard to tell from this picture what may or may not have been on the lens because the p&s camera seems to have focused on the box instead of the lens. It's going to be hard for you to prove that this lens was in "as new" condition when the image you used to sell it was full of all sorts of colors and reflections that it could have been anything.
    There are many occasions when an eBay buyer will state that an item is not in as good a condition as the seller made it out to be. Is your buyer asking for some or all of their money back? I don't understand why you are asking the questions about the cost of repairing the lens and removing fungus if you know for a fact that it didn't have any fungus. You mentioned that you had purchased it "as new" but never used it. Did you have it stored for a long time and is it possible that some fungus started to grow while it sat unused in a high humidity area?
    You mention that you are not familiar with fungus. While I have never personally seen it on a lens, my understanding is that it is spidery in appearance. Once it starts it is virtually impossible to remove and can spread to your other lenses. I always store my lenses in a cabinet with a bunch of silica gel packets around them to absorb the moisture.
    For 98 euros it's not worth the time and trouble of trying to remove the fungus.
  4. If the buyer is not happy, the best approach is to get the lens back, at the cost of shipping. I had the same thing happen to me, and trying to satisfy the buyer generally means shelling out lots more money, and in the end they may still be unhappy. Simply offer to buy it back at the same price. In my case, I also paid for the shipping in both directions, to preserve my perfect eBay rating.
    To determine if a lens has fungus, shine a very bright lamp through it and look at the light coming through. I use a super-bright LED flashlight for this.
  5. I had some fungus grow on a couple of internal elements of my 50mm f/1.4 non-AI Nikkor. I too it to a repairman and he used a spanner wrench to remove the elements. He wiped the elements with an alcohol wipe (which removed the filaments and killed any spores) and the fungus disappeared and it has not reapppeared. He charged me $20.
  6. Do you know how many times I've bought lenses whereas someone told me the lens was mint and then after I receive it I see all kinds of junk in it? The reason is because very few people know how to really check a lens. As the previous poster said you absolutely have to look through the lens with a light source from front to rear and from rear to front. You have to shine the light "through" the lens. Recently, I drove 150 miles to buy some gear that a gentleman assured me was pristine perfect with no problems on the glass. I get there and peer through the lens at a light source and immediately see fungus all inside the lens. The guy says, "oh, wow, I never even noticed it. It looked fine to me."
    Now, I'm not saying your lens had fungus on it. I'm just saying that most people have no idea what to look for and never notice it. If you merely looked at the lens and it looked fine to your eye and you didn't examine it with a light source then you could have easily missed something. Your buyer may be meticulous in evaluating lenses as I have to be so perhaps he did see something you missed. I've sold hundreds of lenses and I've never had a person "make up" the fact that there was some fungus. Did you receive that 1 in a million buyer that is looking to scam?
    Just my two cents.
  7. I agree with Carsten; don't try to satisfy this buyer, get your lens back.
  8. Stay away from the ick. A mention of it is enough to make me pass on a lens. Why risk spreading to perfect optics?
  9. In all likelihood it's a scam to get you to give him a refund AND he keeps the lens. Offer a full refund once you get the lens back and go from there. If he doesn't want to send it back but holds out for a refund you know it's a con. Just be nice and offer a full refund once you receive the lens back. Then block the buyer from further auctions of yours.
  10. OCULUS New York

    OCULUS New York Still shooting, but posting less here.

    I just discovered, to my horror, that my "baseball bat" 350mm Rollei (MF) lens has sprouted a garden inside. I boxed it immediately and sent it off to Oneck at Rollei and Hensel Service in NJ. In advance, he said if it is a free-standing element or on the outside of a group, where he can get at it, he can clean it. However, if it is inside the group, this is not possible or worthwhile.
    It doesn't sound as though this is going to be resolved to your benefit, but bite the bullet and get it back. Good luck.

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