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Is it a fungus or haze on the lens? (35-70mm/f2.8)

Arie Nathan , Mar 25, 2010; 11:05 p.m.

My father kept his collection of Nikon F bodies and lenses in storage cabinet with 5 watt lamp to keep it dry inside. One of the lens is Nikkor AF 35-70mm/f 2.8D (new) which is finally descended to me .

Last week I was trying to try the lens since it never been used almost years but suprisingly it gives me a very low contrast image.

I tried to examine the lens inside - if there's some fungus or not. But I'm not very sure if its a fungus or not, because the pattern is different - more evenly spread on one element of the lens. No 'spiderweb' things like the one i know.

I emailed nikon service centre here (in Singapore) -first they replied me that they can't do it since they dont have the spare-part anymore. So i asked them for another solution and attached the images whether it is really a fungus or not. But they only answered me that they will replace the lens and it's going to cost me SGD 311 (~USD221) as they need to order the lens element.
Anybody can give me opinions - if its really a fungus or just a haze? And is that the right price to get it fixed (worth it)?

Beside of that , I think I also need a little lubrication on my Micro Nikkor-P.C 55mm/f3.5 because it gives kinda dry feeling when i rotate the focusing ring. I've also Nikon service centre here and it going to cost me USD 76. What do you think?
Thank you in advance for any opinions/comments.

Back of the lens


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Robert Hooper , Mar 26, 2010; 12:10 a.m.

There are many different kinds of fungus that grow in lenses, and I have seen a lot of manifestations over the years. This definitely looks like fungus to me. I suspect just cleaning the element will leave spots where the fungal growth by-products have etched the coating and glass. A shame.

A 5w bulb is not nearly enough to prevent fungus from growing. You must add a higher wattage bulb to increase the internal temperature of the storage container to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above outside ambient Fahrenheit temperature in order for the method to be effective

Lex Jenkins , Mar 26, 2010; 12:19 a.m.

Shun and at least one other Nikon forum member have mentioned similar problems with an overall, evenly distributed haze on the 35-70mm f/2.8 AF Nikkors. I haven't experienced that problem with my copy.

The 35-70/2.8 AF Nikkor is vulnerable to ghosting flare, but should not produce significant veiling flare of softness due to hazy elements. Whether the lens is worth disassembling and cleaning or repair is up to you.

Regarding the focusing lubrication of the 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor, I experienced the same problem with mine (a pre-AI version, later modified to AI). The lubricant was too dry to enable consistent fine focusing at 1:2 magnification. The inner barrel group would shift very slightly. Even stopped down to f/16-f/32, the depth of field is so shallow the slightest movement of the inner barrel was enough to affect critical focus.

I replaced the helicoid lubricant myself, but I'm fairly comfortable with that having done so myself on several manual focus lenses. However, the $76 (USD) fee you specified for servicing by a qualified repair center seems very reasonable. If the lens is otherwise in good condition, it's worth servicing.

Robert Hooper , Mar 26, 2010; 02:07 a.m.

If the spots on the lens that look like eggs on a skillet are not reflections, I still believe they are fungal growths. Invariably when they reach this level of growth they etch the element.

If the element is indeed evenly hazed, there is hope that it can be successfully cleaned without having to be replaced. This lens is prone to hazing. When I had one, it eventually developed haze, too. Send the lens to Nikon and get a more precise evaluation and estimate for repair.

Todd Peach , Mar 26, 2010; 09:12 a.m.

I am a fan of this lens, but I have heard anecdotes about one of the element groups coming unglued on some older samples. It looks / shoots like you describe.

Oddly, I'd heard it was a problem for the non-D version, but maybe it's primarily age related, and we've now "aged" the D samples enough to get some to crop up.

Peter Schulze , Mar 26, 2010; 04:02 p.m.

Hi Arie, I had the same problem you mentioned. I my case it was haze which my local Camera store cleaned without any problems. Cost me $135.00 Dollars. Peter

Arie Nathan , Mar 27, 2010; 09:51 a.m.

I am now thinking about getting 70-200mm/2.8 VR2 instead since I already has 14-24mm, but still looking forward to get it fixed it anyway. Just dont know for sure, if its worth fixed or not - since the focusing mechanism is rather slow and not sure if its really sharp after getting its lens replaced.

About the 55mm macro (yes with the modified aperture ring) - do they need to dissamble the elements only to lube it? If not and not too risky, I was thinking to get service from another qualified/trusted repair service.

Thank you all for your responses. >>Robert: Thanks for the notice about the bulb. I think I need to inform my father to replace it with the higher watt bulb to save his collection.

Lex Jenkins , Mar 27, 2010; 10:25 a.m.

"About the 55mm macro (yes with the modified aperture ring) - do they need to dissamble the elements only to lube it?"

It isn't necessary to remove any optical elements from the metal rings in which they're mounted. The disassembly involves removing the inner barrel which houses the optical elements from the outer barrel to access focusing helical. The helical is cleaned, degreased and regreased to provide the desired "damping" or compromise between smooth resistance and ease of use.

There's a sketch that helps illustrate the process on Rick Oleson's site: http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-102.html

Note that those sketches are not specifically for the 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor and some variations will be needed to do the job. But I was able to handle it on my own, although I did have some experience with this on several other lenses, had the tools and appropriate cleaning solvent and lubes for the task. For repairing a single lens, it wouldn't be cost effective to buy all the necessary equipment. Paying a qualified repair tech up to around $100 USD would probably be more cost effective.

Shun Cheung , Mar 27, 2010; 10:54 a.m.

Right, based on previous threads here, this seems to be a fairly common problem for this particular lens. I only have just one sample; I bought my 35-70mm/f2.8 AF back in 1990, before the D era (starting in 1992). My lens was fine for just over a decade and I finally noticed the haze issue in 2002; it came on all of a sudden. Since I think the 35-70 zoom range is too limited anyway, I bought the 28-70mm/f2.8 AF-S to replace it. I still own the 35-70, and now 8 years later, the haze issue inside has not gotten worse. I am quite sure that there is nothing growing inside.

The later AF-D version of this lens has exactly the same design. The two versions look completely identical except ones says AF-D and the CPU inside reports focusing distance back to the body.

Peter K , Mar 29, 2010; 01:08 p.m.

My copy of this lens also has an even haze. I quite dislike it. But I've yet to find anyone to unload it on who will pay me more than $100 :(

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