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AF-S Nikkor 55-300 VR dropped in salt water


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9 replies to this topic

#1
Cojcolds

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Hi all,

 

At the end of a wonderful holiday, a not-so-wonderful thing happened. I was shooting a sunrise from the riverbank (salt water) and completely dropped my lens into the water. I immediately rushed to the mens toilets, filled the sink with tap water and gave it a good flushing through with fresh water. I exercised the zoom and focus, while submerged, to get the water thoroughly pumping through the body.

 

I then drained it and spent a good 30 minutes holding it under the hand blow dryer to get the unit warmed up so the water would evaporate faster. I then stuck it in a bag of rice and placed it on the hot back window of the car for a few days.

 

Today on inspection, the unit is perfectly dry inside, the zoom and focus actions are still smooth, but the lens is quite badly smeared with some sort of a residue and really needs a good internal cleaning. I haven't tried connecting it to the camera yet to see if it's functional.

 

I searched youtube for a lens cleaning video for this model but could only find repairs for locked zoom, etc. I can't find any videos on lens access/cleaning.

 

I'm technically adept (eg. have pulled many MacBook Pros and iPhones apart to repair them) so I have no fear of disassembling this unit to give it a good cleaning.

 

Before I go any further, should I try another cleaning session with distilled water or isopropyl alcohol, then do the drying routine again?

 

Can someone please point me in the right direction to a step-by-step on accessing the internal glass on this lens?

 

Your sage advice is most appreciated!

 

Regards,

 

Cojcolds



#2
Cojcolds

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Any possible assistance is most appreciated!!! I'm holding off doing anything further until I get some advice.

 

Many thanks! Brett



#3
Ron

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My advice, assuming you would rather keep the lens than replace it, would be to have it professionally serviced. Modern lenses are technologically complex and difficult to repair without specialized tools and equipment. This is especially true of lenses damaged by salt water because that stuff can corrode internal electrical contacts. 

 

Probably not what you wanted to hear but that's my advice, for what it's worth.

 

--Ron



#4
Merco_61

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Consumer zooms are notoriously difficult to reassemble correctly, even if you scribe marks at every possible place as you take them apart. They are usually assembled in very precise fixtures or, at a service, using a collimating bench using notes on where every sub-assembly should focus.

 

Even a short exposure to salt water can do lots of damage and the cost of repairing a 55-300 quickly gets more expensive than a used lens to replace it.



#5
Tony

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Did it land sideways or on one end?  My concern would be the sand and salt combined.  A tough situation to be in. Wish you the best. 

 

TT



#6
TBonz

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Assuming the OP did as they said and worked the zoom and focus in and out while in a tub of water, the damage has already been done if sand got inside. And IMHO, there is no way to be sure that it was 100% dried out inside.  I expect a visit to an authorized service person is a good call...too much that might be missed by someone not fully familiar with the lens, let alone taking it apart and putting it back together.



#7
Cojcolds

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Thanks all for your sage advice. Yes, the lens was on its side when I retrieved it. I'm sure sand went inside. The initial working in/out of the focus and zoom actions were a bit crunchy in the movement but it seemed to work itself clean. I don't know that means the sand just moved out of the way or if it came out. Probably the former.

 

I'll see how much it might be for a professional to look at it and then make a decision. if I do decide to get another one, I'll have a tinker myself first... what can I lose, eh?

 

I'll try to come back here and report my experience for any other poor bugger who comes here looking through the forums for advice after they've baptised their lens.

 

BTW, does anyone have advice on how to access the front lens? On other Nikkor lens models I've seen on YouTube you can remove a ring that is glued to the other edge, revealing two screws. When they are undone a bracket is released giving access to the front glass. On my lens, the ring on the outer lens doesn't seem to be glued there, it almost looks screwed there (using the filter thread). But there's no small grooves on the inner circumference of the ring to get a tool in there and unwind it. Maybe it's unscrewed by using friction on the top surface? This has me a bit baffled. Then again, maybe this is a welded ring and the front glass can only be accessed from the inside.



#8
Cojcolds

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Oh, and if I was to buy another lens, would I be better off getting a different lens? I was very happy with the 55-300 but perhaps you might think there's a reason why another model is better.

 

Thanks!!!

 

Brett



#9
Merco_61

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The 55-300 is no slouch performance-wise, but the AF-S 70-300VR has less distortion and is a tad sharper in the corners. On DX, it is acceptably sharp even at 300 mm, which is not the case with the 55-300. It has 215 g more mass, though.



#10
Ron

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I can second what Peter said about the AF-S 70-300VR. It is, in my opinion, one of Nikon's sleeper lenses. Like Rodney Dangerfield, it gets no respect but it's a good value. Especially for DX shooters.

 

--Ron