What I hate most about Nikon bodies

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mark_stephan|2, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. I'm a long time Nikon user and the thing that drives me crazy is sticky rubber. All of my Nikon bodies have sticky rubber, the bodies inlcude: F5, F100, D2x, D800, D700 and D600 and I cannot find a cure for this problem. Do any of you know of a cure> I recently contacted Nikon and they replied that they no longer service my bodies and a third party might be able to help me. I asked Nikon Repair how to remove the stickiness and they didn't answer my question they skirted around it. I had a few bodies for sale at the local camera store before the Wuhan Virus/Pandemic and they didn't sell because of the sticky rubber. Why did Nikon keep putting this synthetic rubber on their professional bodies knowing the sticky rubber would be an issue some day? I was lucky enough to have my D700 serviced at APS a couple of years ago and the rubber was replaced but now the replaced rubber is sticky too, not as bad as the other bodies but it is headed that way! Since I can't sell them I'll probably donate them to a school or something similar.
    Erik-Christensen and chulster like this.
  2. Replacement grip rubbers are available for at least some of those bodies, though full sets are not cheap. Search eBay for "nikon d800 rubber", for example. I've replaced the rubbers on the back and on the battery door of my D810 (because of wear, not stickiness). These were easy. I'll soon need to replace the one for the main grip because it's been expanding and no longer fits properly. That one may be a little harder to apply, but I still think it will be easy.
  3. I wonder if whether grip rubber becomes sticky is a function of how humid the air is.
  4. This problem goes way back. I have a pair of N90’s that did this especially badly on the back. I just took a rag and some isopropyl alcohol and cleaned that crap off. Lost part of what was printed there but it is not a significant issue.

    Rick H.
  5. I think the stickiness comes from migration of a plasticizer, such as dibutylphthalate. It's polar but strongly hydrophobic and soap won't touch it, neither will naphtha. After researching it on the internet, I found that 91% Isopropyl Alcohol on a cloth or paper towel will restore the surface, with some elbow grease. IPA may be hard to find due to widespread hoarding. I doubt 70% IPA used as rubbing alcohol is strong enough. 91% is used for sterilization, and is also found in alcohol pads used to prep injection sites (diabetic supplies).
    lance_blakeslee likes this.
  6. If IPA does the job, then Ethanol ought to work equally well. Ordinary methylated spirit is about 95% ethanol with pyridine and methylene-blue dye added. I'm pretty sure those additives wouldn't reduce its effectiveness at removing sticky goo.

    FWIW. The rubber grips on both my D700 and D800 are still 'normal' with no stickiness. And I don't think anything could be worse for stickiness than Sigma's ugly old 'Zen' coating.
  7. I hate that too! The older bodies like F2, F3, FM, FE etc.. have no problem. The new covering has better grip but I much rather have the old style covering. I guess the way one hold a modern camera one does need to grip it. With the old cameras you don't grip it. You cradle it.
  8. I've successfully used methylated spirit. It's not a permanent solution, so has to be repeated from time to time.
    steve_g|2 likes this.
  9. My cameras get a bit sticky during the hot season, I have not had the rubber replaced but wiped the camera with ethanol and it seems to reduce the stickiness. I don't know what service facilities use to clean cameras but maybe it's worth asking. I recall that Nikon recommends wiping surfaces with a cloth and distilled water.

    Normally in Finland the weather is not such that the cameras get sticky, it's mainly the peak summer weeks.
    mag_miksch likes this.
  10. I've handled N90s that were terrible, but even my F5, F100, and all my DSLRs are fine. Admittedly my D800 had most of its rubber replaced a few years ago as part of a service, but even before that there was no indication of it and the original remaining(right thumb grip) is fine if somewhat worn.

    The only issue I've seen on a modern-ish DSLR is on my Fuji S5, which is a poorly disguised D200. It's shrunk a bit, but that's all I can really say about it.
  11. The variability of this issue really makes me wonder if environmental or user-specific factors are involved. Different people's hands obviously sweat at different rates, but could there also be variation in what chemicals are present in what concentrations in sweat?
    Erik-Christensen and Fiddlefye like this.
  12. I suspect storage conditions matter. I first noticed it on an F100 and D70 that had been kept in a Crumpler camera bag in contact with foam-filled artificial fibre dividers and a rubberised mesh retainer. Perhaps outgassing or contact with migrating plasticisers from the bag or simply keeping the cameras in a confined space for an extended period triggered this? Airing them on an open shelf helped, especially the F100, which also benefited from a few applications of that green gunk they sell for cleaning keyboards:


    The D70 probably needs the full isoprop threatment at this point - all the grips are affected. With the F100 the problem was limited to the back, which is easy to swap if you can find a replacement for a reasonable price (I have a data back in reserve, in case the original goes sticky again or the door catch breaks).
  13. I had this on an F100, and it came off with normal baby-wipes, and a heavy application of elbow grease. Surprising what they’ll get rid of (aside from the obvious) and is testament to the robustness of the average baby’s backside.
  14. Something else that I used with some success on a lower valued film body(N55 maybe?) was a very light dusting with corn starch. It cuts the "stickiness" and after a bit of initial handling doesn't wear off or really have any cosmetic affect other than slightly lightening the rubber.
  15. In a similar vein I was thinking rubbing graphite powder or carbon black into a sticky grip would make it less sticky...if you don't mind getting your hands black whenever you use the camera.
  16. Not sure I'd want to rub a conductive powder into an electronic camera, in case it got into the works...
  17. I've heard that some insect repellants and suntan lotions can rapidly degrade the rubber grips by chemically interacting with the material. Those products are widely used by landscape photographers. Studio and wedding photographers, less so.
  18. ....and there's talk of lens coatings being damaged too.

    Sadly, I'm the cause of most of my rubber problems..... mostly lens focus/zoom bands which don't go sticky, they just get bigger than the groove they're meant to stay in and no-longer fit. The grips on my D500 and D850 are beginning to swell too....:(

    One of my early firearms instructors commented once that I had 'Very ACTIVE Sweat' and had to be obsessively careful with wiping down the bluing/blacking after use otherwise a rusty fingerprint would appear overnight and he'd know it was me. His more jovial colleague said I could leave a fingerprint on a brick....:eek:
    Fiddlefye and chulster like this.
  19. I just successfully de-stickied an F80 using alcohol hand rub we bought for sterilising our hands during the Covid lockdown. It's marked 70% ethanol.
    (Don't tell my wife though).
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  20. Be careful with this though, I saw an X-PRO 1 for sale on eBay recently, non-functional due to an 'excess of alcohol gel'.

    Personally, the thing that drives me nuts on Nikons is the lens mounting direction being reversed compared to just about anything else. I know it's a relic of the Zeiss Contax heritage, and I never find it an issue on my Contax bodies, but I broke the only Nikon mount body I ever owned the first time I tried to remove the lens (stop screw was missing).
    Fiddlefye likes this.

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