Fundamentals: Grease and Lubrication (2/3)

We had a lengthy commentary on screws and drivers on the previous post and the next important subject to consider is lubrication. If you have read any of Nikon’s repair manuals you will see that Nikon uses different types of lubricants on different parts of their lenses and cameras. While this is the best practice in camera manufacturing, it is not practical for DIY lens restoration for a lot of reasons, some of which are:

  • It is expensive to keep an inventory of various lubricants.
  • It is not cost effective if you are just fixing your own stuff.
  • You may accidentally mix lubricants.

With the above considerations outlined, we will now start discussing about the most important lubricant in manual focus lenses and how to properly replace them.


Before applying any fresh grease to your helicoids you will definitely need to clean the helicoids first and remove the old, dirty or dried grease.

IMG_1129Just take a look, looks like the grease has not been replaced since 1959! More


Fundamentals: Screws and Drivers (1/3)

In the previous blog post we have outlined most of the essential tools for the repair and maintenance of classic Nikkors. Now, we will be discussing the best application for these tools so that you will less likely to destroy your lens by stripping a screw head or misaligning your helicoids.

Just like everything else in life you may mess up in your first few projects and that is OK. In my case, I messed up three projects because there is just not a lot of online materials for this and any useful information out there are scattered or can be irrelevant at times. The lack of proper tools when I first started was also a big contributor to my failed projects since I thought that it would be just as simple as fixing your average kitchen appliance. The good thing is, I have managed to fix the failed projects now.

This guide is not going to be organised in any order and I will be updating it from time to time as I find new ways and remember anything that I have done in a previous project or find something in another person’s practice. A good deal has been discussed on the previous post so please refer to that as well and I will try not to repeat anything that can be found there. More

Camera and Lens Repair Essentials

In this blog post I will outline to you all the essential tools that you need for restoring manual focus lenses so that you do not waste your time and most importantly money or gear.

Most of the tools that you will need can be bought in regular hardware stores however some of them are quite specialised and can only be bought in specialty stores or online. I live in Tokyo so camera repair equipment is readily available to me from shops, big chain stores and online shopping. These tools are an investment so buy the best that you can afford but do not go overboard and buy something that is insanely expensive but of very limited use.

Luckily, camera repair has a lot in common with watch repair since both deal with precision tools and small hand-held equipment. Going to the watch repair department of your DIY shop can also be fruitful. I grew up in a watchmaking family so the tools and skills are all familiar to me.

I strongly recommend that you follow my equipment advise as close as you possibly can because tools like screw drivers seem to be common across the board but in reality they come in different types. Using the wrong type will result in a stripped screw head.

Finally, I am not going to be responsible for any broken equipment, tools, gear or your health, so please use your common sense and follow safety procedures. Now, on with the tools.

Screwdrivers and Screws:

IMG_1477First, you will need a set of precision screwdrivers. These things are great for smaller screws. Be very sure that you only purchase screwdrivers that are JIS (Japanese International Standard). Any hobby shop with a mini 4X4 or radio control section should have these and chances are they will be JIS. Japanese brands are also more likely to be JIS (Like Tamiya). Never ever buy cheap precision screwdrivers, you will use these for a long time and the damage caused by using the wrong screw driver can be very expensive. If JIS is not available, buy crosspoint drivers. The Philips screwdrivers look similar but work differently so never use the Philips screw drivers on your Japanese brand lenses. The best brand is VESSEL. If you want to, you can also buy individual drivers. More

At the Nikon Museum…

Hello, everybody. Thank you for taking the time and effort to read my first blog entry. I am a photographer living in Tokyo and I would like to share some of the things that I take for granted everyday here in the camera capital of the world to people who are otherwise too busy or lazy to travel here to indulge in their photographic pilgrimage.

One such “must visit pilgrimage site” for the Nikon enthusiast would be the Nikon Museum. The museum was built in anticipation for Nikon’s centenary in 2017. Showcasing what the company has achieved in the 100 years of it’s existence. From it’s humble beginnings when the Japanese government requested the help and assistance of German engineers and scientists to train and spearhead Japan’s own optics industry to what it is today – a prime mover in the industry whose name is synonymous to the recovery of Japan’s economy and export industry after the war and today as one of the world’s leading camera and optics manufacturer.

The museum has no mention of Nikon’s war time involvement except for the instance when Nikon lacked manpower due to wartime manufacturing and had to collaborate with the forerunner of Canon to manufacture and market consumer optics.

HAW_0273.jpgThe museum can be accessed easily from Shinagawa station in Tokyo. It is around 600 meters from the station itself. A detailed map can be found in the Nikon Museum’s website… More