Is it worth it? - Replacing glass on 18-200mm lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mary doo, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. Stupid me took this lens to a beach a few years ago and it dropped on the sand and got a scratch/ding on the glass. The lens is still useable of course, though I hadn't really tested and compared, etc., the way some of you folks are so good at.
    Question: Does anyone of you know how much approximately it would it cost to replace the glass? The rest of the lens looks brand new. I would like to sell this lens on eBay but I don't feel particularly good at selling something with this defect. Besides, something like this would not get any high bid any way.
  2. It's relatively cheap. Call Nikon repair, and see what they quote, but I have always had reasonable prices when I've dealt with them. There's a front element on your lens listed on ebay as well, for $88.
  3. "I would like to sell this lens on eBay but I don't feel particularly good at selling something with this defect".
    There is nothing wrong, unethical or even unusual about selling a lens with an optical defect as long as you describe the condition of the lens honestly and you fully disclose any known defects. From a practical standpoint, if the scratch is very minor it will have no noticeable impact on the final image in all but the most extreme circumstances. On the other hand, it will sell for a lower price than a pristine lens.
    The best thing to do is to contact Nikon Service and get an estimate for replacing the front element (you may need to ship it to them, but the estimate is free). Once you have an accurate repair cost in hand, you can evaluate whether or not you can recover that cost by selling the lens for a higher price than you would get selling it as is.
    Only with a confirmed repair cost from Nikon (or another repairer) can you decide Is it worth it?
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    A couple of years ago, I was stupid enough to set my 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR (version 1) with my D700 on a big tripod on South Georgia Island under windy conditions. It look no time for the wind to blow the whole set up over. Impact on hard rock broke the lens hood and for two months I thought the lens itself was fine. While apparently there is no negative effect on image quality, two months later I finally tried to manual focus that lens and realized that the focusing ring is now very stiff. Since I mainly use AF, it is almost a non issue. I took the lens to Nikon USA in Los Angeles in person, and they told me that repair would be $400 to $500. I declined repair on the spot.
    Now I mainly use my 70-200mm VR II. Perhaps I'll sell my VR version 1 some day. It makes no sense for me to pay $500 to repair that lens and then sell it. In my case I can always sell it to someone who only uses it on AF as I do, and it should make no difference to them as it is to me. I can always discount the lens by $300 with full disclosure. It benefits both parties that way.
    Mary, if I were you, I would sell that lens as is with full disclosure. It is best to sell it to a local buyer thur, e.g. Craig's List such that the buyer can take a look at the damage in person. Replacing the front element will cost you at least $200 on a lens whose used value is probably around $500 to $600 without defects. I simply don't think that pays. In particular, those who use a 18-200 should not be that critical about image quality, anyway.
    I would avoid selling these lenses with minor damages to remote buyers. If they don't like it when they receive it, shipping it back and forth is costly and is a waste of time. When you point out such issues to a local buy face to face, it makes things much easier.
  5. It is VERY easy to change by yourself the front element on this particular lens ! You can do'it with your bear hands without any tool at all. You just need a new front ellement (from e-bay)...
  6. Test you lens' IQ before you do anything further. Chances are your pictures will not be affected in any way and you can go on using and enjoying your lens.
  7. I put a scratch on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 sometime in the last year. Doesn't seem to affect image quality. I'm keeping it. Consider the advice above to test your lens before repairing or selling it.
  8. bms


    Juding from your profile pic, you have alternatives(s) to this lens :)
    If you are not using it, why not sell it with full disclosure - it is amazing what some "broken" items fetch on fleabay/CL, though I did once have a lens returned to me despite giving (IMO) an accurate description.
    If you use the lens and it does not affect IQ - keep it.
  9. I highly doubt a scratch on a front element will affect image quality, but it does impact resell. I would see if the front element comes out easily, and replace it myself. I would also suggest using a lens cap when not taking a shot!
    Kent in SD
  10. This is why every single lens I own gets a skylight/UV/clear filter put on it the minute it arrives and the filter only comes off if I want to put a different filter on. Yes, I know the arguments on this degrading image quality. But even though I've dinged up many a filter over the years, I've never scratched a front element.
  11. Gee, Paul, from Mary's picture, it doesn't look to me like she has bear hands!
  12. Maybe Paul meant Mary could do it if she had the strength of bear hands. :)
  13. bear hands as well as a bear ass. :)
  15. BTW, Paul, we're just funning ya. It's because we've all (yes, ALL) done something like it that we piled on. :|
  16. Once again you folks have helped me reach a decision with wisdom and humor.
    I have found a video in YouTube which sheds light on how to replace the front element of a 18-200mmwithout resorting to bear hands (think it's still illegal to detach the hands from a bear :). There is another video showing a different way, but the background music(noise?) is so annoying.
    Shun, sorry about your 70-200mm. FYI I am selling my scuffy V1 at the moment and it is doing very well in just a few hours! I have retracted the 18-200mm from eBay after the decision to brave frontend replacement with my bare hands. The $88 18-200mm glass is a good deal for experimentation. Thanks for the info, Ariel.
  17. Mary, are you going to try dismantling the lens using callipers as shown in the video?
    I've been using callipers to remove watch-backs to replace batteries for years, and no matter how careful I try to be, there will always be the inevitable slip and resulting new scratch. Do be careful!
  18. Thanks for the warning Michael. I will be sure to take precaution. Yes, I do happen to have a pair of calipers. I hope there won't be many surprises. I still don't understand why the other video shows removal of screws - on the same lens.
  19. :) Touche ! ... excuse my english..., :)
  20. Just saw this. If the flaw is as minor as it sounds, and it is on the front element, shoot a number of pics and critically look for any flaw to the image when magnified. It is unlikely you will see anything, but if you do at magnification highly unlikely you will see a problem at normal image sizes. A pro friend of mine gave me some of his old fast Canon FD lenses and they are BEAT. Scratches, mars even one chip on the front elements, and the images are fine. Barring, any real effect on images, and therefore, I would keep the lens and not spend a cent on it. Call it character and save your money for your next lens and/or body. A ding on the rear element could make a difference

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