Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/28

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Subject: [Leica] RE: lighter fluid solution and IIIc
From: Peter Klein <>
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2003 11:05:41 -0700

Chandos:  When I had an old lens that focused very stiffly, Sherry Krauter 
suggested a couple of drops of acetone worked into the helicoid.  At my 
local Walgreen's, I got a bottle of the nearly pure stuff--NOT the cosmetic 
nail polish removers that contain oils, Vitamins and Precious Emollients, 
whatever they are.

It worked, though it took several applications and a few evenings of 
periodically running the helicoid in and out for a few minutes.

Whether either acetone or lighter fluid (Xylene/Xlol) it would work with 
modern lubricants, who knows?  Also, you don't know whether you might end 
up with lubricant running into the lens or with vapor that would eventually 
deposit fog on the elements.

The CV 28/1.9 is new enough and probably complex enough that perhaps it 
would be better to let a pro handle it.  I suggest contacting Stephen Gandy 
of believe he works with a repairman who truly knows the 
CV products.

BTW, I agree with *both* you and Nathan about the screw-mount Leicas.  I 
used a IIIf as my only camera for about 18 years.  I sold it when I needed 
to help finance a modern ASPH lens.  I have a few sentimental regrets, but 
the Ms are much easier and faster for quick shooting.

This is not to say that one can't do well with a screw-mount Leica, and 
they may actually focus fast 85 and 90mm lenses more accurately.  And when 
used with a 50mm lens, as designed, they are actually quite viable 
picture-taking machines.  It's when you start dealing with multiple lenses, 
viewfinders and all the other paraphenalia, that things begin to get really 
clumsy.  And as others have said, you can't use M lenses on a screw-mount.

For a beginner, I'd recommend a used M, and a 35 or 50 Summicron.  Or a 
Bessa M and a 50 screwmount Summicron, a 50 Nokton or 35 Ultron if the 
price of Leica entry is too steep.  I'd only go with the LTM camera if you 
can borrow one, use it for a couple of rolls of film and still feel that it 
fits you and what you want to do photographically.

- --Peter

Chandos wrote:
>The theory is that judicious application of lighter fluid to helicoids
>will thin the lubricant and help to distribute it evenly throughout the
>threads.  I've used it on many lenses over the years, with varying
>success, and haven't lost one yet (we're not talking about *bathing* the
>thing in lighter fluid).  I am increasingly persuaded, though, that this
>simply does not work with the modern, synthetic damping gels and
>lubricants that manufacturers now use.  I don't know this, but, what the
>hell, I'll speculate anyway.
>My CV 28/1.9 is useable, but next to the Konica 21-35 and the Leitz
>glass, it's become a real pain to focus quickly and accurately.  It was
>stiff when I bought it, but I thought it reasonable to allow a breaking
>in period; after two years of nearly constant use, it's gotten, if
>anything, worse.

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