What should I do with this lens?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Ara Ghajanian, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Hey gang,
    My girlfriend dropped her Nikon FM, but luckily it was in a soft case and it landed on the lens instead of the camera. The lens is an E series 50mm f1.8. The front of the lens has been pushed in on an angle due to the impact and the focus ring won't turn anymore. It's a nice lens, but my camera repair guy told me to not even bother having it repaired. I ended up getting her another one on eBay for about $40. Now I have this damaged lens (which is mint other than the obvious problem) sitting on my kitchen table begging to be shot with. I'm thinking of taking it apart and trying to fix it myself. I'm sure it won't be a perfect fix so I'm wondering if I can turn it into a special effects lens somehow. Does anyone have any ideas?
    Ara
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Take it apart and try to fix it. If nothing else it will be a learning experience.
     
  3. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    find the point of focus on the lens and use it for creative imagery. it might be your personal lensbaby. think about the DOF and bokeh that this aberrant lens might create for you. a one-of-a-kind 50mm shift lens.
     
  4. laz

    laz Member

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    Ditto that, risk free learning experiences are worth far more than $40.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Nikon 50mm 1.8 E's were never meant to actually take pictures with. Best use is to turn it around backwards and make a focus loupe out of it for the view camera ground glass. It should work good as ever for that.
     
  6. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Nikon's E-series lenses were intended to accompany the EM body as part of a "less expensive" package designed for entry-level casual photographers. This was long before digital - and even before P&S became popular. They were optically quite good (the 100mm f2.8 series E was a fabulous portrait lens that also was very good with extension tubes in macro applications), but mecahnically they were not in the same class as Nikkors.

    What that means is that if your girlfriend's camera landed on the lens, the lens is probably toast. But as Mrcallow has noted, an unrepairably trashed lens could provide an interesting education. So take it apart to see how it's built. You may not be able to repair it, but you could learn a lot about lenses.
     
  7. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I would do this, too. If it proves worthless at that, too you can try to repair it.
     
  8. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well... perhaps I am guilty of ignorance or my lack of experience makes me easy to please - I don't know, but I have one of these lenses (got it on an FG that I picked up for $5 with a Nikon flash... all work 100%!). And I found that, yes - it is flimsy and feels cheap, but... it is rather good optically from my experience.

    I would try to fix it - its one of those "can't make it worse" situations, so you might as well. Then again, I like tinkering, so any excuse is a good one - only my total lack of faith in my abilities and knowledge of optics repair prevents me from doing it. But in a case like that, I certainly would.
     
  9. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    One step ahead of you. I already tried that and found that there is no point of focus anymore. Very strange indeed.

    I will try to repair it, the only thing is that if I do repair it how will I know it's up to par again? What if it's slightly off in which case I may ruin many future photos?
    Ara
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Ara,
    As you've discovered, the series E lenses aren't the most durable. What has happened is, on impact, one of the threads in the focusing helix has jumped or been pushed onto another. If you're going to attempt disassembly, start at the front. The back won't get you anywhere.
    Remove the decorator ring with a large rubber stopper by holding the stopper at an angle & unscrew the ring CCW. Just removing the ring may give enough play to squeeze the focus ring & "pop" it back in place. If you live right, that is. If you end up popping it towards the lens mount, you may find that focus will need to be adjusted. I don't feel comfortable trying to describe that procedure. It's kind of like knowing how to get somewhere but not being able to give someone else directions.
     
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Ara, put it on a chain for your girlfreind to wear around her neck as a reminder not to be such a klutz.
     
  12. get_me_a_gun

    get_me_a_gun Member

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    Maybe if I was the one who dropped it, that would help. I think my roomate dropped it but felt too bad to tell me.

    Oh well.

    -Lisa
     
  13. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Before disassembly, you might take a moment to think if the lens would make a useful subject in any way. You might find some artistic merit in using it in a few images.

    But, yes, definately take the opportunity to learn something about how lenses are made...taking things apart is how I (and I suspect, many others) learned to fix them. The very worst thing you'll end up with is a completely disassembled lens with some broken parts. You might find that one or two of the elements are useful for making a magnifier...something you could use as a loupe for examining negatives. (A reversed 50mm lens of any variety is useful for this, but not when the elements are misaligned.)

    This is definately more of an opportunity than a problem. :smile:
     
  14. Blighty

    Blighty Subscriber

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    Yep! Use it as a loupe on your lightbox!
     
  15. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I have to second that. I really like my 100mm f2.8. The 75-150 zoom is very nice too, but I find that I prefer the size of the 100mm.

    I was always told about the poor build quality of the Series E lenses. Compared to a metal 105mm Nikkor, they feel like toys, but compared with some of the stuff out today, they are not really that bad.

    Matt
     
  16. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I started a recent thread about what to do with a dead DSLR and lens. It seems a waste to have these things not be used, but at some point you have to admit that it is gone.

    I did see a good image once on Photo.net. A guy put an arrow through a canon lens. Turned out the lens had been dropped anyway, so he made it into a subject.

    If you have any kids around, take the lens apart, give the positive (magnifying) lenses to them to burn leave, ants, all the things kids do.

    Matt
     
  17. derevaun

    derevaun Member

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    Sounds like it's just stuck beyond infinity. In any case you'll probably need to remove (or flip?) some elements before you'll get much brownie/lensbaby action. At level worst, you can use the rear housing as a base for a hand-held tilt/shift contraption. What good is a camera bag without a hacksaw?
     
  18. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Good use!
    It also works for viewing negs/slides in a light table

     
  19. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    Hey Lisa,
    I thought you said you dropped it.

    Everyone,
    This is the girlfriend. She's been successfully converted from digital to film. She's presently studying photography in college. She also uses Rodinal. Am I lucky or what? Say hello and welcome her to APUG.
    Ara
     
  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to APUG Lisa!
     
  21. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Don't think too much about it.... this things happen.
    Luckily it was a $40 Nkkkor E lens and not a $4000 Ultra Apochromatic Angenieux :smile:

    Welcome to the wortld of APUG

     
  22. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Welcome, Lisa - we're glad to have you!
     
  23. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Hi Lisa! Welcome to APUG. Wanna play with my Zorki? I am tired of it anyway.

    *L*

    With some work and a little luck, you can become the High Priestess of Rodinal. Of course, you'll have to move to Scandinavia.


    tim in san jose