Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4 Ai-S

Hello, everybody. I have published quite a lot in the past few days because I had the time to do so. I initially planned on publishing around a post a week but seeing that more and more people are following my blog I decided to publish more. I’ll try to write around 2-3 posts a week if I can because these take time and being a family man means that I need to spend time with the people I care as well. I will introduce one of the most popular and expensive lenses during the 1980s in this article and I hope that it will impress the newer generation of photographers despite being a manual-only lens.


Today’s subject is none other than the once-amazing Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4 Ai-S. This used to be a very expensive lens, about the same price as a used sedan back then. It can now be bought for very little money and mint-condition examples can be bought for less than $100 these days so it’s a bargain for people who can’t afford these before. This lens is the successor of the Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Auto, a highly-successful design and a legend amongst many generations of photographers before the AF era. It’s so good that it took Nikon many years to design a worthy successor but it’s worth the long wait because the Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f4 Ai-S surpassed its predecessor in many ways. I said many because the older lens still has some advantage over the new one and I’ll discuss those in the later paragraphs. It was made from 1981 to 1998, a moderately-long span as far as the lenses in this lens category is concerned. Imagine buying this new at a time when people were all raving about the latest AF lenses. Many people still swear by this lens and it has a bit of a following amongst people who used these decades ago.

IMG_1471I got this lens for a really great price because the front elements were in a terrible state, the lens coatings have ugly bald spots and that is an indication of serious fungus damage. The helicoid and zoom mechanisms are still OK but felt dry and un-even. Apart from the problems mentioned, the lens still looks OK for a junk.

IMG_1472Luckily for me, the rubber still looks good as this lens’ rubber sleeve is prone to tear and warping due to its shape and overall length. It’s a long lens and it feels dense in the hand, you will want to support this using your hand because this will cause strain on your neck if you left this dangling in your neck for a whole morning. The lens was made from metal with few plastic parts inside for bushings and rollers. You can seriously use this to smack the head of an assailant if you had to. It also retains the one-touch focusing ring that also serves as the zoom ring from the older lens, I call these “pumper zooms” because of this. It has a colorful depth-of-field scale that’s useful and the side of the barrel has numbers denoting the current focal length. Some people hate pumper zooms but I like them since it allows me to focus and zoom without having to switch to another ring, making things a lot faster for me when shooting action. The annoying thing about these pumper zooms is the focusing/zoom ring will develop the habit of not staying-in-place eventually because it’s heavy. The felt lining will also deteriorate and won’t provide the friction necessary for holding it when the lens is pointed up or down, this makes using these lenses on a tripod setup tricky. While there are many tricks to remedy this problem there’s only one way to fix this properly and that is to replace the lining with fresh material.

Compared to the Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Auto this lens is a bit bigger and it will also require you to use a 62mm filter instead of the old standard 52mm ones. The older lens is a bit slower so this one can be excused for using a larger-diameter filter thread. This one also focuses a bit closer compared to the older lens which make this lens handy for those times when you need to take detail shots like the wedding rings or the cake. This is a very versatile lens by all accounts and the only weakness I can think of is its “slow” maximum aperture of f/4. It won’t be enought when shooting indoors without flash and if you’re the type that prefers to shoot film then forget about it unless you’re willing to use flash. This is not saying that this lens is useless indoors, I am just pointing-out the facts so you won’t have a mis-guided expectation of this lens.

It has a 13 elements-in-9 groups design which seems to be normal for this kind of lens. It has an extra element compared to the older lens which has a totally-different design. The new design allows it to gather more light, enabling a brighter view. This is a big plus if it is paired with a teleconverter or an extension tube because using both will darken your viewfinder. If your camera has a split-prism focusing screen then this will help a bit. It is highly recommended that you use a different type of screen when using lenses that have a maximum aperture that’s slower than f/2.8 so your viewfinder will be brighter.

Compared to the older lens, this one was built using many clever tricks in order to make it as light as possible and to keep costs down. Many people will say that Ai-S lenses were made to be less-tough compared to the earlier Ai lenses, while it’s generally true it’s also worth mentioning that the Ai-S lenses are still tougher than many lenses made today. It’s amazing how well these Ai-S lenses survive all these years and it looks like they won’t be failing anytime soon.

Let’s now look at how this lens performs. Knowing how a lens performs is key to using it. You will know how to maximize its strengths and avoid its weaknesses. I don’t shoot your typical charts and figurines, I also don’t do a very technical analysis. I use my experience with this lens in real-world settings and observations and give you my impressions of it. I think that this is a better way to judge a lens because charts and numbers won’t show the lens’ true value as an artistic tool. I took these photos using a Nikon Df.

All of the pictures in the following sets were taken from f/4, f/5.6 and f/8. These apertures are the ones that show the most changes in this lens’ performance and characteristics so I used these as examples. Anything beyond these f-stops look generally similar and you’ll only notice the differences if you pixel-peep. We don’t do that here in this blog. Since this is a zoom lens, I also took pictures from both ends of the zoom range to add some context to my samples and also for you to see how it is.

(Click to enlarge)

There is some heavy vignetting at both ends of the zoom range wide-open. It’s about 1-2 stops’ worth of light depending on which end we’re shooting from. It improves by f/5.6, I will way that this won’t be obvious in real-world pictures unless you have the sky in the frame or you’re shooting an even-colored background. It finally goes away by f/8 but the far-corners will still show some traces of it.

(Click to enlarge)

The bokeh quality of this lens is great, it’s smooth and I don’t see anything objectionable. The lens is sharp at both ends even wide-open but it can be better. The contrast is great and the colors are saturated. Stopping it down to f/5.6 will push everything up and you’ll begin to see details rendered in greater detail as the resolution gets better. You will also notice that sharpness has improved by a notch but contrast remains the same because it is already quite good wide-open. Once you stopped the lens down to f/8 you will find that the lens is now near or at its peak performance in terms of sharpness and resolution. It’s probably the best aperture to use if you need to render small details, etc. I would prefer this lens to reach this quality at about f/5.6 but that’s probably asking for too much. This lens has really smooth bokeh quality and in order to get that the designers probably did not over-correct it for sharpness, this is just my guess.

(Click to enlarge)

Chromatic abberation is evident wide-open in areas that have really high contrast such as the highlight on the shiny chrome. It’s not bad at this level and it’s almost gone by the time you stopped it down to f/5.6 and it’s gone by f/8. I didn’t see any spherical aberration or at least the effect is so minimal that I hardly noticed it. One thing to note is how much this lens tends to shift its focal length when focused, an effect called “focus breathing”, it is really obvious and videographers should think about this when using this lens. Nearly all lenses do this but this one has just a bit more than usual.

(Click to enlarge)

This is a good example of how different both ends of the focal lengths are and how they alter the compression of the frame. Since this set was shot at about the same distance as the 2nd set my ovservations from that set also hold true for this set. The small details are rendered beautifully in the center of the frame wide-open, the corners and edges are not on the same level unfortunately.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some pictures that were taken in its minimum focusing distance, these were all shot at 200mm if I am not mistaken. Vignetting is evident in the pictures that were taken wide-open and will probably take away around 1-2 stops’ worth of light from your photo. If you need to take pictures like these then make sure that you stop your lens down by a stop to get a clear and bright frame or compensate your exposure by 1.5 stops. Sharpness is great at this distance and the blur looks lovely.

(Click to enlarge)

These were taken using the 200mm end on a subject that is really away far from me. You will notice that the image quality isn’t really great wide-open, details aren’t sharp even at the center of the frame. A little bit of chromatic aberration can be observed in the crane’s boom. Everything looks better once you stop the lens down. I’m disappointed by this and I will advise everyone to stop their lenses down to at least f/5.6 if you need to do shoot at subjects that are far. This is probably this lens’ biggest flaw as far as my sample goes.

_HAW6652The 80mm enf of the focal range is useful for general photography. It’s longer than 50mm so it can be challenging to use for most applications. I had to be about 9m away from my subject in order to capture the storefront properly. The frame compression is greater so I had a harder time framing it without making it look flat, 80mm is considered to be in the short telephoto range and this is to be expected. This was shot wide-open.

_HAW6818The 200mm end is handy for taking pictures of distant things and the frame compression is even greater than 80mm and this will allow you to make tighter compositions. A wider focal length will make some of the subjects in the foreground larger due to the effects of foreshortening so you won’t get this kind of framing. Moon-shots are best taken using a long focal length to make it appear bigger compared to the other elements in the scene. I will advise that you use something that’s longer than 500mm for those kinds of pictures. I would also like to note that you will notice some chromatic aberration in the shiny parts of the track since this was shot wide-open.

(Click to enlarge)

This lens is handy for a lot of applications and one of them is taking portraits because of the 80-200mm focal range. These were all shot wide-open, you can admire the details and colors that you get from this lens. The vignetting works to my advantage here because it’s helping me frame my subjects’ faces which are centered in the frame. It can help lead the eyes of the viewers to the center of the frame, this is how you use vignetting creatively.

(Click to enlarge)

Nothing is more difficult than shooting the unpredictable movements of dogs so I went to the dog festival to take some pictures of a Schutzhund event. OK, that may be exaggerated too much but you get the idea. These tiny dogs move just as energetic as the big ones and I had a tough time tracking their movements using a manual-only lens but I soon got the hang of it. The one-touch setup helped me zoom and focus at the same time, this allowed me to shift my focus and framing faster. One trick that you can do is to pre-focus, this can help you anticipate your subjects’ movements and is a skill that requires some practice to master if you are used to using AF lenses. Once you have learned it this technique can be helpful in teaching you patience and discipline behind the camera which can help make your clicks more deliberate and won’t rely much on chance.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some more pictures from the doggie carnival. Notice how nice the bokeh quality is and how sharp it can be on some shots where I stopped the lens down to f/5.6 for more depth-of-field so I can get more things focused.

Let’s now see how this lens performs with film. Knowing how a lens performs using film and digital will be helpful in giving a better assessment of a lens’ performance. Film also renders differently from digital and you won’t get the same look because of film grain, it is near-impossible to simulate in post. I took these using a Nikon F4 loaded with Fujifilm Industrial 100 and I had them scanned at the lab using the Fujifilm Frontier SP-3000.

FH000001The details look stunning with film even wide-open. The feathers and the beak look nice since they’re at the center of the frame where the performance is the best.

FH000018It can be tough to track small and energetic subjects like this little squirrel but you can do it with patience. Using an AF lens is the best option for situations like this.

FH000011The frame compression at 200m is useful for taking photos like this. The tulip at the back will look a lot smaller if I were to shoot this using a 105mm lens. See how sharp the lens is, you can even count the serrations on the petals’ edges. The rendering is beautiful, like a painting almost.

FH000010The background can be thrown into a colorful wash of colors because of the smooth and even way this lens renders out-of-focus details specially when used in its closest focusing distances.

FH000027Even with a seemingly-slow maximum aperture of f/4 you will still have a shallow depht-of-field that will enable you to separate your subjects from the background.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some more pictures along the same theme as the previous ones. You can use it for taking photos of flowers if you have a flower shop or just out on a stroll at the park.

FH000028There’s some chromatic aberration present in the twigs at the background. This is easily fixed in post but I never do this since these don’t really matter to me in small amounts.

FH000032This spoon-bill is behind a wire cage but I used a trick to make the cage disappear. If you position the tip of your lens as close to the cage as possible and set the iris wide-open you can blur the cage so much that it won’t appear in your photo. I was initially worried, this lens only opens to f/4 and I was afraid that it won’t be enough to get this effect.

(Click to enlarge)

Here are some more pictures that I took using this technique. You can get away with it in most situations so don’t be afraid of doing this.

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s the rest of the set. I sometimes wished I brought a longer lens that afternoon, this lens isn’t long enough for some shots at the zoo. I don’t use or like teleconverters but if I had one with me then that would have made a lot of difference.

That’s it for our introduction. Do you think my pictures gave you a better understanding of how this lens performs? If your answer is yes then go ahead and look for one online. I usually see these being sold for no more than $100 even in excellent condition. If you’re not convinced then you can try the older Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 Auto which many consider to be a superior lens despite being a bit slower. To this lens’ credit it has better bokeh quality as far as I can remember. This one also focuses a bit closer so people who like to shoot detail shots will prefer this one. It’s all up to your needs and you should not listen to what people say on the internet, including me. There are many experts out there who will veer your opinion about a lens based on their experience, they may also be not as reputable as some other established and well-reputed photographers so the best way to find out is to try these lenses for yourselves. You can’t go wrong with any of these and I am sure that either version will satisfy your need for a cheap manual zoom.

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 (Rear):

The lens comes apart easily but you will need to know how and where to start. Modern lenses can sometimes be a pain to dismantle. It can certainly make you feel like you are working with a puzzle and can easily frustrate you at times, once you learned how things were put together and taken apart you get a satisfying feeling that very few things in the world can provide. This lens is no exception and you must be careful by taking plenty of pictures and notes before you remove something so you will know how to put it back. It’s built-around the zoom barrel so you can easily remove the front and read parts then you can service them individually. This feature is very smart and makes servicing this lens an easy task if the problem is simple. This is not a lens for beginners, zoom lenses are really complicated compared to prime lenses. You will also need some tools to repair these and the skills required to fix these can only be learned through experience. If you are new to this, just leave this for the experienced repairman to work on the lens.

IMG_1606You can start working with this lens from the rear, remove the screws carefully using the right type of JIS screwdriver so you won’t strip your screws. If you haven’t read my work on how to remove bayonet screws then please read it first before doing this. Many people get stuck because they have ruined the heads of their screws so you don’t want to get into the same predicament.

IMG_1607The bayonet mount should come-off rather easily once the screws are gone.

IMG_1608This is how things look like underneath it, take plenty of notes of this part.

IMG_1609You can’t remove the aperture ring until you remove these screws. Make sure that you’re careful with these because they can be stripped rather easily. The screws secure the fork that couples the aperture ring to the iris mechanism inside.

IMG_1610The aperture ring can then be safely removed.

IMG_1613Carefully remove these screws so you can remove the grip.

IMG_1614This part secures the sleeve and other parts, too. Be sure to clean what’s underneath this because it tends to accumulate junk and dead skin cells.

IMG_1627We can now access the set screw that secures the barrel to the mount. Nikon could have done this with a couple of more screws but they instead settled on this tiny screw for cost cutting. Be careful to mark where the set screw should align with the rest of the barrel. If you get this wrong, then your lens will be off-axis by a few millimeters. Remember not to remove the set screw from the rear mount. Simply loosen this screw so you can turn the rear mount without the screw scratching the threads.

IMG_1628Unscrew the base from the rest of the barrel and count how many turn it took or you can simply just measure the tolerances using a micro-meter instead.

IMG_1632You can now safely remove the inner barrel but be careful because this is actually part of the objective (optics assembly).

img_0050The iris mechanism can be separated from the barrel after removing the screws that are holding it. Be sure to mark its position first before you remove it since this is one of those adjustment points that people at Nikon calibrated to a specific tolerance.

img_0052The iris still looks nice so I’ll just let this be. I don’t want to waste my time fixing it since it’s not broken or dirty.

IMG_1635The shape of the iris is sometimes irregular but you shouldn’t be alarmed. If you have to fix yours because the shape looks weird then the only way to fix it is to reassemble it and jumble the order of the blades and see if they will sit better.

img_0051The rear optical assembly can be unscrewed. Do not lose that brass shim as they are used for focus adjustment.

img_0054And this is how you open the front of the rear assembly. Carefully unscrew the collar and use a lens sucker to remove the lens element but make sure that you make a small mark in the wall of the lens element to help you identify which side should be facing the front.

img_0053The rear part of the assembly opens up like this, I simply used my bare hands for this. Be careful not to drop anything along the process. These are all exposed so don’t damage the blades in any way, store these in a dust-free container. You may want to blow some air to clean any dusts that have settled in the elements or any of the internal parts.

IMG_1629You can also safely remove the outer sleeve from the main barrel.

This section only covers the rear part of the lens including some parts of the internals. If your lens has problems that are located at the front of the lens then the next section will be more helpful to you.

Disassembly (Front):

You can skip the previous process if all you need to do is service the front elements. The front assembly is easy to dismantle and only consist of a few but important parts. You’ll only need to be careful about the coatings of the lens as they can easily be damaged and you shouldn’t use this fungus cleaning method on those elements.

IMG_1611Start by removing this tiny screw, it secures the front elements group to the front barrel.

IMG_1612With that screw gone you can now safely unscrew the front elements assembly from the rest of the front barrel. If yours is stuck you can just drop a small amount of alcohol into the hole of the screw and around the seams to soften the sealant.

IMG_1636This part requires some acetone because it was held by lacquer. Be careful not to scratch the black paint. You will also see a shim here and this is also used for focus calibration.

IMG_1637The fungus is now gone after cleaning, it all looks fine except for the damaged coating.

IMG_1638The inside of the front element told another story, the coating was completely damaged on some spots by the fungus. As annoying as it is, this is common for this lens in the used market for some reasons. The soft coatings are easily scratched and can be damaged by simply wiping it with a soft, moist tissue. The fungus sure did a job on the coating.

IMG_1630The glass in the main barrel is exposed so be careful not to damage this in any way. This thing moves in-and-out so do not jam this thing by accident. You can dismantle this using a rubber cup to remove the front ring and then remove the whole thing using a spanner.

IMG_1634The inner elements can be dismantled like this.

This part is probably the easiest to work on in the whole lens but you should be careful with the central elements because if you didn’t get the spacing correctly your lens won’t focus properly. The same goes for the rear optical assembly but this one is more critical.

Disassembly (Lens Barrel):

The barrel consists of the helicoids, zoom cam, the central lens assembly, focus ring and other things. This is probably the most complicated part of the lens because there are so many inter-locking parts. It can be intimidating for a beginner, with common sense and the right tools an intermediate lens repairer can service this with no problem.

IMG_1615Carefully remove the rubber grip off the focusing/zoom ring. It can be hard at first due to some double-sided tape or the old scotch tape has all but disintegrated.

IMG_1616Remove the tape and the strip of brass covering the slot for the zoom key. It’s flimsy but it does save weight and most importantly for Nikon, save them a lot of money. You are also able to remove the square piece of metal. That is the key for the zoom barrel so mark its position and direction by scraping one of the sides so you’ll know which side should face where when you reassemble the lens.

IMG_1617Before removing the lower part of the focusing ring from the main focusing barrel don’t forget to mark where they should align in relation to each other. This step should really be done before you remove the old scotch tape.

IMG_1618Once you take the lower ring off you can now remove this retention ring after removing the screws that secure it.

IMG_1619This ring secures these thin brass shims that are used for adjusting the focus of your lens. Mine focuses a little bit (2-3mm) past the infinity mark and I initially thought that mine wasn’t calibrated properly but other people also reported the same thing so I guess that this is somewhat common for this lens. If this issue bothers you then you need to add or reduce the brass shims yourself. Carefully store these brass shims as you do not want to lose or bend one of these!

IMG_1622Rotate the focusing barrel until you see these screws, these hold the helicoid key.

IMG_1623Carefully remove the key after taking some notes and pictures.

IMG_1625Once the helicoid key is gone you can now turn the front barrel loose from the main lens barrel. Be sure to remember and mark where they part as this is also the same spot that they should engage when you reassemble your lens. For beginners, I advise that you read my article on how to work with helicoids. Many people get stuck because they didn’t note where their helicoids part so read my article to be informed.

IMG_2883This is a serious case of fungus infection and it will surely leave bald spots on the coating after cleaning the fungus.

IMG_3464Remove the element using a spanner with deep bits so you can reach the slots.

IMG_1626You can now clean the old adhesive marks from the focusing barrel.

img_0039To further disassemble the barrel you must separate the focusing barrel. To do that you’ll have to remove these rollers. Be sure to use the right driver that will fit the slot properly or else you will risk ruining it because these things are glued. This guide roller keeps the focusing barrel in place as you twist the barrel to achieve focus. It is also responsible for keeping some of the internal mechanisms in sync. If yours is difficult to remove you will want to soften it first with some alcohol, the threads are usually applied with sealant to prevent it from undoing itself.

img_0040Heres another one, this guide roller keeps the inner mechanism in-sync as you push-and-pull to zoom.

img_0041Make sure that you note which side of the barrel should be facing where before this part is removed or simply take plenty of notes to help you later.

img_0042You can also remove this, this roller is the shortest of them all if I remember it correctly. This one is connected to the internal mechanism which you will see later.

img_0043I removed the nylon bushings to clean these thoroughly. The dried-up crusts are residues from the sealant that Nikon used.

img_0044The internal mechanism that houses the internal elements groups can now be removed. I would also like to remind you to note this thing’s position before you remove it.

img_0045The internal parts is basically a metal cylinder that houses a floating ring on it. This thing isn’t symmetrical, take some notes on its orientation before you remove it.

img_0046These metal nuts are connected to the rollers so please be aware of these later when you reassemble this. It can be a pain to get these right but you will get the hang of it soon.

img_0047Wow, just take a look at that cemented group. No wonder this thing costs so much when it came out. Sure, it’s not as difficult to manufacture this than say a solid piece of glass of the same shape but this is not easy to manufacture either.

img_0048Be careful where this should be facing, you don’t want to put it back facing in the wrong direction. You will end up with an “art” lens if you got this wrong.

The important thing about this section is not to clean or dismantle anything that does not seem to be dirty or broken. Zoom lenses are more complicated than primes and they are usually adjusted at the factory using very accurate testers. If you have to remove or clean anything just make sure that you put it back the right way or the lens won’t work as good as it did. This can exhibit as focus shifts and sharpness problems. Clean the helicoids and their tubes very well and apply a fresh film of grease after the old grease is gone. Do not leave any residue, any residue from the old grease will contaminate the fresh one and it’s going to ruin the new coat.


The lens took me a couple of hours to work on because there’s more things to work on. It took me more time to clean the individual parts than working on them, when you have it in this state where everything can be cleaned there’s no excuse not to clean thoroughly. I am going to admit that I hate working with zoom lenses and writing about them is even more annoying to me so I rarely make article for zoom lenses. I will try to write more but I am not sure if I can write articles about them on a regular basis. Anyways, before we go on and finish the article I would like to point-out some things that you should remember when working with this lens.

img_0049Here are the lens elements before cleaning. Store them in a safe place so you won’t harm them and make a small problem even worse.

IMG_1631Clean every part as good as possible. Zoom lenses have many parts that move so you will have to clean them, too. Apply a very thin film of grease on the parts that move so there is less resistance. Never apply too much because it will gas and fog the glass as a result.

Calibrate the focus of your lens before you finish working on it. It’s easy to calibrate this so long as you got the tolerances right. It’s easy to mess-up this lens’ focus simple by not putting things back the way they were such as over-tightening the case of an element or having things mis-aligned. Before you begin work on the lens make sure that you test the lens first and note how it focuses on both ends on subjects near and far. Calibrating this lens is simply a matter of turning the front elements group until it focuses properly. This is simply said that done so it’s good to read my article on focus calibration. This is just an example out of several ways to do this and the method shown in that article is perfect if you are working on a DIY setup.

IMG_1641Once you have calibrated the focus of the lens you will have to align the focusing scale so that the infinity symbol sits squarely on the white centerline mark. Tape the scale and it’s now time to install the rubber grip and you’re done.

Thank you for following and supporting this page, your support helps me because you’re helping me pay for maintaining the blog as well as for the cost of film, development and scanning. This will help make this blog continue to inform, entertain and help people in repairing their lenses, pros and amateurs alike. If you found this helpful, please share it to your friends at social media and camera clubs so that more people will benefit from it. I plan to make this the best resource for many Nikon-related things and I ask you to help me make this possible. Thank you for loving my work, 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.

47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Repair: New Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  2. Trackback: E 75-150mm f/3.5 | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  3. Trackback: Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 (1/3) | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  4. james
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 03:33:54

    Hi does anyone know what size flat head is needed to take the out the screw to get to the front element and where to get one?


  5. james
    Aug 05, 2016 @ 03:35:53

    hi does anyone know what size screw is needed to take out the screw to get to the front element and where to get one?


  6. Trackback: 36~72mm f/3.5 Nikon Lens Series E Disassembly and Cleaning – My Take on Photography and Diving (Underwater Photography Mostly)
  7. Trackback: Internet Nikon Repair Resources – My Take on Photography and Diving (Underwater Photography Mostly)
  8. Richard
    Dec 27, 2016 @ 18:55:26

    Hello and good evening Richard. I got nearly the same lens, just the f/4.5n.
    It is in an lovely condition. The only lack is its loose focus element which takes control over the zoom function. Other than that really wonderful. Could you have an idea how to fix this issue? Make the zoom element more tight again to get an better control over the focus?
    I would love to hear some of your conclusion and waiting to get this beautiful lens on the road again. 🙂
    Thanks in advance, marry christmas and a healthy peaceful new year for all of you.



    • richardhaw
      Feb 02, 2017 @ 07:49:35

      Hello, Richard!
      Sorry for the late reply, we have the same name so I ignored your comment thinking it was mine.

      You need to change the felt lining under the focusing barrel. It can be a little deep so be careful. I will write an article for this one day. Ric


  9. Norman
    Dec 28, 2016 @ 10:23:09

    The flat head driver can be found in any cheap jewellers set. You may find it helpful to get a wetstone and “sharpen” the point a little as they are often a bit on the fat side. For the benefit who can’t help but loose the plot this does not apply to crossheads needless to say. Norman


  10. Trackback: 80-200mm f/4.5 Zoom-Nikkor.C Disassembly and Cleaning – My Take on Photography and Diving (Underwater Photography Mostly)
  11. John
    Jan 25, 2017 @ 18:36:58

    Thanks for you great Write-Up Richard. I have one of these, but I have a slight problem, it won’t reach infinity. Is this easy to repair?


  12. admintheresia
    Jan 25, 2017 @ 18:40:05

    Great Write Up, Richard. I have such a lens but it has a small problem. The lens is in a perfect state and smooth focus but it won’t reach infinity, somehow. Is it easy to repair?


    • richardhaw
      Feb 02, 2017 @ 07:46:43

      Thanks! Glad that you liked it!
      I would not say that this is easy for a beginner. This lens can be frustrating if you are starting out but it’s perfectly fine once you are moderately experienced. Sorry for the late reply, Ric.


  13. Vincent Szabo
    Mar 04, 2017 @ 00:36:57

    this is a great article Do you ever intend to take on the 80-200 f4.5 Family and a repair for the lose focus/zoom ring


  14. Rolando Martins
    Apr 07, 2017 @ 19:31:58

    Great article Richard. I was looking for this disassemble, and comes in right time.
    Mine Nikon 80-200 doesn’t get infinity focus from 80 to 135 by a tine hair, getting a slightly blur image. At 200 focus perfectly with nice and sharp image, both on my F3 and Sony A7. In order to fix this, it is enough to remove the bottom part and them one or two of those brass shims?
    Thank you.


    • richardhaw
      Apr 09, 2017 @ 09:27:29

      Hello, Rolando. You can probably do 2 things:

      1: remove one of the brass shims.

      2: unscrew the rear element a bit so it is offset to the rear by a hair of a mm.

      Be careful,though as both will significantly affect the lens performance. This was probably OK on film. It is very annoying that many of the older zooms change focusing points as you zoom in and out. Ric.


  15. Rolando Martins
    Apr 09, 2017 @ 13:06:51

    Thanks Richard. According your experience, it will be enough only dismounting the bottom part to remove the brass shim, or should I dismount too the barrel part?


    • richardhaw
      Apr 12, 2017 @ 07:53:16

      Hello, Rolando!

      The bottom shims should do fine. I am quite worried because if you messed around with the infinity focus of one end of the lens then it will also affect the other end. Ric


  16. Charles
    Jun 15, 2017 @ 17:43:35

    Thank you for this post Ric. I appreciate the details shown here that might be left out of a youtube video. I would like to know how to stop zoom creep in this lens. Is that caused by a worn shim?


  17. Trackback: Articles Index | Richard Haw's Classic Nikkor Maintenance Site
  18. Andrew
    Aug 01, 2017 @ 15:45:10

    Very informative and helpful articles, Ric. Thank you. I recently acquired a 80-200mm f/4.5n, the one with the rectangular rear baffle. I need to take it apart to get at the fungus. I’ve read your article as well as the one published by diediemustdive many times over. His is the old f/4.5, yours the f/4. Is my new f/4.5n more similar to the old f/4.5 or is it closer to the f/4? I know it would be too much to ask you to do a repair guide on the f/4.5n, but I do hope you can highlight the dissimilarities. Once again, kudos and thanks. Andrew


    • richardhaw
      Aug 02, 2017 @ 03:22:35

      Hello, Andrew.
      I think I made one for the 4.5 somewhere. The older 4.5 has nothing much in common with the 4 and it has plenty of differences with the earlier 4.5,too. be careful working on this lens as it can be glued here and there. Ric.


  19. Trackback: Repair: AF-Nikkor 70-210mm f/4 | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  20. Trackback: World of F-mount Nikkors (3/3) | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  21. Antony
    Jan 02, 2018 @ 20:49:41

    Hi Richard

    Just used you guide to remove the front lense to remove to large pieces of dust/debris from one of these that I purchased over Christmas.

    Many thanks as without your guide I would have had to send the lense off to a specialist.




  22. Trackback: Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  23. James
    Jul 14, 2018 @ 10:00:41

    Hi Richard,
    A great article. I have tried to unscrew the front element assembly after removing the small screw with no luck. I then noticed that the front of my lens looks different to yours.There appears to be some sort of retaining ring around the lens with the lens detail upon it. I presume this has to be removed first but how?There are no no slots for a removal tool.



    • richardhaw
      Jul 16, 2018 @ 15:46:52

      Hello, James!
      You can try dropping highly diluted oil onto the hole and then try again the next day and see if that helped, otherwise the only way is to drill and tap it. Ric.


      • James
        Jul 18, 2018 @ 12:01:23

        Thanks Richard. I tried the oil with no luck.A profeshional repairer surgested hitting the front ring with a mallet. This took a lot of doing but over a few days of oil and tapping it came out. It seams like the thread about 60 mm dia is damaged.



  24. bauduin olivier
    Dec 30, 2018 @ 14:55:08

    Thank you very much Richard for your help in the repair of old lenses. I give you (and all the readers) a solution to unscrew the screws mounted with blocking liquid : heat the head of the screw with the end of a soldering iron for a few seconds. This avoids having to use the extractor. This makes it possible to slightly unscrew the screw, renew the action until completely removing the screw. This is the method used in the industry to unscrew the screws blocked by loctite. use with caution if plastic is near the screw.
    it’s nice to be able to give a second life to the good old lenses.


  25. Attilio Fiandrotti
    Jun 09, 2019 @ 22:26:51

    Hello, I bought this lens for 10 Eurs today at a garage sale. The lens is ok, however the front lens coating has scratches that seem to have no effect whatsoever on the image quality. The only gotcha, there was a small fungus on the bottom element of the front group that I removed following your procedure. This lens is sharp even at f/4, at f/5.6 sharpness increases and at f/8 it is very sharp! Thanks for the good article!


  26. Trackback: Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 28-85 f/3.5-4.5 Ai-S | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  27. Stephan Kölliker
    Jul 12, 2020 @ 11:13:43

    I have just compared my Nikkor AiS 4/80-200mm (at 200mm/f4) with a few other legendary tele zoom lenses from that time. In fact you are right writing that the Nikkor @ 200mm/f4 is slightly disappointing, at least in the infinity range! Both Carl Zeiss C/Y Vario-Sonnars (the earlier CY 3.5/70-210mm and the later CY 4/80-200mm) have visibly more detail – in the center as well as in the corner of my 24 MP FF camera. The Canon new FD 4/80-200mm L with its Fluorite and ULD lenses has much less longitudinal and lateral CAs than the other three zooms mentioned above. Central resolution of the nFD is excellent, and there’s no color fringing at all. However, the Canon nFD 4/80-200 L must be stopped down to f8 to get really sharp FF corners. Since there are no lateral CAs visible on 24 MP FF, at f8 the Canon has the best image quality of all four lenses mentioned here (remember i’m only talking about 200mm focal length and infinity).


  28. Trackback: Repair: Nikon 70-210mm f/4 Series-E | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  29. Trackback: Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 100-300mm f/5.6 Ai-S | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  30. Trackback: Repair: AF Zoom-NIKKOR 80-200mm f/2.8 ED | Richard Haw's Classic Nikon Repair and Review
  31. Trackback: The Only Legacy Lenses Worth Buying (Best Value)

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: