How to Remove Dust From Nikon 24-70mm Lens

I often get plenty of dust behind the rear element of my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens. While for the most part it does not affect my images, after my last trip to Utah, I ended up with a large dust particle that somehow made it into the lens. Nikon only removes dust from lenses if you pay for the service, because the normal lens warranty does not cover dust removal. I did not feel like waiting for a couple of weeks and paying a hefty sum to get mine cleaned, so I decided to do it myself. In this video, I will show you how to remove dust from the rear element of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens in less than 5 minutes.

WARNING: Opening your lens will void your warranty if Nikon finds out you did it. This video is NOT for beginners. Do not attempt this if you have a couple of small dust specks in your lens. See my “what to do with dust inside lenses” article for more information.
DISCLAIMER: I take ZERO responsibility for any potential damage that you might cause as a result of opening the rear lens element. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Now for the brave souls that decide to do this: the process is actually fairly simple. Start out in a clean, dust-free room. All you need to do is remove three screws from the rear wall of the lens mount, then gently lift the rear lens element and use a rocket blower to remove the dust from it. You can also remove the dust from the next lens element that sits inside the lens. Just zoom out to 24mm so that the element moves down towards the rear, then blow off the dust from it using the same rocket blower. Be very careful during the process and make sure not to touch any lens parts or lens elements from the inside. When using the blower, keep a safe distance, so that you do not accidentally hit anything. Do NOT try to blow off the dust with your breath or canned air – use Giotto’s Rocket Blower instead. When putting the screws back, don’t over-tighten them.

Here is the video with full details:

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Ryan
    April 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    I love your videos, Nasim. I took apart my 50 1.8 to clean, but I ended up jamming the aperture adjuster. But it was ok, because then I had an excuse to get a 50 1.4G. Keep up the good work!

  2. 2
    ) Michael
    June 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Hello Nasim.
    I am a fan of your website & it is very educational & is easy to understand. I would like to ask you a question.
    I recently discovered that there is a very fine hair stuck on the inside of the rear element of my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens. I am hesitating to take it apart because I was told that if I took it apart like what you do, it may affect the lens focus & will need a lens calibration. Is that so? Should I just take it to Nikon & demand a clean up as I just bought it 2 months ago.
    Michael.

    • November 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Michael, sorry for a late response – just noticed your comment. See below – guys have tried this and it is not a problem at all. It is a very easy procedure and it won’t mess up your AF, unless you do something stupid :)

  3. 3
    ) Ming
    June 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for the video.

    I just bought a used Nikon 24-70mm and found out there are some dust particles inside the rear element.

    I’ll give it a try later.

    • 4
      ) wendell
      November 6, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Hi Ming, how was your attempt? I’m also want to try it on mine too.

      • 5
        ) Ming
        November 6, 2011 at 9:18 am

        It was easy. I removed most dust particles.

  4. 6
    ) wendell
    November 6, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Yeah I just tried it today! it was easy indeed! But got a lot of scare after i drop one of the screw on the carpet. took me an hour trying to find it. almost ordered online from eBay. After I decided to try using the vaccum and found it! Geez!

    • November 13, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      LOL, you guys are good risk takers like me :) Glad it worked out for you!

  5. 9
    ) Sb
    April 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Hi, great video and information.
    I have a 55-200 G lens, and have noticed a a small thread / spec of dust just after the first lens (on the outside). It doesnt affect the image atall but its bugging the hell out if me.
    How do i get to that? I have noticed there is a screw on the side of the zoomable section.

    ANy help will be great thanks.

  6. 10
    ) Sb
    April 3, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Hi, great video and information.
    I have a 55-200 G lens, and have noticed a a small thread / spec of dust just after the first lens (on the outside). It doesnt affect the image atall but its bugging the hell out if me.
    How do i get to that? I have noticed there is a screw on the side of the zoomable section.

    ANy help will be great thanks.

  7. 11
    ) David N
    May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Hey, dont know if anyone is gonna respond to this, but I’ve got a Cannon GL2 Mini DV camera and ive noticed a great deal of buildup on the lens, so much so that in fact I’ve had to adjust whole shoots due to hard light coming directly at the camera and instead of cool lens flare I get horrible snow that looks to be everywhere. I was wondering if anyone knew the risks of opening the lens case thats locked on a camera?

  8. 12
    ) Alvin
    September 25, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Hi Nasim
    Great video!
    Btw I have a similar dust situation but this time inside the 85mm 1.4 G
    Just wondering, will I be able to use some of the step in the video to clean the inside element?

    cheers
    Alvin

  9. 13
    ) joe borg
    October 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Hi Nazim
    I just purchased a Nikkor prime lens 105mm f/2.5 AI and I can see a dark speck on the rear element inside.
    I am trying this out once I find a small enough philip screwdriver!! lol is that a special screwdriver?
    1 more question; can I brush it off should the dust particles be stubborn to be removed?

    Thanks in advance ;)

  10. October 24, 2012 at 8:59 am

    A zillion thanks for the tutorial. I had a little curlicue of dust inside my lens that always showed up on images with a lot of undetailed backgrounds–sky, bare walls, etc–and I had no idea what to do until I came across this video. Five minutes and I was done! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  11. 15
    ) paul
    October 24, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Nazim, do you have an instructional on removing dust from the front element? Thanks.

  12. 16
    ) Larry
    February 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for the video, Nasim.

    I received an almost pristine Canon FD 85-300mm f/4.5 lens today, bought on ebay. I paid a paltry $127.50 for it, probably due to the seller describing the presence of noticeable haze on the rear element. I took it out to shoot some bird video with my GH2 and got very nice footage, but couldn’t get the haze issue out of my head…it’s not s’posed to be there and I didn’t want to spend more on getting it cleaned professionally than I paid for the lens itself!

    I took apart a couple old, cheap, beat-up prime lenses recently and they worked fine when I was done, so I set out to clean the haze off my lovely “new” zoom. I took picures and video every step of the way, just in case I spaced out a set of screws, the re-positioning of a part or the order of reassembly.

    WARNING: When disassembling a lens you will likely need to remove lens elements that usually require a spanning wrench. This will be a test of your nerve and willingness to take the risk for this DIY repair. I’m sure most of us don’t have such tools and don’t intend on buying them…so if you do it carefully enough there should be no issues. Look carefully at what you’re needing to do and TAKE YOUR TIME! Rushing this, especially as a noobie, will probably lead you into a regretable mistake. If you try to tap the piece loose you can momentarily lose control of your tool (probably a straight blade screwdriver) and you could scratch/gouge glass or bugger up the spanning slots. There are usually 2 spanning slots opposing one another, They are there so equal pressure can be applied while turning the threaded element loose/tightening it. This is where creativity/resourcefullness, utmost care and patience will be rewarded Also, not all threaded lens mounts/elements will will be lefty loosey, righty tighty. Just a heads-up there, too.

    The haze was in-between a paired element(lens group?) in the middle of this long lens. Disassembly of the lens was a fairly complex process and special care was taken to place all the tiny screws and small parts into a container or onto a magnetic tray, which I heard about after-the-fact.

    It required carefully tapping apart these 2 mated pieces of glass with a wooden wedge, cleaning off the haze very thoroughly, cleaning all lens surfaces, holding the 2 glass pieces, inner surface to inner surface, very close together and using canned air to blow all the dust out between the 2 glass elements before aligning them snugly together by taping the edges, and regluing the edges with Python Glue, which is a good glass bonding glue, (but probably isn’t what a lens tech would use)
    When the glue fully dried, removed the tape, put the lens back together and looked inside with a bright light. The lens elements, of course, have some dust, but overall are very clean.

    It was fun doing it myself and I saved a lot of $$$, but it took a few hours, really…I was being VERY anal, because I really like this metal vintage lens, built to last a few lifetimes and bought for a fraction of the price of one in excellent condition. This one is now also in excellent condition.

    I’m curious, Nasim, why didn’t you clean the glass element(s?) you removed from the back of the lens in the video when you had the chance? Yes, you blew off the dust, but after time a thin film of airborne “stuff” is likely to accumulate? Just wondering.

    Thanks again.
    Larry

  13. 17
    ) Rob
    May 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Nasim, thank you for sharing this video on how to remove dust from the 24-70mm. Could you please tell me if you have tried the same process with the 70-200 2.8 VRII? I wonder what the best way is to clean the rear element of that lens?

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