Nikon Repair Center saves a lens damaged by salt water by boiling it

Nikon-lens-dropped-to-salt-water-fix-(2) Nikon-lens-dropped-to-salt-water-fix

The Nikon Repair Center in Taiwan repaired a Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 lens ($1,769.00) that was dropped in the sea by... boiling it. After the staff dissembled the lens for investigation, they determined that the AF motor was damaged and needed to be replaced:


The inner tube of the lens was rusted and was not moving because of the salt water damage. That's why they decided to boil some of the parts. In fact, the staff said that they had to add some chemicals into the boiling water in order to remove the rust:


The lens was completely repaired in less than 3 days:


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  • Cool

    • Paul Kelly

      Hot, actually 🙂

  • I’m more surprised that the elements didn’t need a recoat or replacement!

    • Spy Black

      Coatings are mostly metals vaporized onto the surface. Not as easy to remove as you might think.

      • texasjoe

        Well nikon did say at one point that breathing on your lens to clean it could mess up the coatings…

        • NRA Advocate

          One representative said that — then it was retracted…mostly because it is utter nonsense.

      • Captain Megaton

        A very /thin/ coating of metal/metal oxides. But yes, more resistant to chemicals than abrasion.

    • The glass elements had been removed first. It looks like steel screws had corroded into the aluminium lens body. Very hard to remove mechanically, but boiling them in an alum solution will dissolve the steel without affecting the aluminium. Then you just clean the threads, put new screws in, rebuild the lens and the job is a good ‘ un.

    • NRC

      We replacement the SWM

  • Nikon Taiwan fan

    It’s not an official Nikon repair center. Such “unofficial” repair center is quite popular because the service from official side is not so satisfying…

    • Banned

      Indeed I was surprised Nikon service could ever be so creative and furthermore making any of it public…

    • NRC

      We are unofficial repair

  • Dyun27

    How much did the repair cost to fix the lens?

    • I don’t think they mentioned the price in their post.

    • Captain Megaton

      That was my reaction. Yeah, I realize that a 17-35mm f/2.8 is not a cheap lens, but considering the work involved to completely rebuild a lens like that, replacing the motor even…

    • Banned

      It was in Taiwan so it probably cost anywhere from 10 to 15 bucks.

    • NRC

      I’m sorry can not openly tell you

      • NRC, keep us informed about other “interesting” fixes.

        • NRC

          It is my pleasure.

  • JLK

    Thanks for this maintenance tip. If I boil my 17-35, maybe it will stop squeaking.

    • genius

      boil it in oil

      • Hen Cockwell

        no, boil it in pee.

  • Jonas

    Next time I will send it to Taiwan and probably get my lens back faster, because I still don’t have any information when mine will be fixed.
    Here in Brazil it’s write in the contract service they claim 180 days to fix it, so I just have to wait more 4 months and a half…

    • Neopulse

      Hey, better than here in Argentina. Foreign importations banned. Took a friend of mine 4 months to get an Ipad replaced here with the guarantee because in store they didn’t have one in stock to give him.

    • RamesesThe2nd

      Next time, just boil it at home.

    • tertius_decimus

      Still, better than in Ukraine. I have sent my lens to service three times in a row but staff didn’t get a clue what was wrong with it! No chances to resurrect my 105 VR.

      • Helvio

        Oh my God… It’s a shame for Nikon so many time to set products in many countries in all World. Brazillian users are part of it. Before spend million of dollars in “I AM NIKON” they should be faster and better to fit custumers equipment.

        • tertius_decimus

          So true!

        • Arkasai

          This is a very weak point in Nikon’s ecosystem, I think they should’ve embraced independent repair shops by allowing them to purchase the proper diagnostic tools and parts needed to work on modern cameras and lenses. Shutting the door on those people has just made the whole business of fixing your camera/lens a real nightmare. This is like having to take your car back to the factory for basic repairs.

    • NRC

      180 days …..Too long

    • Carlos N Mendes

      6 months?!? You’re lucky! TTanaka said that my disassembled 18-200 is ‘irreparable’.

  • Greg

    Interesting to see the inside of one of these guys…

  • Neopulse

    Only being a repair guy, you can come up with MacGuyver stuff like this.

  • Phonton

    Does anyone know how to lean up damage from a leaked AA batter (Nikon F100)?

    • boil it 🙂

      • GlobalGuy

        ^This maaaay be just a rumor. Take any unofficial advice here with a grain of (sea) salt.

    • lorenzo

      Use pure NH3 (ammonia) then wash it.

    • odysseus


  • Benno

    This is the solution to the early model D600’s sensor oil problems. All you need to do is boil you D600 and the problem is solved. No more sensor blobs.
    It’s mentioned on P44 of the manual. You only need to read it in Japanese, backwards and only every 3rd ‘letter’. I tells ya, its there. 🙂

    • upuaut

      The cool thing about boiling your D600 is that the actuation counter resets after boil.

      • This also works with cars.

        • It says you must then drink the boiled water if you want the best IQ out of your D600. Japanese never go wrong..

          • keikei

            no wonder so many weird things have invented.. v should try it today for our future..

          • Johan Krüger Haglert

            Are you sure there’s no need for tiger penises or some other exotic animal part?

  • n11

    Not bad, I’m waiting over ten business days now on my D800 because of a cracked top LCD screen.

  • Denis Heinrich

    Post how its gonna perform after such a repair please!

    • NRC

      Photos? Videos?

      • zenism

        @NRC_in_TW:disqus Why not both? 🙂

  • niXerKG

    Salt water damage is usually the end of a lens but if this repair is legit there are some high priced lenses on eBay I need to talk APS into fixing. Just surprised Nikon would come up with a solution, but looks like it’s not an official repair center so makes sense.

  • Mamak Penang

    don’t forget add a bit of Clorox for the final touch.

  • Johnny Dough

    Coming up on the next Masterchef: Lens Surprise

  • dabambz

    Those guys are amazing. Repair these days only consists of disassembling, replace old part with new, and re-assemble. These guys actually “repaired” the lens.

    • NRC


  • mwaltari

    Boiling in acid is ok, but do not breathe on your lens to clean it – lens coating might suffer 😉

    • NRC


    • zenism

      Nikon’s logic.

  • Martijn

    repaired in “only” 3 days? i don’t want to know how much that would cost just in labor.

    • NRC

      For us is too long

  • pmac

    shame they cant repair the d800 issues.. mine came back 100X worse than it went in….

    • NRC

      It’s OK

  • NRC

    I’m surprised I repair Post here

    • Banned

      Good job, how much did you charge for this?

  • chubbs

    It also makes a tasty lens soup.

    • Fred Flintstone

      It’s a bit spicy, you might end up spending the night on the toilet with ‘backfocus’

  • dh
    here is the guy’s website which have contact info
    you can try and ask if he take international order

    • NRC


  • vince

    His next step.. Put it on ebay.

    • NRC

      NO , It’s customer Lens

  • Guest

    Here in Canada, the Nikon service repair center flush the lens down the toilet and pick it up on the other end; then tell you it’s user error and refuse to repair it for you.

    • NRC

      Yes , the same in Taiwan

  • I pre-boil most of my camera lenses so that they taste good when they come back from the sea

  • SkimMilk

    one the site ( it says 500 TWD for inspection, 3~5K TWD for changing motors, 5~9K for repairing ultrasonic motors, 13K to replace ultrasonic motor. Not sure if there are other labor charges for the job.

    • NRC

      Thank you

  • Danijel Turina

    The official repair center would say the lens is beyond repair and nobody would laugh. These guys successfully repaired the lens by using brains instead of a repair manual, and they are laughed at as “unprofessional”?

    • NRC

      Maybe is unprofessional
      but customer want cheap repair and can be work

  • Micah Goldstein

    THAT’S IT! I’m sending my Nikon gear to Taiwan!

    Even the stuff that’s not broke!

  • NRC

    Lens has been removed

  • NRC

    Externally there is salt

  • NRC

    Maintenance is not officially recognized, but it lets consumers a cheap fix lens

  • NRC

    The lens back home photo display for everyone to see.

  • Claziko

    Hello! I can repair de nikon lens! AFS 28-70 f 2.8… How to contact us? Please…

  • joe

    Interesting – they can fix this bit they still cant make my d800 focus correctly…

  • shigzeo

    Amazed by one thing: all the AF and electronics make that lens so big. The actual optical elements are tiny. Reminds me of holding a rangefinder lens: stripped of everything but the scoping elements and outer hood, lenses can actually be small and light.

  • Not sure I would want this back if the price to repair would be so high. I think it be better buy a used one. also im suspicious on how clear the glass would be after that.

  • mateiphoto

    Does anyone have their email address? I had an incident a few months ago involving a 200mm f2 an salt water and it was deemed unrepairable by Nikon USA.

  • I will join in the discussion. By means of a question. I am looking for a book on my Nikon f 100 and f6

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