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How to repair a zoom telephoto lens and mount it on your DSLR camera

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Telephoto lenses are expensive  and if you have  one intended for an older SLR camera, you may consider  using it with with your DSLR. My experience is that this is doable but there are a few critical issues that you have to deal with.

Contemporary DSLR cameras are rather unfriendly  to older lenses for different reasons such as the lens-sensor distance , the mounting mechanism or even the camera software.

It is important  to mount the old lens on the camera at the precise distance without damaging the internal parts..

In this instructable I'll show you how this can be done by a specific example using common tools and materials.

I picked this used and damaged telephoto from a street market.  It was a zoom 80-200mm F/4.5, ~400gr weight, with the  JCPenney  (an American multistore) brand on it  and the sign "made in Japan" . Even at its own time it would be inferior compared to those made by Yashica, Nikon or Vivitar with similar specifications.

It was practically separated in two and full of dust, but the external lenses did not seem to have any scratches. Initially I intended to remove the lenses for other uses but looking at it more carefully I realized that the mechanical problems could be fixed.

The challenge was to repair it and mount it on my Olympus E-420.


 
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crazyg3 years ago
just reassembled a lens of that type from a camcorder,want to make a shift tilt lens for slr,so far no focus on near or far,any dismantling the handycam was fun,i like your diagram
tholopotami (author)  crazyg3 years ago
Sorry that you did not manage it yet. Let it aside for a while and think again. These things need patience!
craighanson3 years ago
Vary Impressive As A action Photographer I enjoyed This article
tholopotami (author)  craighanson3 years ago
I am glad you did. As you see this lens results on soft photos compared to the crystal clear result of the new lenses intended for DSLR. However I enjoyed remaking this lens and at the end you have a nice feeling that you know this equipment inside out!
Good Instructable...
your comment on the softness of your old Zoom lens is quite logical: in those old days a Zoom was very difficult to design and manufacture.

But NOT ALL old SLR lenses were soft; the best lenses of those years were even more detailed and precise than recent designs, no joke. You would be surprised to see better older lenses compared side to side to latest ones, unless, that is, you are comparing the VERY best of today lenses (like SOME but not all of the Canon "L" series) to old "L" series SLR lenses of around 1980's vintage.

Even when today Canon "L" lenses have Autofocus and some of them motion compensation, OPTICAL quality is NOT much improved, and in some cases, today some "L" series lenses are not up to the resolution and correction of older ones.
Now, compare the price of the better modern ones... you can purchase a new car for that kind of money! Another consideration is about the SPEED of today lenses: Young people think the 50 mm F 1:1.8 normal lens is very "fast" and good lens, (at least much better than the piece of junk of the "kit lens" sold with the Canon cameras, the cheaply made 18-55).

But older people like me know for shure the 50mm F1.8 was the cheap one in the 80's, because the 50mm F 1.4 was better built and better overall... and the
expensive 50mm F 1.2 L was a really extraordinary one, competing and slightly surpassing even the best German Leica 1.2 Noctilux, no less!

Now the surprise: Professionals have found the OLDER lens is not only much better built, more precise and has better materials than the actual 1.2 L; which has dissapointed some owners with Autofocus issues.

The plain truth is that both Nikon and Canon (and others) are now producing LESS than the best lenses possible, maybe because they want to have some "room for improvement", but they are concentrating their efforts more towards the electronics and sofware, than on the Optical quality of their lenses.

Soon, the sensors will continue getting better and better, and then the industry will be forced again to concentrate on Optical quality, but I seriously doubt they will return to the precise and durable construction of the 80's.

tholopotami (author)  amclaussen3 years ago
Thank you for the fruitful comment. I have also understood that contemporary lenses although they have more functionalities are not as clear as some older lenses. I have an example. I had CANON 1000F SLR with a 35-80/4-5.6 lens. Sometimes I substituted this with a LEICA 58/2 which was far superior. Speaking about this specific zoom 200of the instructable, I think its worse feature is the sooming part. It has two lenses that move independently on different paths and when you change the zooming , it slightly defocuses.
ax893 years ago
Good instructable, and something to think about. I spent over $4k in 1980 dollars buying Nikon lenses and now they are useless with dSLRs. I was so angry with Nikon that I bought a Canon.
amclaussen ax893 years ago
I say the Same... but for Canon!!!

My old Canon "New FD" lenses of the 80's, were made UNUSABLE in 90's Canon cameras, BY DESIGN! (INTENTIONALLY). They say it was made for technical reasons and blah blah blah, but the truth is other.

It is called "Planned Obsolescence" and is responsible for much of the waste and pollution damage caused to the planet, not to say the damage to our purse!

One thing is clear: Managers and engineers were not only good, but somewhat perverse: by redesigning the mount, they made the older lens unusable in newer cameras, just to keep people buying and throwing away perfectly good lenses, just to keep "updated with the latest model". It is the business model... I wonder how long that situation will be sustainable. But thanks to clever people at INSTRUCTABLES, we can have old things working again instead of making the trash mountain bigger!
tholopotami (author)  ax893 years ago
I also have an SLR Canon and I have mounted several odd lenses on it through an M42 adaptor. I one case I had to remove the final ring of the lens (unscrewing) to gain some distance. If you have a nikon lense that is worth to be mounted on your Canon it may be possible through a T-ring adaptor because Canon has a smaller camera - lens distance. If I were you I would first google " nikon lenses to canon".
I like your little organiser. I often use ice cube trays for the same purpose, I number them so that I can create a simple index if I need to when dismantling complex things.
tholopotami (author)  LittlestWorkshop3 years ago
This small tray has the advantage that you can cover it with a tape and store it , something I did often during the repair. However it should be made a little larger and with more compartments.
twoherbs3 years ago
Good use of older lenses and without breaking the bank account
tholopotami (author)  twoherbs3 years ago
Thanks!
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