Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED Problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by birdied, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. This seems to be my weekend for issues.
    My 70-300 VR will not focus when the A/F mode on the camera is set to M. I have tried it on both the D7000 and the D300. Nothing. I noticed this last night when setting the camera to bulb and trying to take fireworks shots. Even when not in bulb , will not focus with focus setting of M.
    Camera set to M , lens set to M/A or M , Auto focus switch set to M. Lens will not focus.
    If I change nothing but the A/F switch to C or S then the lens will focus.
    Lens is only about 1 1/2 yrs old . Purchased in 1/2010. Has seen very light use.
    Time to go to Nikon???
    Thanks again everyone,
  2. pge


    When you have your camera set to Manual focus it will not Auto focus, am I getting this?
  3. "will not focus when the A/F mode on the camera is set to M" - my guess is that you were trying to say that :"will not AUTO focus when the A/F mode on the camera is set to M" ?
    If lens is set to focus manually, you must do your own focusing, or I do not understand your problem ?
    If the lens will not focus manually (M), then something is wrong.
  4. Or, to rephrase what the gentlemen above are saying: If you want to use autofocus while controling the aperture and speed settings manually, the camera must be in M and the toggle on the lens must be set to M/A.
  5. Uh... Noreen, I think you meant to say the camera must be in Autofocus mode.
    If the camera is in Manual focus mode (M), no auto-focus lens will auto-focus, no matter where you put the switches.
    If the lens will not manually focus at all when you twist the AF ring, something is seriously wrong.
  6. I wish allowed the use of smilies, I have a great one for this thread ;-)
  7. Peter, no, I wrote what I meant. I have the exact same gear that Roberta describes. I set it exactly as I describe, and indeed the lens autofocuses. Even though I use these settings often, I have even double checked it just seconds ago to see if perhaps my sinus infection had crept into my brain. :)
    The M setting on a D300 means that the aperture and speed settings are set individually by the photographer using the wheels at the front and back of the right side of the camera. Whether the lens autofocuses is dependent upon the setting on the lens: A/M for autofocus or M for manual focus.
  8. Dan, great minds...! :-D
    But Peter, I completely agree with you that if she can't manually focus the lens while the lens is set on "M," or if it won't autofocus while on A/M, there is definitely a problem.
  9. Noreen.
    Is there not also a manual focus switch on that camera? and does not that switch also say "M"?
    At any rate, we don't have enough info from Roberta to help. Best to wait till we do.
  10. Peter, the "M" I'm talking about is an electronic "mode" setting that controls the camera as I described. The others are P(rogam), A(preture priority), and S(hutter priority). True... she could be talking about the C/S/M toggle. Good point! That sinus infection has, perhaps, infected my brain after all. We do indeed need more information.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The P/A/S/M exposure modes have nothing to do with auto focus and manual focus. So we should avoid mentioning them to prevent confusion. Unfortunately, M can also mean manual focus in a different context.
    The OP has a D300 and a D7000. On the D300, there is the S/C/M switch (just below the lens release button) for selecting single-servo AF, continuous AF and manual focus.
    On the D7000, that swich's selections are AF and M. The selection of AF-C, AF-S, and AF-A is via the main command dial.
  12. Dan - U da MAN !
    I have a headache :) however I think I thought to hard . . . <;-o)~
  13. Let me see if I can be a bit more specific. Yes, I know when it is manual that I must focus it myself. 99% of what I shoot is always done in manual. I am talking about the C/S/M toggle . If the switch is set to M , lens set to M/A or M (both options on the lens have tried both) , it will not focus when I turn the ring on the lens . I have tried at all focal lengths and on 2 cameras.
    If I change the C/S/M toggle to C or S the lens will focus.
    Sorry for lack of technical terms and expertise, but the only way I know to explain is if I want to be in manual mode the lens will not focus.
    Thanks guys,
  14. Sounds to me like a repair is in order.
    It is a "true AF-S" SWM lens, and you should be able to manually focus that lens in any camera focus mode (C/S/M or AF/M) and when the lens barrel switch is set to M/A and A. In other words, it doesn't matter where the switches on the camera or lens are set ... you should always be able to manually focus the lens. If not, something is broken.
  15. Roberta,
    So... when you have the lens set to either A/M or M and the camera set to "M" on the "CSM" dial on two different cameras, the lens will not allow you to turn the focus ring and focus the lens. But if you set the lens to M and the camera to S or M, it will allow to manually focus?
    If that's it, that is a broken lens. And I can't even imagine how.
  16. Thanks, Michael. If the C/S/M toggle is set to M -- the lens does not focus. However, if it is set to C or S , I can turn the lens barrel and manually focus.
    Peter, when the toggle is on M -- I can turn the lens barrel but it does feel a bit stiff. Nothing however ever comes into focus. The strange thing is when the toggle is on M, the green focus indicator light in the view finder indicates focus , when nothing is in focus.
    When I toggle to C or S , if will focus.
    I was just taking photos with this lens yesterday morning, no problems . I did use it with the Kenko Automatic 20mm extension tube , but had no problems and I know the focus was working fine.
    It was last night when I was trying to do fireworks shots, bulb setting, the green focus indicator light on , but absolutely not one shot in focus no matter what I tried while in bulb setting. Tried again today on the D300 , and same problem.
    I have no idea what happened, lens not dropped , did not get wet. I really am very careful with my gear.
    I guess it is off to Nikon, unless anyone has an idea of what else I could try.
    Now, since I have a lack of technical vocabulary , how should I describe the problem so that I not confuse the techs at Nikon?
    Thanks guys for your time on this, it is much appreciated.
  17. Send them a link to this thread. :~D
    sounds like the lens is hosed, and broken somehow physically. Hope it's under warranty.
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Recall this discussion a few months ago?
    I bought a refurbished 70-300 VR and it was unsharp @ 300mm. A friend at work saw that lens, liked it (he didn't check it at 300mm), and ordered one himself. When his refurbished 70-300 arrived, he could hear something rattling inside. Apparently a screw was loose, and that lens could not AF or manual focus. The entire AF mechanism was broken, although it could be something as simple as screwing something back together inside. Both of us returned our lenses back to B&H and got a full refund.
    Since AF still works on Roberta's lens, the problem seems different.
  19. Thanks guys. Now one last question. I purchased the lens in 4/2010 from B&H. I know the 1 yr warranty has now expired. However, I registered the lens on line with Nikon, would that extend the warranty?
  20. Very strange symptoms indeed. The position of the C/S/M toggle on the body should have absolutely zero influence on the ability of this lens to be manually focused by hand. As it is an AF-S lens and there is no mechanical focus coupling to the body, the only thing the C/S/M toggle does when set to M is disable autofocus. When set to C or S it enables autofocus. Manual focus operation is 100% independent from this switch. I can not fathom how you would be able to manually focus the lens at S or C but not at M??
    It's a long shot and seemingly completely unrelated, but given your very weird problem and the incorrect focus confirmation signals, anything is worth a shot. Have you tried cleaning the lens CPU contacts?
  21. yes, Roberta, that lens should still be under the extended warranty.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The AF-S VR version of the 70-300mm was introduced in August 2006:
    Therefore, as long as you have a Nikon USA version, even the oldest one is still barely within the extended 5-year warranty.
    Recall my recently discussion with professional nature photographer Tui De Roy. She is on her 3rd copy of this lens. She uses it under rough conditions and after a year or two, hers would be out of alignment and becomes very soft. Clearly she has been using this lens for less than 5 years.
  23. Hi Roberta,
    Just a question: When you say the lens doesn't focus do you mean the electronic assistance doesn't work, the lens barrel ring doesn't rotate or the image on the focusing screen doesn't change and stays blurred?
    Being an internal physical operation, if the lens can focus manually when you have the focus mode switch on S or C, and if it can focus when you use autofocus, it seems the lens is already focusing.
    If you mean you can not get the green dot indication for spot-on focus, but the image on the focusing screen goes from blurred to defined, maybe you have a camera problem and not a lens issue - it is not impossible that the focus mode switch can activate the system when using AF-S or AF-C but not when on the M position, thus not showing you the visual green light.
  24. Hi again,
    Obviously, if you can use manual focus with other lenses, can it be an change of information with the camera issue? Just a guess, as I'm not familiar with design of the contacts and how it works, but did you try to clean them?
  25. I was initially pretty impressed with the performance of the 300mm end of my sample of the Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR, especially when compared with the long end of my Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VR. Unfortunately, over a three day weekend trip to the island of Hawaii, sharpness gradually deteriorated on the long end of my 70-300mm. The lens has had very little use and never suffered an impact, though I did use it quite a bit over the three days of that trip shooting hundreds of images of endangered Hawaiian Nene, (geese), mostly at the long end. Before reading this string and Shun's post I thought the problem with my lens was probably a fluke. I haven't sent the lens back to Nikon yet, so I don't know if they will send me a new lens or fix the defective one. Shun's post suggests Nikon might just replace the lens, but then again, I'm not Tui De Roy.
    I'm wondering the manual focus problem and loss of sharpness issues could somehow be related to a common mechanism within the lens?
  26. This is all very curious; I will be keeping a close eye on the performance of my lens. I have noticed that it seemed erratic, but attributed it--and still do--to the challenging subjects and lighting conditions I've been shooting in recent months. (Shun, thanks for the link to the other discussion; I missed that while traveling.)
  27. Hi Roberta,
    After reading the previous posts I have to apologize for my previous questions. If I had read all the information I would not make questions on aspects already clarified.
  28. Thanks everyone. Antonio, no apology necessary :)
    Noreen, I have always felt the same way you do about this lens and attributed its idiosyncrasies to my pushing its limits. I gave it a really good workout yesterday .
    I cleaned the contacts as suggested. It is now working.
    Next time before I post, I will try all the obvious things first . Thanks everyone for all your suggestions and comments. Forgive me for being an idiot !
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun's post suggests Nikon might just replace the lens, but then again, I'm not Tui De Roy.​
    As far as I know, Tui De Roy bought all three copies of her 70-300. I didn't ask her why she didn't get them fixed. She wants a light-weight zoom that goes to 300mm and this lens fit her very well, when it is new.
    I am glad that Roberta's lens is working again, so is her D7000. I guess it pays to read :)
  30. You're not an idiot, Roberta. Similar things happen to everyone. Like Shun says, "it pays to read" We all benefit by questions like yours.
  31. Yes, it does pay to read thanks to all the wonderful and helpful folks !
    Thanks again everyone!!
  32. If you have a new lens and it came with a Nikon USA warranty -- your lens should have a 5-year most Nikon USA lenses.
    [...just a wag here: what mode is your D300 in for focus on to get the shutter to release? If, another guess, fireworks in the sky, the camera might have trouble thinking something is in focus, and the shutter may not release...]

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