Repair: Sticky Nikon F100

Hello, everybody! Today, we are going to talk about the Curse of the Nikon F100! Everybody  who is serious into Nikon gear should know by now that the Nikon F100 and cameras that belong to the same generation tend to develop this annoying sticky rubber problem that is most commonly found on the rubber parts of the grip the back.

This Nikon F100 works perfectly fine but the sticky mess can be annoying. I am sure Nikon added the rubber coating for added grip but never saw this coming!

To be fair, other manufacturers also used similar rubberised coatings and the last one to do so is Sigma. Sigma lenses made in a certain era used to be covered in a thin rubberised coat that would deteriorate into goo or peel-off into small, hard to remove pieces that can get into the lens itself. Thankfully, they stopped using it a few years ago.

The tackiness in the rubber is caused by the breakdown of the rubber due to age and other triggers like temperature and humidity. I don’t have any idea on how to prevent this thing from developing because it seems to happen regardless of how the camera is stored. What I do know is that this problem is less likely to occur when you use or handle the camera in a regular basis, the finger oils probably conditions the rubber somewhat and it’s enough to prevent it from breaking down.

Now, what if you got one with the sticky rubber problem then what should you do? Well, I got one myself and I got rid of the stickiness with a alcohol, lens tissue and patience. Only use lintless types of tissue or else you risk ruining it further by having tissue fibers stuck to the rubber.

img_2880My camera’s grip seems OK so I’m only concerned about the film back. I removed the back and wiped all of the rubber parts with a lens tissue moistened with alcohol. It takes a bit of time at first but when the alcohol started working on the sticky stuff it just went off easily. The whole thing probably took me 20 minutes to clean and it’s now fine to the touch.

I also tried some other solvents just to see how it would react with the rubber and here are the results so far when I tested these on my film back:

  • MEK – Too stringent, crazed the rubber and I would advise you to stay away from this.
  • Naphtha – Zippo fluid, not bad but doesn’t really do much.
  • Acetone – Didn’t do much but left white marks when wiped.
  • Alcohol – Got rid of the stickiness but needs multiple applications.

I am not sure how long this F100 will stay dry but I am going to use this camera regularly to prevent it from developing the sticky rubber problem again. It sucks because once it starts developing it, then that thing has a chance of coming back even if you got rid of the sticky mess. Even with that in mind, I still love the camera and I will use it until it falls apart.

Have a nice weekend and I hope that this will help somebody. As for me, I am now feeling better as the flu is gone. Just some coughs here and there, that’s all. See you, Ric.

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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.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donald t. DiNaro
    Jun 05, 2017 @ 22:38:43

    The camera F100 has Three major Known faults:
    1. battery shortage by circuitry, dead in one day
    2. Rubber stickiness caused by deterioration Temperature and humidity
    3. battery door rubber deterioration
    4. Back door broken latch tabs, Very Common problem, no parts available, ebay prices high….
    ******** Based on Known problems, AVOID this camera at all costs ************


  2. Curly Hair Artistry
    Jul 05, 2017 @ 15:03:01

    Mine is doing this – and I sent Nikon a note to see what they recommend and am waiting for their reply – but in the meantime I will try this.


    • richardhaw
      Jul 05, 2017 @ 15:53:32

      Good luck! Remember, never use rubbing alcohol!


    • Eastwestphpto
      Jul 05, 2017 @ 17:20:17

      I use 92% Alcohol as a wash to the stickiness and dry in the Sun. It works. The back door locking tabs are very fragile, be very gentle with use. The rubber gasket around bottom battery compartment also trouble area…Don


      • richardhaw
        Jul 05, 2017 @ 17:32:08

        Thanks. The F100 is a flawed gem! Very unfortunate!

      • abetancort
        Aug 22, 2017 @ 19:11:33

        I use WD-40 with any frigging pseudo-rubber that starts to sweat making it awfully sticky and nasty to the touch.

        I clean them out of the nasty “rubber sweat” using a cloth dampen with some WD-40 and carefully rinse with a dry cloth to avoid leaving the “rubber” slippery wet.

        I use it on everything that has that type of pseudo-rubber, the only precaution I actually take is making sure that I wet only the “rubber” parts and that I don’t let it flow or soak into any joint in the “rubber” or between it and any other material to prevent any damage to any adhesives or seals.

        When I say I use on everything that goes for any electronic gadget, camera, Intuos Wacom styluses or any other frigging sticky fake rubber I find, and I do it little contemplation, as long as it doesn’t have anything printed/painted over the “rubber”.

        My results up to know are that the stickiness goes straight away, the “rubber” recovers the original look and feel and the remedy will last as long as you use the things regularly but if you don’t use it for a long while, the stickiness will return… But fixing it, it’s just a matter of reaching again for WD-40. And it actually doesn’t take long.

        Be careful no to get a drop of WD-40 on your clothes or in the upholstery, it will leave a nasty stain. And that one I don’t know how to fix it yet.

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  4. abetancort
    Aug 22, 2017 @ 19:36:55

    4. Back door broken latch tabs, Very Common problem, no parts available, ebay prices high….

    If you have access to another F100, you can have the replacement mod. machined in aluminum at your local makerspace (if they have a hobby CNC mill) to be used in your current back. I have seen the mod. it is the preferred method to fix this damage by a Nikon Repairman in Manila, Philippines. Once the modded, it won’t break again, something else will go but not the tabs.


  5. Dave Hunt
    Aug 30, 2017 @ 10:01:13

    Thanks for the tip! I have had the back on a F70 & F90 go the same way. I guessed it might have been caused by a reaction to sun-tan lotion on my hands as both had been used in Spain on occasions. I’ll try cleaning as suggested or if that fails buy another!


  6. Mark (@mark1nyc)
    Feb 28, 2018 @ 04:26:46

    Remove the back door. Baking soda add a bit water (sort of paste-gritty texture). Rub the paste in with gentle light pressure all over the rubber area. Wipe off with damp wet cloth to completely remove the residue. Finish it off with a some furniture polish like Swiffer or Pledge to bring back the “blackness” of the rubber.


  7. Scott
    Sep 05, 2018 @ 05:05:14

    I have purchased an N80, N75 and other cameras at fleamarkets or eBay that were crazy sticky and unusable. Also slightly sticky D100. I lightly treated the sticky surfaces with automotive rubber protectant and then let them sit out in the air on a shelf for a month or two. The stickiness dried up, leaving the rubber coating firm and not very “grippy”, but no longer sticky at all.


    • richardhaw
      Sep 16, 2018 @ 22:36:01

      Hello. So long as it’s not petrol based then it should be fine. I was recently gifted by a friend a set of camera cleaners and they worked great. I suspect that they’re simply repackaged. Ric.


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  9. Clive
    Apr 29, 2019 @ 19:53:07

    I used Methylated Spirits on my recently acquired icky, sticky F80 and it worked really well, I then tried it on the sticky hand grip on my F100 without as much success, maybe I’ll try WD40 next.


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  14. Sophie
    May 12, 2021 @ 22:37:27

    I used a combination of alcohol lens spray on a clean microfibre lens cloth and alcohol tattoo swabs, worked for me and has worked on multiple other cameras, some of which I treated 4 years ago and they are still fine. Thankfully only the film door went sticky on my F100, which was a gift from my uncle. The camera did have some white salt looking markings on the film door which did not fully go away with cleaning, I am presuming these are due to my uncle living on the coast and taking it to the beach a lot.


  15. Nick Sterghos
    Jan 21, 2022 @ 13:47:34

    I once read on a blog where a Nikon customer service rep said Eucalyptus oil is the best and most effective thing to use; supposedley works really well….I’ve never has this issue with any camera so can’t confirm but, wanted to pass this along.


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