De-clicking A Nikon Nikkor 35mm 2.0
(For this, I used the DIY tutorial over here at this site.)
I am a Canon shooter, but I love, love, love my go-to 50mm–a Nikon Nikkor 1.4 manual focus that I purchased already declicked. The lens isn’t Nikon’s finest, but I didn’t know what to expect from a “cine-mod” lens, I really just wanted to see what it was like. It was affordable enough that I wasn’t concerned if it didn’t work out. The lens has proven to be durable, it feels well made and substantial, and the manual aperture changed my life.
So when I had a chance to pick up another affordable manual Nikon, I went for it. I paid well under $100 for the 35mm 2.0, and decided to declick it myself. Then the lens sat around collecting dust. It wasn’t fast enough for the application I originally purchased it for, and I already had a Canon 17-35 2.8 that seemed more useful in most applications.
But come 2014, my new equipment wish list had just one lens that I’ve been missing: an 85mm. Long story short, out of the long list of lens candidates, I decided I would have to go with another Nikon Nikkor, the 85 1.4. And It would have to be declicked. This lens is in fact one of Nikon’s finest though, and prices are heftier than my other two. And I couldn’t find any declicked already. So that’s when I pulled out the 35mm and decided to do a little experimenting.
First, I had to get the screws out, which proved to be far more challenging than I expected. I had to tap out the last two, I tried tapping hard, fast light taps did the trick though. Once the screws were out, actually declicking the lens was a piece of cake.
Two super tiny screws hold on one tiny clip that makes the click.
At this point I felt way too accomplished. The tricky part was yet to come. I used the teflon pipe seal tape to dampen the ring.
The tape is where things really went downhill. How much do I use? How do I keep wear and tear from causing it to wad up inside the lens? This is when the simple pictorial instructions I was following really let me down. Truth is, I probably won’t know how successful I was for a while.
The directions I followed did suggest wrapping the tape tightly, and using enough to make it snug. I noticed it was pretty hard to judge exactly how snug it was, because once I screwed the mount back on, everything tightened up a lot. There was some trial and error there, getting all the pieces back together was frustrating. A few times the aperture ring seemed to be on and turning nicely, but the blades weren’t catching. I think the ring wasn’t seated just right, and could have been in part because I was thrown off by the differences between the 50mm and 35mm.
Eventually I got everything back together, and shot a test video! It worked! Also worth noting that I used my beloved Nikkor 50mm for these still images (except for the cell phone image).