Repair: New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 (Early Ai)

Hello, everybody! I was hungry for some Taiwanese food so I went looking but I found that most of them were ran by the mainland Chinese people and there was nothing Taiwanese about them apart from what’s written in the sign. This is unacceptable, I hope that this practice ends because it’s unfair to the peaceful Taiwanese people. If you do not know any better then you’ll get the wrong impression about the Taiwanese because the people running these shops are mainland Chinese. Speaking of being confused, we will talk about a confusing subject today in Nikkor land but this time, you will get an excellent lens whichever one you end up and unlike the example that I just gave, it is not some shoddy knock-off trying to deceive people but it is just Nikon being lazy and will show you why I said that and how you will know which version you’re looking at.

Introduction:

We are going to showcase the New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 lens today, a lens that is usually mistaken for its successor, the Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai since they’re almost identical apart from some insignificant details. This lens replaced the beloved Nikkor-S 35mm f/2.8 Auto in 1974 and it’s a total re-design from the optics to the barrel. From the old 7-element design it now sports a new 6-elements-in-6-groups design and a new barrel that’s more in-line with the New-Nikkor line of lenses. The successor to this lens (Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai) is essentially the same lens with an Ai-ring and a slightly-different rubber grip pattern. To the untrained eye, they look identical specially if the New-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 sports a factory Ai-ring upgrade. The parts can mostly be interchangeable as far as I remember so I lumped the two lenses into one. Why did Nikon do this? To save money, because in just a few more years the later Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Ai was sold and that’s what I believe is what Nikon really wanted to sell as the Ai version but it probably didn’t make it in time, that’s just my theory but it’s very likely to be the case.

IMG_0612It’s a wonderful little lens that not a lot of people know about but the few who do know it for a special reason which I’ll mention several times in this article so pay attention. Some people poo-poo this lens but it’s a great little lens if you know how to use it. More

Repair: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S

Hello, everybody! It has been a busy week at work so I haven’t got the time to update this blog for 8 days. It’s difficult striking a perfect work/life balance here in Japan because the working hours tend to be long and can sometimes encroach on weekends so by the time you get home, you’re left with just enough time to clean yourself up and read your email. All that plus the expenses of rearing a child makes things difficult for the average person working here in Japan – No wonder people here prefer to be single all their adult life!

Having mentioned all that, I’m still grateful that I have a wonderful family who supports me in the profession that I chose and for encouraging me to maintain this blog. With the little time I have left this week, I am going to post a short but interesting tear down of a popular Nikkor that has become a favorite due to its small dimensions and the amazing cost-to-performance ratio of this little gem – the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S.

Introduction:

The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S has a big following because it’s Nikon’s smallest 50mm lens. It was preceeded by the short-lived Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S (long-nose version) and this has a different optical formula if I remember it correctly. The newer lens formula is compact so its lens barrel was also made smaller. Many people consider the older lens to be better optically but not by much. If you ask me, having a smaller lens out-weigh any advantages that the older lens may have in terms of image quality because smaller lenses enable me to use them on scenarios where a bigger lens will just be bothersome.

IMG_0882The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 Ai-S was introduced in 1980 and stayed in production up to 2005. A lens that was produced for 25 years can be considered a success if you ask me. There’s a big surplus of this lens and I remember that you can still buy these new up until some 12 years ago as “new old-stock” lenses so excellent versions of the last variant can still be found in the used market. Many people loved this lens and it’s part of many people’s kit. I personally see myself keeping this lens forever just because of its practicality. More

Fundamentals: Grease and Lubrication (2/3)

We had a lengthy commentary on screws and drivers on the previous post, the next important subject to consider is lubrication. If you’ve read any of Nikon’s repair manuals you’ll see that Nikon uses different types of grease and lubricants on different parts of their lenses and cameras. While this is the best practice in camera manufacturing, it isn’t practical for DIY repair for a lot of reasons, some of which are:

  • It is expensive to keep an inventory of various lubricants.
  • It is not cost-effective if you are just fixing your own stuff.
  • You may accidentally mix lubricants.

With the above considerations outlined, we will now start discussing about the most important lubricants in camera and lens repair.

Preparation:

Before applying fresh grease to your helicoids you’ll definitely need to clean the helicoids first and remove the old, dirty grease. This is also true for any camera and lens parts that once had lubricants applied to them.

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Just take a look, looks like the grease has not been replaced since 1965! This has to be cleaned and never leave any residue.

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Fundamentals: Screws and Drivers (1/3)

In the previous article we’ve outlined most of the essential tools for repair and maintenance of classic Nikons and Nikkors. Now, we’ll be discussing the best application for these tools so that you’ll less likely to destroy your gear by stripping or snapping a screw.

Just like everything else in life, you may mess up in your first few projects and that is OK. In my case, I messed up three projects because there is just not a lot of online materials for this and any useful information out there are scattered or can be irrelevant at times. The lack of proper tools when I first started was also a big contributor to my failed projects since I thought that it would be just as simple as fixing your average kitchen appliance. The good thing is I have managed to fix the failed projects now and I’ll show you how to prevent messing up your project from my experiences.

This guide isn’t going to be organized in any order, I’ll be updating this from time-to-time as I find new ways or remember anything that I have done in a previous project. A good deal has been discussed on the previous article so please refer to that as well and I will try not to repeat anything that can be found there.

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Camera and Lens Repair Essentials (Tools)

Just like most bobbies, you’ll require certain tools to repair or maintain the equipment that you use. I love repairing broken photography equipment, it helps save the planet and I save a lot of money along the way.

I’ll outline to you all the essential tools that you need for repairing lenses so that you don’t waste your time and most importantly, money on gear. Many people will give you the wrong advice on the internet, many from ignorant or arrogant personalities. This has resulted in many people, including me to botch my repairs when I was starting up. I’m neither ignorant nor arrogant, I’m a generous person with experiences to share so you won’t end up being a camera butcher.

Most of the tools that you’ll need can be bought in regular hardware stores. However, some are specialized and can only be bought in specialty stores or online. These are good investments, buy the best that you can afford but do not go overboard and buy something that is insanely expensive but of very limited use.

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