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Adventures with a Kodak Aero Ektar 178mm F/2.5

Tim Gilbert

Kodak Aero Ektar 7" f/2.5

It's a work of art. Over three pounds of brass, aluminum and glass (some of which is radioactive.) Originally designed for high altitude recon photos, (when cost was no object), this particular lens was built in 1944.

It had seen better days. The aluminum barrel showed internal corrosion and the coatings were worn off the glass elements. The lens had some haze, and while the aperture blades worked, they seemed a bit sticky.

Step one: take it apart.

The bag at the top is holding some of the tiny screws. And yes, the yellowed lenses are radioactive.

Here you can see the corrosion on the inside of the front barrel.

The aperture assembly was in good shape, but needed cleaning.

We found a "nick" on the back element and some very small bubbles in the balsam between the two rear elements. Of course, there's a bubble or two in the glass and coatings are worn. We'll just have to wait to see if any of these defects impacts the performance.

The next step is the easy part: putting it back together.

Here's a short video regarding the rest of the camera.



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