cleaning enlarger lens question : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've got a Rodenstock 80mm f/4 Rodagon enlarger lens (which I've used a couple of years), and it's got two minor problems. Can I fix these problems myself without damaging anything?

1. I see a little dust etc (other light marks) on the lens; don't know if any of that is inside. I blew off (new can of air) all I could. I'm very leery of "cleaning" the lens! I'm aware one should not pour a few drops of lens cleaning fluid on there, because of danger of it seeping down inbetween the elements. Questions: should I dampen a soft cloth with cleaning fluid and wipe the lens softly? If some of it then appears to be on the inside, is there any harm in unscrewing the top element on front and back and blowing it out or wiping those elements??

2. The click stops no longer work. This lens has a sliding button to turn on/off the click stops, and it's clear that something is blocking the sliding action of this button/switch... is that something I can reach and fix if I take things apart?? Presume I would need to buy a lens spanner? thanks, David

-- David L. DuPuy (, March 03, 2002


A consumer can do lots by themselves in DYI lens repairs. If you have to ask questions you probably will do something to effect the performance though.

Is this lens under warranty? If we sold it to your dealer and you bought it new in the U.S. it carries our Lifetime Warranty and would be repaired at NC. Or replaced if we feel it is necessary.

So is it really worth a DYI which voids any warranty?

-- Bob Salomon (, March 03, 2002.

Earlier on a lens cleaning question, one of my answers gives the hyper link to Schneider's white paper on lens cleaning.

You shouldn't be able to get into much trouble unscrewing the elements from the mount. It is screwing them back in that can cause problems. They are fine threads and can cross thread easily. Always turn them, (battery caps everything else threaded) backwards until you feel them drop into place and then turn them clockwise to tighten.

As for the click stop, I recomend you leave it alone. Repairing broken cameras is great fun, but something that you need and use is no where to start learning. You can buy some pretty complex raingefinder cameras at Goodwill for $3. This also give you a good source of extra tiny little screws that the carpet eats.


-- Neal Shields (, March 03, 2002.

One more thing. If you buy a lens spanner, it is real easy to slop and put a point into a lens element or diaphram. Especially if you buy the kind with interchangeable tips. (Those of us that are not professionals usually can't afford a full battery of spanners with specific tips). Always open take the elements off and open the diaphram before using the spanner.


-- Neal Shields (, March 03, 2002.

First, go with Bob's input- if it's under warranty, have it fixed! I've never had a Rodagon apart, so this may not apply, but most lenses can be disassembled for cleaning without removing individual elements. The cells usually unscrew or are otherwise removed with the elements intact. I've repaired many camera and enlarging lenses and have *never* had to remove an element from its cell for anything except recementing a separation. Internal dust and crud usually ends up on the surfaces next to the aperture, so is easily cleaned with minor disassembly.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, March 03, 2002.

David: Brush the lens gently and unless it has fingerprints or a buildup of crud leave it alone. A few dust specks will not harm performance. As to the sliding detent adjuster, you will have to decide if its as important enough to have it repaired. I like detents as they allow you to counts the stops when necessary to open up to cehck focus while printing multiple prints, etc. and it allows you to return basically to the same place every time. If you want to see if there is something obvious that you can fix, you can remove the front element group but be careful. If under warranty, leave it alone and send it back to be checked by the proper service people.


-- Doug Paramore (, March 03, 2002.

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