Nikon 28-70 F/2.8 Focus Squeak

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
1,860
Location
Southern Cal
I have owned my 28-70 for several years now and it is by far my most used lens. A few years ago it was experiencing a condition where the focusing would continuously "hunt" and never end up in focus. I took it to a Nikon Authorized Center who originally diagnosed it with needing a new motor and ended up replacing the zoom guides and did a check and clean. It's been fine ever since. Recently the lens has started a squeaking sound when focusing. At first it was intermittent and now its pretty much constant. The lens works fine though. Everything I'm reading seems to indicate a new motor is needed. I have come across a couple of articles that have said the problem might be mechanical rather than electrical. They said to switch to manual focus and see if the squeaking continues. It did. I worked the lens a few times manually focusing from one end of the range to the other. The squeaking has now ceased when using auto focus. At this point I'm not sure what to think. Has anyone else tried this method and did it work?
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
2,475
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Lompoc, CA
Yeah, I have a few older AF-S lenses that squeak some, esp. if they’ve been sitting around for a while. The squeak doesn’t seem to impact performance, and same as you, racking them in and out a few (or sometimes several) times stops the squeak. I do it with AF however. This has been going on for years so my plan is to wait until the motor actually dies and then re-evaluate.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
1,860
Location
Southern Cal
Thanks James.
It seems like those that are for sale go cheap.
Everyone seems to assume if it squeaks the motor will go bad very soon.
It doesn't seem to be the case though
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Messages
586
Location
Lagrange, OH
To the point James made, my 300/4 has that little "storage squeak" but after AF racking it goes away. Has had that squeak for probably 8 years now but zero performance issues. Hope it's nothing serious for your 28-70.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
1,860
Location
Southern Cal
I don't believe it is very serious at all. Seems like everyone thinks oh no your lens is getting ready to go. Since I've been racking it squeaks for one hunt rotation when turned on from being stored. After that nothing. Before racking it used to squeak quite a bit but always stayed spot on for focus.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
1,860
Location
Southern Cal
Hey Dave, my AF-S 17-35 exhibits similar behavior...for 11 yrs now :eek:
Ask me if I'm worried. :D
I hear ya Will.
I'm a believer now.
Based on what I've been reading and what people have been telling me I thought the AFS motor would have died years ago.
I even called a Nikon Authorized Service center described the squeak to them and they said the motor definitely needs to be replaced. They thought it might not be worth it on a lens that old. Might be time to get a 24-70. At the time I was not able to make it stop by racking. They never even mentioned trying that.
The ones I feel sorry fore are those who are selling perfectly good lenses at ridiculously low prices just because they squeak.
There just aren't that many articles out there explaining the difference between a mechanical squeak and an electrical (motor) squeak.
There are many more though that say the lens with a squeak is doomed.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
985
Location
Staten Island New York
I have a similar issue with my 80-200 2.8.
As James stated above, I will be more concerned when the lenses performance hindered to the point of not focusing. Until then I will deal with it
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
244
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Squeaking to me, sounds like mechanical, not the motor.
The squeak coming from friction of the focusing mechanism.

Too much squeak and you have friction drag and the AF motors have more work to do to turn the AF.
Though that is now almost part of the design, as the old method of lot of grease, does not work well with AF lenses.
My AF/AFD lenses are like that. Loose and not as smooth as the pre-AI and AI lenses.

Depending on the lens, the lube in the focus mechanism could be drying out, or migrating.
In the old days, twisting the focus ring back and forth, was a common solution to a tight focus ring. Though I do not recall ever having a manual focus lens squeak, except once, when we opened a lens and degreased the focusing helical.
Usually it was too much grease and an over-dampened focusing ring.
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
1,056
Location
New York State
It could be the need for cleaning and lubrication of the Helicoid. I would suggest that you send the lens for service before the helicoid becomes physically damaged.
 

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