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05-02-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
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How long will my Nikon lens last?

Hey all, I was just wondering how long a lens can be expected to last. I have the Nikon 85mm 1.4D lens. I've had it for 2 years and 8 months. Since, i've put approx. 79,000 actuations on it (aperture). It's been on the camera almost the whole time. I've shot in sweltering heat, torrential downpours and snow. I've always used common sense when in bad weather (body is weatherproof, lens is not), protecting it with plastic shields wrapped around the lens or using an umbrella and the lens still looks like new with nothing growing on the elements yet. How many actuations can I expect to get out of a lens like this? It's autofocus but probably has more simple/robust circuitry than most newer lenses, since it's a 1995 design.




05-02-2013, 10:18 AM   #2
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The actuations don't affect the lens. Since this is a D lens, you don't have a built in motor, so the lens should last a good long time.
05-02-2013, 01:46 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
The actuations don't affect the lens. Since this is a D lens, you don't have a built in motor, so the lens should last a good long time.
Lenses are pretty amazing pieces of engineering for anyone that understands what goes into making them. It's just amazing how the aperture can actuate hundreds of thousands of times (hopefully) with very little change in the "hex" shape of the shutter nonagon/octagon (forget whether it's 8 or 9 sided). Although I have heard of the shape changing slightly over time. I guess it's possible that it could change for the better as the camera wears in.

Last edited by outsider; 05-02-2013 at 02:05 PM.
05-02-2013, 01:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by outsider Quote
Lenses are pretty amazing pieces of engineering for anyone that understands what goes into making them. It's just amazing how the shutter can actuate hundreds of thousands of times (hopefully) with very little change in the "hex" shape of the shutter nonagon/octagon (forget whether it's 8 or 9 sided). Although I have heard of the shape changing slightly over time. I guess it's possible that it could change for the better as the camera wears in.
Those are the aperture blades. It's true that the camera adjusts those right before an image is taken, assuming you're shooting AUTO, but the shutter is part of the camera itself. I bet your lens will last 20-30 years, so, enjoy it.

05-02-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Those are the aperture blades. It's true that the camera adjusts those right before an image is taken, assuming you're shooting AUTO, but the shutter is part of the camera itself. I bet your lens will last 20-30 years, so, enjoy it.
Lol, I meant aperture blades And I meant that the individual aperture blades can shift, ever so slightly in their places, so as to give just a little bit different shape it it makes and in the bokeh over time. Probably not enough to notice, but yeah. I'm sure pro lenses have the potential to oulast owners if cared for
05-02-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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There are mostly four dangers: 1) Fungus 2) Heavy scratches on the front lens (easy to avoid). 3) Plenty of water, especially salt water. 4) Violence, like if you drop the lens from a good height. But I have dropped some lenses from about 1-2m and been lucky.
If non of this happens to your lens, you will have to wait for the slower degrading of rubber and plastic parts due to a breakdown caused by oxidants and UV-light. Metal and glass will last much longer than that. Apperture blades aren't usually a problem on a modern lens unless 4) cause them to get out of position.
Today you can buy sets to replace mirror-dampers and light seals to renovate old mechanical SLRs. Tomorrow you might be able to buy the necessary replacement parts to renovate the more classy of today's glass. But it'll be trickier...fixing the light seals of a MX or Spotmatic isn't hard. Renovating autofocus lenses will be more specialized...but I think it will be done...but of course only for the really good glass.
05-03-2013, 05:19 AM   #7
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I have many Nikon lenses from the 70's and 80's.

Only one of my Nikon lenses has ever failed, and the very reason for the failure was in fact rain.

05-03-2013, 12:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
I have many Nikon lenses from the 70's and 80's.

Only one of my Nikon lenses has ever failed, and the very reason for the failure was in fact rain.
Interesting. My lens, the 85mm and the only one I have for my Nikon camera started giving a lens error every few hundred shots or so. It wouldn't fire at all. Menu was fine. I don't remember the code, but un/reattatching the lens fixed it. Then it was every hundred shots, then 50, then 20, then every shot, I had to un/reattatch it to get another 1 or 2 shots off. It was a brilliantly gradual process. Finally, I figured the contacts needed cleaning so I tried that and ever since then (about 1000 shots ago), it's performed perfectly. I'm thinking something managed to work it's way in between the lens and camera contacts, but I could be wrong. My biggest fear was that the lens was dying a slow death. I figured it was the lens because the camera would fire with it detatched.
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