for photographers

How I repaired fifty dollars ...

This article will tell about a sad story. Before I start, I want to tell you two immutable truths:

  • do not drop your lenses
  • do not try to fix them yourself later

The other day I had a very unfortunate moment for any photographer: by fatal accident the lens Canon 50mm f1.4 fell out of my bag onto the asphalt. This was enough for the autofocus problem to appear. The lens began to focus from only 3 meters. But what happened next ...

How I tried to fix fifty dollars on my own

To begin with, I decided to go online. It turned out that this problem is frequent and can be easily solved on our own. There are many articles and videos on the Internet on the topic of repairing a fifty dollar from Canon. One has only to enter into Google “repair autofocus canon 50 1.4". Initially, I thought to hand over the lens for repair, then I decided to trust the virtual advice ...

 This video shows in great detail what to do:

The roller is excellent in terms of assembling / disassembling the lens. It would have been much more difficult without him. There are a lot of small screws inside the lens, as well as parts that need to be assembled / disassembled in a strictly defined order. The process requires concentration, thoroughness, meticulousness and a lot of time. I mean that during disassembly / assembly, you can easily do something wrong, so you have to start all over again)

By the way, I've acquired a new skill. Now I can assemble / disassemble half a barrel at a speed, just like soldiers assemble machine guns :) The skill is absolutely useless and even harmful. And that's why…

What is the essence of the breakdown?

The most common problem with a fifty dollar drop is deformation helicoid.

Helicoid - this is the moving part of the lens, which is directly responsible for autofocus. This is exactly the proboscis, which in this model extends outward when focusing.

He looks like this:


This part is made of very thin and soft metal. It deforms very easily. After deformation, there are problems with its rotation. That is, you can turn it disassembled with your hands, but the motor can no longer cope.

The essence of the repair boils down to the fact that it must be somehow returned to its original, virgin even appearance. Advisers from the Internet suggest hitting him with a hammer, other methods of active physical intervention are also kicked on him.

In the repair instructions for this lens, 90% of the attention is devoted to disassembling it, and only 10% of correcting its shape. And it is very difficult to correct it at home.

Again, don't do it.

Why not repair the lens yourself?

Now that I have described the problem and the theoretical way to solve it, I will tell you what came of it for me. For repairs, I purchased this set of a young mechanic, consisting of a set of micro-screwdrivers and tweezers.

set "young mechanic"

Watching the video, I dissected this wonderful, but damaged lens step by step.

underrepair of lens kenon

The process was slow. I took it apart in about an hour. And that was just the beginning. It took a long time to understand how the internal mechanism works and to see the cause of the malfunction. In total, I spent about 5 hours.

As a result of my manipulations, the lens stopped focusing altogether.

This is how the Canon 50mm f1.4 looks like in half-disassembled form:

canon 50mm f1.4 exploded view


Most likely, my manipulations led to the fact that this helicoid would have to be completely changed, and this will make the repair more expensive. So far, the lens has been fully repaired. I'm waiting for the results.

Update - repaired, working. The repair cost as much as 1/3 the cost of the entire lens.

And the most useful thing in this business is that I was able to share my experience and warn other photographers. Love your lenses, don't drop them. And if dropped, take it to the service.