Repair: Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto

Hello, everybody! It is a cold morning here in Tokyo so I am not in the mood to go out or do anything outside my cozy room unless I have to. This gave me the time to spend with my daughter and wife as well as to update this blog.


In this post I am going to share my repair notes for the Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto. Before this got into my collection I have always hated all of Nikon’s 50/1.4 lenses because of my previous experience with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-D. I have used that lens for years and frankly, it’s a lens that I can’t use wide open so I sold it for the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art but I am now at peace with the Nikon’s 50/1.4 thanks to the older Nikkors that taught me how a lens should be appreciated. This is one of those lenses and I am going to share with you my experience with this lens. This article is for the mid-production model of this lens but it is also applicable for the later production variants of this lens.

IMG_5990.JPGThe Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 when paired with the Nikon Df makes for a very good setup for general photography. Despite its age the lens is still very capable and enjoyable to use. Its optical design was used in production for some 12 years and the last version to use that is the New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 version 1 from 1974-1976. 12 years is considered to be long in those days and this just shows how well-designed this lens is.

The lens was preceded by the Nikkor-S 5.8cm f/1.4 Auto lens. At the time, it was difficult to design a true 50/1.4 lens for SLR’s because of the mirror getting in the way of the glass. The Nikon F has a big 100% viewfinder and you need a big mirror for that. The solution was to make the lens a bit longer and it was a stop-gap until back-focus techniques have been mastered. This lens was a milestone for Nikon and the Japanese optics industry, it’s the first true 50/1.4 lens for SLR’s and this lens became so popular with photographers it was made in huge numbers. It’s a pretty good performer considering its age.

IMG_9363This picture is from Nikon’s 1967/68 catalogue. Do you recognize the lenses on tha table? Nikon made many Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto over its long production run.

FullSizeRender 12.jpgHere are the 3 major variants of this lens. There are many more minor variants between these 3 but the differences are so insignificant so I will not cover them here on this post.

I will describe each one of them in the section below (from left to right):

Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto (early): This early variant has a lot in common with the Nikkor-S 5.8cm f/1.4 Auto in terms of engineering and construction. It doesn’t have screws on the bayonet mount and the focusing ring is screwed in-place from the outside. Some screws are situated differently compared to the later versions. There are many small differences inside such as how the objective is secured and other small details that I will not cover. It has almost no adjustments for anything inside and was hand-made with precision.

Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto (mid): This is the version that is featured here. This is probably the most common variant that you will see on the used market now. It has a modern feel to it compared to the earlier version and there are parts where you can adjust things like infinity focusing and other stuff unlike the early variant of this lens. This doesn’t have a bluish-cast on the image because this was made with color film in mind.

Nikkor-S.C 50mm f/1.4 Auto (last): This is the last version and it was coated with Nikon’s renowned multi-coating. There aren’t a lot of differences between this and the previous one but are more likely to see this lens come with Ai-compatible aperture ring. This is the most desirable model to get if you are a user and not a collector.

IMG_2238.JPGPardon the dirty glass but I got it in this condition. Notice the nice purple coating? Earlier versions have a deep-amber coating. This improved coating is much better at controlling flares and ghosts. The earlier variants have a cooler cast on you images because they’re designed to work with monochrome film. This version doesn’t have it because color film is starting to become popular for the masses during the ’70s when this was introduced.

ghostsHow does the 3 version differ in terms of coatings? This simple test should be enough to give you an idea. You can see that the early version has the poorest performance and the last version is the best one when it comes to flare and ghost resistance. Seeing this, does it mean that the early and the mid-production versions are bad? No. If you know when to use it and how then these problems will not be very apparent. Using a hood helps but I’m one of those people who are too lazy to even bring one because I want to keep my setup as compact as possible. Besides, you can use the flare for your creative vision.

IMG_1891.JPGJust take a look at that big rear element. The baffles aren’t enough to guard it completely so be careful with the rear element so you won’t scratch it. Any damage here will show in your bokeh balls. If you don’t believe me, read my article on damaged lens artifacts.

These days, I shoot manual focus lenses everyday and the need for a manual focus 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor became obvious. I went junk hunting and found 2 Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 that I could add to my collection (one served as a source for spare parts). These are cheap these days so you can buy one for very little money. I think I got mine for less than $10.00. Try your luck, maybe you can find something better.

It’s important to study how a lens performs in real-life settings, this will help us evaluate it better so we will know what the lens’ weaknesses and strengths are so we’ll know how and when to use this lens for our creative advantage. We don’t shoot sharts here but we study real-life photos and do a broad observation based on our impressions of a lens and how it renders. I see lenses as artists’ tools so numbers and charts come second to what a lens does in terms of rendering.

Here are some sample images shot using the early version of this lens. While the coating is improved since the mid-production variant, they’re just too similar so I’m going to use the early variant to illustrate the worst that this lens can do.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some samples with the lens shot directly at the sun. To the left, I shot the image at f/1.4 to exaggerate the effect. As expected, we got an ugly flare and a huge ghost within the frame. Who needs “hipster filters” when you have something like this! To the right, I stopped the lens down to f/8 and you immediately see that the flare’s almost gone and the ghosts have solidified into polygonal blobs. You get nice sunstars with this lens, too.

HAW_9874The Nikkor-S 50mm f/1.4 Auto is very sharp when stopped-down. Foliage is notorious for smearing and showing a lens’ imperfections due to its frequency. I think this was shot at f/8. The image is very pleasing and looks very natural unlike recent lenses.

HAW_9875Of course, people choose this lens for the bokeh! This was shot at f/5.6 and you see that it looks very painterly. The rendition is amazing and despite hints of “double-line bokeh”, it is still a very smooth rendering of the scene. Remember, we are shooting foliage here!

HAW_9876Here is the bokeh when shot wide-open. It’s so smooth! Everything melts into a wash and with the proper lighting and subject you can have a very nice photo. This is an “art” lens!

HAW_9872Here is a “real” photo shot with this lens wide-open. Notice how smooth the transition is between what’s focused and what’s not. I was focusing on the dot on the forehead and it’s tack-sharp at f/1.4 and details are amazing. The background was also rendered nicely so it’s not obvious that I was shooting this at a graveyard with lots of clutter at the back.

HAW_9902This lens is also capable of focusing close at around 1m. The little wooden owl’s eye is so sharp that you will think that this was shot at f/2. Just look at how thin the DOF is on this.

HAW_9843.jpgHere is another bokeh shot. The veiling flare is used creatively here, making the picture a bit dreamy and surreal. Notice that the bokeh balls have a tendency to produce outlines. Chromatic aberration is also exhibited here but it’s not really that bothering.

Below are some pictures shot at f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 and f/4 (in order). These should give you an idea on how this lens performs in the wider apertures. I didn’t bother shooting at f/5.6 so just forget about it. Besides, you shoot with a fast lens to use it at wider apertures.

(Click to enlarge)

The lens is already pretty sharp where in-focus at f/1.4 and stopping it down to f/2 makes it even sharper while still retaining a smooth background. At f/2.8, the lens is capable of giving you very sharp and contrasty images and stopping it down to f/4 doesn’t really add a lot except that the background is now less blurry. For practical purposes, I will shoot it at f/2 and f/2.8. Shooting wide-open is an option for low-light environments and I will not hesitate to do so when I need to because this lens is an amazing performer even at f/1.4.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some random photos of people at the street. These were shot from f/4 to f/5.6 so the DOF is a lot deeper. It’s a very nice lens for people photography and I’ll recommend it to everybody for general photography. The older glass produces images with character or a unique and organic look that is lacking in many modern lenses.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some more pictures from this lens. This time, I shot some random people at the park. The veiling flare from this lens can be useful at times for rendering skin. When you have a bright light shining on fair-skinned people you will get a nice glow at the specular highlights of the skin. It can be used as a “flattering” effect, specially for older people.

Let’s now see some samples that were shot using film. It’s good to see how a lens renders with film because film has a unique look that’s near-impossible to replicate because of its grain. This is an old lens and it was calculated to work with film and not digital so seeing how it works with film will get us closer to what the designers were thinking when they were designing this lens. I took these photos with Fujifilm Industrial 100 and I had these scanned with Fujiflm Frontier SP-3000 at my favorite lab.

FH000017I took this at f/4, I think. The depth-of-field is deeper and that will enable me to get more things in focus. The lens is very sharp at this aperture, which is saying a lot for a Nikkor that was made some 50 years ago.

FH000001Another picture that was taken using smaller apertures, probably at f/5.6 or f/4. Despite it having a little bit of barrel distortion it’s still a good lens for taking these kinds of photos so long as you don’t put vertical and horizontal lines near the edges of the frame. Notice that this picture has a slight blue cast, many lenses that were designed to work using the old-standard monochrome film do this.

FH000012Not sure if this was taken at f/5.6 but I am sure that this wasn’t taken at faster apertures. I love how natural the look of the photos are, some people call this look “out-dated” but it’s the reason why some people prefer to use older lenses these days.

FH000014This was probably taken at f/2.8, sharpness is nice and we don’t see chromatic aberration at the important parts of the scene where things are in-focus. We do see some of it in the wires because they’re not in-focus. This level of chromatic aberration is tolerable for me but some people will freak-out over this. We actually add this as an effect when finishing our renders in post at the studio that I used to work in so our computer-generated photos and renders look real and not fake as in most cases with CGI.

FH000008Focusing can be difficult wide-open because of the shallow depth-of-field. Even tracking a subject that’s walking slowly like this can be challenging. What I do is pre-focus on the part where I want my subject to be and click when they’re at the same plane. In this case I missed my focus because the mainland Chinese lady entered the frame just before the lady in shorts walk into my focus plane. The mainland Chinese lady will hide at the sight of a camera so I settled on not having my subject in-focus but I got the other lady within the frame. The lady in shorts is also looking at her and that split-second “moment” had to be captured and immortalized in film. The best way to avoid this is to shoot with a small aperture like f/8 but I don’t have the luxury of doing this since my film speed isn’t fast.

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s the rest of the set. I am digging the vintage-look that I get with this lens and I now see why some videographers like using this lens. The look with film is certainly different than digital and the pictures feel like they have “soul”, not soul as in a “soul-brother” but they look unique and the imperfections work together to present you a photo with many layers of subtle flaws and details so it makes the picture more interesting. Let’s now see some samples that were taken with a film stock that looks closer to digital because it has fine-grain and is sharper than most cheap film stocks – Fujifilm Provia. It’s a slide film so it renders differently from reversal film and is more difficult to meter.

(Click to enlarge)

This set of pictures was shot at f/2.8 and you can see just how sharp this lens is. I love the character of this lens. The subtleness of its rendering and all of the flaws of this lens can come together serendipitously and give you a “classic-looking” picture. These pictures do remind me of Fujifilm’s Provia despite being shot with a DSLR and this lens is the reason.

I hope that these pictures helped give you a better understanding of what makes this lens a classic amongst Nikkors and why many people are still using these even today. This is a lens that you can buy cheap but do spend a little more and buy the ones that come with a factory Ai-ring so you can use them with newer Nikon cameras. As my simple tests show, I will advise that you get the last version with better coatings because it just works unless you want to shoot photos or videos with plenty of ghosts and flares for effect. This lens is a must-have for collectors but casual shooters will benefit from these, too. The price and look that you get with this lens is special and it’s hard to find an alternative to it as far as Nikkors are concerned. If you want a more-modern feel then the New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 will be the lens for you. It’s basically the same lens but in a different presentation. It has a rubber grip so your fingers won’t feel cold when using it in colder climates. These are also sold cheap but not as plentiful as the version that we have in this article. I like using the all-metal ones because I like how the deep knurling feels. They also look cool because of this and that will probably help inspire a bit of creativity. You can’t go wrong with this lens so long as you get a good sample.

Before We Begin:

If this is the first attempt at opening a lens then I suggest that you read my previous posts regarding screws & driversgrease and other things. Please also read what I wrote about the tools that you will need in order to fix your Nikkors.

I highly suggest that you read these primers before you begin (for beginners):

Reading these primers should lessen the chance of ruining your lens if you are a novice. Before opening up any lens, always look for other people who have done so in Youtube or the internet. Information is scarce, vague and scattered (that is why I started this) but you can still find some information if you search carefully.

I highly recommend that you also read my working with helicoids post because this is very important and getting it wrong can ruin your day. If I can force you to read this, I would. It is that important!

For more advanced topics, you can read my fungus removal post as a start. This post has a lot of useful information here and there and it will be beneficial for you to read this.

Disassembly (Lens Barrel):

This is one of those lenses where you can remove the whole objective(optical block) from the rest of the lens without having to open the bayonet mount but this is a pre-Ai lens so for the purpose of converting the aperture ring to Ai-spec and to overhaul the whole lens I had to open it from the bayonet first.

As mentioned in my Best Practices post, before working on a lens, set the lens first to its rest position. In this case, turn the focus ring to infinity and work on the lens while it is focused to infinity.

Thankfully, like most similar pre-Ai Nikkor primes of its class the assembly is simple and the engineering, precise. It wasn’t a pain at all to disassemble and put back but there are some things that you should take into consideration and we’ll start discussing them now.

In case you have an early version of this lens, the Nikkor-S 5.8cm f/1.4 Auto lens is closer to it in terms of barrel construction. It’s so similar that you can use it as a reference for it when it comes to disassembling the lens barrel.

IMG_1358To open the bayonet you’ll have to remove these screws that hold it in place. Just be sure that you have the correct screwdriver and use a long shafted one because these screws are easily damaged and they are usually held by Loctite or something else. If you are not experienced with lens repair then read my article on removing bayonet screws so you’ll know what kind of drivers to use and what the proper techniques are for doing this. You should be careful with this because many people get stuck at this stage because of using the wrong drivers and techniques so they stripped the heads of their screws.

One of the screws here should not be touched. It is responsible for keeping a tiny spring in place under the bayonet plate. I have forgotten which specific screw that is, I think it’s the screw closest to the bayonet lock (the tall flat head screw at 6 o’çlock).

For earlier version with no screws on the bayonet mount, skip this step and refer to the Nikkor-S 5.8cm f/1.4 Auto repair article for this section.

IMG_1361Remove the bayonet mount from the rest of the lens and be very careful not to undo this spring. I secured mine with my wife’s nail polish so that it will not accidentally go flying across the room and lose this forever!

IMG_1363Set your aperture to f/8 or any f-number that you use for reference. This way, when you have to put your aperture ring back after Ai conversion, you know where the hole for the aperture ring is. Having done that, you can remove the screw on the aperture ring itself and the aperture ring should come off easily.

For earlier versions with no screws on the bayonet mount, you will have to remove this same screw first and then carefully unscrew the aperture ring (counter clockwise) from the rest of the lens. But before doing this, turn the aperture ring clock-wise first until it has reached a point where you cannot tighten it any more. Now, count how many turns it took for you to reach that point and that should give you an idea as to how many turns you need to do when you have to put that aperture ring back.

IMG_1365Remove the 3 small screws from the chrome sleeve. Be very careful because these round-headed screws can be brittle, you don’t want to accidentally strip one by using the wrong screw driver size or unscrewing one from a wrong angle. The chrome sleeve should slide -off easily but if yours is stuck simply apply some alcohol to loosen it.

IMG_1366To unscrew the helicoid off, you will have to remove the helicoid key first. To do this you have to rotate the focus ring until the screws for the helicoid key aligns with their holes. Unscrew these carefully and remove them from the lens using a pair of tweezers or just drop them off to your palm.

IMG_1368Unscrew the lower helicoid until it separates from the rest of the lens. Be careful to mark where they separate! You should also be careful not to scratch the helicoid threads with the loose helicoid key if it is still in the lens while you unscrew the helicoid.

IMG_1370Now, remove the front ring that covers the screws for the main focusing ring. This ring is fragile so be sure not to warp this by using too much pressure on it or else your focusing will be rough.

If you only need to clean the glass elements the you can skip the previous steps and start from here. You do not have to unscrew the helicoids just to clean the optics.

IMG_1373Carefully remove the tiny set screw from the front barrel. Be sure to loosen it just enough to unscrew the front barrel from the lens without the set screw touching the threads of the front barrel. These screws area annoying so I always leave them in their holes if I can help it. You do not want to lose one or ruin the tiny 1mm threaded hole.

IMG_1374Removed the focusing ring by unscrewing the three screws that secure it to the helicoid.

IMG_1377I like my helicoids to be really clean when I re-lubricate them so the helicoid stop has to go as well. Just unscrew the two screws and they should come off easily. Be sure to mark where and how they were originally placed, I had to put the front barrel back just to see how things were like.

IMG_1380The whole optical block should come off easily. Note that the screws are there so that the whole thing is held by the slot on the helicoid.

IMG_1382Now, carefully unscrew the inner helicoid until it separates and be sure to mark where they separate!

IMG_1383This is all we need to do to clean the chassis before we replace the grease in the helicoids.

Working on the barrel is simple and it usually only takes me an hour to work on one. The most time-consuming part is cleaning and it can easily take-up more than 45 minutes or so because I brush these very well to get rid of any residue. You don’t want the old grease to contaminate the fresh one that you’re going to apply so clean these very well. I polish my helicoids really well and even lap them when they feel rough. For this particular lens a thin-type of grease will be the perfect choice. Just make sure that it’s not too-thin or else it will end up migrating to the iris. A thick-type of grease will have too much resistance it will burn a few calories just turning your lens.

Disassembly (Objective):

This portion deals with disassembling the the objective (optical block). You do not have to do this step when all you need to do is to clean the helicoids.

IMG_1391Before starting go search for an illustration of the lens design first as it will serve as your guide when re-assembling and help you determine if a lens was cemented to another one and should not be removed and other important things.

Working on this part is simple but you should have the right tools and skills. If you’re not sure about your skills then practice first on a cheap Canon lens before you work on this.

IMG_1387The rear elements assembly can be accessed by unscrewing the rear barrel off from the main barrel. The rear element was sealed to its housing and you should never attempt to remove it. Be careful not to scratch that big bulbous piece of exposed glass.

IMG_1390You need to use a lens spanner to remove the plate that holds that big piece of glass. That thing is called a “doublet” because it consists of 2 elements cemented together.

IMG_1388The front lens assembly can be easily unscrewed from the main barrel. If it is held tight by adhesives, just do the regular acetone routine and it should be fine.

IMG_1389It took me some time and copious amounts of alcohol to safely unscrew this metal collar from the front elements assembly…

IMG_1392The front element should come off after removing the bezel (name ring). I used a rubber stopper to remove it. Use some alcohol if it was sealed with lacquer and you should come to the same point as the picture above.

That’s all for the objective. It’s a simple exercise for experienced hobbyists like me but it can still be frustrating sometimes because these were sometimes sealed with lacquer or worse – contact cement and other adhesives. I don’t know why some people use stronger types of sealants when lacquer is more-than-enough for this.


I used to have fun working with these lenses but after servicing too many of these lenses I finally got tired of them. Some people may still find this lens exciting to repair so I took the time to make this article. This lens is simple enough for an amateur to work on but I would advise the beginner to first work on cheaper things like any Canon lenses or other cheap non-Nikon lenses so they won’t butcher a Nikkor or Takumar. Once you are ready to work on one then this lens is great as your 2nd Nikkor repair project.

Before you re-assemble everything back make sure that you leave the front cover of the focusing ring out so you can access the screws for the focusing ring. You’ll need to adjust your lens’ focus so it will be accurate with the scale and achieve infinity focus. I you have not read my article on how to adjust your lens’ focus then go ahead and read it. It’s useful for people in a DIY setting and there are many sample scenarios there.

That’s all for this lens. I hope that you enjoyed this article on one of Nikon’s most popular lenses. This is one of my most popular articles so I took some time to revise it. It’s old and there are many things that had to be re-done but I don’t have the time to do so. Writing it all-over again is not an option as I am too busy even on my vacation. If you enjoyed this or if this article has helped you then please consider supporting my work. This will help me pay for the site’s maintenance as well as offset the cost of buying and developing film for the review. I’m proud that this blog showcases original content and your support will help make sure that this continues. I want to make this the best site for anything related to classic Nikkors and Nikons cameras and we can make this happen. Ric.

Help Support this Blog:

Maintaining this blog requires money to operate. If you think that this site has helped you or you want to show your support by helping with the upkeep of this site, you can simple make a small donation to my account ( Money is not my prime motivation for this blog and I believe that I have enough to run this but you can help me make this site (and the companion facebook page) grow.

Helping support this site will ensure that this will be kept going as long as I have the time and energy for this. I would appreciate it if you just leave out your name or details like your country and other information so that the donations will totally be anonymous it is at all possible. This is a labor of love and I intend to keep it that way for as long as I can. Ric.

64 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. orangeelephantphoto
    Jan 23, 2016 @ 13:39:56

    Thank you. Another fascinating & instructive article.


  2. doc a
    Jan 23, 2016 @ 17:30:33

    Ang dami bang junks dyan? Ang galing naman…wala akong ganon ka tyaga…thanks for the effort to share this.


  3. Trackback: Weekly Nikon news flash #353 | Nikon Rumors
  4. carlo
    May 23, 2016 @ 14:26:24

    Good morning!!! Or read with great interest your article, I would like to change in AI but this goal has not the screws that usually serve to dismantle the union of optical coupling, can you show me how to disassemble this ring? Thanks for the help they want to give me.


    • richardhaw
      May 23, 2016 @ 14:34:01

      Buon Giorno, Carlo!
      So you have a 50mm f/1.4 without the screws on the bottom? Can you please give me the serial number and maybe I can help you. If your serial number is OK then maybe you do not need to convert it!


  5. Lev
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 15:47:17

    Thank you for the guide! I just got one 50mm/1.4 from KEH with that 1mm set screw damaged that prevents focusing closer than 2.5 feet. Can I just remove it and use a small drop of a nail polish or some other weak glue to keep the silver front ring in place? Thanks!


    • richardhaw
      Aug 24, 2016 @ 23:28:53

      Hello, Lev!
      I don’t get it. Is that set screw getting in the way of the front ring? Sometimes, that thing will sink in diagonally. You can just remove it and use nail polish like you said to secure it. You can even skip the glue if you opt to. Ric.


  6. Lev
    Aug 24, 2016 @ 15:52:10

    Another question: To AI my old Nikkor-S 50/1.4, with no large 5 screws at the bayonet, do I need to remove the bayonet that is held by 3 small screws connecting it to the back barrel before I remove the aperture ring? Thank you again!


    • richardhaw
      Aug 24, 2016 @ 23:32:01

      Hi, it seems that you have the earlier version. Is that the version with the scalloped aperture ring or not? If it’s the fluted aperture ring then you can just remove the bunny ears and that will slip under the aperture coupling tab in the camera so you do not need to convert it to Ai. Check first and then I will show you a simple way to convert it to Ai non-destructively. Ric.


      • Lev
        Aug 25, 2016 @ 11:51:06

        Hi Ric,
        My 50/1.4 are from 1960s Nippon Kogaku Nikkor S: one 6-blade, another is 7-blade, both serial numbers are in 400000’s but aperture ring looks the same on both, I think you call them fluted. The second one (was “broken” due to the set screw damaged) has a small notch already filed under the “bunny ears” prong (it is probably the conversion you meant). However, I want to use it with my N80 film camera that I still use sometimes, so it needs a more thorough filing including removal a part of aperture ring at 8 o’clock. Also, I need the prongs to use my 2x converter with this lens. So how can remove the aperture ring to file it?
        By the way, what solvent would you recommend to remove oil from inside the lens, both from the glass and aperture elements? Thanks a lot!

      • richardhaw
        Aug 27, 2016 @ 06:13:07

        Hello, Lev.
        For lenses like that, first you have to remove a screw in the aperture ring and simply unscrew the whole aperture ring off. It may take 7-10 turns because the thread is very fine.
        For oil in the aperture blades, I use lighter fluid on lens tissue to wipe the blades one-by-one. Some people will simply wipe them without disassembling it, that is fine but it is the lazy way to do things. For the glass elements, I use alcohol but lighter fluid should also be OK.Just be sure to use the right type of lens tissue. Ric.

  7. Trackback: Repair: Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 Ai-S | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  8. Trackback: Internet Nikon Repair Resources – My Take on Photography and Diving (Underwater Photography Mostly)
  9. Trackback: Repair: Nikkor-Q 20cm f/4 | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  10. Paul del Rosario
    Feb 01, 2017 @ 08:49:19

    Great article. Do you have a recommendations on how to repair / service the Mechanical Diaphragm Lever on this lens? I just got one, and it doesn’t have that “springy” feel. When I push it up or depress it, it just stays in that position; it doesn’t spring back. Needs oil?? Something too tight?? Advice greatly appreciated.


    • richardhaw
      Feb 01, 2017 @ 09:57:15

      Hello, Paul.
      Please check and see if you have an oily iris, that will make that thing stick but there could be more problems. The spring inside is anchored in a very inconvenient place. Ric.


    • richardhaw
      Feb 01, 2017 @ 14:22:30

      Hello, Paul. My studio is in Shinjuku, I can take a look at that during lunch break, just tell me when so I can bring my driver. Take a look at the iris from the front and from the back. Make sure the lens is stopped all the way down and see if there’s any trace of oil in the blades. Ric.


      • Paul del Rosario
        Feb 01, 2017 @ 14:26:53

        Hi, Ric. I’m on the Chuo Line, so Shinjuku is not a problem.
        Yes, I do see oil on the blades on the front and back sides.
        By the way, please don’t go out of your way for this if it’ll take a long time; but, of course, any help would be much appreciated either in person or via this blog.

      • richardhaw
        Feb 01, 2017 @ 14:32:05

        Hello, Paul.
        If that’s the case then you have to clean the blades properly. This lens has to be overhauled or the oil will come back. Just ask for a refund if you got this recently. Ric.

      • Paul del Rosario
        Feb 01, 2017 @ 14:38:12

        Hi, Ric. Unfortunately, I got it on Yahoo Auction (no claim, no return)…. Also, it’s in in good shape cosmetically, and I don’t want to part with the Nikon F that it came with.

        Reading your article, and seeing other tutorials online gives me motivation to DIY overhaul this piece of glass. I just need to get some of the proper tools.

  11. Henry
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 07:58:11

    Hi Richard, I tried to take the aperture ring off — unscrewed the small screw on the side and kept turning it but it wouldn’t come off. It just comes around. I believe my version has a retaining ring which is the only thing that is different from my other 50mm 1.4. If I get that retaining ring off will that free the aperture ring?

    This is the description of my lens: Nippon Kogaku Japan No. 553433 NIKKOR-S Auto 1:14 f=50mm.

    Thanks in advance.


    • richardhaw
      Mar 07, 2017 @ 11:56:54

      Hello, Henry!
      I will check my notes later when I get home for all versions of that lens. I don’t believe that it’s being geld by anything other than the screws. Can you please show me a picture of what you have? If you are referring to the brass ring you will have to remove a tall head screw that is connected to it outside of the casing. Ric


    • richardhaw
      Mar 07, 2017 @ 23:54:49

      Hello, Henry.
      It looks like there is a retention ring there. Ric.


  12. Henry
    Mar 08, 2017 @ 14:32:29

    Thank you. I’ll try and get the retention ring off when I have the right tool for that job.


  13. Henry
    Mar 09, 2017 @ 09:45:56

    Thank you. Ordered a spanner wrench already, I should get it soon. Thanks again.


  14. effclef
    May 05, 2017 @ 21:00:36

    Hi Ric,

    I am fascinated by your site. It encouraged me to clean and lubricate my own lenses. I am having a problem with my Nikkor-s 50 1.4. It is a late 60’s unit with no screws on the focus ring, so I am attempting to disassemble it from the rear. However, the aperture ring will NOT come off. I havent run into this with other Nikkors…any ideas?


    • richardhaw
      May 06, 2017 @ 01:48:41

      Hello, Steve!

      I made an article about that, you can do a search. It is one of the earlier ones that I wrote. The aperture ring screws off in that version. Please read other related articles just in case. Ric.


  15. Ben
    Jun 16, 2017 @ 10:46:08

    Great article Rick!


  16. Trackback: Repair: Nikkor-S 5.8cm f/1.4 Auto | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  17. MarkP
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 03:08:30

    I got one of these in a bargain bin — terrible fungus and rough focusing. I can’t figure out how to get the objective out the front. There is the tiny screw on the side but the focusing ring is blocking it. No screws on the focusing ring?? Am I supposed to twist off the beauty ring on the front to get access to more screws?


    • richardhaw
      Jul 27, 2017 @ 04:07:03

      Can you give me the serial number? If you have this kind of lens then you may have to remove the focusing ring first. Check my 5.8cm repair article, that lens has more in common with that.


  18. markanthonypino
    Jul 28, 2017 @ 02:23:59

    I’ll check it out. Thank you. Nikkor -S Auto 1:1.4 f +50mm 1079265. It has had a professional Ai Conversion done.


    • markanthonypino
      Jul 28, 2017 @ 02:26:42

      It looks exactly like the one in this article. I just can’t visualize how to get the front rings I can get to the lens objective and clean out the fungus.


      • richardhaw
        Jul 28, 2017 @ 07:47:33

        Hello, Try removing the focusing ring. The screw might be under that. If you can wait, I can check my notes when I get home.

      • richardhaw
        Jul 29, 2017 @ 01:45:23

        Your serial shows that you have a later version so this article should be relevant. just follow the steps here and you should be OK.

      • markanthonypino
        Jul 29, 2017 @ 12:22:41

        The screw is definitely under the focusing ring, but I can figure out how to remove the focusing ring as there are not screws on it. I’ll go back and look at the steps you posted but it isn’t clear to me how you do that part. Thanks for your help. It will be a really nice lens if I can open it up, clean the fungus and not bollocks it up.

  19. Trackback: Articles Index | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  20. Oskar Ojala
    Sep 15, 2017 @ 21:18:19

    I’ll add here that on my late version lens, the diaphragm spring is connected to the screw directly opposite to the rabbit ears when the aperture is set to f5.6. It’s 90 degrees down from the aperture lever so that the aperture lever moves away from the screw (which also explains how it works: the spring pulls the lever toward the screw.)


  21. youngDumbTeenager
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 01:07:05

    Anyone know how to get to the aperture assembly on this lens?

    I have a 6-bladed version with no screws on the back of the mount. I have it almost all the way disassembled, I have the rear barrel out but the plate and the doublet are still attached to the back. Thats the part that the article says “and you should never ever attempt to remove it,” so how do I remove it?

    I see the pin-holes for a lens spanner, but do I have to heat up the glue or weaken it with acetone or something? it feels really stuck on there. There’s a photo where he got it off so clearly its possible. Would appreciate any help and encourage you all to donate to the site, this guy is very helpful!


    • richardhaw
      Nov 12, 2017 @ 01:17:15

      Hello, the part where I said that you shouldn’t mess around with is the REAR ELEMENT. That thing is permanently glued in-place.

      Read the 5.8cm f/1.4 article that I made. That lens is very similar to your 50/1.4 version and you will get plenty of hints there. Ric.


      • youngDumbTeenager
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 01:57:52

        wow thanks for the quick reply!

        I took a look at that article, but am only more confused than before… the iris mechanism of the 58mm looks much easier to get to than what I’m dealing with, my rear barrel looks almost exactly like your photos in the article above. I’m just trying to deep-clean my aperture system because the blades are sticking together, currently I’m only battling it from the top but it would help to be able to reach both sides. How did you get that rear plate with the doublet off? do I need a lens spanner or should I be able to unscrew it by hand?

      • richardhaw
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 03:06:23

        you have to get the objective out of the barrel. are you following the guide properly or are you doing your own thing?

      • youngDumbTeenager
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 03:47:12

        I was following the guide, but after a couple rounds of cleaning with alcohol it seems to have freed up! I threw it back together and it now works perfectly. Thanks for taking the time to reply

      • richardhaw
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 09:28:35


  22. sean
    Nov 28, 2017 @ 10:15:15

    Hi Richard,

    I bought a second-hand 50mm/f1.4 AF (not D/S/G) and tried to mount it on my D7000. I can hear the motor trying to focus but the lens seems stucked. I have to note that can AF using other lenses so I tend to doubt about the 50/f1.4

    Please can you give advise?



    • richardhaw
      Dec 09, 2017 @ 23:11:07

      Hello, Sean. Was the lens dropped? Try focusing the lens while it’s not mounted to any cameras and see if it will focus. Also listen for anything weird while you focus it with your hands. Ric.


  23. Trackback: World of F-mount Nikkors (1/3) | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  24. Trackback: Private: Repair: New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v2 | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  25. Trackback: Repair: New-Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 v1 | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  26. Trackback: Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 2) | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  27. Trackback: Report: Nikkor Prototypes (Part 3) | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  28. Till Bsk
    Oct 22, 2018 @ 20:11:49

    Hi, I don’t see where you can adjust the infinity focus. Could you tell me?


  29. Trackback: Repair: Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 Auto | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  30. Trackback: Repair: New-Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  31. Pratik
    Oct 03, 2019 @ 06:16:11


    Thank you for the detailed guide. I had oily aperture in my lens. My lens had different construction where optical block and the front helicoid was a single barrel and it is not possible to remove the optical block. I could take out front group, back group and clean the aperture and it works perfectly now. I have however two difficulties

    1. I think I overtightened the front objective and rear eyepiece while putting it back together. How much it affect if the distance between these two changes slightly because of this overtightning?
    2. The helicoid key in my lens is made of plastic. I think it has worn out but I can’t see any gaps between the key and gap in the helicoid. Maybe the gap is microscopic. But I feel very slight play while focusing back and forth and it is very annoying. The focusing ring is not loose and the play is there even after removing outer focusing ring. Is this issue because of worn out helicoid key? I have cleaned and regreased the helicoids very well.



  32. Pratik Zanzad
    Oct 30, 2019 @ 04:19:47


    Thank you for this article. I could clean aperture blades and regrease the helicoids.
    I am having a small problem though. The helicoid key is made of plastic in my lens. There is slight play in the focusing because of the wear out of helicoid key. I can see it because of movement of grease in the sliding gap in helicoid key and the barrel. I cant think of any solution except below two which also look difficult.

    1. Replace helicoid key: hard to find the spare
    2. Somehow reduce the width of the slot by depositing metal or some adhesive in the slot: this also seems difficult.

    Is there any simpler solution on this issue?



  33. Daniel
    May 18, 2020 @ 23:27:08

    hello Richard , congratulations for your blog and all valuable informations and explanations you are providing which help a lot of us.Such a great job ! Since I have discovered your web site I bought a Nikkor-S-C Auto F 1:4 lens which is really same as the above lens you noted C with black front ring . Mine is not AI converted .I bought it with some fog ( very small white dots similar to dust particles ). It can be seen from the back of the lens and seems to be located on the internal face of the rear element . So i would to clean it by opening only the back side of the objective ? is it possible ? how to do this ? If I must follow your description but without dissambling the helicoid , do i still need to adjust infinity focus ? thanks for your help . daniel from France


  34. Yanick
    Aug 07, 2020 @ 10:10:12

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks a lot for all the invaluable information you give us in your blog. It has help me clean and lubricate helicoid successfully of some of my old manual lenses. I just managed to disassemble my ‘new’ Nikkor-S-C 50mm 1:1.4 to clean internal dust. There are two things that I have hard time to do though during reassembly :

    – when putting back the lens unit in the lens barrel, I fail to determine a systematic procedure to align properly the aperture lever and the aperture screw so that the aperture ring works properly afterward. I always manage to do it by trial and error, and I finally get it right by chance. Sometime it takes me about an hour to do so… Would you have a tip on that ? I couldn’t find the information in the other pages of the blog.

    – when finally putting the front ring back (the one with the tiny screw) after having put the lens back, the ring does not screw enough, the consequence is that I cannot align the tiny screw hole of the ring with the corresponding hole on the front barrel. I managed to do screw the ring enough to align the two holes only when the lens is not put back in the barrel. I fail to see what I missed in the reassembly. I can of course not put the tiny screw and secure only with nail’s polish as suggested in a previous comment, but I’d rather avoid that.

    If you have any ideas to solves these two problems I would be very grateful.
    Thanks a lot. Have a nice day.
    Yanick from France


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: