Nikkor 200-500mm won't go lower than 230mm

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eft

Well-known member
My 200-500mm won't retract to lower than 230mm focal length. I checked the zoom ring screws and they all seem tight and well seated. This seems to be perhaps related to the lock switch and maybe something has broken off inside and is blocking the zoom from going all the in. Other posts on the web report a scraping sound when the lock switch breaks internally but I don't have any sounds, just restriction on futher movement.

Anyone experienced similar? tx
 
Is it the lens barrel that visibly doesn't retract completely or does the exif data show a minimum of 230?
Does the lock switch still have any function?
Anyway, I probably can't give you a satisfying answer :/
 

eft

Well-known member
Thread starter
Is it the lens barrel that visibly doesn't retract completely or does the exif data show a minimum of 230?
Barrel doesn't physically retract any further and the EXIF data confirm 230mm as the limit it will retract to.

Does the lock switch still have any function?
It doesn't move but it wouldn't anyway until the barrel is fully retracted.


Anyway, I probably can't give you a satisfying answer :/
I was hoping you would say "time to pull it apart and see what's going on inside" :)
 
Time to pull it apart and see what's going on inside ;)

It would make sense to assume that something going on with that lock switch.

I don't remember exactly how that switch works, but it could mean that the switch is internally stuck in the lock position and the barrel is "on the wrong side" and blocked by the (broken) switch.
 
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soundbyte

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I would expect that there are problems with the screws inside the lens not being fully tight if it will not retract correctly.
Disassemble the lens to a point where you can check the small whitish bushes are in place and all the screws are tight, not just the easily seen ones.
That may mean that you reach the point where the lens comes apart into 2 pieces.
 

jeffnles1

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I had same problem with my 200-500 a few years back. I sent it to Nikon service and they fixed it and got it back to me in a few weeks. Apparently there is a known problem with this lens. There are a couple screws under the zoom ring and if one of them backs out a little it can prevent the lens from fully retracting. I didn't feel comfortable pulling the lens apart to do it so I sent it to Nikon repair. My lens was still under warranty so I only had to pay shipping to them.

The problem has not returned.

Jeff
 

eft

Well-known member
Thread starter
I had same problem with my 200-500 a few years back. I sent it to Nikon service and they fixed it and got it back to me in a few weeks. Apparently there is a known problem with this lens. There are a couple screws under the zoom ring and if one of them backs out a little it can prevent the lens from fully retracting. I didn't feel comfortable pulling the lens apart to do it so I sent it to Nikon repair. My lens was still under warranty so I only had to pay shipping to them.

The problem has not returned.

Jeff
I also experienced.what you describe but ime this issue is different.

I don't remember exactly how that switch works, but it could mean that the switch is internally stuck in the lock position and the barrel is "on the wrong side" and blocked by the (broken) switch.
This is the closest description of what I'm observing.
 

Abinoone

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Supporting Member
My 200-500mm won't retract to lower than 230mm focal length. I checked the zoom ring screws and they all seem tight and well seated. This seems to be perhaps related to the lock switch and maybe something has broken off inside and is blocking the zoom from going all the in. Other posts on the web report a scraping sound when the lock switch breaks internally but I don't have any sounds, just restriction on futher movement.

Anyone experienced similar? tx
Lock switch problems are not uncommon with this lens. Mine doesn’t lock anymore and, while a bit of an annoyance, it doesn’t prevent me from using it. I’ve read that others have had similar problems. Given the retail price of this lens, I don’t think it makes economic sense to have it repaired professionally. If I were you, I’d just use it as is and not worry about it. There’s not that great of a used market for this lens anyway, so if you decide to sell, you wouldn’t get that much for it.
 

NorthernFocus

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It's not stopping me but it makes it harder to sell if my 800mm order is ever fulfilled.
Clark says it well below...
... Given the retail price of this lens, I don’t think it makes economic sense to have it repaired professionally. If I were you, I’d just use it as is and not worry about it. There’s not that great of a used market for this lens anyway, so if you decide to sell, you wouldn’t get that much for it.
 

Patrick M

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I think you may find some YouTube vids on fixing this fault…it’s seems quite common and doesn’t look too tricky.
 

eft

Well-known member
Thread starter
Clark says it well below...
Yes he does :)
Given the retail price of this lens, I don’t think it makes economic sense to have it repaired professionally. If I were you, I’d just use it as is and not worry about it. There’s not that great of a used market for this lens anyway, so if you decide to sell, you wouldn’t get that much for it.
Yes

I think you may find some YouTube vids on fixing this fault…it’s seems quite common and doesn’t look too tricky.
I think the YT fixes are for a different issue but drop a link if you have one close at hand. Tx.
 

MikeS

Member
My 200-500mm won't retract to lower than 230mm focal length. I checked the zoom ring screws and they all seem tight and well seated. This seems to be perhaps related to the lock switch and maybe something has broken off inside and is blocking the zoom from going all the in. Other posts on the web report a scraping sound when the lock switch breaks internally but I don't have any sounds, just restriction on futher movement.

Anyone experienced similar? tx
I've had two 200-500mm lens zoom mechanisms seize up. The first was at 400mm and the online store refunded my money. I bought the second lens from a local store and that one has seized up at 230mm. It's still under warranty so it's in for repair. However, it really has me wondering about this lens. The second one was hardly used.
 
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soundbyte

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@Patrick M Unfortunately that video suggests (after 5:19) that you do not have to remove the "shroud" to fix this problem, that may be the case in some instances but not all.
One of the lenses I fixed needed the shroud removed to access the metal threads (screws) and bushes that had exited the corresponding metal thread (screw) holes as two metal threads (screws) and bushes had managed to get behind the "shroud" and jam it causing the problem.
Be sure to use the correct driver type as these metal threads (screws) are JIS type and Philips head drivers will not engage correctly and you may damage the socket in the metal thread (screw) head.
Remember to apply some thread lock compound such as purple 222 Loctite, not blue 242 Loctite.
This subject was covered in this thread a while back.
 
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Ken Miracle

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I am co leading a winter sparrow field trip today with a friend who had the first issue you did and repaired it himself. He sent it to Nikon USA only to discover that they would not work on it because it was a gray market lens. He had never heard of that and asked me if this was a real thing. Now he is having other issues with it not wanting to focus on his D500 but it would when he tried it on his D7100 ... I discovered he had been carrying it from a strap mounted to the camera and not he lens tripod mount. A good chance that he bent the mount on the D500.
 

Bobh2000

Well-known member
Supporting Member
My 200-500mm won't retract to lower than 230mm focal length. I checked the zoom ring screws and they all seem tight and well seated. This seems to be perhaps related to the lock switch and maybe something has broken off inside and is blocking the zoom from going all the in. Other posts on the web report a scraping sound when the lock switch breaks internally but I don't have any sounds, just restriction on futher movement.

Anyone experienced similar? tx
This is a just suggestion from experience, mine and others, regarding DIY repair of expensive lenses and bodies. Don't try to repair it yourself. It's just not worth the consequences.

If you have ever seen used lenses for sale in F condition, only usable as parts, there is a really strong chance that lens is an F lens because someone who didn't have the training or the manuals to repair it took it apart and at some point had that gut wrenching "oops, I can't fix it and now I can't put it back together" realization.

Most repair facilities aren't willing to take on the job of undoing the self inflicted damage done by the owner. The facilities I have used typically have stated policies saying words to the effect "if you take it apart and send us the pieces because you messed it up we will reseal the box and return it to you in the condition you sent it to us. We don't repair junk". In other words, if you take it apart wrong, it's just not practical time and cost wise to try to figure out what parts someone lost, broke, bent, tore, shorted out or put back in backwards.

On the other hand, if you sent your lens to an authorized repair facility today for a professional cleaning, there is a great chance that this problem will be fixed by a simple adjustment (as suggested by others here) that will be made routinely at no added cost to you while the lens is being reassembled. The lens will be opened and inspected. The problem will be obvious and it will be corrected. In most cases if you get the camera to them on Monday it can be back on your camera on Friday.

Paying a few hundred bucks to have expensive camera gear maintained is not a rip off. Spend the money if you have it. If you decide to roll the dice and repair it yourself and don't have the training and manuals it won't take much to turn it into a really cool looking paperweight or canoe anchor:) Be careful.

Just as an FYI, I use Photo Tech and have nothing but exceptional results.


I hope everything works out well for you.
 

Roy

Well-known member
My 200-500mm won't retract to lower than 230mm focal length. I checked the zoom ring screws and they all seem tight and well seated. This seems to be perhaps related to the lock switch and maybe something has broken off inside and is blocking the zoom from going all the in. Other posts on the web report a scraping sound when the lock switch breaks internally but I don't have any sounds, just restriction on futher movement.

Anyone experienced similar? tx
I havn;t had the problem but i'd try some rlectronics contact cleaner on the restrictions switch ... 🦘
 

eft

Well-known member
Thread starter
This is a just suggestion from experience, mine and others, regarding DIY repair of expensive lenses and bodies. Don't try to repair it yourself. It's just not worth the consequences.

If you have ever seen used lenses for sale in F condition, only usable as parts, there is a really strong chance that lens is an F lens because someone who didn't have the training or the manuals to repair it took it apart and at some point had that gut wrenching "oops, I can't fix it and now I can't put it back together" realization.

Most repair facilities aren't willing to take on the job of undoing the self inflicted damage done by the owner. The facilities I have used typically have stated policies saying words to the effect "if you take it apart and send us the pieces because you messed it up we will reseal the box and return it to you in the condition you sent it to us. We don't repair junk". In other words, if you take it apart wrong, it's just not practical time and cost wise to try to figure out what parts someone lost, broke, bent, tore, shorted out or put back in backwards.

On the other hand, if you sent your lens to an authorized repair facility today for a professional cleaning, there is a great chance that this problem will be fixed by a simple adjustment (as suggested by others here) that will be made routinely at no added cost to you while the lens is being reassembled. The lens will be opened and inspected. The problem will be obvious and it will be corrected. In most cases if you get the camera to them on Monday it can be back on your camera on Friday.

Paying a few hundred bucks to have expensive camera gear maintained is not a rip off. Spend the money if you have it. If you decide to roll the dice and repair it yourself and don't have the training and manuals it won't take much to turn it into a really cool looking paperweight or canoe anchor:) Be careful.

Just as an FYI, I use Photo Tech and have nothing but exceptional results.


I hope everything works out well for you.


I appreciate the thoughts. In my case, the lens is probably not worth the amount that Nikon or any repair shop would charge. It's been a wonderful lens and I'm sure I've taken over 150,000 images since I got it. However, I have had three issues since I bought it
  1. From the outset, the lens mount has not fit snugly into the D500 or FTZ adapter. I sent it back to Nikon, they charged me CAD$500 and it wasn't any better.
  2. The original zoom barrel issue (loose screw) that I fixed myself and has been fine ever since
  3. This latest issues with the zoom not going below 230mm.

Still deciding if I want to repair it myself and when. My instinct based on 1. and 2. is to work on it myself if (and it's a big if) my 800mm arrives within a year of ordering it.
 

Bobh2000

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I appreciate the thoughts. In my case, the lens is probably not worth the amount that Nikon or any repair shop would charge. It's been a wonderful lens and I'm sure I've taken over 150,000 images since I got it. However, I have had three issues since I bought it
  1. From the outset, the lens mount has not fit snugly into the D500 or FTZ adapter. I sent it back to Nikon, they charged me CAD$500 and it wasn't any better.
  2. The original zoom barrel issue (loose screw) that I fixed myself and has been fine ever since
  3. This latest issues with the zoom not going below 230mm.

Still deciding if I want to repair it myself and when. My instinct based on 1. and 2. is to work on it myself if (and it's a big if) my 800mm arrives within a year of ordering it.
If that's the case I want to come over when you tear it down and see what's inside;) If it were mine and I took it apart and failed to get it back together I think it would be really cool to go all Archimedes and make a heat ray to try to set things on fire with the front element on a sunny day😎

I was surprised to read someplace about the danger of leaving mirrorless cameras sitting around facing the sun without lens caps on them. Apparently there have been sensors literally fried from the lens focusing the sun just right into mirrorless bodies on sunny days. How bad would someones luck have to be for that to happen but I can understand the concept when you take the mirror out of the circuit. It's make the protective shutter on the Z9 seem like a pretty good feature.

I can relate to the lens mount slop issue. At first I always thought my camera mounting plates were hosed up when I used it but after a while it became something I just didn't notice anymore. I kind of think the play is a result of deflection in a long heavy cantilever system with the mass of a big chunk of glass extended a couple of feet out on the end torquing the supported end surfaces. There's a lot of physics going at the mount with that beast hanging on it. It was sure concerning at first though and even with the lens being fully supported by a tripod there's still a tiny bit of rotational slop with mine.

I have been using the 100-400 mostly but I broke out my 200-500 yesterday after reading your post and still have it on a body today. I'd almost forgotten how intensely good it is.

For whatever its worth regarding waiting for the 800, keep a place called Camera Mall in mind. I got my Z9 from Camera Mall in Ann Arbor, Michigan right off the shelf months and months before the "When will the Z9 ship" complaint forum trending even began to slow down. I got my 100-400 there before anyone else had them in stock too. With both items I saw them on the site , placed my order and had them the next afternoon. I was on waiting lists and it would have been another 6 months if I waited for the major players to get me one of either item.

The only catch for some is that Camera Mall don't offer the financing options of Adorama or BH but if that's not a concern they are an excellent source. They don't charge tax for orders outside of Michigan. I buy a lot from them and live close and my orders are here by 1 the next afternoon with free shipping and no tax. One hint with Camera Mall is don't trust them to notify you if you request stock notification. The item will be gone before they have time to notify you but if you check the site everyday and see something and place the order before 3 in the afternoon and it will boxed up and out the door the same day by 4.

Good luck with your 200-500 making a strong comeback soon.
 
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