DSLR Lens DIY Cleaning Experience: A Rookie Mistake

DISCLAIMER: Mengingat peminat fotografi cakupannya sudah dunia, maka saya akan menulis post ini dengan bahasa yang diakui UNESCO sebagai bahasa internasional: English. So, if by any chance you notice grammar mistakes in my post and that’s tingling you, feel free to remind me on the commentary box. Or if you found it but you just don’t care enough, just enjoy.

The best foolish experience is the one that can still bring out an useful insight for the others

–quote by me, created just a minute ago.

Unsurprisingly, this quote is what brought me to document this foolish experience on my blog, even though my credibility as an intelligent human being is at stake. But yes, I do this because I know, someone out there, some rookie photographer like me might still wondering about how to clean that teeny tiny fungus of his/her lens DIY-way because they are simply got no enough money or just being extremely frugal to take the lens to service center. Maybe they’re just being curious. Well, congratulations buddy, you’ve found the right article!

“Whoa, the right article? Finally I can get rid of that tiny crap whose been blocking my picture using my own hand! Owh, yes! What a miracle!”

Errr.. nope. Don’t put your hopes too high, n00bs. I am here not to tell you about HOW to DIY clean your DSLR lens. I am here to tell WHAT NOT TO DO if you wanna do it.

The Beginning

I own an entry level Nikon D3200 along with Nikkor AF 18-55mm VR aka The Kit since about a year ago. But recently, I brought Nikkor AF 55-200mm VR aka The Tele to my collection. Like many n00bs photographer whose got her first tele lens, I overused it. In essence, I had somewhat neglected The Kit. But at one time I felt like wanna use it again, I got my pics to be blurry. Really blurry. Then I got the problem: my kit got a tiny fungus inside it.

The teeny tiny little crap inside The Kit

The Conflict

Like some other normal people do, I want to take it to service center. But then there’s no trusted one in Bogor; the city I live in. Then because I am usually go to Bandung on weekend (I was even in Bandung when noticed this), and there’s plenty of camera service center out there, so I say, why not?

So I googled it and found a contact person from a camera service shop in a mall near my campus. Chatting after chatting, I just found out that it will cost IDR 150K to clean it. Being frugal I am, just say, Whaat.. 150K just to remove that tiny fungus?!

But then I noticed there are bolts on the lens. How bout if I just open it by myself? Youtube after youtube videos I watched, links after links of bunch articles I read, but I could not find the proper tutorial (same lens type and same problem) to do this. So I put a thought about this for approximately 24 hours, to decide whether to go DIY or play it safe by going to the service shop.

“F***k it. I’m gonna do this ma own way!”

–is the thought I had in one restless night after a tiresome day at the office, to which I am still regret that I had subdued.

I got the screwdriver off my toolbox and then started to disassembled it. At first I got stuck but then the plastic mount finally came off, followed by the tiny lens. I could finally clean the fungus! I am awesome!

I was happy. But then it was time to assembling it again. Some might know that I am self-proclaimed ADHD person (not yet being formally tested) so I tend to be impulsive and forget about little things just because I am over-excited. And this brought me to a revelation that I forgot how to assembly it back together.


But I am an engineer, I must find a way to figure it out. Remember, my bachelor degree was at stake here.

After 1 hour of careful consideration, I was managed to assembly it back together. After successfully mounted on my DSLR, I turned it on, and had this horror message:

F– Lens Not Attached.

“What the fff—–“ was my first response.

Another 1 hour spent, and I still could not resolve this issue. So I went to bed, ’cause tomorrow I should go back to work. In the office, I could not erase this issue from my head. I googled everything possible but still could not find what had gone wrong.

The Revelation

Today, I decided to give a shot and examine everything inside The Kit. After a careful examination, I have found out what had gone wrong:

Torn ribbon cable on lens mount
I was foolishly ripped the ribbon cable mount when trying to pull up the mount-case from the lens-body.


To get confirmed, I sent the photo to the guy who own the service shop. He said that it is indeed has been torn apart. And it will costs me 350K of replacement part plus service fee.

Ha..ha..ha. Hahahaha. HAHAHAHAHA.


Basically here, I was trying to avoid spending 150K on cleaning the lens. Technically, I succeeded at cleaning and got rid of that fungi. But instead of feeling happy just because one has saved one self of 150K, I was foolishly add inevitable cost of 350K to repair a reckless yet idiotic mistake, or otherwise, my lens will be not working properly like, ever.

I feel like I am the silliest person on earth.

(laughing in despair)

But then I create this post so you–yeah, you–the dreamy n00bs photographer can avoid some foolish rookie mistake like I did.

You are welcome.



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