zeiss tesar m42 old ddr lens stiff focus ring

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by a._cook, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. The lens is 60 years old.
    It's my father's lens.
    We haven't been using it much.
    The focus ring has become too stiff, I can hardly move it. it is harder when I try to focus towards infinity.
    Not impossible but I get the feeling I might force it too hard and break something.
    will it get better through using it more and more or should I just have it fixed. In the crisis we' re living it is too expensive to spenf 60 euro, if I can make it better just by using the ring more often.
    Extremely nice lens by the way.
  2. These are really very good lenses.
    Just mechanically working the lens without "forcing" it will often loosen it up some, but a step short of sending it off and having hardened lubricant removed, is to very gently introduce a small amount of naphtha into the space between the lens barrel proper and the focusing ring. Then work the lens for a while, then repeat if necessary. Stiffness may return if it is not used after that.
    It is really important to avoid flooding the mechanism. It may do harm if the naphtha gets into the lens proper.
  3. As JDM said, just play with it without overdoing it. I have a Leitz 9cm Elmar from 1937 that was very stiff when I bought it but repeated twisting has made it useable. I also tend to leave it close to a radiator before I want to use it and the lubricant warms up nicely with just a slight bit of heat and becomes very useable then!
  4. Sometimes putting them on the dashboard in the sunny day helps.
  5. Depending on the grease used, some will soften up with use. Others might soften up temporarely (from heat, exercise or naphtha) and will become hard again after sitting for a day. Other will be set like concrete and need to be replaced.
    As JDM suggested, a drop of Naphtha will most likely loosen up the focus ring (at least for a few hours). But don't use too much. You don't want it flushing dirt/grease everywhere inside the lens.

    I have one or two more tricks but I don't think you want to go that far yourself.
  6. George, I just had a Zeiss Pancolar serviced as it was peeling off my skin from my index finger, that's how stiff the focusing was. The proper way is to open the focusing helicoid clean the grease and use silicon base grease in the right amountto make the focus smooth again. You can probably attempt it yourself and document ever step of the disassembly process.
    $60 euros is a bit high as a price tag for a simple re-lube.
    Good luck.
  7. As Ralf points out this can be done at home. But there are many things that can go wrong if you don't document every stage of disassembly carefully. Rick Oleson has some hints about various lenses on his website (link).
  8. My version is an early half automatic. There is a spring reset for the aperture so one can have a full aperture view. I took mine apart and did manage to get it back together. I'm definitely not an "all thumbs" guy, but I must admit ignorance and experience are sufferring. The aperture pin reset is a bit sluggish, and the focus while accurate on the GG doesn't end distinctly. This expression may be wrong, but it focuses beyond infinity ( Buzz Lightyear) What I mean is when I focus to infinity there is still some part of a turn available on the focus dial. My theory is; the focus stop at the bottom of the lens is adjustable. After testing and establishing infinity you screw lock it in place. If I had to do it again I would not separate the middle from the bottom. While taking it apart I suddenly had two pieces and didn't mark the separation. You can likely clean and grease the windings without complete disassembly. Then the infinity stop (problem) is still original. IF you do separte the parts MARK where they came apart. Everyone says there may be seven different entry points. I could define about four, but only one allowed it to match up (notch) to the focus stop at the bottom. I didn't remove this part (focus stop) although it has a screw. I have some photos if you'd like but they're not that helpful. A later full automatic version of the lens is described with some pictures at the classic camera repair forum too. While similar.. it's different
  9. I 've only got very little experience in photo equipment disassembly. I wouldn't dare open this lens. I 've bought several other Olympus manual lenses for my M43 and OM1,2,4. This zeiss has been my father's and has a sentimental value which I would only invest more on it rather than experiment with. So I'll have it serviced, hopefully for less. I tried to find naphtha on ebay but wasn't able. This is as far as it gets. In my opinion one of the best lenses I've had the chance to own. Not expensive either.
  10. Naphta is lighter fluid.. Like for a Zippo ! Don't flood as warned ! You should be able to find a good tech that can service it for circa 30-50,00 Euros.

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