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Thread: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

  1. #1
    djg05478's Avatar
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    Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    The Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 is starting to go wonky. Wonky means its 'stuck', if its at one end of the range, it can't get to the other end of the range. Sometimes.

    I can hear the motor churning. My solution is to manual turn the focus to get it to the range that I need it, then put it back in Autofocus and let the lense do the rest. The problem is also intermittent.

    This is a very economical lense, life is good, I have the money to replace it. Does one even investigate fixing it or simply get another one.

    If one wanted to upgrade, is the only other option (less then $1500 US) the 18-200? I need the 55-200 coverage as far as what I own.

    Thanks

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    shreds's Avatar
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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Debbie,

    Sound like it might be some microscopic grit stuck in the mechanism that manually focussing releases. Hence the motor making hard work of it.

    It might be repairable, and whilst Nikon will get it back to virtually brand new, I would check the repair price first if it is not still under guarantee. My experiences with Nikon repairs has been first class, but it will not be cheap.

    (If you are only going to replace 'like with like' however, it might be more economical to have it fixed.)

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Quote Originally Posted by djg05478 View Post
    The Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 is starting to go wonky. Wonky means its 'stuck', if its at one end of the range, it can't get to the other end of the range. Sometimes.

    I can hear the motor churning. My solution is to manual turn the focus to get it to the range that I need it, then put it back in Autofocus and let the lense do the rest. The problem is also intermittent.

    This is a very economical lense, life is good, I have the money to replace it. Does one even investigate fixing it or simply get another one.

    If one wanted to upgrade, is the only other option (less then $1500 US) the 18-200? I need the 55-200 coverage as far as what I own.

    Thanks
    Some of the Nikkors are sold with an extended 5-year warranty, did yours come with one and is it within that life span? I had a similar issue with my 70-300mm and it was still under warranty. I didn't get an estimate of the repair costs, but according to the repair manifest there was a lot of work done on the lens. It was returned in fine working order so if you can justify the cost then go for it. Of course they will only give you an estimate of the repair costs, the actual might be more than the cost of a new lens.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Hi Debbie - mine is still going strong, but I don't use it nearly as much as I used to. It is a kit lens and is really not all that robust. I've always looked at it and the 18-55mm as "throw away" lenses, because the cost of sending them in to Nikon and their basic repair rate is about the same price as a new one. I would not consider getting it fixed by Nikon. That being said, it might only need cleaning as the intermit problem you are experiencing might be cleared up by that; so if you know an independent repair shop, you could ask there.

    If you need the entire focal length range, then the two lenses you list (plus the 55-300mm) are really the only Nikon options. I don't know the third party lens lines that well, so I can't comment on their offerings. If you are using it primarily at the long end, the new f/4 70-200mm will also be in your price range. I haven't shot it (I have the f/2.8 70-200mm), but it has been getting rave reviews.

    The 18-200mm is my wife's "go to" lens, and she loves using it. It is heavier and better built than your existing lens It has a bit of distortion at both ends, but ACR and Lightroom correct this fairly well. It also has a larger and heavier "big brother" that goes from 18 - 300mm. I have not shot that lens, but I understand that it has some of the same issues as the 18-200 and gets a bit soft at the long end.

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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Debbie, I would go with Manfred on this question. Unless the lens is under warranty or the estimate for repairs is free, replace it at your earliest convenience. I imagine the next lens I purchase will be one for travel and the 18 - 200 (for DX) is the best option available at the moment. You won't be disappointed. It's a better manufactured lens and will last you for years if properly looked after.

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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    That little lens performs surprisingly well considering the cost. If you look around you can pick up a new one for $150 so IMO it's not worth sending in to repair. Per previous post it's bascially a throwaway. For that reason I use it in high risk environments. That said, you have nothing to lose by trying some ages old home repair methods. As mentioned, there could be some grit in the mechanism preventing the AF from engaging. Simply working it back and forth manually or banging it about a bit might do the trick.

    Regarding replacement other than in-kind, the 70-200 f4 has gotten pretty rave reviews and compares well with the 2.8 version that costs nearly double (which is my favorite lens bar none). I've also seen some stunning images taken with the 28-300 and there are some well known (or at least web vocal) pros who have that lens in their kit.

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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    That little lens performs surprisingly well considering the cost. If you look around you can pick up a new one for $150 so IMO it's not worth sending in to repair. Per previous post it's bascially a throwaway. For that reason I use it in high risk environments. That said, you have nothing to lose by trying some ages old home repair methods. As mentioned, there could be some grit in the mechanism preventing the AF from engaging. Simply working it back and forth manually or banging it about a bit might do the trick.

    Regarding replacement other than in-kind, the 70-200 f4 has gotten pretty rave reviews and compares well with the 2.8 version that costs nearly double (which is my favorite lens bar none). I've also seen some stunning images taken with the 28-300 and there are some well known (or at least web vocal) pros who have that lens in their kit.
    The advantage with the 28-300 lens is that it is FX so if you move up to full frame (D600 or D800) you can keep using it. Yet it is still a very useful lens on a DX body.

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    djg05478's Avatar
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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Thank you thank you for all the excellent advice, you've confirmed my suspicions....just get a new one. I love that range. I wish Nikon would make a sturdier model in the $500 range.

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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Debbie, if you wish to keep your price down then perhaps you could look around for a good quality used lens. Also consider one that may be a bit out of the ideal zoom range you are looking for to open you to more options.

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    djg05478's Avatar
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    Re: Autofocus on my Nikkor 55-200 going wonky

    Great minds think alike Andrew...I am constantly, online in the refurb section of B&H. Actually, thats where I'm stuck right now.....refurb 18-200 for $519 or just replace the 55-200 (w/VR) new for $250 ish.

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