Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tragedy Strikes the Nifty Fifty

The lens I have had the longest and used most regularly on my Canon cameras (both film and digital) is a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II. While it isn't necessarily my favorite focal length, particularly on the APS-C sensor Canon cameras, it is certainly Canon's most economical lens, coming in at around $100.

My 50mm provided several years of faithful service...until today. It turns out that the lens wasn't designed to survive a fall from about 5 feet onto rocks. To be fair, this lens has survived innumerable bumps and thumps before today's mortal wound.

This morning, I left the house early so that I would be able to take a couple of photos of an old building in Bessemer that adjacent to some railroad tracks. I was hoping to catch it in that golden light before the sun gets to high above the horizon. (I was successful, but that is not the subject of this post, so you'll just have to wait.) 

As I was packing up and walking away, I had the lens about shoulder high until gravity wrenched it back to earth. Even though the fall occurred behind me, I knew almost instinctively its source. And when I leaned to pick up the lens, it made a miserable rattling noise that was not native to it.

The aft-most element of the lens had broken away from the surface to which it was mounted. Upon consulting the wise elves at, I received some guidance on what might be done, though the outlook is grim for any sort of revival. Amidst the advice/encouragement I received was a site, which describes in detail the method for disassembling/reassembling this lens. Well, I already had half of that covered.

My next step will be to glue the back element back into place. Some of the lugs which naturally held it were broken off, so gluing is the only method for re-attachment. Even if that element can be effectively re-attached, there's still the possibility that other elements will be misaligned because of the fall's impact.

Over the next couple of days I'll attempt to resuscitate this little gem, but despair reigns supreme.

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