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Manual lens rebuilding
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  • I've rebuilt many of my lenses. It's important to work in a dust free environment. One tool I find handy is an ultrasonic cleaner, for say removing oil from aperture blades.

  • I needed an Apollo 25mm F0.85 lens servicing and was quoted £189+VAT at Sendean cameras, and opted for a second quote. R G Lewis in Holborn did this for a flat £90. Hope this is the right place for this post.

  • @svart Thank you for this page! Super Lube 51004 is what we used in film school to lube the lens mounts of the Arri-S camera. I've used it over the years to lube similar lens mounts on the Eyemo and Eclair CA-1 35mm cameras. I should dig them out of to inspect how it's faired ca. 20 years on. Do you still recommend it? That Nikon Grease is now $1000 on ebay (and not an option).

  • Not sure if this is useful, it might be, can anybody comment?

    HELIMAX-XP Camera Telescope Optical Instrument Focusing Helicoid Grease w/ PTFE

  • I think you're better off with a modern synthetic hydrocarbon than any kind of grease. Greases eventually separate.

    Synco's Super Lube High Viscosity Synthetic Oil With PTFE was mentioned previously. I've used a similar discontinued Synco product on focus helicoids and zoom mechanisms with great success. It is lighter than most greases, and I like very much the way focusing behaves with it.

    Here's the current Synco product:

    I've also tried mixing synthetic oil and synthetic grease to achieve viscosity somewhere in between, and it seems to work without separating. But the synthetic oil alone is great on focus helicoids, so I never put the mixture into a lens.

    BTW, there's tons of lens and camera repair info at this web site:

  • Thanks Balazer ... previous attempts to find 51004 in Australia failed me (1,000,000 cheap auto oils)... 51010 came up instantly. I will have both now

  • @Tesselator , are you in Machida? I know that bird very well.

  • Great topic by the way, think i ll probably try to clean some old lenses after watching that vid.

  • Wanted to add a few things here, as I have done some pretty extensive reasearch on various types of grease for working on my Nikon lenses. Avoid anything that breaks down, outgases, or flows too much. Greases come in many varieties of thickness, and can be classified in general categories as defined by the NLGI standard. Greases around NLGI 1 or NLGI 0 tend to be about the correct thickness, but each lens is different. Sometimes NLGI 2 can be used, but should be applied very sparingly to avoid making the focusing too stiff. Super Lube is an NLGI 2 grease. MicroLubrol makes a grease specifically for helicoids, known as Helimax-XP, which is NLGI 1, and I find to be perfect for most of my applications. Japan Hobby Tool makes an NLGI 0 grease, also made for helicoids, that is a bit thinner, which they refer to as #30. This may also be a good grease if you want a bit less dampening. They also make a #10, which just barely falls into the NLGI 00 rating, so is even thinner, and is also made for helicoids. This may not produce enough damping for some lenses, so be careful if deciding to use that. I understand Tri-Flow is used by some people, but it seems to be made in grades NLGI 0, 1, and 2, and it hasn't been clear to me if they mark the products accordingly, so I am hesitant to use it, not knowing the level of thickness I'll receive. All of these have PTFE, which I have seen many rebuilders indicate should be used for helicoids, and I believe all are lithium based, which again is something I have seen rebuilders state should be used. Hope this helps!

  • I have 2 copies of the Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 II - both have fungus on inner elements. Now I have opened older manual lenses with the twin pliers earlier. This one has a plastic beauty ring. I tried to use the rubber cups for suction pulling but they did not work. Has anyone tried to remove the front element on this lens ? I would assume lots of folks have these..

    EDIT:- Turns out the newer lenses have stuck-on beauty rings. Use a flat screwdriver to pry them loose...

  • A couple other points worth mentioning. The helicoid greases I mentioned are in fact available via Amazon as of this posting. I noticed a prior poster mentioned it's not a good idea to use oil, and I completely agree. Grease serves a couple purposes, obviously to lubricate, but also to provide dampening and to not flow beyond where you intend, which is hugely important in lens rebuilding. The same poster mentioned the use of a cotton tipped applicator for spreading the grease. I would disagree with the use of cotton, as the fibers can transfer to the grease and helicoid. I would instead recommend either a plastic bristle brush or a foam applicator....something that will not leave any contaminants behind. One should also apply grease sparingly....a little goes a long way, and adding too much will tend to gum things up and cause flow into areas you probably do not want.

  • I've used brake grease - a tear pack from the auto parts store is all it took not sure how it will perform long-term, but the lens turns very smooth with it

  • Does anyone know anything about these greases

    They have different standards, and this one is marked as GOST 6267-74. How does that compare to NLGI standard?

  • @inqb8tr Your link is pointing to an item that appears to be a repackaging of grease, not directly from the manufacturer. Assuming it is what it claims to be (Ciatim-201), then it should be NLGI 2, which is a bit on the stiffer side ( However, the fact it does not appear to come directly from the manufacturer would be a concern to me.

  • You can translate from Wikipedia -

    By idea it is not expensive.

  • @Ryzon @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Thanks, I just found it on ebay by searching for greases for the purpose of damping a bit the aperture ring after being declicked, there seem to be several of these Ukrainian resellers.

    @Ryzon Do you think that NLGI2 is too stiff for aperture ring?

  • @inqb8tr

    Just use nearest auto parts shop, will be much cheaper.

  • @inqb8tr I cannot really speak to the use of grease for the aperture ring. I don't think any grease is a substitute for not having physical clicks to the aperture. That being said, I would probably not use anything less than NLGI 2 if you are intending to get some dampening to the aperture. One thing to think about when we talk about dampening, is that the more surface contact there is the more dampening is experienced. So, in the case of helicoids, where there can be a lot of contact due to the fine threads and tight tolerances, the dampening effect is magnified moreso than parts such as aperture rings that would have relatively minor surface contact. One might even want a thicker grease than NLGI 2 in your case, but again, I cannot speak to the use of grease as a way to manage deckicked aperture rings.

  • @Ryzon thanks for the info, it is very valuable to me since I know nothing about greases, I dampened my lenses apertures by small pieces of felt, and thought to give grease a try.

  • @inqb8tr If it were me, I would either replace the ring or use the felt. You may find that the grease wants to spread to areas you don't want it to...just seems like a potentially messy approach to me. Perhaps even just a sliver of electrical tape would provide a better solution than grease.