Help with a lens cap for the Nikon 200mm f/2.

I’m going to request your assistance today with an admittedly niche “problem” regarding the Nikon 200mm f/2 that I haven’t been able to solve despite some research and a little trial and error.

What I’m trying to figure out is:  What is a suitable lens cap for this lens?

Nikon ships the 200/2 with this:

It fits over the lens (and the reversed hood) and cinches closed.

The trouble is that it requires two hands to either place over or remove from the lens, and although that doesn’t sound like something to worry about, it is a real practical hindrance out in the field.

A replacement cap that is often recommended is the Don Zeck cap:

The Don Zeck is placed inside the lens barrel.  Admittedly, it looks a little goofy with the loop “handle” but some people swear by it.  Others say it’s a little rough around the edges (figuratively and literally) and it either scratches the inside of the lens or doesn’t fit well (too loose or tight).   Given the current price of this plastic piece of engineering is US$75, I’m not inclined to take my chances and order it.

The second lens cover often recommended is the AquaTech soft cap:

This cap looks promising in that it is soft/flexible and also fits inside the lens barrel (with the unfortunate attention-seeking logo facing outward); it is removed by pulling on the lip in the top portion.

The cost is a more “reasonable” US$40.  The trouble with this one — despite the manufacturer’s claims — is that the cap can sometimes contact the front lens element and leave an oily residue.

The third solution that some people recommend is the Kaiser push-on cap (size 120mm) from B&H:

The price of this is a relatively low US$18 (though I’m sure it costs $1 to manufacture).  What I don’t know is how well it fits on the lens, and — more importantly — whether it is prone to being accidentally knocked off (since it fits over the lens).   Lastly, I have no idea whether the 200/2 lens hood can be placed over it and, if yes, whether the Kaiser can then easily be removed.  I would be tempted to bite the bullet and buy it anyway but factoring in the $CAN-$US exchange rate, the price for delivery, and customs charges, the price for this simple piece of plastic would more than double.

The last recommendation is the Folgers instant coffee plastic cap that is legendary in internet folklore:

 

I’m not kidding… the internet says this is the best and most economical solution to place in front of your exotic telephoto lens (by the time you start considering this one you will have been secretly repetitively cursing at Nikon for not shipping a proper lens cap in the first place).

Well, it turns out the internet is wrong.  Or its information is out of date.  I canvassed two large stores with various sizes of Folgers coffee cans and none of them had the correct-sized lids.

I won’t even tell you about the Tupperware lids I tried 😩

So I’m humbly asking for your input.

I’m wondering if the Kaiser cap is ultimately the one I should get, or whether there is something better out there.

Thanks,

—Peter.

 

5 thoughts on “Help with a lens cap for the Nikon 200mm f/2.

  1. Scott says:

    I have about a dozen Kaiser lenscaps. They’re the best thing since, well, sliced bread. I have them on vintage lenses that came without caps, and on modern lenses whose manufacturer-supplied caps are fussy, finicky and unreliable.
    Assuming that they are correctly fitted, they’re easy-on, easy-off, and never never fall off by accident.
    You DO have to buy the right size, which is, of course, not the same as the filter size. You’ll have to carefully measure the outside diameter of whatever you want to put it on. Buy the exact measured size.
    I have one vintage lens that measured exactly 41.5mm; the 40mm size cap would not have fit properly, the 41 was slightly loose, so I put a few tiny dots of model airplane glue around the inside of the cap and let it dry overnight. Fits perfectly now.
    Don’t mount it while the glue is wet!
    Not being familiar with the 200mm f2, I can’t speak to your lenshood issue. If the hood reverses and bayonets on to the lens, then I would assume that the Kaiser would interfere with the bayonet.
    Perhaps you could consider buying a Kaiser to fit the reversed back of the lenshood?
    so you would reverse the hood, mount it on the lens, and then use the cap to cover the whole assembly?
    (Or maybe one of the coffee can lids would fit on the back of the hood?)
    Admittedly, all of my lenses are much smaller than the 200, but I’ve used Kaiser caps to replace the originals on Zeiss, Fuji, Nikkor and others and I’ve been happy with all.

    And incidentally, I’m not sure I get the point of soft lenscaps,

    As a last resort you could go to http://www.skgrimes.com/ They’ll make you one that’s perfect, but it won’t be cheap. Facinating website anyway.

    Hope this is helpful

    • Scott, that’s VERY helpful, thank you so much for taking the time.

      I must confess I’ve never heard of the skgrimes website before; I will definitely keep it in mind as it may be the ace up my sleeve if necessary!

      With regards to the Kaiser caps, I have only heard good things, which mirrors your experience. The 120mm version definitely fits the 200mm f/2, according to at least two reports I found on the web, but I just don’t know how well it fits. I suppose I could use your glue drop method if it turned out to be a little loose.

      More of a concern would be the possible interference in applying the reversed lens hood if the cap is on; I suspect it would be an issue as there is only a thin space between the two. I guess I could just have the lens hood off during transit and apply it just after taking off the cap but that’s not ideal.

      Your suggestion to fit the cap over both the lens and reversed hood is an interesting one. However, I just had a close look at the assembly and noticed that the hood tightening screw is near the edge of the lens hood opening; this would make it difficult to find a lid with a shallow enough lip to attach, and if I did find one it would likely easily slip off.

      I’ll keep thinking about this but I thank you once again for you input.

      ―Peter.

      • Scott says:

        SK Grimes is a deeply held secret. They are a very old company that was taken over a few years ago by the son (I think) of the original owner. They work mostly on large format lenses and shutters, and do complex machining projects for all kinds of cameras….adapters, lens mounts, mounting of old lenses in new shutters, etc.
        It’s a fun site to visit; you’ll learn things that you didn’t know you didn’t know.
        .
        Their lenscaps are machined out of a solid block of Delrin. They are pricey, as you might imagine.
        .
        Here’s their lenscap page with pictures of the process: http://www.skgrimes.com/products/lens-caps
        .
        They did remind me of something I had forgotten: if a plastic cap is slightly too large, you can very carefully cut a few shallow vertical grooves on the inside with a soldering iron. This raises a little ridge and tightens the fit.

  2. Update: I just ordered the Kaiser 120mm from B&H. Apparently it was their last one in stock.

    • Update #2:

      Receive the Kaiser lens cap. It’s a little loose(!) But… I was able to correct that by applying a layer of black tape on the inner lining. On a positive note, once I place the hood (in reverse position) on the 200/2, I am still able to place the lens cap on the lens. Overall, I am happy with this solution.

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