Nikon AF 35mm f2 oily aperture blade repair by Nikon UK?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by robin_barnes, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. I bought a Nikkor AF 35mm f2 (non D) lens back in the 1990s for use on my FE2. However I did not use it a very much - I found that, most of the time, my 50mm and 24mm suited my needs better. I did not notice anything wrong with it but then, as I said, I only used it occasionally.
    However I recently found out that my D40x will meter with this lens - I knew that the auto focus wouldn't work and had assumed that the meter wouldn't either! I was delighted with this "discovery" as on my D40x it would give me a top quality prime of almost the same focal length as my manual Nikkor 50mm f2 on my FE2.
    So I have been using it and am very pleased with regard to its sharpness but I am getting somewhat over exposed images and I have found that there is oil on the aperture blades. Having searched photonet I have found that this is a well known problem - with the oil preventing the lens from stopping down properly to the aperture set thus causing the image to be over exposed.
    It would appear that Nikon have been very reluctant to acknowledge that this lens has a design or manufacturing fault and, indeed, the only reference to them doing this that I have found is on Ken Rockwell's site where he indicates that, in 2001, they admitted that this was the case when he visited their service centre in California.
    I have read that a number of photonet members got Nikon to repair their lens only for the oil to appear again at a later date. So has anyone had a repair which has proved to be permanently successful?
    Also, as I live in the UK, I would, very much, like to hear from anyone who has had their lens repaired here. What was Nikon UK's attitude? Did they charge you? How long did it take?
  2. I had this with my AiS 105 2.5. It got to the point where I left the little screw out of the barrel, could dissasemble and clean the blades and re assemble in about 20 minutes. Problem was never solved and I doubt it can be. Mine was to Nikon or other tech 3 times, finally a friend of mine who was a camera tech in NY showed me the dissasemble process and I became remarkably good at it. Answer in my opinion is this is just a nuisance, but fixing it gets expensive, get rid of the lens, or learn to clean them yourself.
  3. I can't comment on your exact situation, but my AF Fisheye 16mm f/2.8D has developed a slow/sticky aperture resulting in overexposure. I don't know if it is the same problem as the old AF 35mm f/2 issue, but I haven't had it fixed yet.
  4. Robin B., there is a permanent fix for this issue:
    A qualified tech can fully disassemble the focus helicoids, solvent wash them and the aperture assembly. In doing this you can remove the offending original lubricant that had the annoying issue of separating out. The combo of newer synthetic grease (on those helicoids) and the fully dried out aperture unit, will then make it trouble free.

    Eric S., yes, your 16mm is experiencing the same issue.
    Since the advent of auto return apertures, this has become a very common malfunction.
    (and repair)
    conrad_hoffman likes this.
  5. Had Nikon admitted it was a manufacturing problem with this lens and taken responsibility and fixed it for free, my DSLR and lens purchases in recent years would not have been a different brand. I do use Nikon products and recommend Nikon DSLRs to others however.
  6. Hi,
    I was in a very similar position to you; bought the 35mm f2 in the 90s, used it rarely, recently moved to digital and discovered the oily aperture blades problem. The Nikon rep I spoke to the first time couldn't confirm whether I would be charged for repair so I sent an explanatory letter with the lens (as they recommended) along with print outs of web pages with people mentioning the same problem. I was later told that Nikon UK don't have an advisory notice covering this fault, so I was sent an estimate of £77.25 for repair.
    Like you, I was concerned about the problem returning, particularly since the repair wasn't cheap. However, while it's only been 5 months since the repair, I've used the lens regularly and it seems fine. From my posting the lens to them (Kingston upon Thames) the estimate was emailed within two weeks and after I accepted it, then lens was back with me within another two weeks.
    Hope this helps, and good luck (particularly with Royal Mail)
  7. Thank you all for your replies.
    Andrew you have given me just the information I needed. Fortunately I can get to Kingston quite easily so I don't think I will be bothering with the Royal Mail!
  8. Just an update for anyone that followed this thread; 6 months on (11 months after the Nikon service) and the oily aperture blade problem has returned to my 35mm f2.
  9. I need a nikon 35mm AF F/2 for parts to repair mine (bayonet and front lens element didn't survive to a fall). If someone has a non-working 35mm f/2 AF that isn't used for this oily blade problem, I might be interested.
    Thank you
  10. Might be worth starting a new thread on that, Christophe? I'm not sure what the protocol is in asking for kit ("does anyone have a broken..." seems more likely to avoid moderator admonition than some), but I suspect people are more likely to see the request. I was mentally preparing a reply about my experiences with Nikon UK (mostly positive) until I spotted the date.
  11. Thank you for the good advise.
  12. No problem - good luck!
  13. Nikon's cheaper and mainly plastic-bodied AF lenses aren't built with easy repair in mind.
    You might be better off simply buying a good condition used one.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  14. I've fixed various oily apertures, but only on manual lenses. No idea how hard this one would be. Have to agree that with complete disassembly and cleaning, plus using a modern synthetic lube very sparingly, the problem shouldn't return for a long time, if ever.
  15. I cleaned the oil from the blades myself using this "how to".
    A year later the lens is working great and the oil hasn't returned, yet. From what I hear it eventually will and I'll have to clean it again.

    tholte likes this.
  16. FWIW, I've almost never found it necessary to remove individual blades unless it can't be helped. If the aperture assembly can be immersed, several cycles of the blades while fully immersed in naphtha will get them clean. The trick is drying- never try to move the blades when partially wet with solvent as they'll jam and can be damaged. A gentle breeze and patience does the trick.
    FPapp likes this.
  17. I just cleaned the blades on a Rokkor 85mm after a friend told me how to do it. I am not a fix it type guy but it was easy enough for me to do. You can use Rosonol lighter fluid or 91% or above alcohol. Much simpler than I imagined. You can google how to do it on many different brand lenses as FPapp showed above.
  18. Ronsonol works, but I prefer V&PM Naphtha, which is similar stuff. They've changed the lighter fluid over the last few years, so not quite sure what the complete makeup is.
    Fiddlefye likes this.

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