Nikon 50mm 1.8D stays wide open

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by taylor_gilmore, May 29, 2015.

  1. Hello all, I tried searching this but I'm not sure how to describe this. So I just bought my Nikon D610, upgrading from a D90. I was expecting my Nikkor 50mm 1.8 AF D lens to transfer over without a problem.

    Here is my issue, when I mount the lens and lock it at f22 the camera recognizes the lens. I'm able to see the matrix metering and take photos. However, all my photos seem to be coming out wide open with a narrow depth of field regardless of the aperture I shoot at. I've tried Manual, aperture priority and the auto features and they all have really narrow depths of field. I tried to stop down to f/16 for a long exposure in low light and still nothing. I was concerned its my camera so I tried my 28-85mm f3.5 AF lens and that works fine.
    This same 50mm 1.8D worked fine on my Nikon F5, so whats the issue. Suggestions??
  2. This same 50mm 1.8D worked fine on my Nikon F5,​
    Do you have your F5 or D90 still at hand to try the iffy lens on? Or go find someone else's camera to try your lens.
    If you set it to f16, look down the lens barrel and take a 'selfie', can you see the blades shut down?
    Equally when set to f16 and you push the Preview button does the image go dark? (and indeed if looking down the barrel etc etc)
    Metering wise, if the aperture isn't shutting down, all the pix should be seriously overexposed. If in Manual setting in normal daylight, 1/125 @ f8 @ iso 100 should give an OK pic. If the aperture isn't shutting down, the pic should be very overexposed, by like 4.1/2 stops...almost white.
    You don't mention the brightness of your pix at all, just the very shallow DoF. I don't get that!
    I tried to stop down to f/16 for a long exposure in low light and still nothing​
    Errr, what exactly is the 'nothing' produced here? OK exposure but narrow DoF?
  3. Mechanically, the recognition of the lens and whether it is set to minimum aperture is seperate from the mechanism to open and close the aperture while shooting- two different levers on both lens and body.So, while the lens is properly recognised, it may still have problems with opening and closing the aperture (but, as Mike said, if it refuses to close down, it should also massively overexpose!)
    Since the 28-85 works fine works well, and the 50 f/1.8D is recognised properly, it could be a matter of 'tolerance' making the aperture lever of the 50 f/1.8 not engaging properly with the D610 (while the 28-85 does). Again, this is only if all your photos are overexposed. The DoF Preview button is the easiest way to find out of the aperture lever is working, so I'd try that first, and then it'll be easier to understand where things go wrong.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As Mike and Wouter both point out, using depth of field preview is a simple way to check whether the aperture diaphragm is actually closing down. Set it to something smaller like f11 or so; the difference should be very obvious.
    And if you are shooting aperture priority, select f5.6, f8 and try some test shots. If the aperture is not actually closing down, you should be getting some seriously overexposed images.
  5. Sorry for the confusion everyone. In regards to the Nikkor 50mm 1.8D AF, I just did the used the DOF test button, and I do not see the aperture stopping down. It remains constantly open, and yes when I take photos they are all over exposed in aperture priority, unless shooting at f1.8 - I just used it in aperture priority at f8 looking outside my window and its over exposed all over the frame using matrix metering.
    Also when shooting in manual mode out of the same window, at ISO 200 1/60 I get the same exposure at f/8 f/11 f/16 it won't get any darker as I stop down. I do not have this problem on my other AF lenses, I'm going to try it out on my D90 for a comparison.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ok, so clearly your D610 is not able to mechanically control the aperture diaphragm on the lens.
    Please remove the lens from the D610. Unlock the aperture ring. Can you now rotate the aperture ring to open and close the aperture diaphragm? Most likely your aperture is stuck wide open.
    If not, it could be the little lever on the camera body side, at the 9 o'clock position inside the lens mount. If you are careful and gentle, you can use a pair of small pliers to adjust its position. Both of these are somewhat common issues on Nikon SLRs and lenses (stuck diaphragm). 20, 30 years ago, I have adjusted the lever on Nikon SLRs a number of times. However, if you are not careful, you could damage the camera and void the warranty.
    Also see this recent thread:
  7. If your camera stops down other lenses, the problem lies in the lens which doesn't work. There's a lever on the base of the lens which engages the camera body. With the lens set to its minimum aperture (f/22?), the dismounted lens should be completely stopped down. If you push the lever to its extreme position (about 1/4", don't force anything), the lens should open fully, regardless of the aperture ring setting. It should return to the minimum setting the instant you release the lever.
    If it doesn't move, or is sluggish, the aperture blades probably are oily from degradation of grease in the lens. It costs about $100 to have the lens cleaned, lubricated and adjusted at a Nikon repair center (or Authorized Camera Repair in Elmhurst, Illinois). Nikon now uses a silicone grease, which doesn't separate or migrate.
  8. Thanks Edward, that was exactly
    right. I took it to a local
    camera shop today and discovered
    that the back lever was sticking,
    it wouldn't spring back at all.
    $100 for a CLA, that's more than
    the lens is worth.

    I ended up buying a Nikkor 50mm
    1.8G off Craigslist today. It's
    like new for only $160. Thank you
    everyone for your responses.
  9. Good deal on the f/1.8G, and it's a much better lens too, so that's killing two birds with one stone. Enjoy it.
  10. It's not unusual for maintenance of a precision instrument to exceed its purchase price. Where calibration is required, e.g., for regulatory purposes, maintenance is 5x to 10x the original cost over the life of the instrument. Even if you replaced it, the cost of maintenance would continue unabated.
    If the lens is otherwise in good working order, no scratches or dings in the glass, it's really not unreasonable to have it repaired. If you replace it with something of the same vintage, you are likely to incur a similar malfunction, ad infinitum. In the OP's case, he replaced it with a better, newer lens., which starts the clock over again.
    Do you keep an item which you find useful and reliable once repaired, or replace it with another used lens, along with the previous owner's problems?
  11. Circumstances vary and malfunctions do too, but I think if I had that sticking lens, I'd take it off and hand-operate the aperture lever about 50 times in a row, and see if it frees up. Sometimes things seize from disuse and will stay free for a long time when exercised. Nothing to lose.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    That same problem happened to two of my lenses in the 1990's. The first time was when I used my 500mm/f4 P manual focus lens in Kenya, in some very dusty environment. Nikon in Melville, New York wanted $200 to replace the aperture diaphragm. That was a no brainer on that lens, which was around $3000 at the time. Later on the same thing happened to my 20mm/f2.8 AF. The repair cost was the same but the value for that lens was around $300 or so.
    At least in my case, I tried to manually open and close the aperture diaphragm a number of times, but that didn't fix the problem. However, fast forward 15 years, I haven't had that same problem again, so far, after those two incidents.
    For an old 50mm/f1.8 AF-D that was barely over $100 new, it is clearly not worth spending money to repair. Today, with the very good 50mm/f1.8 G AF-S available, using the opportunity to upgrade is a smart move.
  13. Did you test it again with the F5? I have a 20mm f/2.8 that does the same thing. I had to send it back to Nikon for repair.
  14. I haven't tried it back on my Nikon F5. Its collecting dust at the moment while I'm enjoying the Nikon D610, this full frame digital is amazing. I will try to hand operate the aperture lever though and see if that frees it up.
  15. it's really not unreasonable to have it repaired.​
    if the repair price is 85% of the new price, i'd say that's not unreasonable to buy a replacement instead.

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