I recently bought a Nikon 50mm 1.4d lens online. When it arrived I noticed colored streaks in the front element of my lens, but couldn't wipe them away with a cloth. Is there any way to get rid of these and will these streaks have any adverse affects on my photo quality or other aspects? Thanks. enter image description here

  • Likely, damage to the anti-reflection coating. You can try to use lens cleaner, but don't expect much. As for actual issues it might cause, it might be negligible... or not. Test with a resolution chart and also check for odd lens flare by shooting towards a bright light. Jun 11, 2020 at 0:02
  • Thanks a lot. Checked and I think you may be right. I can see odd lense flares in lv mode but they don't show up in the photo. I think it might be alright.
    – Colin
    Jun 11, 2020 at 0:43
  • 1
    Is that a filter on the front? I have the 1.4G, but I'm sure the first lens element should be set further back than that. See what you can achieve with it removed… picture - adorama.com/nk5014afdu.html
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 11, 2020 at 6:51
  • Yes, there is a filter on the front, but the streaks are on the actual front element on the lens.
    – Colin
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:43
  • …which makes your picture supporting your question somewhat confusing.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 11, 2020 at 17:13

2 Answers 2


Sorry to report, this looks like a separation of the optical glue used to cement together two optical elements. Camera lenses are complex arrays of multiple glass lenses. Some of these are spaced apart, some are cemented together. The cement used is water clear however age or a damaging blow can cause the cemented lens elements to separate. Repair will likely be too expensive so best you chalk this up as a loss. This separation will degrade the optical quality of this lens.

  • Thanks for the in depth response, I'm looking towards getting a discount for the defect.
    – Colin
    Jun 11, 2020 at 16:44

It does look like it will affect the image, the least of it would be increased glare/unwanted réfections

Like Alan Marcus said it could be lens balsam separation, which is a very, very, hard issue to solve. It might also be an inner oil leak from an over-eager lubrication job, or old leaky blades, which is easier to fix but still requires you to be able to dismantle, clean, and reassemble the lens which requires some knowhow, tools, time, and the risk of rendering the lens unusable.

In either case, you should try returning the lens if it is possible, instead of a partial refund, if the lens wasn't sold as "Parts/as is" which IMO it is (defective that is)

example of balsam separation [example of balsam separation] 1


Oily lens

What is this colorful 'C' shape blemish in this old Vivitar 28-85/2.8-3.8 lens?

Also https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/63456-oily-old-lens-repair-help-requested.html And How to remove oil from aperture blades?

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