The Lens Doctor for Manual Lenses

Thanks to a tip from Ron, here's a unique eBay storefront run by rock artist Eddie Houston. Many people will recognize the name Eddie Houston having played for some years in famous Rock Groups such as Thin Lizzie, Creed, some time with John Coghlan, Status Quo, and of Course Pilot. Eddie seems to share a love of vintage and rare lenses, and actually 'refurbishes' these items back to it's old glory. There's a limited supply in the store front that changes up periodically, but each lens has been basically restored sometimes including the original box and user manuals. Is it weird to ask for an autograph too? LOL. You can read more about Eddie Houston's eBay storefront called 'The Lens Doctor' following the link: Check out the inventory of Refurbished lenses from The Lens Doctor

13 thoughts on “The Lens Doctor for Manual Lenses

  1. Gerard

    Like many people I imagine, I had some old and treasured Canon FD lenses that I had mentally written off as obsolete and of little use. Then, one day, I happened on someone called the Lens Doctor, and I was intrigued, could my old FDs shoot again? I must confess I was a bit sceptical at the outset.

    I read up on the Lens Doctor and eventually made contact with Eddie Houston. I began to get interested in not only having some of my lenses converted and refurbished, but also in acquiring some additional ones for the same process.

    And that is what I have done. I exchanged many emails with Eddie and ran all sorts of ideas past him, and it took some time for me to decide to proceed, and how to do so. Between information on his and other websites, and personal communications, I worked out what lenses were worth converting, and acquiring, and which ones to let go. At every stage Eddie was polite, patient and helpful.

    So now, over a year later, and having met Eddie on more than one occasion, he has refurbished and converted a number of lenses for me, with a couple in progress now, and the possibility of a couple more in the future.

    In my humble opinion, Eddie works miracles with FD lenses, and others, and he is the Oracle when it comes to Canon optics. He has helped and advised me on a number of issues and I have the highest respect for him and what he does. He’s not a large company, he’s the leading light (sic) of a small family concern doing great work.

    Sometimes emails are responded to quickly, sometimes it takes a while, it’s called life. But let me say this, comments about spelling and grammar are just silly and puerile. And as for Eddie’s integrity, it is beyond question. He is honest as the day is long.

    Knowing what I know now, in most cases, an old lens is not going to come back to life with just a simple adaptor. What Eddie writes is correct, most old lenses probably do need to be dismantled and given the full treatment. It’s expensive and it isn’t, you have to consider what you’d have to pay for current EF equivalents which, optically and/or mechanically, may not be as good.

    If you think about it, there must be some concessions made in autofocus lenses to what the focusing motors are capable of, not an issue with manual focus. And modern lens designs can’t use leaded glass any more, which makes a difference too. Note that some lenses are worth doing, some aren’t. You have to do your homework and think about what you want to achieve.

    It is also important to understand that whilst FD lenses can be converted for successful use on modern Canon cameras, there are some limitations. Normally you are going to open a lens manually to its widest aperture, focus manually (something I like to do and something that Zeiss are offering on some current high-end lenses), with the aid of the appropriate chip if fitted, stop down manually to the correct shooting aperture, then either manually set the shutter speed or let the camera do that in aperture-priority mode, and finally push the button. So there are several manual steps there, you are in control and you have to think about what you’re doing. A good thing.

    If it’s a fast-moving subject that can be impractical, but it does get easier with practice, and it also encourages you to take some risks with shooting wide open, or nearly so, which can be very frustrating and very rewarding. And of course with digital and a high-capacity card it’s costing you nothing, so you’re not wasting film. What I do is to use mainly FD lenses but with a couple of older EF lenses, with lead in the glass, for subjects that need auto-focus.

    So there you have it, Eddie fronts a small family firm breathing new life into old lenses. In use they can take a bit longer to use but the results can be a revelation. And it does make you THINK more about the process of photography, which has I think to be a plus.

    It does take time to have lenses work their way to the top of Eddie’s queue and get the full treatment. He’s a specialist, so you have to be patient. But it’s worth it. And rest assured that you’re dealing with someone with impeccable credentials.

  2. Hi Forum,

    I am Eddie Houston AKA The Lens Doctor, I would like to thank everyone for the positive comments made on here and various other sites, but would like to draw attention to RAY MERRIL, who posted on the 20th of July , I have never dealt with nor have I ever had a lens from RAY MERRIL, I did have a Vivitar 70-200 F2.8 EOS Fitting one of the older Auto Focus zooms, from a Mr James Mc Donald , from Ayshire , scotland...after testing it was found the lens required a new electronic aperture control, which I tried to source from all over the world , (the parts are no longer available) which I kept Mr Mc Donald fully aware of, yes the lens was in my workshop for more than I would have cared to have, but searching for obsolete parts is a painstaking task, which I must have spent at least 25 hours trying to get. Mr Mc Donald then did request his lens back when I told him it was impossible to get the part, I should have charged him £50 per my terms and conditions on my website, for the work I had done to the lens and testing, plus time spent trying toget an obsolete part, but I did notask for the £50 I only asked him to cover postage to dispatch the lens back to him, which he did and the lens was then sent back after the cheque had cleared (in the UK Banking system it takes 10 full working days to clear) He did contact my local trading standards office who were more than happy with my dealings with Mr Mc Donald and were writing to him to literally tell him to stop wasting there time............Of all my dealings with customers, this is the only discrepancy I have ever had, and I only found outAFTER HE HAD THE LENS RETURNED when aletter from trading standards appeared and just because I went out of my way to try to get an obsolete part for him........ I wonder why he hides behind Rae Merril???? you are Mr Mc Donald and you should be ashamed of yourself ...there was NEVER ANY SMALL CLAIMS ACTION AND YOU KNOW THAT.. I WONDER WHY YOU ARE TELLING LIES...AND FROM A SCOTSMAN... I can substantiate all of these findings and can also provide the letter from the Trading Standards office, received on the 06/08/2012 from a Claire Regan North Lanarkshire Council , Trading Standards officer, only a pity I cannot scan it and put it up here.

    I am sorry this has has to be posted here but I must clear my name, and will be pursuing this man for slanderous comments and malicious claims.

    Thanks for all the positive comments, I do try my very hardest to provide an honest diligent service

    Eddie Houston

  3. Eddie - you are picey but that's why I buy from you. Cause you get what you pay for and I trust you. Please send my lens - I'm looking forward to it. 17mm Toki RMC

  4. I would ask you to think twice about sending your lens to The Lens Doctor. At the beginning of the year I had two lenses cleaned out by him and that went fine. I then had a fault develop in my 70-210 2.8 zoom lens and decided to send it to Mr Houston. Weeks went by and so I got in touch. He said parts were scarce and was unable to source them. I requested the return of the item and sent a cheque to cover postage. Cheque was cashed but still no lens. I called him and was assured it would be sent out but nothing has arrived and he doesn't answer the phone. Now going to a small claim court for the sum of £750.

  5. Hi Pete,and everyone
    not a problem and no harm done, I wanted to explain to everyone about my Lenses being Pricey...and as Ole has highlighted .. Let me explain what is done, if you can imagine how a manual lens works , every time you focus and zoom ... air is drawn in to and exhaled from the lens on focusing....( older lenses were not weather proof sealed) this air in todays poluted planet brings in dirt grime and other nasties including enviro Oil , which does settle within the lens including the glass, can you imagine not cleaing you house windows for 30years , (these lenses are this age and older)also on some of the selling sites (eBay etc) I cannot stress enough , Most other Lens sellers comments " The lens does have some dirt and grime , but this does not affect the picture quality" LET ME ASSURE EVERYONE READING THIS WEB FORUM ...IT DOES!!!!!!!!! AND CONSIDERABLEY... What I do... These older lenses are completley stripped (as again Ole can testify he has witnessed the pictures of me dissmantling lenses).. every part is checked ..steeped in Anti-Fungal and other solutions / treatments for 24 hours ALL PARTS AND MEAN ALL PARTS EVEN SCREWS, this kills all active Fungal Spores even if you cannot see any.....all tolerances checked on parts ... then Oven dried , (low tempreature).. only when all parts are confirmed as 100% acurate and visually checked, I theN start to re-assemble the lens , and regreasing the moveable parts including helicoids ...all parts are calibrated to manufacturers specifications including aperture systems....when re-assembly is complete they go through vigorous testing both mechanically and optically , every lens sold comes complete with a Test card to verify optical testing. Not until I am 100% satisfied will the lens go on sale .......THIS WHOLE OPERATION TAKES AT LEAST 3 DAYS FOR ONE LENS..........Now I ask you what do you get paid for 3 days work?

    Every lens also comes with full warrented back up , that includes parts that become faulty they will be fully replaced at no cost ... but in all my years doing this I never have had a part fail or a warranty claim ... I DO NOT THINK MY LENSES ARE SO EXPENSIVE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT GOES INTO REFURBISHING THESE OLDER LENSES. Yes you can buy cheaper , but after what I have described , if you do buy a lens 2nd hand that has not been given a proper service , you are only buying someone elses dirt and problems.. Most people who have there lenses serviced by myself , can honestly say they can in some caeses gain at least 1 F stop if not 2.. You simply do not recongnise dust and grime acumulation on a lens you have been using or someone else has been using for 30+ years.....Thank you for reading my statement and my validation of lens costs... thanks If you have any questions at all please contact me at my website where all questions will be addressed as soon as possible.//.... EDDIE

  6. Pete

    Eddie: thanks for clearing that up. As a casual fan of Thin Lizzy, I was confused by the wording in this column on Cheesy Cam: "... played for some years in..." which to me, the use of "IN" would mean an official band member. I have many friends who are session players, and you guys are generally the top musicians in the land, and without doubt, the unsung heroes of the music industry. I wish you the best with both endeavors (the music and the lenses)...

    (Oh, and I love the overall work on Cheesy Cam - I check in everyday!)

  7. Man Dem

    Eddie Eddie Eddie. You did misspell as "Lizzie" on your storefront, but you have changed it. Google cache shows you up...but hey who cares. Keep up the good work with the lens restoration.

    Guys if you don't want a restored lens with a premium, then buy elsewhere and leave the rest of us to it! 😉

    Man Dem tells it like it is.

  8. Ron

    Hey Pete, did you know Glenn Campbell was a session guitarist for the Beach Boys? Studio and concert music are two totally different things. The bands worry about studio first.

    As far as get what you pay for.

  9. Ole Grini

    I've worked with a couple of Eddie's refurbished Lenses and sure they are pricey, but the quality and attention to detail are well worth the extra money up-front. After all we're talking about 40 year old lenses, if you don't think they are going to need a service, you just don't care about your IQ.
    Grini Productions

  10. Hi Pete, re your comments Thin Lizzy.. I never said I was a member (PLAYED WITH) , I done session work for Lizzy and many more rock bands, as for spelling it correctly If you look at my listings , you will see I did spell it correctly , I did not write this article ... but hey spelling was never my top subject .. Playing Guitar was.. and restoring beautiful lenses back to there glory .

  11. Jeremy

    That's pretty neat, but wow are they pricey! I've picked up near-mint Super-Taks for a quarter of what he's charging.

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