Repair: Zoom-Nikkor 43-86mm f/3.5 Ai (3/3)

Hello, everybody! I am now down with the flu so I am going to keep this brief. I am usually resistant to sickness but lately, stress from work has been getting into me so that probably affected my resistances somewhat. I am feeling a lot better now but I will need to take the doctor’s recommended rest period of 5 days. After that, I will assure you that I will be back to my usual health and even better, I will practice kung fu again this coming spring so that my body will regain my old resilience to sickness. This is a tale of redemption for me and also for this special lens so read on!


Today’s topic is about a lens that many people would consider fit for nothing but parts due to it’s heavy fungal infection but I will show you that almost nothing is not worth a try as far as old Nikkors are concerned! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you this gem of lens: the Zoom-Nikkor 43-86 f/3.5 Ai lens!

img_1021It looks really great on a camera of the same vintage, don’t you think it looks sexy on this Nikon F3HP? I love the Nikon F3 and for me, this is the best manual SLR ever made. More

Repair: Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 Auto

Hello, everybody! Did you miss me? I sure missed you. I am currently very busy at work and it is taking a toll on my body, in fact I had to take a rest yesterday because I’m just so tired. I am currently heading 3 projects because I am a versatile employee. Being versatile is good because you can be useful here and there but being versatile also means that your skills are spread thin. This is a common problem if you are not a specialist in something before you acquire a second skill. In my case, I am a specialist at the technical side of the business and the other things that I do are things that I happen to know enough of to make decisions for the project and the company. If I were to be a Nikkor, which lens would I be? We will see.


Today, I will show you one of the most versatile lens designs that made it into production and became so successful that it spawned copycats and a legacy that lasts to this day when it came to the essence of the idea – the awesome Micro-Nikkor-P 55mm f/3.5 lens!

img_3042I really love this lens, the all-metal construction is tough and the ergonomics are perfect! You can’t get any simpler than this and this lens is so practical that it’s still relevant today as a general-purpose normal lens. This lens spawned copies from other manufacturers in it’s day from rival companies all the way to small obscure brands. It is a successful design! More

Repair: Nikkor-Q 20cm f/4

Happy new year, my friends! 2016 has been a crazy year for a lot of people, for me it was a stressful year because my beautiful assistant is working off-site so I have to do the job of 2 people at the studio. It was also a year wherein we lost the likes of Bowie, George Michael and other important ’80s pop icons. This made me feel old because I grew up listening to New Wave and other ’80s pop and rock. Thankfully, just like the loud electronic rhythms of yesteryears there is one thing that is slowly getting a revival – Classic Nikkors. Amongst these Classic Nikkors is something that I consider somewhat to be a hidden gem when it came to the cost/performance ratio – the Nikkor 20cm f/4!


This lens is part of a very historical lens family and is the lens that is succeeded by the lens that we talked about in this blog post. Although there are many similarities between this and the Nikkor-Q 200mm f/4 lens, the Nikkor-Q 20cm f/4 is made very differently. There are numerous differences in the lens barrel’s engineering that you can consider this barrel design to be totally different.

img_2868Here is my collection of Nikon’s 200 f/4 primes. All of them were bought as junks and were restored during my spare time. These comprise all of the major cosmetic variants for this lens line and we will have a guide for each of these one of these days. More

Study: Damaged Lens Artifacts

Happy holidays, everybody! I wasn’t able to update the blog last weekend since I was busy and I had to work last Saturday. This coming Christmas is no different for me because I am going to have to work as well. This is Japan and Christmas is nothing more than a Western idea celebrating capitalist ideals. Speaking about Christmas, I have an assignment for you guys this season if you have ever bought an old lens or have inherited one. Read along!

Damaged Lens Artifacts:

Today, I will show you how to check wether a damaged lens element will affect an image or not by using light sources like Christmas lights! Some people claim that damage on a lens’ optic will not show up in the final image, while it is true for minor problems like a patch of fungus it is not true for something more serious like a scratch or chip. Sellers and people on the internet make this claim and I will show you how to test their statement by doing these simple tests.

Dirty Bokeh:

Some damages that are too feint to see with the naked eye without using the help of a light source such as a torch can fool you into thinking that nothing is wrong with a lens but this simple bokeh test can help you determine wether the lens is still OK or not. This test only works in darkness so I do this at night or inside a dark room.

First, focus your lens to it’s minimum focusing distance and stand 1.5-2m away from some Christmas lights or any bright sources of light. This also works on light sources that are far away like some street lamps 60m meters away from you. So long as you can produce clean and clear bokeh balls you are on the right track.

Second, set your lens to it’s maximum aperture and set your exposure settings so that you will get a nice picture with bokeh balls, ISO400 at 1/250s usually works for me. The key to this is to underexpose the bokeh balls a bit so that things will show up.

Examine your picture and zoom into your bokeh balls and look for artifacts. The following images show a few examples of bad bokeh from some of the lenses that I encountered.

HAW_5000.jpgDirt or a bad scratch can cause this artifact to appear. Depending on the cause, it can easily be fixed by cleaning the lens elements in case of dirt or having a professional re-polish the problem element for you and re-coat it after. This particular lens looks immaculately clean but as you can see from the picture above, the lens produces bad bokeh. I am yet to open it again to find the cause but I suspect that a minor scratch in the coating is the cause. More

Repair: Nikkor 50mm f/2K (New-Nikkor)

Hello, readers! Sorry for skipping the past couple of weeks as I was busy with work. It was a very unremarkable month and all I did was work work and work. Couple that with a cold front and you get a very lazy and tired father. Apart from people messaging me that they saw my name in the latest Final Fantasy credits, this month passed on unremarkably and I would like to continue on that tangent by talking about an unremarkable lens today…


Today, we will be talking about the Nikkor 50mm f/2K (New-Nikkor) lens! I was busy in the past few weeks and I cannot decide on which lens I should make a teardown of so I made a poll and this one got the 2nd highest vote. It was such a boring month anyway and it’s just fitting that I make a teardown of a boring lens.

img_1443The Nikkor 50mm f/2K feels heavy and VERY well-built. This feels pleasant in the hands so I would sometimes use this lens just for the heck of it. It has the right heft and balances so well on all cameras without a built-in motor drive/grip. More

Repair: Nikon DE-1 Eye Level Finder

Hello, everybody! I am down with a cold and I had to work yesterday (Saturday) so I do not have much time to update this blog but this morning, I found that somebody donated to the upkeep of this blog and that gave me the will to write this down. Whoever you are, thank you very much for the encouragement! It will be a short one this time. The usual lens tear-downs require around 2-3 nights to write but this should be easier.


We are going to look into a common (and expensive) item for the Nikon F2 camera today – the Nikon DE-1 Eye level finder!

img_1963This is just a standard finder for the Nikon F2 camera. It is really the cheapest option that you could buy back in the days because it is unmetered but since people wanted the ones with the built-in meters for obvious reasons so this one was made is smaller quantities. As time goes by, these finders age and degrade and the prism don’t hold up very well so good ones end up being expensive. The ones that have bad prisms still fetch a nice sum, I think that the cause of this artificial price is collectors. I do not remember these being sold at the current prices 4-5 years ago. More

Quick Chat: Canned Air

Hello, everybody. I am kind of busy today so I will not be making any posts about repairs or anything. I would just like to show you an old image that I have here that I found in my old folders and thought that this would make for a nice discussion piece.

15993621946_9a224b906f_zWhat you are seeing here is the front element of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM “ART” lens. I really liked this lens a lot and cannot find any crippling faults with it but one thing that’s a big issue with this lens has always been the lack of weather sealing. More

Repair: Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! It’s the middle of autumn and the trees here in Tokyo haven’t reached their peak autumn colours yet! This is starting to get frustrating for me because this is the only time of the year that I can justify shooting Velvia! Autumn is also about the time I use my wide lenses for landscape photography and I will show you one of my favourite lenses for general photography.


Today’s lens is the venerable Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 Ai-S lens! For a change, today’s lens is not mine and not a junk as well. It was sent in for repair together with another lens. I love this lens so much that I got one from the junk shops! I know, I am too cheap for this rich man’s hobby but there is always a way around things.

img_2137The 28mm focal length is one of my favourites and I own several 28mm lenses. Here is the Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 Ai-S lens together with the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 Ai-S lens. Both are not mine and were sent to me for maintenance only. These 2 lenses make for a good setup for general photography since they compliment each other well in terms of focal length. More

Repair: “Shneideritis” & Edge Separation

Hello, my friends and readers! It is getting really cold these days and I am getting lazier to do even the most basic of tasks and prefer to just hide under the thick blanket. I was really thinking of skipping this week’s post but I saw people clicking on my site just to see if any posts got published and this gave me the strength to write this. My readers usually come from Indonesia, Philippines and the EU and for you, I will dedicate this week’s post.


Last time, we talked about the marvellous Nikkor-O 35mm f/2 lens. I also mentioned that I got the lens from the junker and that the middle element had some cosmetic problems but since it was being sold for an agreeable price and the problem doesn’t affect the images it makes then it was a fair purchase for me.

img_2110Here is  a closer look of the lens element that is going to be the topic of this week’s article. I am sure that some of you guys have seen this and wonder what this is and how do these affect the lens and the images it captures.


Repair: Nikkor-O 35mm f/2

It is beginning to be cold now here in Tokyo, so much so that sitting on the wooden floor of my workshop makes my butt numb after a few minutes and we are still at the early weeks of Autumn! The sun now sets at around 4:30PM and it gets dark around 5:00PM so taking pictures in the dark is now becoming one of my primary considerations as far as making a decision as to which lens I should bring for the day and this brings us to today’s subject!


Today’s subject is the amazing Nikkor-O 35mm f/2 lens! This lens was introduced in 1966, it was Nikon’s fastest wide lens for a few years until the even faster Nikkor-N 35mm f/1.4 lens was introduced in 1970. Not only was this lens fast at f/2, the minimum focus distance is also very short at just 0.35m. This allows for really close focusing and combine it with the shallow depth-of-field that an f/2 lens would give you wide-open and you can get creative with this lens.

img_2052The Nikkor-O 35mm f/2 is rather big for a Nikkor prime but not so big as make everything look and feel unbalanced. It is common knowledge that this lens was rather difficult to manufacture for it’s time because it is a bit complicated but this design stood the test of time and the optical formula stayed for quite some time until the advent of the AF model lens, that says a lot! More

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