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Playing around with a stock 18-55 and a Sigma 70-300 ...
Now, with an SMC Takumar 105 and a CZJ Flektogon 35 too ...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cleaning from fungus: Nikkor 50 f/1.4 ...

... whether Ai, NAi or Pre-Ai, i don't have any clue (sorry Nikon shooters) ...
Nevertheless, a really nice lens to let the evil fungus there ...

As usual, the standard foreword: it worked for me, it doesn't mean that it will work for you. In other words, whether you decide to repair your lens by yourself, or to let a pro do the job, it's up to you:
I have no responsibility if you destroy your lens.

Now, let's the game begin ...

As you can see in the picture below, it is clearly infected by a fungus,
on the element rear the frontal one (we'll see that later) ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1570


Having some spare time, i prepared the "shock team" for action:
A sink cap
A small screwdriver
A pro-grade spanner wrench (thanks again, Alex)
Some cold cream
Some Q-tips
Zippo fluid
Lens cleaning fluid
A micro-fiber cloth

Now, let's the game begin ...

Using the sink cap, unscrew the front name ring ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1572

... and gently remove the front element.

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1573

Now, remove the filter support by unscrewing the small screw shown below (you must focus the lens to its shortest distance to see it) ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1577

Once the screw removed, unscrew the filter support ring to remove it ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1579

Now you will notice two notches for a spanner wrench.
DO NOT TRY TO UNSCREW THE RING RIGHT NOW!
Using the spanner wrench, very very gently shake the cell ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1580

... then, simply slip off the optical cell (two fingers will suffice) ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1581

Once the cell removed, unscrew its front element using the spanner wrench ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1584

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1585

Notice the three spots of fungus molds on the lens ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1586

Now, time to fix this: apply some cold cream on the lens to remove the fungus ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1587

... spread it using a q-tip and let it dry.
In the meantime, take a look at the diaphragm blades, to be sure that they are clean: if you need to clean them, it would be quite easy now ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1589

Let the cream destroy the molds during about an hour, then get the super cleaner (Zippo fluid) ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1590

... drop a few fluid on several q-tips and remove the cream from the lens. Notice that the three spots are no longer there ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1591

Using some optical cleaning fluid, remove the traces left by the Zippo fluid on the lens ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1592

Notice that there is no more haze on the lens ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1593

Time to rebuild the lens: screw in the front element in its cell ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1594

... gently slip in the cell in the focusing barrel (note the align screw on the side of the optical group) ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1595

... until it completely fits in the barrel ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1596

Finally, clean the front element and put it back on the lens, then screw in the front name ring. That's all ...

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1603

Now, some sample shots with the freshly cleaned lens:

At f/8:

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1608

At f/4:

Nikkor 50 1.4 Fix - IMGP1614


Feel free to browse to the whole Flickr set available here, there are some more pictures, and they have overlaying notes where required.

The Nikkor wishes to say thanks for its new sight to the whole surgery team, to Rick Oleson for his great site endless source of inspiration and help, to the MFlenses team (Alex and Attila) for supplying professional grade lens-repair tools at fair prices, and, of course, my K10D with its FA-43 Limited for the pictures ...

Now, time to go have some phun ;-) ...

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19 Comments:

Blogger shane said...

The process was very clear with the pictures that are demonstrated. Air duct cleaning service should be performed at least once every three to five years.

December 18, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

... As well as a dry box ...

Thanks for commenting

December 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Pelicanman said...

I don't know where to get sink caps or spanner wrenches, but if I can locate them I plan to try using your instructions on a fuzzy Nikkor 75-135mm lens with macro. I don't mind that much if I don't succeed, since the lens has almost zero resale value with fungus in it.

Or I might try with a broken Canon FD lens instead, as long as I can get it open.

I love your blog and photostream. Thanks for writing so much helpful information.

March 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Pelicanman,

At first, thanks for spending your time here and commenting ...

You can get some fine spanner wrenches from attila931 (or hk300) eBay sellers (you can get in touch with them on the mflenses.com forum), or from Micro-tools (but they are more expensive) ...

The sink cap should be easily found in an hardware store, but you can eventually replace it with a rubber kitchen glove, using your fingers to unscrew the front ring (a bit tricky, but it works) ...

Thanks for your kind comments.

March 5, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Anonymous LBEL said...

THANKS a lot!!
When I think about lenses i didn't bought because of fungus..
Now I know.

Thanks again (et superbes photos de Toulouse, je suis toulousain ou presque)

March 17, 2010 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi LBEL,

Thanks for spending your time here ...

I too, i didn't buy some lenses because i didn't know how to fix fungus ... I would really have liked to find a blog like this some years ago, but maybe my wallet would have suffered a bit more ;-) ...

Merci pour les photos, je n'ai pas eu le temps de me balader plus, mais je vais essayer de me rattraper maintenant que les journées se rallongent ...

Merci pour les commentaires ...

March 17, 2010 at 10:58 PM  
Blogger Species: Cheekius_Geekus said...

I really appreciate your clear tutorials/pix/explanations. I have a number of 50mm f1.4 Taks that have some slight fungus problems and I need to try this.

I'm also curious as to whether you have ever fixed a "lazy aperture" problem on an m42 lens? I have a Sears/Mamiya 55mm f1.4 that has this problem.

April 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Species: Cheekius_Geekus,

At first, thanks for your kind comments ...

The Takumars are quite easy to disassemble, you should be able to fix them easily.

For what concerns the lazy aperture, the cause is usually a weak spring. I have fixed my Tessar 50/2.8 by replacing the original spring with one coming from a pen ...

Alternatively, you can try to build yourself a spring using a piano string and an electric drill, but i have been unable to succeed this way ...

April 18, 2010 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger Jez said...

Thanks for this pictorial guide - very useful...!

When you say 'sink cap' do you mean the plug for the sink drain hole...?

I'm in the UK and 'sink cap' is not a term I'm familiar with.

Thanks

August 5, 2010 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Jez said...

Ignore my question - I found the answer on your home page...!

August 5, 2010 at 4:21 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Jez,

Thanks for reading and commenting ...

I'm afraid about the term "sink cap", but i'm not a native english speaker and i used an online translator ...

Anyway, glad to see that you have found what you were looking for ...

Thanks again for reading and commenting.

August 7, 2010 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Jesito said...

Thanks a lot for sharing!. It's a great article.

August 27, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Thanks Jesito, for spending your time here and commenting ...

August 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

Hi,

Why do you using cold cream and not something like Fonx ? Did you try with ?

September 27, 2010 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Doc,

I don't know Fonx, it seems to be something similar to Mycoster. Although both of them should work good, cold cream is simply so cheap (3.75 euros for a tube that can fix a several hundreds lenses) and it has been widely tested by professional repairmen (luckily, some of them shared the hint) ...

But, since i have an expired tube of Mycoster hanging around, i think the next fix will be done with it. Will post here if it works ...

Thanks for reading and commenting.

September 27, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Hi and many thanks for this post. You've given me some insight into lens construction. My problem is I have a loose front element on my Nikkor 28 mm f2.8 AIS (manual lens). So, it looks like I might be able to tighten the front ring?

October 20, 2010 at 10:21 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Robert, i have never serviced the 28/2.8, but i would say that effectively you should tighten the front ring ...
Nevertheless, if you never did this before, be careful when screwing in the ring, as you could damage the front lens. My suggestion: unscrew the front ring and be sure that the front element perfectly fits in place, then screw in again the ring ...
If you don't have something like the cap i used here, to screw the front ring you could try a kitchen glove, which offers enough grip ...

Hope this helps ...

October 25, 2010 at 1:15 AM  
Blogger Renzo said...

Hi IndianaDinos, I saw you're very skilled with disassembling, clenaning and repairing lenses... So, may be you can be of great help... I own a Minolta AF 50mm f/1.4 which, unfortunetely, fell in salt water... I disassembled all the lens and cleaned it, it seems ok, but... the front element cell, held tightly with plastic ring, shows some drops of water in the inner. As I know all the element should be air-resistant, I guess it is no more... For your experience, is there a way to separate the plastic ring from the glass...?
Thanks so much,
Renzo from Italy

January 12, 2012 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger IndianaDinos said...

Hi Renzo ...

At first, thanks for spending your time here and commenting ...
Then, sorry for the really late reply ...

I have never serviced Minolta lenses and, generally speaking, i have serviced an AF lens only once ...

Unluckily, without a picture, it wouldn't be easy to reply to your question ... Moreover, i have no friend owning the same lens as yours for checking ...

If the ring you are talking about is the front name ring, it should be quite easy to unscrew, eventually with a few droplets of WD40 ...

If you are still looking for a way to fix it, feel free to post a comment with a picture, so that we could check how to fix it ...

Again, sorry for the late reply ...

February 29, 2012 at 1:10 AM  

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