This is my fix for the Industar-69 28mm 1:2.8 pancake lens famous infinity focus problem. I read several tutorials and pieced them together and came up with this non-destructive hack that still allows an infinity stop and close focus stop with only one minor setback of the aperture scale mark.
I used a digital camera for this fix which I suppose 90% of the uses for this lens is but, if you have an old 35mm film camera with the M39, Leica screw mount (with a hinged or removable back plate) you can use this lens too, just use a frosted glass plate of some kind, a removable SLR focus screen works good, or I’ve even used scotch tape pulled tight over the film guides to focus test lenses.
As mentioned above, leave the top stop-post and the post in the focus ring but remove the lower post.
The lens top won’t be pointing up, even before this fix because the depth of the mounting thread group is shallower than a standard M39 lens. This lens was originally on a Soviet CHAIKA half frame camera. The lens could also be mounted on an enlarger.
Here are a few images taken with this lens.
some milkiness to the original, fixed here (above)
(above) This led me to believe the elements themselves needed to be cleaned. Indeed, I removed the rear element and with my loupe, found tiny spider-web fungus on the rear element of the front group just in front of the aperture blades, (a usual spot) I cleaned it with a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and household ammonia (put some on a Q-tip, wet area, let set 5 min. wipe dry, clean with fresh water, repeat if nec.)
This is a fun little lens. It is said that it’s glass is modeled after a Tessar. Great quality and uber cheap. I got mine on eBay from the Ukraine for $28 with free shipping. I could have got it cheaper but you want sellers with good feedback from Ukraine and Russia.
Giving my 1937 Zeiss Ikon Contax II as best of a CLA (clean, lube, adjust) as I could without dismantling the mechanism itself, I doused with lighter fluid twice, avoiding the shutter slats, tapes and glue, which is fairly easy as, everything is on one side. then I oiled a few choice spots, avoiding escapements.
With the help from forum friends, I fixed a problem with the Infinity on the RF, the previous hacker put the longer screws on the RF side of the front plate and they were preventing the plano-convex lens from traveling all the way to the side.
I also removed foam light seals from the film back surround. originally there were no light seals (so I’ve read} around the camera back. The Kiev clones used Yak hair as a seal. I’m opting to use my smaller size black yarn just to be safe on this 80 year old camera.
I re-glued a loose flap of leatherette and cleaned with Meguiar’s leather foam. I touched up some rubbed off chrome on the top plate with my faux chrome plating kit.
Here are the steps to open it up, remove the shutter cage from the frame and clean. I did not disassemble the shutter mechanism itself, it is for experts and usually is not necessary to clean it.
remove rewind knob
rewind knob removed
remove body screws
remove winding lever center
remove advance knob
remove speed scale
remove single screw
lift off chrome top plate
frame counter disc
remove cast top plate
remove cast top plate
cast top removed
remove shutter cover
remove screw here
remove this rod-screw
lift out cradle
self timer lever
I use Zippo lighter fluid (any brand will do) for flushing and cleaning the gears and other parts. just be careful to keep the fluid off of the shutter curtain ribbons, they are glued on and could become unglued by the lighter fluid.
For the oil, I use sewing machine oil. You can use watch oil or any light oil of that type. use very sparingly and never use it on the gears of the slow speed escapement.
The Leica lens, E. Leitz Wetzlar “Summar” 50mm (5cm) f/2 is notorious for having internal haze, clouding images sometimes giving a desired warmth called “Leica Glow”. Some desire it for using as a portrait lens or other such use as the effect is warranted.
Before I show you how I got my 1939 Leica Summar lens apart to clean the haze, I first cleaned some kind of dried gunk on the front element that resembled very bad cleaning marks.
I had seen it before on my former 1936 Summar and other people complaining about their’s calling it cleaning marks, so it must be a somewhat common thing. This time it was more crusty, uneven looking that led me to believe it wasn’t just the glass itself.
I looked at it with a loupe and could see it was raised, some kind of crust or crystallization. I scratched at it with my fingernail and sure enough it flaked slightly. Perhaps a buildup of years of cleaning fluid?
I knew conventional cleaning wouldn’t work so I tried the method for removing Fungus on a lens. A 50/50 mix of household Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide then rinse with tap water. It immediately started working, almost foaming around the edge where it was thickest.
I had to repeat twice, as is usual, but a nice clean outer lens now with just a few true cleaning marks.
Clean the interior haze
Now I must say, while searching for tutorials and methods of cleaning the haze, it was kind of confusing because it was rarely stated that, in fact, the front name plate is attached to the front ring and the element itself.
It was also stated several times to unscrew the front element right from the lens base and people were having trouble because it would just unscrew the front group. I came up with a way to easily remove the front element.
First unscrew the front lens group from the base, just above the aperture ring. Extent the lens tube fully so it won’t spin in the base and grasp the outer knurled ring and turn it counter-clockwise ‘ccw’ it should unscrew fairly easy.
Unscrew fully and remove from lens base.
NOW is the time to unscrew the set screw ‘ccw’ in the nameplate (red arrow) so it will separate from the front lens group. It’s tiny don’t loose it.
Now you need some kind of grip tool to aid in holding the front group housing while removing the front element. I used an electrical cable, about the same diameter as a pencil or slightly smaller but not too small.
not clear here but, the front lens group housing extends backwards with a nice metal tube to grab onto with your tool just behind the front element ring. Firmly grip your tool around the group housing and firmly grip the front ring and unscrew ‘ccw’.
The entire front knurled ring, nameplate and front element are attached together. Mine came right off, I’ve read it could be difficult and a good soaking of the front element in isopropyl alcohol might help.
Again, I used the 50/50 mix ammonia / hydrogen peroxide to clean the haze from all inner elements except the lens behind the aperture blades as I didn’t want to risk damaging the aperture unit/blades.
Blow out any dust and fuzzies from cleaning before reassembly. I found what looked like dust in mine that turned out to be bubbles in the lens glass. I’ve read this is normal. Here’s a before and after the cleaning shot.
It looks great mounted on my 1953 Leica IIIf. It does have a few cleaning marks and some mishandled scratches in the middle but it was cheap and it’s mine.
I’ve given my 1953 Leica IIIf “red dial” a CLA, or Clean Lube and Adjust and now I need to replace the half-mirror, or beamsplitter in the rangefinder. The beamsplitter gives the double image that moves back and forth as you focus the lens until the two images become one, then it is focused. On older cameras, the beamsplitter, which is a half-mirror, or partially silvered so it is transparent as well as reflective, looses some it’s reflectiveness and is hard to focus.
After I got the beamsplitter housing bracket loose, I noticed there were two objects in the way to prevent it from sliding out…
Now the beamsplitter housing can slip out
I got my beamsplitter pre-cut from a fellow on eBay (nobbysparrow) and it was only $10. I say only because it is way worth it, not buying some stock and trying to cut it myself. let alone send it off to have it professionally done for around $110 or more.
Plus it is a modern process (the silvering) from Japan and less likely to rub off and fade through time.
It really isn’t hard to do this yourself. follow my instructions on how to remove the top plate and you can have a new fresh beamsplitter in your Leica for a fraction of the cost and a few hours, not weeks or months