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03-17-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
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WD40 safe for stiff focus?

I recently won a lens that has a bit of a tight focus the seller claims. He suggested this, "WD40 or my favourite lighter fuel few drops between the barrel / focus wheel loosens things up nicely".


Last edited by Prince Harbinger; 03-22-2019 at 09:35 AM.
03-17-2019, 12:05 PM - 1 Like   #2
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No. It's not. It puts out lots of vapors you don't want on the optics.
03-17-2019, 12:07 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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NO NO NO! WD40 is a penetrating oil, made to creep and spread. Also emits vapor. All this WILL move to places in your lens where harm will be done. Grease for lenses is specialty stuff which is stable, long lasting and no vapor. When it becomes stiff over time (long time) it should be removed completely and replaced with the correct grease. Wheel bearing grease is not it, WD 40 sure isn't.
03-17-2019, 12:08 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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wd40 is penetrating oil specifically designed to migrate -- would not recommend. Lighter fluid is fine for cleaning out old grease but I wouldn't apply it without taking things apart, it'll thin the grease temporarily making it seem to fix things for a bit but then potentially causing it to also migrate around and potentially remove the lubricating layer on some parts causing an increase in wear. It's probably not hugely difficult to solve "for real" by taking it apart and actually cleaning out the old grease and re-applying fresh stuff (helimax is my go-to for low-migration) but I have no idea on that specific lens how hard it would be.

03-17-2019, 12:12 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Yikes! Don’t even ask about penetrating solvents on a Photo and Gear Forum.
03-17-2019, 12:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
No. It's not. It puts out lots of vapors you don't want on the optics.
Should I not confirm and pay? I missed the sellers note. I normally look at the description. He didn't mention it there.

Last edited by Prince Harbinger; 03-22-2019 at 09:35 AM.
03-17-2019, 12:22 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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Short answer:

NO! No! No!

Ignore fair-fast...They are the seller and are not your friend!!


Stiff focus is fixed by disassembly, cleaning, and replacement of the age-stiffened lubricant with suitable modern grease. I have used something called "Helimax XP" with good results, though other responses may suggest other, equally good, lubes.

As for fair-fast the seller, if oil, lighter fluid, or WD40 for stiff focus are his standard approaches to lens refurbishment, I would seek a different seller in the future.


Steve

(...uses lighter fluid for lens mechanicals, but only for cleaning disassembled parts...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-17-2019 at 12:35 PM.
03-17-2019, 12:23 PM   #8
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Looks like it will be a real pain to take apart and add grease.


03-17-2019, 12:25 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Not very sound advice in my opinion. WD-40 long term lubricating properties are minimal at best. It is good at loosening gummed up oils but once it dries out, which it does quickly, you're back to where you were before. Lighter fluid will be a pure solvent. It might dissolve the dried out grease but will remove remaining oils without replacing any. All you'll end up is moving the remaining carrier (usually clay) around in the threads resulting in uneven stiffness and maybe even unlubricated metal to metal contact. And when the solvents with dissolved oils in them evaporate the outgassing will find it's way to the inside surfaces of the lens.

The proper "fix" is to dissassemble the focusing threads, clean and re-grease.

The stiffness might also be a result of damage to the focusing barrel knocking if off round.
03-17-2019, 12:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Short answer:

NO! No! No!

Ignore fair-fast...They are the seller and are not your friend!!


Stiff focus is fixed by disassembly, cleaning, and replacement of the age-stiffened lubricant with suitable modern grease. I have used something called "Helimax XP" with good results, though other responses may suggest other, equally good, lubes.

As for fair-fast the seller, if oil and WD40 are his standard approaches to lens refurbishment, I would seek a different seller.


Steve
I won't be confirming the payment than.😞 I really wanted this lens too. Almost tricked me into thinking it was near mint. Good thing I didn't take his advice. Thanks for the help guys.

He seems desperate. Now he is backpeddling.

Last edited by Prince Harbinger; 03-22-2019 at 09:35 AM.
03-17-2019, 12:42 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I suggest having a shop do the work. If you choose to do it yourself, here is a link that may prove helpful. Remember that the CZJ M42 Tessar went through multiple forms during its long life.

Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm f2.8 (M42 mount) Servicing

Google is also your friend as might also be "The Force".



Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-17-2019 at 02:58 PM.
03-17-2019, 01:04 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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Unfortunately, many old lenses will have stiff focusing unless they've been serviced. It's not a consideration in determining the optical, mechanical and cosmetic condition of a lens, but rather the operability. And it's just a fact that some lubricants last better than others, especially depending on the amount of use they've had and in what climate.

In fact, over time I've become happier buying lenses that have dry, stiff focusing - at least so long as I think there's a good chance I can service them myself. A forty or fifty year old lens that focuses smooth as silk has almost certainly been serviced (perhaps more than once), but it's often difficult or impossible to determine what lubricants were used and how careful the owner or engineer was when carrying out the service (including cleaning of the optical surfaces). I've bought excellent condition lenses that focused smoothly for a few days or weeks, only for them to become stiff and gritty shortly thereafter. That's usually an indication that something like lighter fluid, WD40 or a thin, migrating lubricant was squirted into the focusing helicoid not long before the sale. When I buy an old Helios, Jupiter or Industar lens and it feels like the lubricant has mostly or completely dried out, there's a chance it may never have been serviced before, and is therefore in the best possible condition internally. With information from the web and a bit of ingenuity, I can usually service it myself, using suitable lubricants. It takes time, can be frustrating, sometimes anxiety-inducing, but is often enjoyable too.
03-17-2019, 01:41 PM   #13
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+ 1 for prev comments. The only lubricant I use on lenses (I mean other than good grease for relubing a helicoid) is tiny amounts of fine oil from a precision oiler/oiling pen. Very good for eg filter threads, easing a sticky aperture ring.
03-17-2019, 01:57 PM   #14
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As you say, a lot depends on the lubricants used in the first place. I have a number of 40 or so year old lenses I purchased brand new from retail stores or mail order that are the movement is still smooth and well damped. Some of my father's 60-70 year old cameras are just fine too. A couple of them needed to be regreased.

Kiron (Kino Precision) for a period used at what the time was a "high-tech" grease that turned out to have outgassing and migration problems. This is why you often find Kiron lenses with oily aperture blades. The Kiron zoom I purchased new suffers from some slight outgassing and every 5 years or so I have to clean the haze off the rear of one of the front elements. Fortunately it wipes off cleanly with a chamois cloth and a bit of lens cleaner. Otherwise the zoom and focus are still smooth and well damped.
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