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10-29-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
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Mr. Klutz's Lens Repair Shop

Despite being an overall Klutz and absolutely no hand-eye coordination, I decided to take the mount off one of my favourite lenses today for an ill-advised attempt to fix an issue. The mount was becoming wobbly after some use and I had an issue with the A mode not reporting the correct apertures, so instead of just tightening the screws I decided to take the mount off and see if I can clean/blow/something the contacts inside and get the A mode working right.

Although being careful about everything, I managed to lose (it flew off when trying to pry it out) a tiny tiny metal ball, maybe a millimeter in diameter if that.
It turns out it was the bearing ball that made the aperture ring click, so now I have a smooth aperture ring. Not the end of the world (at least no more wobbly lens) but I would like to have my clicks back if possible.

A quick trip to Home Depot (what was I thinking), the hobby store, and the electronic parts store didn't turn out successfully. So, anyone know where I can find a replacement little ball like that, what kind of store? I found them online but balls that size seem to come in bags of 1000 at $50 a pop, and not knowing the exact size, not too keen on ordering bags of those on a guess.

The lens is a Sigma 24mm Ultra-Wide II (has stopped working in A mode a week after I got it). It is usable still the way it is, but I would rather have it click.

Of course the search will continue when there is better light tomorrow.

10-29-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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I'd email Eric and ask him for an assist. Alternatively, I'd contact Sigma and see if they can provide the part.
10-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #3
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McMaster-Carr has a good selection of small stainless balls in slightly more reasonable quantities, but still way more than you need.

McMaster-Carr

You could always resell them on the forum in quantities of 10 for a couple bucks, you definitely aren't the first to lose one of those things. I'd definitely buy some, I've been salvaging them from junk lenses and am running low.
10-29-2012, 05:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by atekant Quote
found them online but balls that size seem to come in bags of 1000 at $50 a pop
So it is either a 1.5mm or 2mm

try checking

Micro-Tools, Camera & Watch Repair Tools - Home


Last edited by MysteryOnion; 10-30-2012 at 01:34 AM.
10-29-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
You could always resell them on the forum in quantities of 10 for a couple bucks
If only I knew what size I needed. The difference between 1/16 and 5/64 is nothing to the eye, but probably makes a lot of difference inside tight tolerances.
10-29-2012, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #6
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This is the ball out of a junk Sigma lens I have, early 90's era 70-210mm zoom. The ruler is marked in 1/64", most precise thing I had handy.

imgur: the simple image sharer
10-29-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MysteryOnion Quote
What a great site! If nothing, I will end up with some lens tools
10-29-2012, 05:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote
This is the ball out of a junk Sigma lens I have, early 90's era 70-210mm zoom. The ruler is marked in 1/64", most precise thing I had handy.
That's great help. Thank you very much. Looks like it is 4/64 == 1/16. It's a start.


Last edited by atekant; 10-29-2012 at 06:00 PM.
10-29-2012, 05:41 PM   #9
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I would second the idea of contacting Sigma Customer service and see what they might be able to do. I recently lost a couple of screws for my Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and contacted CS for Tamron and a few days later they sent me three replacement screws.
10-29-2012, 05:45 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by atekant Quote
I managed to lose (it flew off when trying to pry it out) a tiny tiny metal ball,
They do that! I think just about anyone who has opened a lens has lost one at one time or another. In the future should you feel the urge to this again, employ a large clear plastic bag. Disassemble the lens inside the bag so when the ball flies out it gets stuck inside and you can find it.
10-29-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
They do that! I think just about anyone who has opened a lens has lost one at one time or another. In the future should you feel the urge to this again, employ a large clear plastic bag. Disassemble the lens inside the bag so when the ball flies out it gets stuck inside and you can find it.
I use a large plastic tub when disassembling lenses, which seems to work pretty well for containing the balls and springs.

Last one I lost was after I reassembled the lens, I didn't have the screws quite tight enough on my Vivitar 200mm f3.5. I was adjusting the clearance and testing the ring movement because I'd been having problems with it binding, so I left them slightly loose on purpose. The tube that has the aperture markings for the distance scale slipped and the ball disappeared.

Those things can be magical, I lost one INSIDE a lens once, had to tear into it even further so I could get to it.
10-29-2012, 05:58 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
In the future should you feel the urge to this again, employ a large clear plastic bag
I am a sucker for pain. I am already looking at ordering a toolset, and my Vivitar Series 1 sitting on the shelf with serious haze inside is starting to look nervous.
I will definitely be using the plastic bag trick from now on though.
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