Previous news story    Next news story

Seawater-damaged Nikon lens fixed by boiling at Taiwan service center

By dpreview staff on Mar 18, 2013 at 00:47 GMT

A service center in Taiwan has repaired a seawater-damaged Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED lens by boiling it. According to a post by Nikon Rumors, after investigating the damage, staff established that the AF motor of the lens needed to be replaced and some internal parts were 'rusted' due to salt water damage. To remove this 'rust', they boiled them in water. The lens was apparently fixed in three days.

Despite being called the 'Nikon Repair Center' this company appears not to be an ahem... official Nikon... repair center, and we certainly wouldn't recommend taking the 'boiling in chemically-infused water' approach to cleaning your own jammed-up lenses. How would you feel if a service center took this approach to fixing your gear? Let us know in the comments. 

 (via Nikon Rumors)

A camera service center in Taiwan repaired a Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 lens that was dropped in the sea by boiling corroded parts in a chemical/water solution. 

Comments

Total comments: 103
12
MtnBikerCalif
By MtnBikerCalif (Mar 25, 2013)

I remember being surprised when I started working in a factory about 40 years ago going to the electronics repair shop. The first thing they did when getting in a device from the shop floor was give it a bath (probably hot but I don't remember). The technicians said they after that they usually needed to replace some of the capacitors, but otherwise no damage. You can image how dirty an oscilloscope or similar was after a few years of use on the shop floor.

Bottom line, nothing new.

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 23, 2013)

At least they didn't say, "it's too broke to fix, you need to buy new lens". Can one presume that the end cost to do this was lower than the cost of a new lens? Great effort by the repair shop!

5 upvotes
The Smudger
By The Smudger (Mar 21, 2013)

Perhaps Nikon's DX product manager could be fixed by boling in water!

1 upvote
Ganondorf
By Ganondorf (Mar 21, 2013)

As long as they fix my lens, boil on

3 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Mar 20, 2013)

Normal.
It's just chemical reaction.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Mar 20, 2013)

well actually its not uncommon to do the hydro bath / hot bath treatment on mechanical assemblies. This being my experience for more than a decade as field service engineer. It might sound radical or even rash, but broken parts needing repair need to be cleaned, treated and so, and a good hot hydro bath or oil bath to cleanse out the corrosion is pretty standard approach. This is, unless one can go off and sandblast the parts ( actually today we don't use talc sand anymore ). The other options are chemical treatment which usually obly work on light duty jobs or very large scale one ( say stripping the primer and paint off a frame assembly )

1 upvote
G6PD
By G6PD (Mar 20, 2013)

the lens have been removed before he "cook" his dinner
the repairer only boil the inner lens cone
since he claim the lens cones were stuck and unable to separate

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Mar 20, 2013)

I like stories like this boiled lens tale. Share more cool news like this, instead of putting out so much instagarbage and bloody iturd ads on here, and you just might regain some of your old mojo from the last decade!

6 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 20, 2013)

Yeah right. First it was multi-coating, now boiling. What more will they invent?
And - how will Canon react? Will they stew a 70-200 EF found in a landfill?

Comment edited 38 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
dervish_candela
By dervish_candela (Mar 20, 2013)

oh, we all know that «official» nikon repair policy is «come on, just buy a new one»
so if a repair center actually fixes something, they can't be official® Nikon™, don't get fooled by the name folks!

3 upvotes
acidic
By acidic (Mar 20, 2013)

I'm so glad I come to dpreview to read the "news."

2 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Mar 20, 2013)

I'm so glad I scrolled down to the comments section to read your "comment".

12 upvotes
Rick DeBari
By Rick DeBari (Mar 20, 2013)

Maybe this procedure would work to clean the D600 sensors of all those nasty oil spots! :) lol

5 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 23, 2013)

Boil it baby!

0 upvotes
waxwaine
By waxwaine (Mar 20, 2013)

Where are the noodles?

8 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (Mar 20, 2013)

I always suspected that the Chinese cook everything, but I didn't know they would go that far... :-)

3 upvotes
LukeDuciel
By LukeDuciel (Mar 20, 2013)

as a Chinese, I got to say this is a good one :)

0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 23, 2013)

But does boiled lens taste better than boiled cat?

0 upvotes
pdelux
By pdelux (Mar 19, 2013)

The photo where the lens is being boiled caption "a camera service center in taiwan,,,"

Nikon Camera service centres look like a chinese kitchen to me.

1 upvote
William Koehler
By William Koehler (Mar 20, 2013)

Lunch has been served... ;-)

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 19, 2013)

I live in China and I use local camera repair shops. They are not authorized and their repair quality varies wildly from thieves with a store front to honest, brilliant and friendly folks. I have found a shop that works for me and they have fixed things which in Germany were a clear case for the trash bin. The one I am using is very skillful and has no problem in tearing lenses apart, which clearly happened in this example. Each lens element would need to be cleaned, some parts replaced and it is certainly a good thing to passivate the surface of the metal parts again. I would not be surprised if consequently they even coated it as well. The shop I am using is in a network of shops and friends which help each other in difficult repairs. The collective knowledge of such a repair shop network can not be underestimated. There is a photo shop center in Guangzhou where you have approximately 100 shops and repair centers all in two buildings. It is a lively and active photography community.

10 upvotes
Simon Law
By Simon Law (Mar 20, 2013)

Would you mind telling us where is the photo shop center? I may want to have a look when I visit Guangzhou... :)

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 20, 2013)

I am asking my wife to give to me. Once I have I will post here. She always wrote it in Chinese on a piece of paper and I gave it to the taxi driver ... So best you can do is the same thing, print it out or copy to your mobile and show the taxi driver, they will bring you there. Once you exit the taxi it is hard to miss. Two building opposite to the road with about 10 shops facing the street. When you enter the buildings there are 2 stories each with about 20 shops each story. You need to be very careful though, once they smell you are a visitor who will leave the city they will try to dump on you stuff which they hope you only will find the defects once you left and then is too expensive to return to them. So try to buy things you really can check the quality 100 % in the store. Tripods, Bags, filters, flash equipment, etc. Some comes at a real bargain. Or manual lenses. Make sure you know how to test in the shop. Look for sticky aperture, and fungus ( average 80 % humidity here )

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 20, 2013)

广州大沙头二马路摄影器材城

2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Mar 21, 2013)

"I am asking my wife to give to me."

;)

0 upvotes
wlachan
By wlachan (Mar 19, 2013)

The lens was done anyway so why not give it a try?

1 upvote
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 20, 2013)

it seems that some here thought the entire lens was thrown into hot liquid. Whereas this technique was used to simply clean some parts in the comprehensive strip down and repair process.

There was nothing risky about this as the entire lens was dis-assembled, cleaned, lubricated, reassembled with any necessary new parts, and then adjusted.

They stated the process took 3 days... hardly some kind of shortcut. It was just a question of whether this level of service could be financially justified. And since the price of this repair was not published, we don't know.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
oselimg
By oselimg (Mar 19, 2013)

Puh!! why this wasn't a 17-350 f1.8 full frame lens!!! do they think this is interesting? yawn, Nikon suck...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (Mar 23, 2013)

? What kind of statement is this? I mean it certainly was a full frame lens.

0 upvotes
mais51
By mais51 (Mar 19, 2013)

My D90 and 18-105 lens dropped in sea water a while ago, the camera was dead but the lens came alive after overnight soaking in warm fresh water and then flushing under a running tap. However, optically the lens is a complete write off.

0 upvotes
Klay
By Klay (Mar 19, 2013)

Taiwan is a great place to visit if you like to eat. You can get anything you want at any hour of the day. I wouldn't want to try thins though...I read through the original thread and he just mentions adding "flavorings" to the soup but doesn't reveal what they were....

1 upvote
rutakintome
By rutakintome (Mar 19, 2013)

I prefer my lenses fried in olive oil, with a dash of garlic.

5 upvotes
Ronald1959
By Ronald1959 (Mar 22, 2013)

Really? ;)

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Mar 19, 2013)

If you look at their photos you'll see they disassembled and cleaned the entire lens and only boiled a few metal parts to get rid of the rust. It isn't as if they threw the whole lens into boiling water miraculously fixing it. The title and first sentence of this article is very misleading.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
15 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Mar 19, 2013)

FRESH LENSES! GET EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT!

4 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (Mar 19, 2013)

Ha ha ha!! I love that. You shouldn't be allowed to write that ................. it was too funny! :o)

1 upvote
all_digital
By all_digital (Mar 19, 2013)

What ever works.

4 upvotes
mcshan
By mcshan (Mar 19, 2013)

An old trick...good to see it dusted off so that more photographers will become aware of it. I have been boiling my photo equipment for decades. Throwing your camera gear in a pot of boiling water is a great idea.

3 upvotes
Amnon G
By Amnon G (Mar 19, 2013)

Adding some salt will add that special flavor to your photos.

1 upvote
areichow
By areichow (Mar 19, 2013)

No, stick with sugar and/or olive oil- salt isn't good for the metal elements of the lens, and coarse salt might scratch the glass.

0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Mar 19, 2013)

Imagine that it would be your lens. For example 200/2 VR.

Would you rather have repaired lens, no matter "how"? Or dead lens which regular Nikon service center wouldnt be able to repair (or not for less than price of new one, we all know how it goes).

Im pretty sure what I would choose..

Other than that, re-baking circuits is something similar to this, insane way to repair for example graphic card, but it works. In case of repair, important is if its successful repair or not.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
pbolton
By pbolton (Mar 19, 2013)

They probably used something like oxalic acid (standard rust remover). The heating was probably to allow for enough expansion to allow the liquid to get into the tight spaces. Then rinse with distilled water and maybe finish with an isopropanol rinse. Sounds like a clever approach to me especially since there was little to lose.
'Oxalic acid marine cleaner' is widely used on boats--just add water.

2 upvotes
davidmamartin
By davidmamartin (Mar 20, 2013)

Or alum to dissolve teh steel screws that appear to have rusted in place. This would dissolve the screws so they can then be replaced after chasing out the threads with a tap of the correct dimension

0 upvotes
Sean65
By Sean65 (Mar 19, 2013)

Try roasted. Massively better.

3 upvotes
Reg Ister
By Reg Ister (Mar 19, 2013)

Could anyone try this with a CANON please, and keep us informed about the result?

1 upvote
AllMankind
By AllMankind (Mar 19, 2013)

Are you serious??

Is this what dpr has become?

A prostitute to rumor sites.

Maybe better to shutter the site now..

8 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 19, 2013)

This made me laugh. Not because I think you are correct, but I can picture an uppity guy with a monocle going "Harumph!" to conclude your statement.

8 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (Mar 19, 2013)

If it works, it works.

8 upvotes
amesenbrink
By amesenbrink (Mar 20, 2013)

Yeah, I thought the story was they were being ingenious, not disingenuous...

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Mar 19, 2013)

People have been boiling lenses (lentils) for millenia.

Why no curiousity about how the lens got into the sea, or why the owner thought it worth $X to half-rescue an old lens perhaps worth less than $X? The story must be a bit soft-boiled.

3 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (Mar 19, 2013)

I couldn't care less "how" it got into the sea. The owner probably figured that if it cost $500 to fix, that was still a lot cheaper than buying another fast wide angle premium lens... especially if the photographer used it primarily for paid work; in that case, it would be a no-brainer if the boiling trick worked, even only for 6 months.

The lens needing a new focus motor is practically a given since the focus motor in the 17-35 is notorious for squeaking-the-quitting.

1 upvote
Raincheck
By Raincheck (Mar 19, 2013)

Ahhh... A fresh take on Nail Soup. Anyone have some carrots?

Well? What else is there to say to a boiling lens? I guess we could critique the photo of the pot. I wonder if this shot was taken with a boiled lens... I'll say this: I'm glad I don't live and work in a salt-spray environment. Watching a thousand dollar lens turn into a rotting Model T Ford would drive me nuts.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 19, 2013)

Reminds me of something from way back during the '90s. A friend went diving with a Nikonos III and forgot to screw in the flash socket plug. The whole camera and 15-mm lens ($1400.-!) was flooded. My diving buddy and me took it all apart and washed every part in 50% alcohol - 50% water.
The camera was easy, but there is about a million tiny parts that need careful handling, especially hair-thick springs.
Taking the lens apart is a weird feeling, partly because of the price, but we managed to do it as well.
Alcohol and water make a better solvent than either of them alone, and the evaporation of alcohol helps bring out the water too. We managed to remove all traces of the brine and dissolved film emulsion, and put the camera and lens together again. We used a toothpick to oil all moving parts with WD-40. Everything worked okay.
If your camera ever drops into the sea, wash it thoroughly as described, wrap it up to keep it wet, and send it immediately to the service.

2 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (Mar 19, 2013)

A pro photographer friend of mine flooded several Nikonos III cameras during his diving days, but didn't manage to salvage them. I also had an N III, which I travelled with extensively is the ultimate waterproof backpack camera. If it got wet or muddy, I simply washed it under a tap when I got back to base. My only issue was trying to replace a film that I'd put in at 6,000 ft above sea level, when back at the coast the next day. It's amazing how much a column of air a couple of inches across and 6,000 feet tall all actually weighs :-)

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 19, 2013)

Yes, I presume it took some pulling on the lens, before you remembered the flash socket plug. In your case it's good the contacts are not sealed themselves :)))
With all flooded cameras it is imperative to react imediately: remove battery, film or card, then saltwater, or at least replace that with distilled water + alcohol... and then decide between DIY and service.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
1 upvote
TLD
By TLD (Mar 19, 2013)

It's journalism, and they never let the truth get in the way of a good story. ;-)

1 upvote
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Mar 19, 2013)

better to try, and learn from
than to trash, and learn nothing, and left with just presumptions

sdyue

Comment edited 31 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Mar 19, 2013)

Nikon flavoured 擔仔麵 Danzai noodles!

.

4 upvotes
richardplondon
By richardplondon (Mar 19, 2013)

The only reason anyone could object to something like this, so far as I can see, is if the lens is then sold without revealing that it has been rebuilt. It is relatively easy to establish whether a lens is working properly or not, and if it is working properly, this is a commendable rescue IMO.

Being practical minded means doing whatever works, not just whatever people's preconceptions are comfortable with.

As for these internal parts of the lens being subject to corrosion in the future - they already were vulnerable to corrosion in the first place. Metal is metal. That is why it is such bad news to drop your lens into seawater (grin).

6 upvotes
SonyForNow
By SonyForNow (Mar 20, 2013)

Yes, will probably have issues in the future. I've heard this before from repair places - "If you dunk it, junk it."

0 upvotes
Marcin 3M
By Marcin 3M (Mar 19, 2013)

I bet its taste is better than Canon or Sigma.

5 upvotes
jedinstvo
By jedinstvo (Mar 19, 2013)

The lens should be available for purchase on eBay shortly

6 upvotes
Ladisai
By Ladisai (Mar 19, 2013)

Original post here... (Traditional Chinese)

http://www.mobile01.com/topicdetail.php?f=248&t=3256808&p=1

It's no service center. I think it's his nickname "Nikon Reapir" causing the misunderstanding. He seems to know Nikon lens very well.

The barrels stuck and boiling fixed only this problem. Other problems require soldering to fix. And silent wave motor is replaced. Boiling is only a small (but entertaining) part. OP mentioned that it took him 3 days to repair the lens. No magic.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
dormcat
By dormcat (Mar 19, 2013)

I bet no one else on DPR knows what your screen name actually means. Yes, I'm also an user of Mobile01. ;-)

0 upvotes
Jude McDowell
By Jude McDowell (Mar 19, 2013)

Desperate times; desperate measures. It might be unorthodox but if it works then why not? After all; it would have been an expensive paperweight otherwise.

2 upvotes
Abhijith Kannankavil
By Abhijith Kannankavil (Mar 19, 2013)

have to agree with other people here. they brought back the lens from it's death. What they did to it doesn matter as long as it works now.

5 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (Mar 19, 2013)

If they would not have done what they did, the lens would have remained useless. Some writing in here is like complaining to a heart surgeon who fixed a heart attack that he did cut open the body.

1 upvote
nihon94
By nihon94 (Mar 19, 2013)

Well, it seems they might have forgotten to add some Olive oil and Scissor dressing before serving. Other than joke, I can't imagine this could be happened at a service center.

If, such kind of thing happened some where I rather prefer not going there any more.

0 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (Mar 19, 2013)

I'm sure service centres are like those Chinese restaurants :
it may be better to remain ignorant and enjoy the results ...

At least be glad they didn't follow Jeremy Clarksons' method of repairing as featured in Top Gear.
ie : hit it with a hamme;
if that doesn't help ... use a bigger hammer.
;)

0 upvotes
PaulSnowcat
By PaulSnowcat (Mar 19, 2013)

Well... Dropped into seawater - that's 100% death of a lens. They RESURRECTED it! Resurrection is... well... magic :) If boiling is needed for this magic, what's wrong about it? They've done it, right? The lens is working after this magic. So why complain?

11 upvotes
Duckie
By Duckie (Mar 19, 2013)

If one practices magic while boiling that's witchcraft!

5 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Mar 19, 2013)

There is very little magic in it. Nobody objects to the usual cleaning by ultrasound, and boiling (causing the water molecules to move) accomplishes the same thing...

2 upvotes
Spearfish
By Spearfish (Mar 19, 2013)

Well, I've flooded a 7D in salt water, including an EF-S 60mm.
I've sent it to an unofficial service shop and they fixed the whole thing with now only the camera forgetting which date it is after removing the battery.
The lens never needed any fixing. It still works like new, even though it was fully submerged for several minutes.

0 upvotes
daitium
By daitium (Mar 19, 2013)

Tiawanese are awesome!

10 upvotes
dpLarry
By dpLarry (Mar 19, 2013)

Nicest, smartest people .

0 upvotes
zigi_S
By zigi_S (Mar 19, 2013)

And you don't happen to be one?

0 upvotes
Mike921
By Mike921 (Mar 19, 2013)

Whatever it takes. I applaud them for using a somewhat unconventional solution.

5 upvotes
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (Mar 19, 2013)

No, no. The idea was to get rid of the salt. ;-)
(Oops... this was supposed to go on Dutta's comment below.)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Pradipta Dutta
By Pradipta Dutta (Mar 19, 2013)

Take what Nikon Rumors say with a large pinch of salt.

2 upvotes
Summit_pg
By Summit_pg (Mar 19, 2013)

Insert "I boiled my D600 to clean the dust" comment here.

3 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (Mar 19, 2013)

hahaha well said
I think it's oil spatter though... which is worse... but boiling water and alcohol would certainly get rid of that, while scrapping the rest of the camera ;)

1 upvote
abi170845
By abi170845 (Mar 19, 2013)

Just get a mint second hand or buy a new one with 0 interest installments.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 103
12