How to lube a rear lens element to screw it on the shutter. : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

One of my lenses is convertable. The rear element is noisy to screw and unscrew on the shutter. I would like to lube it.

Is it a good idea? What kind of grease must I use?

-- Dominique CESARI (, May 09, 2000


I think you should refrain from lubricating this. I don't see how you will avoid getting the lubricant on the lens surfaces, and I think you would regret doing it.

-- Charlie Strack (, May 09, 2000.

I would not apply lubricants. Try cleaning the threads (on both lens element and shutter) with a q-tip dipped in alcohol(not soaking -- just damp from dipping). You will probably see the q-tip get gray and dirty. Try not to get any schmutz on the lens or on surfaces that will tansfer it to the lons. If you do, brush off any debris and use a cleaner like ROIR.

If this doesn't work, put up with the noise.

-- gleep (, May 09, 2000.

Well, I'll differ. I put ONE SMALL drop of light oil on the threads of the cells of my Turner Reich triple convertible, because I did not like the squeaking and vibration when interchanging the cells. I've encountered no problems so far.

-- sheldon_hambrick (, May 09, 2000.

The threads may have gotten slightly rough with age. Try cleaning them (as previously suggested). If that doesn't work, try a very small amount of light oil, e.g., sewing machine oil or clock oil. If you can't find these, try 3-in-1 oil. A small drop placed on the threads should do the trick.

-- Michael Briggs (, May 09, 2000.

Nose grease, that's the answer. That's right, take your index finger and rub the side of your nose with it. Then wipe the threads of the lens cell and try screwing it in. I know this sounds strange, but it has worked for me and others I know many times. And it's free. And we all have some. The amount of lubricant you'll need to eliminate the noise is relatively small. If you start oiling things, that oil will eventually migrate to places you don't need oil. Grease stays pretty much where you put it. And in this instance a super thin film will do just fine.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, May 09, 2000.

Beeswax. That's right, I said beeswax...if you can find any.

I was employed some years ago by a large photofinisher in the Technical Services Department, and one of our many tasks was to set up Kodak S-Series printers. Part of this procedure was to install Kodak printing lenses, which if you have never seen one, is a lens with two groups of elements which screw into either side of a special barrel.

This barrel has threads on each end to accept the lens groups, as well as an outer thread, so that the whole assembly can be screwed into yet another barrel, which mounts inside the printer. When being assembled, if there was the slightest squeaking, we used a dab of beeswax on the threads. The lens groups rarely gave us any problem; it was when threading the assembled lens into the barrel that it would squeak and sometimes bind a little.

I was told that the beeswax was originally from Kodak, and was no longer available, as of 1984. Who knows, maybe they supply it now?

-- Terrence Brennan (, May 10, 2000.

A simple solution for greasing screws and similar mechanical things is to use the grafit from a common HB pencil. Make some light drawings with the pencil along the threads and screw in place. Grafit is good in that way, it will not migrate and holds for a longer time.

-- Jan Eerala (, May 10, 2000.

I'll also give a resounding "NO" vote to any liquid lubricant like oil or grease. Normal candle wax should be OK, but the graphite from a pencil is probably better. Make sure it's not one of these new synthetic polymer pencils though, and don't let any loose graphite dust drop into the works.

-- Pete Andrews (, May 12, 2000.

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