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Old June 14th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #1
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Any way to loosen the focus ring?

I have a SLR lens with a tight focus ring. It's okay if I rotate it by hand but a bit tough when I try it with a follow focus. Any tips on making the focus ring rotate smoother? Thanks.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:03 AM   #2
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What kind of focus gear are you using?
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #3
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Is your lens and old metal rimmed Nikon?

These have a high viscosity grease on the threads which move the lens focus and when it goes dry and a bit of aluminium stain from wear gets into it the focus goes tight, more so in one direction than another.

A proper lens service by a proper tradesman is likely needed. I got lazy, opened the lens and put a little drop of automotive transmission fluid on the thread to rehabilitate the grease as I was in a hurry.

I was not concerned over doing damage as the lens was bought cheap with scratches on the front element.

Despite that, it remains a good lens unless pointed directly towards light sources.

It seems to have worked but not recommended as oil may seep out onto the glass or fractions may come off and condense on the glass surfaces inside.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:23 PM   #4
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Focus gear is from Redrock, but follow focus is Cavision. The lens is an older Canon FD 55mm f/1.2. Glad that worked out for you, Bob. I don't think I'll risk transmission fluid on my lens. Are there any oil specifically made for focus rings? Love to hear more suggestions. Thanks.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:33 AM   #5
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I would check out this thread.

http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0083xw

The consensus is that if you're willing to risk doing it yourself, you can use a precision oiler from radioshack and use less than a drop of oil to smooth things out. However, most still recommend getting it done professionally.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #6
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There is a bit of rainbow chasing in the process described on that website regarding Leica lenses. Placement of the lubricant has to be more controlled and precise.

With the old all-metal Nikon 50mm f1.2 and a 85mm f1.8, I took off the cover sleeve to expose the thread and key which stops the focussing element from turning with the ring. The small drop of lube was applied only to the fine threads directly and only to rehabilitate the original lube, not to replace it.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 02:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Min Lee View Post
The lens is an older Canon FD 55mm f/1.2. Glad that worked out for you, Bob. I don't think I'll risk transmission fluid on my lens. Are there any oil specifically made for focus rings? Love to hear more suggestions. Thanks.
iiiiironic. I'm in the same situation with the same lens. I'll try the oiling thing again but not working so well.

I'll tell you what I did to loosen the aperture ring: removed the set-position pins that make it click at certain intervals, and spread grease on that sucker. Now I have smooth focusing across the entire range without having to be stuck at the preset intervals.

Actually it's not grease, but the liquid steel component of JB Weld without the hardener mixed in. But it works exceedingly well.
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Last edited by Ben Winter; June 23rd, 2007 at 03:16 AM.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 08:06 PM   #8
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Ben,
Can you give more detail instructions? Like how did you take the aperature ring off? Thanks!
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 09:15 PM   #9
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Ben,
Can you give more detail instructions? Like how did you take the aperature ring off? Thanks!
I can do it to another lens of mine and videotape it, tutorial-style if there's enough interest. It's actually really easy.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 10:11 PM   #10
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Anyone know how to deal with the sticky aperature leaf on a Nikkor 50mm F1.4. In the Higher f stops okay, but when you open as far down as F 4, it will not go back without actuating the lever at rear of lens. I'm figuring I will live with it, but if anyone has an easy fix...
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 10:33 PM   #11
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I can do it to another lens of mine and videotape it, tutorial-style if there's enough interest. It's actually really easy.
Yes please. But if there isn't enough interest maybe a swift kick in the right direction will do. Like are there certain screws to remove? or do you twist, yank, or pry it off? Thanks.
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Old June 23rd, 2007, 11:31 PM   #12
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Yes please. But if there isn't enough interest maybe a swift kick in the right direction will do. Like are there certain screws to remove? or do you twist, yank, or pry it off? Thanks.
I'm making a video tutorial right now. I should have it up in a few hours.

EDIT here it is. I did it to my 50mm 1.4 but all the Canon FD lenses basically look the same.

http://www.frozenphoenixproductions....d_aperture.mov
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Old June 24th, 2007, 09:07 AM   #13
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Wow, that's a lot easier than I expected. I have a set of Nikons... would they have a similar mechanism?

What would be the best liquid to use on the ring? The JB Weld scares me. :)
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Old June 24th, 2007, 03:02 PM   #14
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Wow, that's a lot easier than I expected. I have a set of Nikons... would they have a similar mechanism?

What would be the best liquid to use on the ring? The JB Weld scares me. :)
From what sketches I've found of Nikon lenses it looks like the construction is generally the same. I don't know how to refer to the lubricant you would use but I'm sure it's out there. Using the JB Weld steel part is harmless as long as you keep the hardening component away from it :)
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Old July 5th, 2007, 03:11 AM   #15
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sweet. I finally got this aperature mod done. I was pissed because I did knock the thing out of alignment and didn't know why it wasn't fitting together for a long time but everything is working now. This is awesome because one of my pet peeves while doing interviews outdoor is when clouds pass over the sun and I can't correct for this without the abrupt changes. Thanks Ben!

Also, regarding the focus ring. I tried the radio shack lube, I ended up using way more than a drop. I didn't take apart the ring so I used the corner of a sheet of paper to push the lube in there. It might be slightly better but not significant.
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