Lenses with M/A Ring

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by FPapp, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. As most of you know, there are a number of older style Nikon lenses that have the M/A ring to switch from manual to auto focus. These rings are known to fracture and break and it seems the 80-200 f/2.8D and 28mm f/1.4D are the most common ones people talk about online.

    I own three lenses with this style switch:
    AF DC-NIKKOR 135mm f/2D
    AF Zoom-Micro Nikkor ED 70-180mm F4.5-5.6D
    AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED

    So far the rings are intact on my lenses. I've been thinking about seeing if I can buy the replacement rings to have on hand if they do break since these are older lens designs and parts probably won't be available indefinitely.

    While searching for information on this topic it seems many have reported the rings breaking even when the lens was gently handled and there are also cases of the ring being replaced only to break again a few months later!

    I'd like to know what the experience of others on this forum has been? I'm wondering if there is a permanent fix? (I don't consider duct tape, electrical tape, crazy glue, etc. to be an acceptable solution). There is a seller on Ebay who has metal replacements for the 80-200 f/2.8D and 28mm f/1.4D which seems to be the best solution. I tried messaging him to find out if he might be able to manufacture rings for the other lenses but I haven't heard back yet.

    Thoughts and opinions please. Thanks

  2. There are at least two ebay sellers of metal replacement M-A rings for the AF 80-200mm f/2.8D two-ring. I bought one and it works great. I don't know if anyone sells them for other lenses, or if these will fit any other lenses.
    FPapp likes this.
  3. I owned the AF 80-400/4.5-5.6D, AF 80-200/2.8D and the AF 70-180/4.5-5.6 for many years - had no issue with the M/A ring with either of them.
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  4. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have used the feature, but rarely. I wonder how much usage would initiate in failure.
  5. Hardly ever touched mine - very rare that I felt the need to switch to manual focus on those lenses (mostly on the 70-180 for "macro" work).
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The M/A ring on my 200mm/f4 AF-D macro broek after several years, but that was in the early 2000's, and I had that replaced by Authorized Photo Service in Chicago. I haven't used that lens as much since, in favor of the 105mm macro.
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  7. I have a couple, including an 205/2.8 AFD, which so far has not broken, and I hope it doesn't. That's a nice lens, and one which does want to be switched fairly often. The 80-400 AFD doesn't get used much, so it will probably last forever.
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  8. My 200mm/f4 mac broke but I just put a very small drop of super glue on it and its held every since, been about 8 years until I sold it about 2 years ago, showed the buyer, they had no problem with it, so far they still use it.
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  9. By the way in cse it wasn't obvious above I mistyped, and it's a 105/2.8 D that I'm using and like so much!
  10. I have a couple with it, but my most used is my 105mm f/2.8 Micro. So far it's not been an issue for me(I bought it used) and I toggle it fairly frequently given what I use the lens for.
    FPapp likes this.
  11. Thanks for all the replies to this thread, I appreciate it.

    I contacted Midwest Camera Repair about this issue. They told me that have a fairly large surplus of these M/A rings for various lenses, good to know if the need should arise. They also told me that they have never had a lens come back a second time after doing this repair. They said that they think the Nikon replacement part may be built to a stronger standard than the original factory part but they aren't 100% certain on that.

    I'd still like access to the replacement parts to have available. I know Nikon USA refuses to sell parts. Does anyone here happen to have a lead on where I might be able to obtain these parts? I'm fine with ordering from overseas if it's a reliable source.
  12. Um, try searching eBay for "nikon 80-200mm m a ring", substituting the focal length(s) of the lens you want the ring for.
  13. Already did that.
  14. You found nothing?
  15. I found a seller with the part for the 200mm f/4 micro for $65. Seems a little steep to me! Nothing for the 70-180mm or the 135mm.
  16. Here's a hail mary. It seems at least somewhat, if not very, likely that if the diameter or circumference of the M-A ring for one lens is the same as for that of another lens, the two rings are interchangeable. The M-A ring on my 80-200mm has an outer circumference of approximately 245 mm. (Approximate because I only have a tape measure.)
  17. I may have to investigate that further. When I talked with Midwest Camera Repair they did mention that some of the rings are used on more than one model of lens. There are some sellers with the metal M/A ring replacements, it would be nice to be able to use those on other lenses.
  18. I currently own 4 lenses with the ring. 60mm, 105mm, 70-180mm, and 80-200mm. All have intact focus select rings. I gave my sister the 200mm micro and have yet to replace it mistakenly thinking that the now discontinued Sigma 180mm 2.8 would take its place. I like to shoot closeups with a 300mm so I still have options besides the 200mm. I replaced the ring on the 80-200 about 14 years ago while in San Diego at Kurts Camera Repair. I don’t think there is any question that the ring is a weak point on these lenses and I keep a piece of gaffers tape over the buttons to keep things undisturbed. Even the 80-200 stays in manual mode. Since these lenses are all optically quite good I see no reason to part with them. As well I own a complete set of now ancient Nikon auto extension tubes and that helps with close up shooting. You would have thought Nikon would have learned its lesson with respect to the MF selector ring but they still make the 200mm micro that is the best in its class and also a 105 DC f2. I think the older 60mm micro I own with the MF ring was discontinued only a few years ago. My understanding is that you can get the rings repaired no problem but of course for a price. Plastics are great up to a point. Eventually plastics out gas and become brittle. Part of the byproduct of outgassing is formaldehyde that actually contributes to the break down of some plastics so its kind of a self consuming thing. Wish this wasn’t a problems. Keeping things cool dry and ventilated may help Good hunting.
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  19. My 80-200/2.8D N A/M ring broke and Nikon actually didn't replace it with a new ring of the same type but replaced it with what the service felt was a more durable solution. I have owned a number of lenses with this type of A/M rings, and the others didn't break. I currently have two: the 105 DC and the 200 Micro. They work fine. Since this is a mechanical fault, it should be possible to come up with repair solutions even when the official parts run out.
    FPapp likes this.
  20. You can add the 20-35 f/2.8 AF tp the list of lenses with that collar. It is a well known weak point.

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