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Kiev 16U - How to service, clean and lubricate stiff lenses

Sebastian Bock

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So here is an illustrated guide for the maintenance and cleaning of the Kiev 16 lenses. I'll just do this with the example of the 12mm lens. The other two lenses are very similar, and if you can do the smallest lens, you probably can do the other two as well.

With all 3 lenses, the focus was extremely stiff and could only be moved with some effort. Since the lenses are relatively small and are quite close together on the turret, you only have the chance to turn the focus with your thumb and index finger while shooting. The aim of the overhaul was to make it possible to move the focus again without effort.

First of all: since I didn't know at all how the lenses are built and how to get to the focus gear, I took apart everything that was possible. Also the lens elements.

In retrospect, this was not necessary at all, you can get to the focus without taking the glass apart. In case someone needs/wants to clean the lenses from the inside, I'll mention the steps anyway. If you don't necessarily have to get to the glass elements, I would advise to skip this step. The lenses are very simple and you can get them together again without any problems, but it took me an extra hour to get it dust-free...

Here we go:

1. Before you pick up a screwdriver, you should first mark all the important positions on the lens, so that you can get everything back together properly. To do this, I set the focus to infinity and the aperture to 2. These are the respective end stops. Then mark this position on the brass above the thread with a permanent marker (yellow arrow), so that in the end all elements are exactly as they were before disassemby.


2. Loosen the tiny screws from the focus and aperture ring. You don't have to unscrew it completely, just a few turns. This minimizes the risk of losing the tiny screws. Carefully pull the focus and aperture ring from the barrel and immediately mark the position of all rings again. In this case, I scratched a thin scratch into the paintwork (red arrows) because I was worried about removing permanent marker when cleaning.

Be careful with the ball under the aperture ring so that it doesn't say goodbye (unless you want to "de-click" your aperture anyway). It is best to remove it with a magnetic screwdriver and clean the hole (yellow arrow). Then loosen the 3 screws slightly on the ring that was under the fucus ring (the last one before the thread, with the white line on it) and pull the ring backwards.


[3. Optional: Remove lenses / can be skipped]

Mark the position of the rear lens. I used the two screws as a marking. Loosen the rear screw, remove the ring and remove the two lenses. Be careful not to mess up the order of the lenses during disassembly.



Before removing the front lenses, be sure to mark the position of the retaining ring on the housing (red arrows) with a little scratch. The retaining ring holds all three lenses together in the front part and has to sit in exactly the same place again at the end!

The lenses have very little play in the tube and tilt slightly when reinserted, so that when screwing on and tightening the retaining ring, you might think that everything is sitting correctly again, even though you are only pressing the ring against a tilted lens element. The marking helps to see whether all lenses are really in the right place again.



Loosen the retaining ring (be careful not to slip off...) and carefully tilt the lens forward so that the lens elements slowly slide out. All glass elements are encased in brass sleeves. Actually, not much can happen...) Again: remember the order.

4. Now remove the last black throw ring. It is only secured with a small screw, but the ring is secured with 50-year-old, hard grease. In short, getting the thing down was an act and was only possible with the use of cleaning spirit and gentle force. If you are looking at the lens from behind, the ring must be unscrewed COUNTERCLOCKWISE.

5. When focusing, only the position of the two rear lenses changes. The rear tube moves in and out minimally. The position of the tube is fixed with a small screw, which runs in a guide slot. I have marked the position of this guide slot and the position that the tube has at infinity position.



6. When you have disassembled the throw ring from point 4 and you take out this little screw, you can remove the rear brass tube.



7. All that's left now is to unscrew the small screw that blocks the Focus's end stop (yellow arrow). Then you can unscrew the last brass ring and wonder how hard grease can get...



I scraped off the crust with a plastic spatula, and then cleaned, degreased and regreased all parts, both the threads and the inner running surfaces of the brass tube.


8. Assemble in reverse order. All the markings I made gave me the assurance that everything would fit as intended.

When tightening the screws, it is important that you do not tighten them one after the other, but only a few turns all around, i.e. screw 1 a little, then screw 2 a little and also the 3.

Then again screw 1 a little, etc.

If you don't pay attention to this, the rings will sit crooked and or wobble.



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