Do all Nikkor wides for 35mm have sloppy focus and rattle ??

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by rknewcomb, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. rknewcomb

    rknewcomb Member

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    Recently got a couple of wide angle lenses for my 35mm Nikon camera, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. My past experience with Nikon wide lenses has been that they lack much if any feel to the helical focus. They usually turn too easy with no feel to them. I thought it was because they were old and worn out.
    But, the ones I recently got are pre AI lenses still in their boxes with little or no use to them and the 24mm and 28mm still have that "no feel" helical to them. The little cheap 50mm E series lens actually has much more focus feel to it as does the old 35mm f/2.8 that I got. So, whats up with this?
    Anyone have any ideas or experience with older Nikon wides that feel good to focus without the slop ??
    thanks,
    Robert N.
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yes, every one I've ever owned or handled. That is, 20/3.5 Nikkor UD, 28mm/3.5 Nikkor H, 35/2 Nikkor O. No slop, just enough drag to give a good feel. I did regrease the 35 because the old grease was very stiff. All these are fluted fucussing ring pre Ai lenses.
     
  3. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    I have used the following AI or AI'd wideangle lenses and they all felt great:

    24/2.8
    28/2.0
    28/3.5

    Edit: also the 28/2.8
     
  4. rknewcomb

    rknewcomb Member

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    "That is, 20/3.5 Nikkor UD, 28mm/3.5 Nikkor H, 35/2 Nikkor O. No slop, just enough drag to give a good feel. "

    That's the thing, mine don't have enough drag to feel like the focus is under control. You'd think since they are the old lenses with fluted focus ring lenses that they'd be too stiff from dried grease but these are not that way.

    Probably cost more then they're worth to have some one thicken up the grease.
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I wonder if someone hasn't already been at them? Those old Nikkors are some of the nicest feeling lenses ever, up there with Leica R stuff.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My experience with Nikkors is that they get looser with age (less stiff), not tighter. It cost me about $100 (if memory serves me correctly) to have one overhauled a few years ago and it came back feeling like brand-new. Since it is a lens I rely on for real use it certainly was worth the cost.
     
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Jesus, I should start a sideline....
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I might not be remembering exactly right, but it wasn't inexpensive.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    OK... I was totally wrong. Found the receipt. $50 to overhaul lens at a Nikon Authorized Serice center.

    You could probably still turn a profit if you go into that business!
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yeah, my "overhead" would be another workbench and some shelves.:smile:
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I'll confirm the looseness with age. I just looked out a 50/2 Nikkor H which I got as a spare years ago and haven't touched since. I'm pretty certain it's never been touched by a service center. It's loose, and has a very light and "patchy" drag. Doesn't feel at all like my other Nikkors.
     
  12. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    The lubricants used in these lenses do not last forever. In many of the old Nikkors they simply dry out. You can still use the lenses this way but you will eventually wear out the helicoids. Other lenses like old Canon FL or Minolta MC lenses can get very stiff. Those lenses also need a going over and relubrication.
     
  13. rknewcomb

    rknewcomb Member

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    "Those lenses also need a going over and relubrication."

    These are beautiful lenses with no wear, still in the boxes, some with the instruction booklets. I'd like to use them.

    Who would I send these old mechanical lenses to for an overhaul?

    Robert
     
  14. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I send mine to my local Nikon Authorized Service center.

    If I didn't use them, I'd go to Steve's Camera in Culver City, CA.

    It's not brain surgery so any competent tech should be able to do the work correctly.
     
  15. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Essex Camera Service in Carlstadt, NJ does very nice work. If you are on the West Coast you might also consider Ken Ruth at Photography On Bald Mountain in Davenport, CA.
     
  16. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    It is probably down to the age of the lenses. Not so much the use they have but the grease they lubricate the helical threads with Too much and they are stiff, too little and they get sloppy. All it needs is a good service to get them back up to standard.
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My experience is that the factory lube lasts a long time, but the looseness is definitely associated with usage. Use the lens more an dhte looser it gets faster. Maybe there is some issue with the amount of grease used, but there may be more of an issue with the shear strength; the grease comes in different "thicknesses".
     
  18. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    If you're in the middle of the country, Havel's Camera in San Antonio, TX is reasonably priced, quick on the turnaround, and very experienced.
     
  19. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    My old AI Nikkors always had very light focusing, from new. It is a little disconcerting, but they were precise. I got used to it quickly, coming to appreciate the ability to one-finger the focus ring if need be. Slop is clearly due to wear, but considering the lousy feel and wobble in so many auto focus lenses, I figure a little looseness is not that serious.

    One of my Pentax SMC-M lenses, bought used, had some wear, causing a slight wobble. I asked Eric Hendrickson (one of the gods of Pentax repair), and he said it would not be a problem, and wasn't worth the cost to fix. Just for the heck of it, I took off the helicoid part (it is a zoom, and is front group focusing, single helicoid). I wrapped some teflon tape around the inner part, stretching it tight to thin it. I put the helicoid together, and worked it back and forth a few times. Then I lubed it and reassembled it. The tape filled the small gap, and the lens still feels great several years later.

    Thicker grease will also fill the gap, but I wanted to keep my focus feel the way it was, plus I didn't have to buy thicker lube for just that one lens.
     
  20. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    I have a 20mm f/4. Focus is, and always has been, somewhat loose---or as an optimist might say, "quick". Accurate though.
     
  21. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I have owned the 24mm f2 ais, 28mm f2 ai, and 35mm 1.4 ais. My 24mm is a bit loose, but not sloppy. The 28 is wonderfully dampened much like my 50mm 1.2 and 105mm 2.5. I don't have the 35mm anymore, had to be returned because of lens separation at the edges but it was also very nice handling.

    I guess it depends on the level of abuse and the conditions it was used/ stored in. Sometimes even new old stock lenses have problems and have to be cleaned of the old grease that sometimes may migrate around.
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    No, only old ones that have been well used over many years, and need servicing.