OT: camera damage from "the best" foam

Fred Cisin cisin at xenosoft.com
Sun Nov 30 15:57:30 CST 2014

> > When my best friend was alive, he stored his camera stuff in airtight
> > cases in foam.
> > After his death, I went through what was left of his stuff.
> > One case had a Visoflex, bellows, and a Leitz Tele-Elmarit 180mm M
> > Visoflex mount lens.  250 of those were made.  One in decent shape goes
> > for $2K.  His was brand-new, quite possibly the last, and only one in
> > perfect shape.  The foam ATE into the barrel of the lens, destroying all
> > collector value.
> You really know how to hurt a person, don't you?  I use both film and digital Leica M's, including the Visoflex
> bellows and lenses, so this is a seriously painful story.  That is one of the rarest Leica lenses around.

After Chris had a heart attack and died in my kitchen, the loss of his
camera gear was anti-climactic.

In addition to the foam damage, the main body of his camera stuff was
missing!  (stolen by the county agents who "secured" his house?)
A week before his death, we were taking some snapshots at Point Lobos, and
he promised to dig out and loan me [permanently!] a 35mm summicron, and my
choice of rigid or collapsible 50mm summicrons.
I was also listed for the cameras in his most recent will, although the
house is slated for somebody else.
But, when we got access to the house, there were some gaps on some of the

I would have kept one M body, and the summicrons, and sold off whatever
else duplicated what I already have.  How many bellows and how many 90mm
Elmars can one want?

On Sun, 30 Nov 2014, tony duell wrote:
> Ouch indeed. I have a small amount of Leica M stuff (M2 and M4 bodies,
> visoflex, 4 lenses, nothing rare). It's beautiful, although I must say
> that I prefer a Nikon F to the Leica M+visoflex.

So do I.  I would have kept my old visoflex and bellows, and sold off the
Tele-elmarit and some of the rest.
I sold the 180 Viso-M Tele-Elmarit to KEH.  They've [probably PAINTED it
and] listed it for $1272  in "bargain (damaged) condition".

> Fred, was this lens still usable after that. The barrel was pitted, I
> guess, but did the focussing mount still work and was the optics OK. I
> use my cameras, I don't collect them, so cosmetic damage is not so
> significant (I picked up a Nikkor 180mm for a very good price because
> somebody had scratched an inventory number on the barrel. Optically
> perfect, so still an excellent lens)

The glass came through OK!  There might be some very minor damage to the
front coating.  The focusing still works, but not as smoothly, and has
one rough spot.  The lens barrel was a lot worse than a simple asset
marking; it looks like a kid was playing with an engraver, and then
stored it in a puddle.

Frankly, anybody needing something in the 180mm range has a lot of [in my
opinion] better options in newer gear.  For example, my rangefinder
coupled 200mm Komura or ANY SLR with a 200mm lens is WAY more convenient
and easier to use than visoflex plus 180mm tele-elmarit - THAT is an
extraordinary amount of weight and bulk.  Therefore, the primary value of
that lens would have been to a collector who wants the RARE aspect, and
they want it to look good.  Cosmetic damage is significant in THAT market.

One of Chris' other friends really wanted the 2-1/4 x 3-1/4 Graflex with
lenses, so I let him have it, but I kept the 47mm Super-Angulon which
might even cover 4x5!  I am now making adapters to put it on a tilt/swivel
bellows for playing with movements on medium format, 35mm, and digital.
Not very difficult - it's on a Compur 00?, which seems to be the same
threads as what Schneider used for some enlarging lenses.

When I first opened the case, everything felt WET.  I thought that I was
dealing with water damage.  But, a few hours later, the foam had further
metamorphed into a dry crumbly powder.

Chris was doing his laundry at my house (last load was in my dryer).
Does anybody here want a whole bunch of size XXL/2XL Cabela's shirts?
How many BIG guys are there here?

I've mentioned, on this list his PBM1000 computers (made by Wordstar
corp, while it was still Micropro).  But those, his books from the 1980s
and 1990s, and his Sperry PCs got dumpstered before I got a chance to
rescue them.

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at xenosoft.com

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