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Friday, 9 September 2011

Replacing Mount on Nikon 55-200mm Lens

Ok, so yep. Photographers worst nightmare next to batteries running out during a special event. Dropping the camera. If i'm honest it didn't drop as a result of slippery fingers but because the tripod I was using wasn't properly secure. Doh!

So, after getting over the initial shock, I inspected the damage. As expected it wasn't pretty. The lens specifically was a Nikon 55-200mm lens which if you are versed with Nikon or lenses in general will know that it's a zoomer for amateurs (read cheap lens), hence why Nikon put a plastic mount on the lens (so that if you do drop it, it doesn't break all the internals of the expensive camera).

Anyway, so the mount of the lens was broken but the camera was fine.

After a little research and a lucky find I contacted Nikon and ordered the spare part for the bayonet mount (part no. JAA79351-F).

Once it had arrived I got started on replacing the mount. I won't go through every step, someone over at this site here put together some instructions on how to do this, so credit goes to that author. The instructions though are for the 18-55mm lens, however the mount itself is exactly the same as the one for the 55-200mm lens.

Some pointers before you decide to go ahead with the replacement:

  • This is not for the faint of heart, if you enter into fixing this, make sure you are willing to buy a new one if you destroy the lens. Although in hindsight it seems easy now, I was "bricking it" while doing the replacement.
  • Patience is key, take your time.
  • If you don't have the confidence, go to a Nikon certified repair shop. They may charge more than doing it yourself but if it means that much to you then it's worth it.
  • Consider just buying a new one if your lens has more than just a broken mount.
  • Make sure you have a very small philips screwdriver, or a small flat head.
  • Do all the work on top of a large sheet of white paper (or smaller sheets taped together). This is so that if any parts fall out you can see them, but also because I like to draw where the screw came from so that assembly is easier.
  • The spare part doesn't come with instructions, this isn't Ikea people!

Additional information while doing the replacement:

  • The instructions provided at the address above are for the 18-55mm lens so keep that in mind that some parts of the photos provided in the instructions may look different
  • The 55-200mm lens has a different aperture ring compared to the 18-55mm. The 55-200mm lens has a longer zoomer limiter (the long plastic bit coming out of the aperture ring).
  • Make sure you dettach the zoomer limiter from the lens itself before pulling the mount and aperture ring out of the lens casing. OR you can keep the aperture ring there if it's not damaged and detach it from the plastic mount.
  • The bracket for the wire that secures it to the plastic mount is different than the one shown in the instructions in the site above, however it still fits the new mount.
  • Take a break before doing the assembly :-)

After going through all of the above, I found that the mount works perfectly now and the lens is taking great shots again.