Tonight's Challenge: Save a Lens!

Discussion in 'Projects/Repair' started by 480sparky, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. 480sparky

    480sparky Regular

    Aug 24, 2015
    Stopped by the local brick-n-mortar toy store today just to see what was up. They tossed me this:


    Said someone left it (Nikkor 200/4 Ai) under the seat of their truck for 3 years. Brought it in to see if it was worth fixing, and Nikon said how much it would be. He said, "Forget it!" and wanted to toss it. So they kept it and waited for me to darken their door.

    What the heck, I thought! It's a free lens! It's at least worth trying to clean it up. These old lenses aren't that difficult to disassemble. So tonight, after supper, I cracked out the tools. Other than the dust on the front element, there was a lot of fungus on the rear of the second element.


    A couple rounds of scrubbing cleaned that up nicely!


    But more trouble lurked further in.



    But still within reach of going in through where the aperture blades are. Several q-tips and some cleaning fluid later;


    Reassemble, and I get a rather nice 200mm Ai out of the deal.


    Yes, there's still some fungus further in, but not on the glass. And there is a slight amount between the front two elements. But heck. It's free!

    I'll need to get a spanner wrench to take off the retaining ring between the front two elements, but that can easily wait for now. Now to take 'er out and shoot 'er (as opposed to it's fate as of this morning, and that was landfill fodder!)

    I love saving old glass!
    • Like Like x 9
  2. lenshacker

    lenshacker Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    Looks good- and FREE!

    You need to get that spanner- many more lenses to be saved.

    For residual fungus, I put the lens under a UV lamp. Not sure what good it does, but I tell myself "It's killing the fungus"...
  3. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Great job. I've saved a Leica 90mm collapsible before now. One thing that I did - and resonating with Lenshacker above - is parked the lens in the Sun for a while; I don't know if it does kill the fungus - or the risk of it spreading to other lenses - but it's worth the precaution. I think the #1 cause of fungus actually eating lenses, by the way, is how they are stored. All those leather cases that used to be popular are killers...
  4. Richard

    Richard Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I'm always careful not to leave lenses out in the sun, because I've read that there's a risk of lubricant from the moving parts heating up and finding its way onto glass surfaces. I'm not sure if that's correct, but it's made me careful about leaving cameras and binoculars in the sun. A short, sharp dose of UV seems like a better approach.

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Very, very cool.
  6. donlaw

    donlaw All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    I have one of those 200mm f4 nikkors. Without dust and fungus.
    It is a decent lens fun to use with the Df.
    Nice job on your clean up.