In September of 2011, my parents picked up a 25-year-old Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 autofocus lens for one measly dollar. Most of the time, the lenses they pick up are vintage manual-focus lenses that I can’t use with my equipment, but this particular lens was the same model as the first camera lens I ever bought for my Nikon D90. It may be an old lens, but it’s a good one!
Unfortunately, this lens was encrusted with filth inside and out; it was so dirty, the focus ring wouldn’t even turn, and there was an old, broken UV filter attached to the front. Since it was only $1, I opted to take it home and actually dismantle it to clean it and see if I could get it working, while also learning more about the innards of camera lenses. It was fairly fascinating to take it all apart. I was confident I could put it back together, too. I got some rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs and cleaned out every bit of grime and dirt that I could…and then spent the better part of two days figuring out how to put the damn thing back together!
This picture of Nixie was taken with that $1 lens, which I ultimately sold on eBay for $66. There was still a lot of dust inside the lens, but not enough to cause any serious problems. It performed admirably for the several months I owned it, and hopefully someone else is getting some good use out of it right now, too. Any Nikon lens is a steal for one dollar!