Taking apart a Nikon lens

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Commonman, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    I've got a 50 mm Nikon E-series lens that got moisture inside of it so it is fogged up on the inside.

    I have dried letting it dry out.

    Now I am considering taking it apart. Is this a good idea or a bad one?

    It looks like there are a few small screws that would allow disassembly but I'll bet there are lots of things that can go wrong - like sprockets and springs jumping out and getting lost.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you are not very attached to the lens my advice is don't. Lenses are sensitive. There are many parts and even if you can get them together again there's no guarantee it will still work.

    Take it to a camera shop. They should charge around $50 to disassemble and wipe the elements clean for you.
     
  3. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    never take a lens apart. The great part about lenses is they ensure job security for canon/nikon/sigma/tamron technicians. It's impossible to do it without proper tools and training and extensive diagrams.
     
  4. castrol

    castrol TPF Noob!

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  5. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Don't take it apart! (speaking from experience) Direct sunlight through max. open aperture is best bet. It might leave a water mark, but it most likely will not affect the image quality, if it does it will be minimal in most instances. Besides, the 50 E was a very sharp but dirt cheap lens in it's day, another on ePay would not break you up if the one you have is trash. (that last statement is not approval to tear it apart, but it isn't like it's a 58mm f/1.2 nocto either)
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Like most things, if you have to ask then the answer is probably no. ;)
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Being a manual lens, I'm surprised if it's impossible and/or dangerous to take the front of the lens apart for cleaning... after all presumably you are only removing the front of the casing, and one or two glass elements and the seals that hold them in place (and it's only a 50mm so it's not a particularly complicated design); the electronics should not be affected. I have successfully cleaned the elements of a few manual focus primes in this way, and I am the sort of person who normally makes things even more broken whenever I try to fix them.

    Of course, if owners of this lens like JStuedle say from experience that it can't be done then it can't be done... but I would disagree with the general statement "never take a lens apart" when it comes to old lenses... often it is very possible; and my apologies to any professional technicians whose job security I risk with that comment :mrgreen:
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    LOL I didn't mean to say that it couldn't or even shouldn't be done, just that if your are that unsure of yourself then you probably lack the general experience needed.

    I recently disassembled a Nikon 70-210, and successfully reassembled it (works the best it ever has) but I've had quite a bit of experience doing that sort of thing.
     
  9. Commonman

    Commonman TPF Noob!

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    Okay, thanks everyone. I think I'll let it sit in the bag of rice another day. But, since it's been since Saturday that the moisture has been in there, and I was not able to attend to it until I got back home on Tuesday, the damage may be done. In some ways I figure, what do I have to lose? I have already determined that the cost of getting it repaired would not be worth it. For that cost, I could buy a new one.
    Besides, I think I am ready for a different kind of lense. However, it did work very well, before the accident.

    Thanks again everybody. If I do decide to take it apart, I will report what happens.
     
  10. (Ghastly) Krueger

    (Ghastly) Krueger TPF Noob!

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    Mayeb build a dryer? A tube big enough to hold the lens in one end, a section filled with silica gel (not too packed to allow air flow) and a hair dryer on the other end?
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Btw Mike I didn't mean that as a response to your post, but to others who seemed to be saying that under no circumstances should you ever consider taking a lens apart :wink:

    I tend agree that if you are uncomfortable taking things apart then it might not be a good idea to start with a decent lens.
    On the other hand as the OP says, what does he have to lose... unless are already friendly with a lens repairer, most folks will probably charge more to look at this lens than the cost of buying it new. And you might be pleasantly surprised by the lack of springs leaping out :) Even so I agree it's a last resort and I would first try the "non-invasive" methods that have been suggested :)
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ya, if you want to get crazy with it, the best way to dry it would be to put it under a vacuum.

    A 2 foot long piece of 4 inch PVC pipe with one end capped and a screw in clean-out on the other end. Drill a hole and put a car tire valve-stem in the cap end, place the lens inside and screw in the clean-out (making sure that you have a good seal- use Teflon tape on the threads). Attach a tire valve (the kind you use to air up a tire) to a hose attached to a vacuum pump and put the lens under vacuum. When the pump has taken out all it can just remove the hose and wait for a while. Once you are tired of waiting (no more than 12 hours or so)push in on the needle in the middle of the tire valve stem to put pressure back into the tube, unscrew the clean-out and you should then have a VERY dry lens. :)


    OK, it occurs to me that someone might actually try this, be aware that you would also be removing any volatiles in the lubricant within the lens too. But on a lighter note you could probably use this rig to re-coat an element. ;)
     

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