Thread: Slightly Stiff Focus Rings

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  1. #1 Slightly Stiff Focus Rings 
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    I have some vintage*cinema lenses (Arri Standard mount and Arri Bayonet mount) and while some have perfectly smooth focus rings, others are stiff. I plan to get the really stiff ones and any lenses with oily aperture blades or other issues serviced, but there are a few lenses that are stiff but not that bad, and I don't want to send in otherwise clean lenses to be taken apart.

    Or what should the cost of servicing a lens be if the only repair is re-greasing the helical? I'm guessing these weren't designed to be easy to service....

    I don't want to damage these lenses or introduce oil into the aperture blades. But I've read that a few drops of gun oil can free up a stiff focus ring.

    Is this a terrible idea? Are there any better ones? Or am I looking at $800/lens for a full CLA? The rings are not that stiff just not perfect.
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  2. #2  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    I would call Duclos Lenses and get them checked out. Re-greasing usually means cleaning and adding new grease, but it also "might not be that" potentially.
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  3. #3  
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    Duclos does good work, but I can't afford them. Are there any less expensive or DIY options?
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  4. #4  
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    So, from my understanding, you'll just want to completely clean off the old grease and then re-grease the threads with optical grade stuff, so it won't migrate elsewhere under high/low temps or over time.

    The last time I looked, the Japan Hobby Tool Helicoid Grease was the best grease readily available. It comes in different thicknesses, as well. I haven't used it yet myself, though, so I can't personally vouch.

    Here's an Amazon link to the thinest grade: https://www.amazon.com/Japan-Hobby-H.../dp/B0014ZU03M
    And here's the B&H link: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ase_10_15.html
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Cadmium View Post
    So, from my understanding, you'll just want to completely clean off the old grease and then re-grease the threads with optical grade stuff, so it won't migrate elsewhere under high/low temps or over time.

    The last time I looked, the Japan Hobby Tool Helicoid Grease was the best grease readily available. It comes in different thicknesses, as well. I haven't used it yet myself, though, so I can't personally vouch.

    Here's an Amazon link to the thinest grade: https://www.amazon.com/Japan-Hobby-H.../dp/B0014ZU03M
    And here's the B&H link: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ase_10_15.html
    How hard is it to access the helical? I have a few Zeiss standard speeds that are perfectly smooth and a few that are a bit less smooth, but might just live with it. And a Super Speed that is a bit rough, but 90% sure it's a dented barrel and I can live with it... I have a Schneider cinegon that feels like the helical is very dry, and that one concerns me. It turns okay but feels very very dry.

    I assume there's no way to lube the helical this without taking the lens apart?
    Last edited by Matt W.; 11-08-2019 at 02:08 PM.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Cameron Currier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt W. View Post
    I assume there's no way to lube the helical this without taking the lens apart?
    You'll definitely have to take the lens apart to lube the helical. I've taken apart and reassembled quite a few vintage still lenses. It's not that difficult so long as you have the proper tools and can keep all the screws and pieces organized. But I also don't push past my comfort zone. I'm no lens tech, and if I come across any screws too difficult to loosen or any sort of springs that I don't think I'd be able to reattach, I stop there and start piecing the lens back together.

    If you're feeling adventurous and want to try getting to the guts of your lenses, I say go for it, just have patience and don't push too hard. If you've never taken a lens apart, maybe snag something cheap off ebay or the thrift store to practice on first.
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