How to fix a "loose" Nikon lens

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by agphotography, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. agphotography

    agphotography Member

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    Hi guys,

    I've got a Nikkor 35mm f/2 AI-S that is loose in the lens barrel and focusing ring. It has a slight wobble that is kind of annoying. I've not tried to disassemble any Nikon lenses before, but I was just wondering if there was any tips on how to tighten the lens up.
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Loose as in it's not loose on the mount, but the actual barrel feels loose in comparison to the focusing ring (or vice-versa)?
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I do not know about this PARTICULAR lens but wobble on the barrel usually indicates that the robust side screws (usually under the aperture ring and/or focus scale ring?) are coming loose. It you can get to them (again, this particular lens I am not familiar with) all you do is tighten them. They are usually underneath all rings, including that focus scale ring.

    Usually, this is accomplished by loosening the tiny set screws holding the focus scale or aperture ring and then slide off all rings until you get to the bottom bare metal where the (usually three) robust screws are that hold the barrel in place. This might necessitate removing the mount (which is not difficult to do but work with a white cloth underneath so that you lose NOTHING!) - David Lyga
     
  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yep and be on the lookout for small springs and/or bearings to fling out when you take the mount off. Not a hard job at all though.
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The last time I experienced that exact "problem" was resolved by having a camera tech overhaul the lens. It came back feeling just like new. The biggest issue was refreshing the damping grease on the focusing mechanism. The price was well worth it.
     
  6. agphotography

    agphotography Member

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    I suspect that's what it was, loose internal screws but I was reluctant to disassemble the lens. It still works fine and focuses easily, I was just bothered by the slight wobble, my other two lenses (a 50 1.4 AI and 50 2 non-ai) have no wobble at all. I may look into fixing it, but as I said, it still technically functions just fine.
     
  7. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    friction ring eg pill box or pill box cap and rubber glove on name plate ring to unscrew is normal first step needs to be 51-50 mm OD.

    remove screws may need acetone and qtip.

    the focus ring should lift off.

    unscrew both heliciod mark entry points.

    remove all damping grease, replace damping grease you should be able to reassemble the aperture mechanism by using a darning needle from mount end as shifting the screws in the mount even cooking them with soldering iron can be mission impossible.

    if the heliciod is badly worn try different entry points not nice to do.

    Note they are all different this is generic for nikon and you reset infinity on a star or moon
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... and then you sell on ebay as "freshly CLA'd but doesn't focus correctly" or "Lens for parts or repair". :laugh:
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Really not a good place to start..
    As david lyga suggested loose screws are far more likely. When the helical is separated, there is only one thread that will give correct focus. *******See above.
     
  10. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If there is no relative movement between the filter ring and the rear cell of the optic it is the grease absent or heliciod threads worn.

    Even if you retain the heliciod entry points you will have to collimate the lens when you rebuild.

    Many SLR lenses will work ok on different entry points, this would not be true for rangefinder lenses.

    The last one I regreased a late series E 5cm collimated easily on different entry.

    The build standard of the E lenses is good.
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The "best" way to fix a loose lens is to take it to a camera repairer.
     
  12. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi Ben

    That is the easiest way but if you reread the OP it was a request for hints for a DIY job...

    Lots of Nikon lenses are beaten up users with little resale value, many people do their own camera maintenance, the Nikon lenses are to a high build standard. But Id not recommend you start repair training with a Nikon lens.

    Noel
     
  13. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    I fixed a loose Nikon lens barrel by tightening small screws under a rubber grip ring on outer cylinder.
     
  14. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Well I've not seen that but different Nikon lenses do have different mechanical arrangements but even more distressingly Nikon have varied simple parts during production of the same lens.
     
  15. jochen

    jochen Member

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    It seems to be a well known problem with the 1:2/35 mm Nikkor that the grease of the focussing helicoid dries up and the focussing torque gets a loose feeling. If you cannot dismantle, clean and relubricate it yourself, send it to a camera repair shop for a CLA. It should not cost very much for this excellent lens.
     
  16. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    +1. From the description, this is the problem, and it is very easy to fix.
     
  17. agphotography

    agphotography Member

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    Sorry I may have not properly described the "issue" I'm experiencing. The focus ring is indeed "loose" as in it focuses very fast, but I don't mind that part really, what I do mind however is that when the lens is mounted on my camera, I can actually wiggle the entire lens barrel just a bit.
     
  18. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi Abram
    you have options
    ignore
    take or send to repair man google orange county Nikon...
    or do it yourself
    normally it is just the little amount of grease Nikon used migrating and one removes and replaces.
    One can use a very light weight grease as Nikon did or a medium grease if you prefer resistance.
    Any good camera repair person should be able to do but it is a waste unless it will rattle when you shake it.
    If you rebuild your auto it is easy yourself otherwise generic repair person.
    Noel
     
  19. winterclock

    winterclock Member

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    I have found that the bronze springs on the lens mount can become flattened out, resulting in a wobbly lens. I use a small round nose pliers to give them a little extra curve to reduce the wobble.
     
  20. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Over the years, I had several Nikkor lenses with loose elements. I just chalked it up to poor quality control. The lenses were bought new.

    That's the price you pay for spot checks, as well as lower prices.
     
  21. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    ????????????????

    I've never seen a lens that worked properly if the helical isn't properly assembled. Pick a brand, any brand.
    If one side short it won't make infinity and one side long won't focus closely.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Over the years I have had several Nikkor lenses with slight wobbles in the front element too. Every time it has been with lenses I have purchased new and used for years heavily until the focus became loose and dry sounding. In all cases the situation was resolved with a lens servicing. I chalk it up to being so cheap as to not having a lens overhauled when it needs an overhaul. My techs over the years have never been surprised by the situation, nor were they ever unable to rectify the situation for the price of a normal lens servicing. I never got the impression from them that the situation had anything to do with poor QC... but it is an interesting theory.
     
  23. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    The late 5cm series E had sufficient travel on inner and outer heliciod threads to allow different (pairs of) entry points for wear alleviation. The close focus and infinity stops are independent of the heliciod, the E has a coarse inner for its 90 degree focus turn from infinity to close in.
    But the focus adjustment is limited and needs a matching pair of entry points. It is like a Rubic cube difficult if you cant see the topology.
    The problem my lens had was absence of grease it had migrated.
    When the trial fit worked ok (collimated) on moon, l screwed on the name plate ring.
    Id not recommend it normally but it works ok as a salvage.
    Takes about 15 minutes if you retain original entrypoints. The only special tool is darning needle to align the aperture mechanism on reassembly.
     
  24. rgeorge911

    rgeorge911 Member

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    This is the response I found useful!

    To be clear, on my 5cm f1.4 lens the springs are on the lens (not the body). A TINY amount of pressure with a well-placed miniature screwdriver solved the problem (lens wobbling in body mount) perfectly.

    Thanks!
    Reed
    My Blog: DMC-365.blogspot.com