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Amazing restoration of old Nikon lenses

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Old-Nikkor-lenses-restored-and-painted-white

The Nikon Repair Center in Taiwan can restore and paint any Nikkor lens. NRC sent me some pictures of their latest lens restoration and transformation project - the detailed steps remain a trade secret, but they told me that the process is similar to how they cleaned a lens damaged by salt water few months ago.

They first bought a beat up used 70-200mm f/2.8 lens that looked like this:

Nikon-70-200mm-f2.8-used-lens

It seems that one of the most difficult part is to paint/restore the Nikon golden plate:

White-Nikkor-lens-transformation

This is how the gold plate looks after it is done. All dents on the lens body are now gone:

White-Nikkor-lens-transformation-2

All writing and labels on the lens were also restored:

White-Nikkor-lens-transformation-3
White-Nikkor-lens-transformation-4
White-Nikkor-lens-transformation-5
White-Nikkor-lens-transformation-6

More images of the final white Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 lens:

Another project for a white Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens:

Update: the price of restoring and painting a Nikon lens is around $320.

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  • Donald Simpson

    How much for these restorations?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      There are prices on their website in Taiwanese dollars, I just could not get accurate translation.

      • kev

        The prices start from NT$3600 for restorations.

        If you order/buy a brand new lens + paint job to the colour you want (i.e. white 24-70mm f2.8 @NT$65600) they will extended a local warranty for 3 years.

        • Emmett

          $3600? To restore a VR I 70-200? That’s just ridiculous. For that price it should be 24K gold plated with a diamond name plate.

          No thanks…

          • Gareth O’Neill

            NT$ not US$. I suggest you research the exchange rate. It’s actually a good deal.

          • Drazen B.

            Nope, it’s about US$120.

            A heck of a deal for the effort, time and material involved.

          • Tim

            It’s new taiwan Dollar 3600
            Not US Dollar!

      • Donald Simpson

        Thanks

        • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

          I asked the NRC to send me the prices, will update the post once I get them.

          • NRC

            Whole pieces of paint costs USD :322

            Local paint costs USD :116-322

            • Robert Ash

              Thank you, NRC, for this excellent information!

            • NRC

              You’re welcome

            • Ariful Islam

              What would be the cost of getting my 28-70 f/2.8 done in light grey?

            • NRC

              About USD: 320
              Details please sent me Email

            • Ariful Islam

              email address please…

            • NRC
            • NRC

              Does anyone have their contact info? I could only find details in chinese on their website. Please, please, please my 200mm f…

            • NRC
            • NRC

              Sorry, I was Post wrong Message:Does anyone have their contact info? I could only find details in chinese on their website……

  • Peter Neale

    That’s a VR lens and you include it under a category of “old”! To me old = pre-AI.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      old meaning used

      • Calibrator

        You used the old meaning? What’s the new one? ;-)

  • Gareth O’Neill

    Never mind the outside, what about the inside? If the lens looked like that on the outside what’s the chance the glass was in good shape? I am wary of these “restored” lenses being on the market and looking like new when they have already had a hard life.

    On a side note: white?

    • Frodo

      Nikon has had plenty of white/light grey lenses in its production. Nothing new or unusual.

    • Dyun27

      If you were trying to sell a restored lens like this, would you really spend over a thousand dollars to have it restored to like-new condition before you sold it? Just doesn’t seem worth the cost. If it cost $300 to have it restored, I might do it….. but over a thousand? Not a chance unless the insides were busted up as well and they restored them to like-new.

      • Gareth O’Neill

        It’s not a 70-200 I would worry about, more the 300 2.8 on up.

    • NRC

      Light Gray

  • Tom

    I can still see some of the dents

    • NRC

      Yes ,That’s what we deliberately left to compare

  • Art

    Hmmm… I wonder if I can get it in Desert Storm camo?

    • NRC

      It is more difficult

  • wheremyD400nikonsan

    Oh no, painted white it now looks more like a Canon lens……big fail, Not for me!

    • Shawn

      Agreed with all other colours they could have chosen why would you make it look like a canon one?

      They have however done a very nice job at least making it look like new.

      • Remedy

        Because painting lens white makes all the sens in the world. Ever heard of material expansion and contraction caused by various temperatures? Now imagine what happens with a lens in a full moon sun during summertime when the lens is black.
        No body gave a rats ass to make things look like a Canon’s product, that’s like wanting to make Your Ford Fiesta look like Pontiac Aztek. WTF?
        Ever seen Minolta or Sony teles? Hint: white.

        • umeshrw

          I wonder why nikon didn’t think of it before painting the lens black originally.

          • jk

            Exactly! If it is so critical you would think this would be standard from one of the worlds best lens makers. So we go to white camera bodies too etc? I doubt it even matters.

            • meeeto

              I have to agree, I don’t think that the painting has an effect strong enough to really make a difference.
              Instead cameras, lenses are painted black, photographers, film directors, camera men wear black not to reflect in shiny objects and to keep the influence on the light setting as small as possible.

        • Pablo Ricasso returned

          “Ever heard of material expansion and contraction caused by various temperatures? ”

          Yes we have, and that’s where Canon lags behind Nikon. Nikon upped the ante with the materials they use in lens construction long time ago, both for the metal alloy and poly-carbonate parts on the outer lens covers. Canon didn’t and they stuck with the inferior materials hence the higher sensitivity to heat, dramatic temperature swings and sun light UV effect.

          • Kenny

            I think the white paint was originally meant for protecting fluorite elements.

  • Emmett

    FYI: Nikon was the first company to release white lenses, not Canon.

    • NRC

      You are right

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/monteraz/ Monteraz

        Hello? Where are those Nikon pre AI telephoto white lensES please?

        • Jon Richards

          Yeah I’d like to know as well.

    • EvanKrosney

      But there’s no doubt that Canon popularized them. And unfortunately today, whenever someone’s seen with a white lens, people will automatically assume Canon.

      • Emmett

        Does it matter? Is your self worth tied up in what kind of gear people think you shoot?

        • Correcto

          Yes of course. And the poster explicitly states this as well. Not.

          Is your self worth tied up to your reckless extrapolations of other’s statements?

      • jk

        Very true! I think the problem is when people are offended by the colour. lol.

        Canon is known for its white lenses.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/monteraz/ Monteraz

      I think it is not. Canon launched its firsts white lenses in 1976, the 600mm f4.5 S.S.C. and the 800mm f5.6 S.S.C. Nikon began doing it in 1996 according to the photosyntesis list, you dont see AI or AIS lenses in white as far as I know, but you have things like these from the beginning of Canon FD lenses:http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/canon/fdresources/fdlenses/earlyfdlenses/400600mmfd.htm

      Let me know if I am wrong, I like the topic.

      • JakeB

        No it wasn’t. Nikon was first with white lenses, it’s been talked and discussed around the forums already for a long time. Even those die-hard Canon gear heads admitted it in the end. Google it…

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/monteraz/ Monteraz

          I dont want to be a stubborn, but I have studied deeply the Nikon lenses history for years, and I havent found that Nikon white early telephoto lenses. I have presented facts and examples with actual photos and links. All I find when I google it is as indefinite like here: “Nikon made it first”… what, when, photos…? Thank you for your reply.

          • KK

            Is it really so important who is white first? My god. Just shoot!

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/monteraz/ Monteraz

              Dude, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Surely you are interested in things that I would probably find boring and meaningless. I like Nikon lens history, whats the problem?

    • jk

      THANK YOU! I saw this post and thought “here we go, all the ignorant “purists” are going to have a melt down”.

      I was about to say the same sort of thing. White is not exclusive to Canon. However, it is more common to see..obviously.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kgnixer niXerKG

    I’ve wanted a service like this here in the states for so long. Would be amazing!

    • NRC

      Thanks

  • Tony Bologna

    I think it looks gorgeous. Would love to know the cost.

    • NRC

      USD:320

  • zoetmb

    Nikon has had white lenses in the past (although their official designation was “light grey”). They also produced some silver lenses. They stopped selling them in the U.S. some years ago and I don’t think they sell them anywhere anymore. They priced them higher than the black lenses and at places like B&H, the light grey were never on sale when the black models were on sale and you couldn’t use coupons for them, so I suspect few people bought them.

    The 300 2.8, 400 2.8, 500 4.0 and 600 4.0 AF-S D EF-IF II were all available in light grey as was the 28-70mm 2.8 and the original AF-S 70-200 2.8. The still available 300 4.0D was also available in light grey. The still available 70-300 G was available in Europe in silver and the 55-200 without the VR used to be available in silver. The 28-80G was available in silver as the kit lens when sold with a silver N55 film body. There were several other silver lenses as well.

    I wonder if this Taiwan company also does body renovations of equivalent quality. They could do these restorations in different colors for fashionistas. There’s another company, cameraleather.com that sells leather kits for many bodies and they’ll do the work for you if you wish.

    • NRC

      Analyzed very carefully

  • lorenzo

    Are those the same people that to fix a lens fallen in salt water boiled it?
    It’s a great work, but I just don’t like it white, looks like a Canon :-)

  • Calibrator

    Aren’t white lenses/bodies better in sunny surroundings? At least if made from metal?

    • bossa

      Yep, the white absorbs less heat and thus the lens performs better optically and is more consistent mechanically on hot bright days out in the sun..

      • Dyun27

        I thought Canon painted their lenses white because they use inferior products, which (if painted black and absorbed more heat than they do white) causes the lens parts to warp. Nikon supposedly uses better parts that don’t warp in the heat, so they don’t need to paint their lenses white. That’s what I read somewhere.

        • JakeB

          True that.

          Nikon never had to ‘paint’ their lenses in lighter colors because well, simply – they didn’t have to, since they use superior outer lens material than Canon, both in their metal as well as poly-carbonate versions of their lenses outer shells.

        • NRC

          I agree

      • Mirko Jovanovic

        Did someone from Canon tell you that?

        Funny how many gullible people are there.

      • Cynog

        Well, we don’t need them in the UK then!

  • ozique

    Use google translator and xe currency convertor, so the price is Taiwanese dollars $65,600, and converted into £1,408.57.

    http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=65600&From=TWD&To=GBP

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

      The restoration and painting if the lens costed around 320 USD.

      • NRC

        Yes ,320 USD.

  • Paul Fan

    Hi, They are not the offical Nikon Repair Center from factory nor the Nikon agent in Taiwan, they are an independent Nikon repair center specialist in Nikon lenes. They are as good as the factory repair or better than the offical Nikon repair in the country or others.

    • Pablo Ricasso returned

      …They are not the offical Nikon Repair Center…

      Easy there, no one said they are official repair center.

      • frank

        The way they are named it makes it seem like it’s official. Even the yellow box they use for their avatar associates it with offical Nikon.

    • Sahaja

      Given the results you sometimes get from some of the official repair centers, if I’m paying then I’d rather use an independent repair center that takes pride in their work.

  • Aldo

    I would love a 70-200 f4 in white… just to remind me of my canon days… or throw people off :P

    • Tan Phen

      “… a rarity in taiwan if you ask me.”

      That’s why no one is asking you, as you obviously don’t know much about Taiwan.

      And it’s Taiwan with a capital “T”.

      • Phil

        Taiwan, oh you mean Chinese Taipei? :P

        • NRC

          Just taiwan , only Taiwan

      • Aldo

        It’s just simply the reality of cheap labor and mass production that brings quality and pride down. Didn’t mean to insult your county… happens all over the world. by all means if you want to live blindfolded.

        • Nathaniel Pierce

          Do you really have to prove every time you post you’re a forum idiot?

          You are one ignorant a-h0le, regardles what you spew out as an “explanation” to your original insulting post where you made a fool of yourself.

          • Aldo

            I have little to prove… nor i need to be insulting to feel better about myself. Ignorance is a word often over used by those who are bewildered =]

            • George Finer

              We already established on this forum you’re not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer and that you’re unable to comprehend the impact that some of your airhead commentary may have on others.

              Best if you just leave. Either that or shut up and read more and write less.

            • Aldo

              Interesting analogy considering that knives that get sharpened are the top choice and are doing more cutting than the others ;) …look mr nikon rumors ambassador, i respectfully want to submit an appeal and please tell your people to start doing more cutting and less whining.

        • Jurgen Ernst

          You didn’t comment about the ‘world’ you made an unsavory comment about Taiwan, or ‘taiwan’ as you put it. What cheap labor and mas production are you babbling about, you bozo?

          Was that your attempt at an apologetic post?

          Another one of those American folk ignorant of the rest of the World around them? So who is exactly “blindfolded” here?

          • Aldo

            Another typical us hater? No, I did not apologize…your anger towards america only shows lack of potential or success.

  • Cadence

    Very nicely done!

    • NRC

      Thank you.

  • Braden

    Looks like quality work indeed. However the only little thing I can see is that on the 24-70 the Nikon Dataplate letters are also left painted white and not gold like the real ‘light grey’ Nikon lenses that were released in the early 2000s.

    • NRC

      As long as you like

      Gray and gold are possible

  • DT Rengor

    Seriously – just buy a new lens. Fool and his money….

    • Brandon Yates

      You silly boy…so don’t spend US$120 on restoration and buy the new lens instead?
      Not sure who’s fool here…

  • EvanKrosney

    What I want to know is what cruel person let the lens get into that kind of shape in the first place?

    • babola

      A photographer who uses lens on a daily basis in all sorts of environments, situations, and weather, that’s who.
      Certainly not an armchair photog or a weekend-warrior.

    • jk

      Cruel???!!!! OH shut up, it is an inanimate object. Perhaps they used it? (and threw out the box?).

      Calm down and focus on bigger issues like world hunger.

      • Calibrator

        “focus”… he he!

    • Neopulse

      My 70-200mm VRII had nics on it only after 2-3 months from outdoor portraits during hikes.

  • Genkakuzai

    Can’t deny their restoration skills :)

    • jk

      They did an amazing job!!!

      • NRC

        Thanks.

  • mateiphoto

    Does anyone have their contact info? I could only find details in chinese on their website. Please, please, please my 200mm f2 has been dropped in the ocean. :(

    • NRC

      Please contact me

      • http://mateihorvath.com/ mateiphoto

        Ok I am pretty new here. How do I direct message or contact a member?

        • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

          look up the comments – they gave their email address

        • NRC
      • http://mateihorvath.com/ mateiphoto

        you can find my email on my website that is posted on the profile.

      • Jun-Kai Teoh

        I’d like your contact information as well. I can read Chinese decently but all I could find was the phone number.

        • NRC
        • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

          They gave their email in a previous comment: 10dc.net[at]gmail[dot]com

  • gsum

    That’s not an old lens. My 42 year old 28mm pre-AI (modified to AI with a dab of epoxy putty) is old – and easily as sharp as any modern lens.
    They have done a good job but Nikon 1 grey would have been a better colour.

  • alexz

    What paint Do They use?
    Is it some kind Special Paint?
    I want to do this with my old D700 by myself.

    • DeathK

      Looks like it’s powder coated.

  • Spy Black

    They should let you choose any color you like if you’re gonna do something like that. Excellent job.

  • Andy

    I wonder if they could do one in pink for Kai Wong from digitalrev

  • Hayward

    I bought a brand new Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 white in Hong Kong 3 years ago. Nikon does have white lens (maybe not in the U.S.). This restored one looks identical. Nice job!!!

  • David K

    Is the color deliberately changed to distinguish restored lenses from new and refurbished lenses?

  • markdstump

    I don’t like the white

  • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

    Wished Nikon kept on doing their Brass plates; chiefly the 70-200 MK 2, 80-400 AFS MK 2, the engraved paint on my Nikon 28-300 has faded now…

  • Libby Stack

    Canon envy. Make them Yellow ;-)

  • Dave

    I guess lot of people here didn’t know that the 70-200 VR was offered in both black or white originally, and so were the AF-S 28-70, AF-S 80-200, etc, just to name few.

    • Neopulse

      The 80-200mm also? Hmph…. didn’t know.

  • Daniel Hurtubise

    How do we contact those guys? I have a body/lens in desperate needs of a miracle :(

  • Bart Breslow

    Too bad you can’t get that done here in the USA without a crazy repair bill, at least that lens shows impact damage so the extra charge is justified. Many folks are getting impact damage on lenses that are almost new with no signs of damage and getting an extra $600 charge.

  • MarcosV

    Where’s the red ring?

    • Vortex

      Hah rotfl troll question but u’re right, I also miss the red ring :)))))
      Omg that would be confusing on a photography event.. :D Nikon Pro body with a Canon-like Nikkor cannon on it :D lol :)

  • NRC

    NRC E-mail:10dc.net@gmail.com

  • lololalallll

    @NRC_in_TW:disqus Can you paint any lens, or just the ones listed on your site, 17-35, 28-70, 70-200 VR1?

    I’m curious about painting my 14-24, 35mm f/1.4, and 70-200 VR2

  • pooh

    Even the Nikon rangefinder lenses?

    • NRC

      YES

      • fawn

        Wow that would be AMAZING!

        We’ll be having lot of black paint W-Nikkors around! :D

  • FredBear

    Do the freshly painted lenses take better pictures?

  • Nighcon

    So does this do anything for the optics, or is it merely cosmetic?

    • Neopulse

      Well…. most likely they give it a good cleaning before giving it back to you. So indirectly helps with the optics I suppose.

  • James Kent

    while shooting with my D800, i slipped in the big rocks in the sea. luckily it did not get wet. however body got broken near the pc sync. push controlling the dial button (Q,M,) mode button is a bit stiff. any idea where can i repair the body?

    -james

  • Vortex

    Omg that’s just perfect work !!!
    That 24-70 in white, lol !!! :))) Must have :)

    Question: if I own a 70-200 VR2, will the varranty be void if I have it simply paint white by NRC ? (Which is officially “gray” btw, at least for the 70-200 VR1). I think I shouldn’t loose warranty if it’s an official Nikon Repair Center.

    • Neopulse

      I think you shouldn’t…… hmmm just tempted to do the same paint finish on the body.

    • marr

      Admin had previously reported the same guy fixing lens by boiling it:

      http://nikonrumors.com/2013/03/17/nikon-repair-center-saves-a-lens-damaged-by-salt-water-by-boiling-it.aspx/

      Although seems pretty capable, it’s not an official repair station. The name is quite confusing to English speakers, but maybe not be so to the Taiwanese…

      • http://nikonrumors.com/ Nikon Rumors

        Yes, this is not an official Nikon facility. I think we covered this in the comments section. Maybe I will add it in the post next time.

  • NRC
  • Adrian H

    Anyone know if they will paint cameras as well??

  • Nope

    Why on earth would somebody restore a wheathered lens that is still working (it was, right?) to look brand new? The old one has a story to tell and you can brag about where you have been with your camera gear – looks much more interesting. The old one says: “I’m an adventurer”, the new look says: “I not exactly and outdoor person so I take pictures of my cat”

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