Nikon prime lenses are noisy when focussing; can I oil them?!? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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Nikon prime lenses are noisy when focussing; can I oil them?!?

I've got a lovely set of old manual-focus Nikon prime lenses that I'm planning to use on my new GH1. The problem is that some of the primes make a little bit of noise when pulling focus. Erm... can I just put a tiny touch of oil into the focus ring? Or do I have to take the lens apart to oil the right part? Is there a special "lens oil" I should use?!?

I took a prime lens apart many years ago and couldn't quite put it back together again properly!
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Old July 9th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #2
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Although it has been many years since I ill-advisedly took a Nikkor lens apart -- the helical focus parts are the dickens to get re-aligned properly --- if I recall correctly, they used a somewhat sticky silicone-appearing grease --- not oil -- on the focus threads. My advise is don't just squirt oil into the mechanism, it will creep into places you don't want it to --- the diaphragm blades or the lens elements, for example --- and do damage you won't like. My dos centavos....Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old July 9th, 2009, 08:41 PM   #3
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Dismantling a Nikon lens is a certain way of giving yourself an expensive paperweight.
Been there, done that.
Send them in to Nikon for servicing. No ifs, buts or maybees here.

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Old July 9th, 2009, 10:33 PM   #4
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And here I thought I was the only to do that. Of course I didn't learn, I did it twice. Doh!
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Old July 10th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #5
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Wow! I'm glad I'm not the only person to take a prime apart and fail to put it back together! They look so deceptively simple from the outside, don't they?! And then you get into the unit and find it's full of complicated bits and bobs!

Thanks... I'll look into getting the lenses serviced. I suspect that servicing the lenses will cost more than the lenses cost to buy (most a from eBay).
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Old July 10th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #6
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Jack,

Even if you have the lenses serviced, anything you do that causes movement of anything on the camera is likely to cause noise. Your easiest solution is use of an external mic. I often put a Rode SVM on a light stand and place that in close to the talent but just out of the frame (using a 16' shielded mini stereo extension cable from Radio Shack).

I think what most of us using DSLR's for some video are going to have to run "double system" sound. Running something like the ZoomH4n or H2 and matching waveform peaks from that audio to those recorded by the camera. Then mute the audio the camera recorded.

It may seem like a bit of a hassle but it does work if you monitor your sound recorder properly.

I have to do this with the Canon T1i as the camera has no mic jack and audio in camera is mono only.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #7
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Hi Bruce,

Yeah, you're absolutely right. Double system seems to be the only option with the GH1. Even if you feed the GH1 a decent audio signal from a pro audio mixer, the GH1 adds a tonne of hiss.
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