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Help with 300 AFS issue....

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Jeff Lee, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Hi All:

    I never use my 300 without the TC 1.4 or 1.7. Today for the first time I put in on both my D70 and D200 without a TC.

    There is definitely a "squeal" coming from the lens when it focuses from either infinity to shortest distance or from shortest distance to longest distance.

    It is of course move significantly faster to focus without the TCs.

    I would assume that this means trouble with my AFS.

    Anyone here had that symptom?
  2. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    Being an AFS lens, I don't quite understand how the focus motor would be any faster or slower with or without a TC, as the AFS motor in the lens is being driven electrically. With the older screw drive, the extra mechanical stuff of the TC would have an impact, but that wouldn't affect the AFS.
    That aside, it sounds like either the AFS motor is going or there is something in the helicoid focus tracks that needs some lube.
  3. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Thanks, have already arraigned to send it in for repair. I don't understand it either unless its the contrast issue slowing down the AF. but I guess that's what warranties are for...lens is about 2 1/2 years old.
  4. degsy_safc


    Jun 12, 2007
    Sunderland UK
    Hi Jeff,
    Just joined this evening and was very interested to read your post. I recently obtained a new 300 f4 (AF-S verson) 2 weeks ago. Have used this with and without Kenko Pro 1.4 TC without and issues.

    However i had the lens mounted direct to my D200 this afternoon and was just playing with it on my tripod (low light testing), when it started making a kind of high pitched grating sound when auto focussing, and the focus ring went quite stiff.

    Obviously i had never heard this before so stopped straight away, took the lens off the body and cleaned the contacts on camera and lens. Refitted the lens and no noise, tried it with focus limited and full but couldn't recreate the noise.

    This may be a coincidence but it has me slightly worried about the lens, but as it is only 2 weeks old, i'm gonna give it a bit longer to see what happens before sending it back for service....

    Is this similar to your experience??
  5. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Well I've had mine for 2.5 years and have taken a lot of shots with it. But if you heard a metalic grinding sound in say the first third of the lens near the mount, then yes that it what I heard. I can repeat mine, I notice like I said it doesn't occurr with the TC which really does focus slower for some reason.

    But without the TC, I get the same noise on both the D70 and D200.
  6. Igor


    May 15, 2005
    Ukraine, Europe
    TC's always slow down the AF speed of the lenses, because they reduce the max f/ number. Camera has to make focusing process slower to catch the focusing point.
    Squeeking is pretty normal for AFS lenses, I have it on my 17-35 and it works fine with this "issue". I'd ignore this as long as the lens focuses normally.
  7. Muonic


    Jun 14, 2006
    I don't know if I'd call it "normal", but it certainly does seem to be fairly common. My 17-35 squeeked when it was brand new out of the box. It worked fine for about a year, and then, the focus seemed to get a little slow or sluggish. I sent it to Nikon for repair (under warranty) last month. It took about 16 days to get it back. Now it does not squeek, and the AF works great.

    I think Nikon will take care of you.

    Good luck.
  8. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I have read a few threads on the Cafe regarding lens focusing squeal and was lead to believe that if the lens had the silent wave motor and it was squealing, the motor was on the verge of failing. I experienced this high-pitched squeal with my 28-70mm lens, so I sent it to Melville for repair/adjustment. It sat there waiting for parts for six weeks, but came back with a new motor (and who knows what else) and no longer squeals.
  9. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Well, mine is on a brown truck head for repair. If nothing's wrong I spent about $30 for peace of mind:) 
  10. degsy_safc


    Jun 12, 2007
    Sunderland UK
    Jeff - i have the 70-200 AF-S VR and also the 17-55 AF-S and both of them are almost silent and very quick to focus. This makes me think that something is not quite right with the noise my 300f4 AF-S was making and that it tends to hunt in lower light. However, after a lot more tries i have not been able to recreate the noise, although it is still a bit slow in low / poor light.

    If i experience the same 'noisy' circumstances again, mine is definitely going back.

    FWIW i think you have done the right thing sending the lens in for service - good luck with the repair and please keep me informed on the outcome.....

    Thanks in advance :smile:
  11. AFS motors don't fail without warning. It will start with an occasional squeal and progressively get worse until it does fail completely. If the lens squeals when focusing it needs to be sent for repair, especially if it's under warranty because the bill is in the $400-500 range.

    A properly focusing AFS lens is nearly silent.
  12. degsy_safc


    Jun 12, 2007
    Sunderland UK
    My copy of the 300 f4 has also made its way to Nikon UK service due to the intermittent focussing issues and oddball vibration the lens exhibits...

    Hopefully they will fix it quickly as it has hardly been off my camera since i bought it back in May this year..

    I'll keep you posted on the outcome....
  13. degsy_safc


    Jun 12, 2007
    Sunderland UK
    Hi All,

    OK i said i would update you on the 300 f4 lens situation...

    Well, sent my lens to Nikon UK on 18/07/07 and got the lens back on 31/07/07. They have replaced the SWM unit, checked and tested the lens all under the warranty (the lens was only approx 8 weeks old).

    Tried it last Sunday, got to say its great now, no vibrations, locks focus every time, hardly any hunting (even in low light) - i'm really happy with it ...

    Got to praise Nikon UK service as well - they met their expected repair time and the call i had with their service person was handled very efficiently...

    Hope this may be of use to anyone else who may experience similar issues....
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