Dropped Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 overexposes by 3-5 stops

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by vinodkutty, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. An accident with some kids at a birthday party a few months ago resulted in my D200 with Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8 falling 4 feet out of my open camera bag and onto a carpet-tiled floor with concrete underneath (lens front element first). I had the lens cap on, and that pushed into and smashed the UV filter. After some difficulty extracting the filter, and blowing off the glass shards with a hand blower, it was fairly clean. I replaced the UV filter and things seemed OK at first indoors, but then I went on vacation and a lot of my shots were overexposed so I had to do the best I could in the field to compensate. I ended up setting exposure compensation to anywhere from -2 to -5 stops depending on the situation (and sometimes used lower ISOs when 5 stops was not enough). Also, the wide end of the zoom ring (17-20ish) seems a little stiff, but at least it works. I haven't had a chance to check sharpness, but I think it's OK.
    It appears that the D200 body is metering correctly based on results with other lenses, so I think there is some internal damage to the lens.
    I saw a recommendation for APS when searching the threads, so I might use them, as I live in Chicago. If you have other recommendations, let me know.
    However, I'm curious if any experienced folks out there have comments on what might be wrong? I'm thinking something with the aperture mechanism, as the overexposure tends to happen when I'm using f-stops of about 8 or higher.
    Additionally, if you have other info on internal workings of this lens or lenses in general and where shock may be transferred during a fall, that would be educational as this is is good motivation for me to learn more.
    Do "pro" lenses have anything inside them to help with protection from damage in the field from drops? I know this is hard, but I'd assume if some basic features for dust protection and weather protection are designed for, maybe this situation is also considered during lens design.
  2. It's time for Mr. Goodwrench to have a go at this lens. Have your checkbook in hand. For example, it costs about $500 to replace the zoom/focus cams and realign the lens. Send it directly to Nikon or an authorized Nikon repair service and ask for an estimate. The replacement cost is nearly $1900, which gives you some leeway on repairs.
    Why not ask Nikon if they drop-test their lenses. With luck, they'll forget to mute the phone when they pass this on to their colleagues. Seriously, the f/2.8 lenses are very rugged, but not indestructible. You didn't need a baggy to get it home - consider yourself lucky.
  3. It does sound like an intermittant or permanent aperture jam malfunction on the lens. It's also quite possible that the aperture arm inside the body is bent allowing the aperture to open wide but not close back down fully.
    Pro Nikkor lens or less expensive third party lens - I don't think a fall from 4 feet up onto lightly cushioned concrete is a fair test of robust construction and resistance to breakage.
  4. Like Matthew, I think that the problem is that the aperture blades are sticking and the lens is not stopping down.
  5. I sent my 17-35 to KEH when it got clogged up with dust from the desert -- they charged me $117 and it works fine now.
  6. ... they charged me $117 and it works fine now.
    Unfortunately, this is more than a simple cleaning for dust. There is definitely damage to the aperture stopdown mechanism, and possibly damage to the zoom mechanics. :-(
  7. I'd have to agree with Matthew, really sounds like an aperture jam or malfunction due to the hard impact.
  8. Either the stop-down aperture lever is bent in the camera, or the actuating mechanism on the lens is bent. You might want to take a close look. Sometimes these can be fixed at home. In any case, sending the camera and lens to Nikon USA would be a sure thing.
  9. Should be easy enough to see. Stop down, hold it up to the light and flick the the aperture lever. You'll see it jamming if there's the slightest problem.
  10. APS will do a fine job for you.
  11. Thanks for all the responses. Sounds like I'm generally on the right track regarding the aperture mechanism.<p>

    Edward & Matthew: I'm tempted to ask Nikon about drop tests for entertainment value :cool: I do hope they leave the mute off :cool: I was more curious about what goes into lens design rather than any expectation about my specific, more brutal scenario.

    Andrew: I tried this; the aperture lever does not spring back. I can manually reset it by pushing the lever back.This confirms the general hypothesis, but beyond that I don't know if that confirms anything more specific.
  12. Then you have 100% confirmation that the aperture mechanism is buggered. No quibbling, no more discussion, it has to go in for repair.
  13. Agreed. Preparations under way.

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