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Playing around with a stock 18-55 and a Sigma 70-300 ...
Now, with an SMC Takumar 105 and a CZJ Flektogon 35 too ...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cleaning from fungus: Canon FD 55 f/1.2 SSC

After a little absence because of my new sport activity, i'm back with a new cleaning tutorial. The patient awaiting for disinfection and cleaning is a nice Canon 55mm f/1.2 SSC, in FD mount.

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 01 - _IGP6165

Although i neglected to take a picture of the infection, the fungus has spread around the inner border of the front element (at least). The molds are quite light, the infection is just at the beginning, so, let's start with the cleaning sequence ...

But, before going on, the classic legalese disclaimer:


What you will need to clean the infection:
  • A sink cap, to remove the front name ring.
  • A spanner wrench (got mine from MFLenses). You can get yours wherever you want, but avoid cheap ones (less than 50€).
  • Some q-tips (the brand doesn't matter).
  • Cold cream. I use Avene's one, but simply because it is really cheap in France. Ask to your beauty-shop (or to your wife) what they have available.
  • Zippo fluid or isopropyl alcohol or something similar, to remove the cold cream from the lens.
  • Optical cleaning fluid for the final cleaning of the lens.
  • A microfiber cloth, to clean the lens.
  • A clean workplace and ... some patience ;-) ...

Now, let the game begin ;-) ...

Start by focusing the lens at the infinity and set the diaphragm ring at full aperture. Then, put your lens on a fiber cloth, it will help to avoid thingies rebounding (you never know). Finally, using the sink cap, unscrew the front name ring.

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 02 - _IGP6174

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 03 - _IGP6176

Once the name ring is unscrewed, notice the three rings that will show up:

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 04 - _IGP6181

Let's start by removing the inner one (pointed out by the screwdriver in the picture above), since is the one that holds in place the front element. Trim the spanner wrench to the right width and carefully unscrew the inner ring:

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 05 - _IGP6182

Once the inner ring is unscrewed, carefully remove the front element from the lens and prepare the cold cream.

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 06 - _IGP6185

Using a q-tip, spread the cold cream on both sides of the lens and let it dry until the cream becomes translucent (about an hour).

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 07 - _IGP6192

After a thorough inspection, i noticed some fungus molds on the next element (in fact, a doublet cell), so i unscrewed the cell (inner ring) and the retaining ring of the filter thread/hood holder (outer brass ring).

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 08 - _IGP6194

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 09 - _IGP6197

The optical cell has been removed from the lens barrel. If you are in need to clean the diaphragm blades too, this would be the right time. Luckily (for me), they are clean and snappy ...

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 10 - _IGP6198

The optical cell is held in place by a retaining ring on the rear of the optical group. Unscrew it, being careful to the small spacer inside (the white ring on the picture below.

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 11 - _IGP6200

Using another q-tip, spread the cold cream on both faces of the doublet and let it dry as for the front element.

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 12 - _IGP6201

Once the cold cream has dried, remove it using either some Zippo fluid or some isopropyl alcohol, then finish cleaning the lenses using your preferred optical fluid.

To rebuild the lens, just follow the steps above in reverse order and you are done ;-) ...

Cleaning a Canon FD 55 f1.2 SSC - 13 - _IGP6202

This fine lens is ready for its next assignment :-) ...

And no, before you ask, it's not mine and i don't have an FD camera to play with it, thus no sample pictures taken with it ...

Hoping that this will be useful to someone ...

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Anonymous wireless security said...

Im so careful with mine too. Lens are sensitive when cleaning.

February 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Yes, those fast lenses really deserve some special care ...
But then, when you use it, it's a real joy ...

February 29, 2012 at 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great guide, thanks! I have a pre-SSC FD lens that needs re-lubrication, as the focus is sticking. Do you have any advice for accessing and cleaning the focus mechanism in the above process?


March 8, 2012 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger John Crisp said...

Like your guides on lens cleaning.

I too have a K10D (love it!)

I have two lenses that I would like to have a go at - they aren't worth much so I'm not worried about the consequences if I get it wrong but they would be a bit of fun to have if I can clean them.

1 x Pentax-M 75-150
1 x Sunagor 75-300

I tried to find the tools that you mention without much success - could you give a more precise link ?

I also can't see anyway to get in to the Pentax from the front - there is no 'name' ring.

Any advice appreciated !

May 15, 2012 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi all,

At first, sorry for the late reply ...

Thanks for your kind comments ... Unluckily, i didn't need to lube the lens and it is no longer available :-( ... Thus, cannot help more, sorry ...

May 22, 2012 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

@John Crisp:

Thanks for your comments ...

I too have a P-M 75-150/4, really a nice lens for the cost ...

For the tools: the basin cap (or plug, don't know the exact translation in english), it is made by Wirquin. When you browse to their home page, select the UK flag and then scroll to the bottom of the page. It is called "Universal plug".

The spanner wrench came from an old member of the MFLenses forum. The member is no longer active on the forum, but you can ask Attila on that forum, maybe he has one for sale ...

For the Cold Cream, just ask to your nearest beauty shop, the cheapest one doing the job really well (i paid a bit more than 3 euros for mine).

The 'name' ring is the ring in front of the lens that usually shows the name of the lens. Unscrewing it will allow access to the front element ...

Be really careful when servicing zooms, they are really hard to (dis)assemble and don't forget to post some feedback if you succeed ...

Feel free to contact me again if you need more info ...

May 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger John Crisp said...


thanks for the reply and the links ! Will go shopping shortly....

The Pentax lens doesn't have a front name ring - seems that it just has an un keyed ring. Will see if I can get it out with a plug.

I realise zooms are more difficult but they are both no use as they stand so I have nothing too lose. Beside, like you, I like taking things apart (and putting them together again !)

When I attack them I'll take some shots & will keep you posted.

Thanks for a good blog - keep it up !

B. Rgds

June 2, 2012 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Species: Cheekius_Geekus said...

Thanks for sharing this.

How do you like your spanner tool? I've never seen one quite like it. Can you please share where it was purchased from?

Many thanks!

June 4, 2012 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Darren,
sorry for the late reply, i just noticed your comment on the Flickr set ... Actually, i'm spending most of my free time playing with my new toy, a 1955 Mosin-Nagant .22LR trainer, at my shooting club, so i'm neglecting a bit my photo blogs (for now) ...

For what concerns the spanner wrench, i bought it from an old member of the MFLenses forum. That member is no longer active on the forum, but you can ask Calvin83 on that forum, some times ago he started a group buy on wrenches and other accessories ... For sure, the group buy is no longer running now, but i'm sure he can give you some hints about his source, or maybe he has one in stock for sale ...

And, if you like MF Lenses, you are welcome to join all the other LBA-holics (including me) on that forum ;-) ...

June 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM  
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June 25, 2013 at 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive tried the cold cream fix on 5 diff lenses with no luck.

October 31, 2013 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger wilko10000 said...

Hi, I am in the process of doing this myself on my 1.2. I have removed the name ring and i am presented with the three retaining rings. However when I try to remove the inner one with my lens spanner it doesn't move. It appears as if it is glued in. Did you find this in your disassembly, were the retention rings very stiff?
Thanks in advance!

November 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM  
OpenID satriadwika said...

I want to ask
how to disassemble the front of the lens Nikkor S.C Auto 50mm F1.4
will clean from fungus
thank you.

December 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM  

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