Repair: Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series-E

Hello, everybody! I got back into smoking again after quitting it for 5 years. It has always been on-and-off for me but this time, I’m using the “heat-not-burned” type where tobacco is heated instead of burned. The most prominent one sold here is the IQOS. It is by far the most popular one because of the cost and availability, it is not the best option so mine is now up for sale. In the long run, you end up spending more on tobacco because of stupid design decisions made by Philip Morris. This is what I would call “false economy”, you are given an impression that you save plenty of money but at the end you actually spend lots more. This is the reason why GLO, is kicking the IQOS out of the market slowly. It is much better designed and is the best option in the “heat-not-burned” market. I’m not endorsing you to start smoking. Instead, I want you to quit! While we are on the topic of economy, I will show you a good lens that is hyped up too much by the internet as being inexpensive but is really going to cost you more in the long run, a good example of false economy.


Today, we are going to look at the Nikon 100mm f/2.8E lens! This lens belongs to the cheap Series E line of lenses. Series E lenses were made by Nikon for the budget conscious. They really held great value way back when they were introduced with the cheap Nikon EM. If you guessed that the “E” in Series E means “economy” then you got it right. Series E lenses and the Nikon EM were made for ease of use, light weight and economy. This very line of Nikon products were aimed at women who are fussy at the weight of their gear and ease of operation is important. Now, before branding me as sexist remember that this was the late ’70s. OK, maybe society is indeed sexist because cameras are still designed to satisfy these parameters today and much of the mirrorless segment shows this (ie: Fuji X-A line).

IMG_5152Series E lenses are generally compact and lite, the Nikon 100mm f/2.8E is no exception. Its weight is almost half of the equivalent Nikkor lens, is just as small as some small prime lenses and was decently made to satisfy Nikon’s marketing and accountants.

Cost-cutting can be felt everywhere in this lens, from the feel in your hand to the internal components which you will be seeing soon in the teardown. Nikon’s marketing saw that people were buying the plastic lenses and cameras made by other brands and thought it is a great idea to make some,too. The public’s perception of Nikons back then is a rugged, reliable but heavy. While these may appeal to professionals which Nikon has always gave more importance to, this alienated the larger portion of the market that comprise of kids, amateurs and again “women” or customers who just want a reliable but easy to operate camera system. Nikon prides itself in the reliable and rugged part of it’s reputation so the Series E was born to differentiate it from the main lineup of cameras and lenses. It went as far as not using the valuable trade name “Nikkor” on the Series E lenses themselves. It is a wise decision because these aren’t up to snuff when you compare them to a lens that was built to the Nikkor standard. This isn’t saying that these lenses are bad, in fact they’re just as good but simply “not there”.

IMG_5988Here are the 2 known versions of this lens. The later one has a metal grip and the styling was made to look more like the top-shelf Nikkor lenses. This change was done because a lot of people complained that the Series-E lenses look like toys! The lens to the right was donated to me by one of our readers and site patrons. Thank you very much, sir!

They were good enough that many professionals use them because they were small and lite, had reasonably great optics and were inexpensive (back then). In fact, the legendary landscape photographer Galen Rowell used them. He advocated the hiking photographer lifestyle and he pioneered it. If you hike, you will know that weight means a lot! I hiked a little bit and I can tell you that you will feel that extra 100g after a day in the foot trail.

IMG_5184Here it is on my Nikon Df. Notice that it is no larger than an 85/2 lens. It balances well on most camera bodies without a grip. Never handle this lens by the throat of your camera as the lens is mostly made up of plastic and doing this will wear it down. Check the name on the ring, the name “Nikkor” is nowhere to be found! If you see one, show it to me,too!

IMG_2335.JPGAll that plastic and cheap rubber on the grip angered many Nikon users and so the later ones were made with a metal grip and the rubber on the grip was made to the same spec as the ones used on the Nikkor-brand lenses. Accountants only sees things in numbers.

The lens’ optical design is fairly simple. It’s just 4 elements in 4 separate groups. This help the lens’ optical performance because less glass means richer colours in most cases. It is amazing how the Nikon engineers calculated this lens to use as few elements as possible to cut cost yet still end up with a lens that performs really well.

In today’s context, this lens is still a great performer despite its age but to say that this is an economical option is like saying that eating fast food everyday saves you money. The internet has given this lens a rave review and used prices reflect that. In fact, these are usually priced higher than the Nikkor equivalent! I hope that my article will save people some money by showing that you are actually being suckered into buying into a lens that is probably worth $40 less than what its ebay price is. This is a “buyer’s market”.

IMG_2334.JPGThe Nikon 100mm f/2.8E is tiny and lite when compared to the Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 Ai-S. It is apparent in this picture that the lens to the left is made from inferior materials. If you point the Series E lenses to the sun and peeped at the viewfinder, you will notice that the contrast is poor and it flares very bad. This is due to the inferior coatings used on them. I guess that not all surfaces were coated. The coatings are also less resilient to fungi. Don’t ask me how I knew this but I found this out for myself painfully, my wallet was crying.

OK, so if you telling us that the Nikkor is much better then what is exactly different? The closest Nikkor equivalent to this lens is the 105/2.5 line of lenses. With that, you get better build in the form of an all-metal construction, better coating, slightly better performance that you will notice when you pixel-peep, smoother bokeh and of course, prestige. I don’t have a side-by-side test with me now but trust me on this. Maybe I will do one when I am not busy. Again, I’m not saying that this lens is bad. Just want to make myself very clear.

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Here are some sample pictures that were shot with this lens on Fujifilm Acros 100 and developed with Rodinal. The 100mm is considered to be a “moderate tele” lens and isn’t really used much for street-style photography. In fact, many people will tell you that it’s useless. This will refute that. Using a long lens for this type of photography is tricky. You do not use this lens to go near but you use this lens to get the compression needed to help you compose your image. The last picture with the dancing lady shows how nice this lens is when used for portraiture, it still gives great subject and background isolation despite being moderately fast wide-open. The picture of the old lady should give you an idea on how his lens performs when shooting portraits. The focal length is great for portraiture or candid photography, the flatness you get from the compression helps you frame your subject so that the background doesn’t lose its prominence and becomes too small.

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Here are some more samples. The bokeh can be a bit busy at times but it is still pleasant. The lens is sharp wide-open but it just doesn’t match the 105/2.5 family of lenses in many ways. The transition from what is focused to what isn’t is also not as smooth for example. You have to know when to use this lens to get your money’s worth. I am yet to try this on a studio setup with a model so I cannot comment on that yet. Bjørn Rørslett has plenty of experience with IR photography and he praised this lens for that, this is something good for the IR photography community and maybe I should try it on my infrared Nikon D70s.

HAW_6543Here is the lens when shot in its closest focusing distance. If I recall, it doesn’t focus close at all or at least to my liking. Many people actually use a short extension ring to fix that. I know some people who love using this lens as a macro lens of some sort. I really love the look of Fujifilm Across 100 with Rodinal. It is a very sharp and fine-grained film, Rodinal on the other hand is a high-accutance developer that enhances contrast – a great combo!

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Here are some sample with the Nikon Df. These photos were shot in mid-range of around 10m or so. Notice the “wall of sharpness” wherein everything is soft and unfocused but it is very abrupt when it reached the focus plane? This is my main complaint for this lens. Some people may like this but not me. Although pleasing, I find this too harsh and most Nikkors don’t do this and the transition is very smooth. I am not sure what is the cause of this but on the bright side, the lens gives a very nice “Zeiss pop”. This high-contrast must be intended during the calculation of the optical design. To really appreciate this, zoom in to the last photo of the chick with the bleached hair. Notice how high the contrast is on her head/hair. As for what’s bad, check the white embroidered design on the kimonos on the ladies. Notice that it is being flooded by chromatic aberration. While not really ugly, I would want it to be less than this. Again, notice the beautiful pop on those pictures. The pictures were all shot wide-open at f/2.8 by the way, just want to make this clear to you.

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Now, here are sample with the lens focusing on subjects that are closer at less that 2m. I can see that the harsh transition is now gone and it is so much better in this regard. The bokeh is smooth and nice but can be a bit “unrefined” on some parts. Now, f/2.8 cannot be considered fast for a prime like this but it is enough to give a nice subject to background separation. Knowing how to use a lens and when is the key to maximizing your lens and these sample shots should help you decide which scenarios you would like to use this for.

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Now for some comparison shots with the lens wide-open and stopped-down. The pictures were shot from f/2.8, f4, f/5.6, f/8 respectively. Wide-open, what’s in focus is already sharp and stopping it down won’t improve much. The bokeh is pleasant and creamy. By f/4, the subject sharpens up a bit and you can even say that it is pointless to stop this lens down if all you want is sharpness. The DOF improves as expected so the reason for shooting it at f/4 is to get more things in focus. If you want both eyes of the model in-focus then this is your trick. Her eye (assuming her gender) on the short side of the face should be sharp and reasonably in focus at this point. You get this while still maintaining the smooth look of the bokeh. Even though the bokeh is starting to “solidify” at this point, it is still enough to blur the background somewhat. At f/5.6, the lens is already at its peak at the cost of the bokeh’s smoothness because they are now somewhat in-focus. Shooting the lens at f/8 is a waste of effort because it now looks generic. Why bother, just use an iPhone!

If you recall my article last time on the RF-Nikkor-P.C 8.5cm f/2 RF or some of the others I wrote on this blog I mentioned that a lens that changes character as you stop down is an asset because you can have a lens that can render images with different characteristics. This is almost always true with fast lenses in my experience and we do not really see that here much because of the moderate f/2.8 maximum aperture of this lens. This will also be dependent on the focal length of the lens because the Nikkor-P 180mm f/2.8 Auto can also exhibit that much-desired ability thanks to it’s longer focal length.

That’s it for now! I hope that these sample images gave you an idea on how this lens will perform on certain scenarios. I hate doing tests so I shot the lens in scenarios where the lens is best used in my opinion. Of course, I know that some photographers would like to shoot landscapes with this lens but that is not how I would use this lens. Let’s now go to the meat of the article and proceed to the teardown! Let’s go!

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. Also read regarding 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 beginner. Also before opening up any lens, always look for other people who have done so in Youtube and 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.

About Me:

I am a photographer based in Tokyo who scours the junk section of the camera shops here on a regular basis. I started this hobby of fixing old lenses and cameras because I kept on getting scammed before when I purchase online. This turned out to be a blessing because I now buy junk lenses for a fraction of the price and then fix them to add to my growing now collection. This allowed me to buy gear that were otherwise off-limits to me if I were to get them in better condition.

I was a scale modeller before who built models for other collectors for a very longtime, got an education as a dental prosthodontist (but didn’t pursue dentistry) and growing up in a watch repair shop gave me the useful skills that would help me in this craft. Fixing my car also contributed some know-how.

Having mentioned the above, I will tell you now that I am not a professional repairman! So please take what I do with a grain of salt and I will never be held responsible for anything wrong that will happen to you and your project. I hope that the pros would guide and teach us but nobody is writing anything.

As my collection of repair notes grew, I get requests from people with similar interests and from professionals who just needed some notes just in case. Now, I am sharing my library with you for your entertainment and reference. I hope that you find my work useful.

Disassembly (Focusing Unit):

Just like every every lens that we work on, we would like to remove the optics first so we can safely work on the rest of the lens without worrying about damaging the glass. This lens uses some gimmicks for cost-cutting and we cannot work on this lens the way we do on the usual Nikkor primes. Do not worry because I will guide you through everything. I will caution you against using strong solvents because the lens is made up mostly of hard plastic or nylon-like material. Never use MEK or acetone with this lens!

One very important thing to mention is you should only use silicone-based grease. Do not use anything petrol-based because of the large amounts of plastics used on this lens. Only use silicone grease for metal-to-plastic contact surfaces. Lithium grease may be fine but I do not have any information on this so try this at your own risk.

IMG_5154Remove these 3 screws to remove the bayonet mount.

IMG_5155The bayonet mount comes off just like this. See that long post, that is the stop-down lever. You do not need to disassemble the stop-down lever mechanism. If it’s dirty, simply clean it with tissues saturated with solvents. If it really is gritty, then you will have to open this.

IMG_5156The stop-down lever should slip into this small slit. Do not forget this when you are going to put the bayonet back. It can take some time and be careful not to damage the iris.

IMG_5157The aperture ring can be removed easily. Do note that the prong is connected to that long pillar coming out of the iris mechanism. At this point, you will have the impression that this lens is mostly made with plastic. Like somebody said, Series E lenses are like the toys you get from the bottom of the cereal box. I had the impression that they are the one you get with a “Happy Meal”. A bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea…

IMG_5158You can remove this screw now or you can remove it later. It’s all up to you. The versions made later all have metal grips as opposed to the plastic one you see here.

IMG_5159Let’s now go to the other end of the lens. The beauty ring can be removed with a rubber stopper. If yours is stuck, try placing a drops of alcohol along the thread and let it soften up the glue there. I doubt that Nikon glued this thing at the factory but repair technicians who had worked on it might do that. This is very easily cross-threaded so be careful with removing this or when it’s time to put it back. Plastic flexes, that is the reason.

IMG_5160Next, to remove the front barrel, you simple have to remove these 3 screws. Everything’s connected by just 3 screws and 3 thin tabs to a plastic base. The plastic threads drilled on the screw hole will wear very easily and if you get a loose front barrel then this problem came from this part. It can pass for lenses made by other manufacturers, really.

IMG_5161Once the screws are gone, the front barrel can now be safely removed.

IMG_5162Removing the front elements group is easy. Simply unscrew these 3 screws. Be careful to have this thing facing up or it will drop to the floor!

IMG_5163The front elements group can now be extracted up with your fingertips. Keep it in a safe place where it won’t get dirty or damaged. Covering it with clean lens tissue is also a nice idea. The glass is neither big or heavy so you shouldn’t have any problems with storage.

IMG_5164Now, back to the rear! The rear elements assembly can be easily removed by removing a few screws, 3 to be exact. Again, be careful not to ruin the plastic screw hole threads!

IMG_5165The rear elements assembly can now be safely removed just like this.

IMG_5166The helicoids have only a single key to keep it in sync. Removing it is easy, just extract the 2 screws you see here. Before doing that, it is very important that you take notes and lots of pictures of the helicoids. The Series E lenses have helicoids that are a pain to put back together because the thread is so thin one of them so there is a big room for mistakes.

IMG_5167Again, more pictures and notes just in case.

IMG_5168Once I am satisfied with my note-taking, I then removed the helicoids key. Nikon is really trying so spread the it’s profits here. The helicoid key was not even plated and an inferior alloy was used so it got rusty! If you suspect that your favourite fast food chain’s burger patty is getting thinner then seeing this should make you feel a lot better.

IMG_5169As of writing, all Series E prime lenses that I have worked on have helicoids that needs to be removed in a specific order with the inner helicoid being the first one that you should separate. This is because the innermost helicoid has tabs that partially cover a brass ring underneath it for tightening the focusing ring.

The picture above shows where my inner helicoid separated. I made some marks so that I will remember where they separated because this is also the same position that they’ll mate later when it’s time to put them back together after a thorough cleaning.

IMG_5170The inner helicoid is completely made up of engineering plastic. The plastic is hard and it is resistant to most chemicals used for cleaning lenses but it is not as resistant to wear as the metal alloys than true-blue Nikkors use. I was not happy seeing thing but whatever.

The thread doesn’t even cover the whole circumference of the inner helicoid. This is not a good thing and mating the helicoid back with the central helicoid can be a little bit of a challenge. I do not know why this was done but I suspect that this has a lot to do with the injection molding technology of the day. The engineers were probably thinking that this will prevent this from being stuck in the metal die because of the undercuts made by the threads. Whatever the case may be, this is not a welcome sight!

The Inner helicoid also functions as the housing for the objective. If you have been a loyal reader of mine then you will now what I will say next. If the housing of the objective also functions as a helicoid, grease from the thread will eventually migrate to the iris or to the glass elements surrounding it by means of grease migration or evaporation. Having said this, it is best to NOT over-lubricate this and apply just enough grease to the threads.

IMG_5171Now that the inner helicoid is out of the way, you can now remove this brass ring. Take a lot of notes before you remove it because you would want to put this ring back the same way you removed it. While it may look that the ring can be mounted in any orientation, I will tell you now that this isn’t the case so don’t even try! The brass ring can be removed by removing these 3 screws. Be careful not to damage it because it’s easily bent.

IMG_5172The focusing ring can now be removed. If you still haven’t noticed, I got rid of the rubber grip earlier but I didn’t mention anything about it. Removing the rubber grip will not do anything to make disassembly easier, I just got rid of it because I wanted to clean the dirt underneath it.

Remember the screw that I told you to remove very early into this article? There are 3 of them and they hold the focusing scale/grip. You cannot remove the focusing scale when the focusing ring is still there unless you separate the helicoids.

IMG_5986The focusing ring’s front ring is removable but you don’t have to remove it. Removing it’ll make it easier for you to reach the 3 screws securing the focusing ring but you can reach it without getting rid of this anyway so don’t bother. This was glued in the factory with a dollop of contact cement so removing this can be difficult unless you soak this in alcohol for some time. Again, this is optional and I am just showing you that this is removable.

IMG_5173Now, it is finally time to remove the central/main helicoid from the outer helicoid! Again, always note where they separated. Notice how fine the threads look when you compare it to the ones found on that disgusting plastic helicoid? This can be problematic for you later when it’s time to put them back because missing a turn will make the helicoids line up incorrectly. Taking plenty of notes along the way will help you later

That’s it for the focusing unit. It can be confusing but just follow my steps and you should be fine. Things had to be removed in-sequence to make it easier for me to follow or take some notes and measurements. Again, this lens can be a pain to put back if you forgot to take notes and measurements of your helicoids before you remove it. Even experienced repairmen can get frustrated with this when they forgot to take notes so be very mindful!

Disassembly (Iris):

The iris assembly of this lens is probably the weakest part of this lens and you will soon see why I said that. The optics of this lens is clean enough so I do not have to do anything to it. If your glass is dirty, then this guide may not be of much use to you. Do not worry, it is very simple and you can find your way around it. Just use the usual precautions. Also take plenty of notes so you won’t put back any element in the wrong direction or order.

IMG_5174The iris assembly can easily be removed by unscrewing these 2 screws. Notice the purple lacquer that Nikon used to secure it? This will ensure that the iris assembly will not move and change the aperture’s size.

IMG_5175The iris assembly is a self-contained unit and it can easily be extracted with your fingers once the screws are gone. At this point, the iris is very vulnerable so be careful with it.

IMG_5176The plates are only secured with lacquer. This is adequate but it is not ideal, the bar was set really low for the Series E lenses. I took this picture as reference.

IMG_5177The pressure plate can be removed by softening the lacquer with some alcohol and using your fingernails to pry it off from the iris assembly once the lacquer has softened. Notice that the hole for the screws are a bit elongated. This was designed like this so you can do your own adjustments to offset the size of the iris. The screw sat dead-center as you can tell from the shape of the screw head’s imprint on the lacquer, If I am not mistaken, what I did was I offset it so that my iris has a wider aperture. Doing this, my iris isn’t to factory spec anymore but now I have a bigger aperture so instead of f/2.8, I now have a slightly bigger opening of f/2.5 at least. I am just making these numbers up because I do not have anything to measure this but you do get what I wanted to say. All of the f-numbers down the line have also been affected and they are not accurate now but this is what I wanted. If you want to put it back to factory spec then put it back the way it was.

IMG_5178The rotation plate acts like a pressure plate. It constrains the iris blades to a single plane. If this isn’t seated properly, the blades can move out of plane and your iris blades will be mangled as one or more of them jump off-track. Remember how it was oriented before you remove it, it is asymmetrical and orienting it properly later is very important.

IMG_5179The iris blades are very delicate. I drop them on a soft surface. You can also pick them up one-by-one with a pair of tweezers. That is very trouble but if that is what you want to do then only handle these by their brass pegs. Handle them with utmost care.

The iris assembly for this thing is not difficult to understand and reassemble but you will want to use lacquer or other non-fogging adhesives to secure some of the parts together. If you want to use “super glue” (cyanoacrylate), make sure that you only place a very tiny amount keep it well away from your lens elements to prevent them from fogging. You’ll want to wait for at least 30:00 for the super glue to completely dry before you reinstall it (iris assembly) on it’s casing. Doing this before the glue dries up may case it to open up.

Disassembly (Objective):

Disassembly of the objective is pretty straight-forward. It is of very simple design and you don’t need to worry about hidden surprises. Alway handle the lens elements with care!

IMG_5180You may want to place a drop of alcohol onto the seams of the front retainer ring and on the shiny metal collar. These were sealed with lacquer from the factory or by the repair guy who had fixed this lens prior to you. Remember not to flood it with alcohol!

IMG_5982The front retainer ring can now be removed since the lacquer is now soft enough for you to easily unscrew this ring off. The front element is now loose so be careful!

IMG_5983The front element can easily be removed using a lens sucker. Never let this thing face the floor at this point because everything is now loose and can drop straight to the floor!

IMG_5984The spacer and the second element can now be easily removed. Make a small mark or do a snapshot of it to remember which way the spacer should face. In this picture, you will see that the spacer has a mark made at the factory during anodization and this is enough to remind me of it’s orientation. As for the glass elements, a simple dot on the side wall of the lens element using a permanent marker is more than enough to remind you which is the front side and you can even place 2 dots to remind you that this is the 2nd element. A red mark can also be seen near the left edge of the image and that is the lacquer used for securing the collar. It can easily be dissolved using alcohol. Nail polish can also be used.

IMG_5985The collar easily comes off now that the lacquer has been dissolved. The collar on mine is stuck to the 3rd element. This may not be the case with your lens so be careful when you handle this part. Some lenses may have these as 2 separate parts unlike this one. That’s it for the front elements group. The lens elements don’t look ambiguous at all so you won’t get confused as to which one should face where and they all look pretty unique.

IMG_5980On to the rear element! The rear element is secured with a retention ring. It can easily be unscrewed with your fingers and I don’t this part is secured with lacquer or glue.

IMG_5981The rear element can now be easily removed. Don’t forget to use a permanent marker to make a dot on the side walls of this lens element since the curvature of this thing is not very obvious because it’s shallow. I recall that the convex part should be facing forward on this thing but don’t trust my word and always take plenty of notes!

That’s all for the objective! You really don’t need to open this up unless your lens is filthy or infected with fungus. This is not difficult to take apart and reassemble but be careful with using solvents or any solution to remove fungi. My method for removing fungus will be OK for this but don’t soak the lens elements of this lens in the solution for a long time because the coating for this lens is easily damaged by my method. The coating used isn’t the tough Nikon Integrated Coating (NIC) used on true-blue Nikkors so it’s not as durable and resistant to chemicals. Again, do not soak it for a long time or thin the solution with distilled water to prevent mineral deposits to form in case you have “hard” tap water.


We are almost done with this lens. This was not a very nice experience because of all the plastic parts used. While working with this lens, I’ll caution you against over-tightening any of the screws because of the their plastic threads. If you strip the threads then your lens has been compromised and things may wobble or fall. This is no exaggeration at all, just look at the front barrel of the lens and where it is secured. While this is just fine for amateur use wherein the lens doesn’t have to endure the torture of professional use, it is still at risk of damage from bumps and other things. Even if the lens is not being used, it can be damaged while stored inside the camera bag. Pressure from the weight of the bag or the up and down motion from walking or cycling may be enough to damage this thing where it is weak. Having said that, the only saving grace for this lens is that it has a good and proper metal mount. Most modern low-end Nikon lenses use plastic mounts. They’re flimsy and crack occasionally. Parts are cheap but you still have to pay the repairman.

While the lens didn’t provide any challenges and it may be possible for a novice to work on this, I will caution you that taking notes on the helicoids for this lens is important. It’s uneven helicoid design can be tricky at times and confusing at best, even to me.

IMG_5181Reassemble the lens completely but leave out the front barrel and focus to infinity. Get a modern Nikon camera or an older film camera with a digital rangefinder in the finder to help you calibrate the lens’ focus. It is essential that you use a Nikon camera because the mirrorless cameras with adapters aren’t made to Nikon’s factory spec. Worse, the cheap adapters and even the more expensive ones are usually a bit off and is either too tall or too short so getting it right can be tricky. It may focus perfectly with that setup but it will not focus accurately when you mate the lens to a Nikon camera body. Don’t believe what the mirrorless fanboys say or any hack repair guy who’s only for profit.

IMG_5182Now, focus the lens on something distant like a pylon that is 7km far or more. As soon as your focus indicator dot turned on, take a picture and check the preview to see if the pic is sharp. Do this several times until you get a really sharp image of the distant object with the lens wide-open. Next, loosen the 3 screws shown here to loosen the focusing ring. The focusing ring can now be adjusted. Turn the focusing ring until the infinity sign sits right on the white focusing dot in the focusing scale. While doing this, be careful not to knock the lens out of alignment. Once you are done adjusting the focusing ring, tighten-up the screws and then take a picture of that distant object again. If it is still just as sharp then you made a great job! If it is off then you have accidentally moved the focus of your lens. Repeat the steps above until you are satisfied. This is how you calibrate the infinity focus of this lens. If the difference is way to far to be calibrated this way then your in for a hell of a time because you have reassembled the helicoids in the wrong way. Good luck!

IMG_5183Finally, reinstall the front barrel and the beauty ring back to the lens. I do not usually do this but I used contact cement to rebind the rubber grip back to the focusing ring. I love using double-sided tape for this because it is not as messy but I got lazy that day. There’re time when I would even skip the adhesives because the rubber grips the focusing ring in a very tight manner. Do whatever you like so long as you use an adhesive that will never corrode the rubber from inside. These are irreplaceable and you want to keep it clean as much as you can. Replacement rubber parts are available but they look different.

Thanks again for supporting my blog. I have been getting plenty of requests to write one for this lens. Frankly put, I do not have any intention of writing an article for this lens. I just cannot justify the cost of buying these things because they are inferior to the Nikkor lenses in almost every way and they even cost more due to the hype that the internet has given it. Many reviewers will say that this is cheap and just as good, but we can easily do a test to refute that. I’m not sure what they’re talking about when they mention that this lens is cheap. Maybe they are just ignorant of the market value for used Nikon lenses. I’m not going to go too far into this but it is what it is. If you can pay a little bit more, buy one of those excellent 105/2.5 Nikkors. If you are lucky or patient, you can even buy a Nikkor for less than what these Series E lenses go for. Again, do not trust everything you read on the internet and this includes my blog. Thank you again, 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.


14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Buddy
    Aug 06, 2017 @ 08:22:03

    Your comment on plastic mounts reminded me of an experience Ionce had with a plastic mount cheap AF Nikkor on an F5. After a while of use, the F5’s powerful AF motor damaged the plastic mount of the AF lens. That was still screwdriver type AF, so it wouldn’t happen with manual lenses or AF-S type lenses, but it shows how much of a compromise using cheap plastics in lens construction really is


  2. Oskar Ojala
    Aug 10, 2017 @ 19:41:15

    Thank you for writing this! I’ve owned two E Series lenses: the 75-150 and the 35. The 75-150 was very nice on a 12 megapixel body, the main flaw being creep. I was never really into the push-pull design. But the barrel was metal and it held together well. The 35 on the other hand was never quite satisfactory; image quality required stopping, lacked bite and the construction was flimsy. Your teardown brings a lot of flashbacks. At the time these lenses were cheap, definitely under 50 euros per lens. I would never pay over 100 euros for a Series E lens, the AI lenses are so much better.


  3. Trackback: World of F-mount Nikkors (2/3) | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  4. Trackback: Repair: Nikon 35mm f/2.5 Series E | Richard Haw's Nikon Maintenance Site
  5. Steve
    Aug 07, 2018 @ 08:00:06

    Great article!

    Is it possible to get to the rear element without completely dismantling the lens? I have one with fungus on the rear element which I’d like to clean up. . I got the lens from the junk bin at the local photo shop!


    • richardhaw
      Aug 13, 2018 @ 01:57:41

      Hello, Steve.
      Sorry for the late reply. Yes, you can do that. Just read and analyze what’s going on in my blog and you can see that you can do that after removing the rear. Do note that you have to have the right JIS drivers. Ric.


  6. Steve
    Aug 14, 2018 @ 19:14:38

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks. I thought I would be able to from your blog – just wanted to make sure!

    I have the JIS drivers. They cost more than the lens! 🙂



  7. alvareo
    Oct 09, 2018 @ 18:24:39

    You can get one of these for $100-$150 on eBay. I really don’t find that expensive, but a right price for the build quality (or lack thereof). The size is also a plus, I’m thinking of getting one of these to sneak my camera into concerts with it looking inconspicuous and not like the tele it is. Four-element design and the ‘pop’ and character that comes with is also a nice benefit!


  8. Marcelo Junior
    Dec 05, 2018 @ 11:33:46

    Hi. Awesome material! Im willing to repair one of these and it came already almost disassembled and missing the helicoids key (replaced), but sadly without any of the marks for the helicoids :(. Question: is there a more specific way to reassemble it and find the correct position in this particular model? Thanks a lot man, your work is brilliant.


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