Nikkor Helicoid Grease

In my quest for grease for my recent lens rebuild, I got this response from Nikon Aus:

Thank you for your enquiry.  We are unable to supply lubricating materials outside of Nikon service centres.  We are also unable to provide advice on do it your self repairs.

Subject: Helicoid grease for a 105mm micro Ais

I have an old lens (105mm micro Ais) that works well but has a particularly stiff focus ring, it is not economical for me to send it to Nikon for repair due to the actual low value of the lens, however I have established the problem to be the hardening of the grease on the Helicoid, removing this and applying new grease would appear to solve the problem, however I do not have any of the grease, before taking a guess as what to use I thought it may be possible to purchase this off Nikon Australia or get advice on an acceptable alternative.

So, onto some alternatives, the following sites have discussions detailing the grease used for older Nikkors:

The Classic Camera

and a Telescope Mob

Ice in Space

The main thing I guess is the following seem to be acceptable:

  1. White Lithium Grease
  2. Silicon Grease

Adjusting the Thermostat on the La Pavoni Lever Handle

It always seems to run a bit hot, hence the requirement to reduce the thermostat pressure.

Remove the Torx screw under the drip tray, remove lower cover and locate thermostat, this is identified by the unit that has a wire going in, then to the boiler element. Also easily identified by the ‘geared’ wheel which permits adjustment.

This geared wheel is typically glued in place, however a bit of tweaking can get it released and adjusting the pressure.

Clockwise for increased pressure – anti-clockwise for decreased pressure.

Sharpening & Progressive Sharpening

Resizing images for whatever reason, whether it be for the web or for printing, sharpening is typically required. Depending on the lens used I will typically sharpen for the web and for print, some lens required more sharpening than other.

Additionally, when resizing images for the web it is critical to sharpen progressively as the image is downsized, this will get you a crisp image rather than a soft blurred version. Basically progressive sharpening means reducing the image dimensions whilst sharpening at different dimensions, ie sharpen image @ full size, resize to 50% then sharpen again, reduce image size to desired size and sharpen again.

As a rough guide here are some basic settings for sharpening when using Capture NX2, however they concept and qualitative values are applicable across most programs.

Heavy Sharpening

Typical for soft lens image, combined HDR image, image taken at slightly lower shutter speed then needed.

Unsharp Mask: Intensity 5-10, Radius 50-70, Threshold 0

followed by:

Unsharp Mask: Intensity 50-75, Radius 2, Threshold 0

Image Downsizing and Progressive Sharpening

Example for resizing to a typical web size of 800x800pixels, this is a fairly light sharpening, including a another step with a larger radius like on the above example may be required for some images…

Size/Resolution to 50%

Unsharp Mask: Intensity 15, Radius 3, Threshold 0

Fit image to 800×800 pixels

Unsharp Mask: Intensity 25, Radius 3, Threshold 0

2010 Roasts (Ethiopian Harrar Longberry and Colombian Volcan Galeras Supremo)

First Roast of 2010 was a second run of the Ethiopian Harrar Longberry and Colombian Volcan Galeras Supremo. Initial impressions of the Harrar Longberry were quite poor, nothing like the finished products I have tasted in the past from the likes of Campos. The first roast of the Harrar was, I believe, quite inadequate, the beans are quite small but vary in size, this results in alot of beans browning quickly which surprised me and probably resulted in the unroasting of this first batch.

The first roast of the Colombian was also rough as! high amibent temperatures (37 degrees) caused havoc with the DIY equipment, the beans were unroasted however produced very nice coffee nonetheless!

So, onto 2010, 2 batchs were done of each bean, the aim was to do a slower roast with a greater quantity (400gms) The Colombian bean took quite some time ot reach the first crack, at this point the bean was pretty close to the right colour in my opinion, so just beyond the first crack is a good area to aim for the future.

The Harrar bean started off very varied in colour, however when pushed past the first crack things seemed to settle down and there was a nice consistent colour developing, with a little extra intense heat set the very quiet 2nd crack off at which point all heat as removed and the it contined under its own steam for some time.

Blending these two together at 50/50 and grinding at about 7 on the rocky produced a very nice blend even without letting the bean settle. Individually the Colombian shines as a very smooth roast with alot of la creme that holds well.  It is a very nice mellow coffee great for after dinner! The jury is still out on the harrar, but initial tastes are good with a strong distinct flavour, I am thinking of blending 70/30 (Harrar/Colombian) once things have settled.

Grindwise, the Columbian is typically at the 5 mark whilst the Harrar needs a 8 with a tight pack.