Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Hi,

Hope someone can help me with this issue I keep having

I bought a used Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR lens about a week ago and it sometimes just won’t focus. I can typically be out using it and it works fine, but then suddenly when trying to focus on something everything is just a blur and the lens doesn’t respond at all despite several tries with half pressing the shutter button to get it to focus.

I’ve tried the following when this happens to get it to “wake up”:

-Turning the camera off and on again (several times)

-Turning VR off (and on again when that didn’t help)

-Changing focus mode from AF-C to AF-S and back again

-Changing from Manual to Shutter Priority

-Changing the lens to manual, won’t focus there either.( It actually looks like manual focus doesn’t properly work at all with it at any time)

-Taking the lens off and putting it back on

Nothing of this helped

Today, after several minutes of this, it suddenly jumped back to life on it’s own

When I came home I tried cleaning it and the camera with contact cleaner liquid, but soon after it acted up again.

I also tried it on my wife’s d3200 and it showed the same issue there after a while (I have a d5200 and have never experienced nothing like this with any of my other lenses)

Is there something that can be done with this, a known fix of some sort? (There’s no point sending it in for repairs, that’ll cost more than it’ll cost to buy a replacement)

Nikon D3200 Nikon D5200
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fpapp
fpapp Contributing Member • Posts: 759
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

I would return the lens for a refund.

Since you are using small DX bodies, you might want to consider the AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

It's cheaper, smaller, and lighter than than the AF-S 70-300. The only drawback is the auto focus is slower and it doesn't have instant manual focus override. Probably not a big deal unless you are shooting fast action in which case there are better options than either lens.

If you shop around, the 55-300 can often be found in excellent condition for under $200!

 fpapp's gear list:fpapp's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A1000 Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF +48 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

fpapp wrote:

I would return the lens for a refund.

I’m in contact with the seller and we decided to contact a repair shop to hear what they think

Since you are using small DX bodies, you might want to consider the AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

It's cheaper, smaller, and lighter than than the AF-S 70-300. The only drawback is the auto focus is slower and it doesn't have instant manual focus override

The focus on my 70-300 is surprisingly slow, all other lenses that I have feel much faster. Probably another indication that something isn’t right with my copy

. Probably not a big deal unless you are shooting fast action in which case there are better options than either lens.

If you shop around, the 55-300 can often be found in excellent condition for under $200!

I’ve thought about that one and also the Tamron 70-300 and perhaps the Nikon AF-P 70-300, but that’s probably harder to find used

fpapp
fpapp Contributing Member • Posts: 759
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

PerAE wrote:

I’ve thought about that one and also the Tamron 70-300 and perhaps the Nikon AF-P 70-300, but that’s probably harder to find used

The AF-P 70-300 isn't compatible with the D3200 and only has limited compatibility with the D5200.  Can I use an AF-P lens with my Nikon camera?

 fpapp's gear list:fpapp's gear list
Nikon Coolpix A1000 Nikon D500 Nikon D5600 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF +48 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

fpapp wrote:

PerAE wrote:

I’ve thought about that one and also the Tamron 70-300 and perhaps the Nikon AF-P 70-300, but that’s probably harder to find used

The AF-P 70-300 isn't compatible with the D3200 and only has limited compatibility with the D5200. Can I use an AF-P lens with my Nikon camera?

I know, but it doesn’t sound like any of the compability issues are real dealbreakers as I understand them? (The d3200 is my wife’s and I never use that)

Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,951
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

I had that problem with the 70-200 2.8 AF-s VR1. It started out  intermittingly not focusing, and then magically began focusing again. After a while,  to get it to focus, I had to remove the lens from the camera and then remounted it. Finally it stopped focusing in the middle of a football game, and wouldn't even manual focus. Nothing I tried to do worked. Had to send it into Nikon. The AF-s motor needed to be changed. Cost: around $450. I don't know if your lens is doomed to that fate (you could get  new 70-300 Vr for a little more than $450), so I would go through some basic maintenance before contacting Nikon. Clean all the contacts, on both lens and camera. Check focusing on other lenses, to see if the problem is the camera and not the lens.

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D1X Nikon D500 Fujifilm X-E3 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +22 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Rich Rosen wrote:

I had that problem with the 70-200 2.8 AF-s VR1. It started out intermittingly not focusing, and then magically began focusing again. After a while, to get it to focus, I had to remove the lens from the camera and then remounted it. Finally it stopped focusing in the middle of a football game, and wouldn't even manual focus. Nothing I tried to do worked. Had to send it into Nikon. The AF-s motor needed to be changed. Cost: around $450.
I don't know if your lens is doomed to that fate (you could get new 70-300 Vr for a little more than $450), so I would go through some basic maintenance before contacting Nikon. Clean all the contacts, on both lens and camera. Check focusing on other lenses, to see if the problem is the camera and not the lens.

Interesting, thanks! Sounds a lot like what’s happening here unfortunately

No problem with other lenses on the camera, I have cleaned the contacts twice and tried it on another camera, same problem there.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,584
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

PerAE wrote:

I’ve tried the following

Have you tried carefully cleaning the electric contacts on the lens bayonet and in the camera body throat?

This resolves many though not all AF problems.

If contact cleaning does not work the lens likely needs a repair - assuming the cost is less than the second hand value of the lens.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than anything else.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +28 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

PerAE wrote:

I’ve tried the following

Have you tried carefully cleaning the electric contacts on the lens bayonet and in the camera body throat?

Yes, twice

This resolves many though not all AF problems.

If contact cleaning does not work the lens likely needs a repair - assuming the cost is less than the second hand value of the lens.

I’m guessing the repair cost is significantly more than the second hand value

Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,951
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

One other thing I did between magically started focusing and remounting, was to make sure the lens was properly seated in the mount. When I made sure it was locked in, it began to focus. But, as I said, it still died.

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D1X Nikon D500 Fujifilm X-E3 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +22 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Rich Rosen wrote:

One other thing I did between magically started focusing and remounting, was to make sure the lens was properly seated in the mount. When I made sure it was locked in, it began to focus.

But as long as it clicks in place it's enough?

But, as I said, it still died.

How long would you say it took from you started having problems with it until it died completely?

hikerdoc Senior Member • Posts: 2,779
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically
2

If you can return this lens I would not wait for some repair shop estimate. You have already done all of the simple stuff. Any evaluation and repair is very likely to exceed the value of this lens and you will be hard pressed to recover the cost from the seller. Even a fixed rate lens repair facility like KEH quotes 320 USD for a zoom lens repair. The lens may have been sold because it was sitting unused in the seller’s closet, seller totally unaware of the issue;  but more likely this lens was acting up before the sale. Let the seller decide if the lens is worth the cost of repair.

 hikerdoc's gear list:hikerdoc's gear list
Apple iPhone 8
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

hikerdoc wrote:

If you can return this lens I would not wait for some repair shop estimate. You have already done all of the simple stuff. Any evaluation and repair is very likely to exceed the value of this lens and you will be hard pressed to recover the cost from the seller. Even a fixed rate lens repair facility like KEH quotes 320 USD for a zoom lens repair. The lens may have been sold because it was sitting unused in the seller’s closet, seller totally unaware of the issue; but more likely this lens was acting up before the sale. Let the seller decide if the lens is worth the cost of repair.

Yes, I understand that, but the seller wanted to hear what the repair shop thought before deciding what to do and I have no problem with that.

I think the seller didn’t know anything about the malfunction (and it’s also possible that it has been mishandled by the postal service), he seems like a really honest person

Rich Rosen Senior Member • Posts: 2,951
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

PerAE wrote:

Rich Rosen wrote:

One other thing I did between magically started focusing and remounting, was to make sure the lens was properly seated in the mount. When I made sure it was locked in, it began to focus.

But as long as it clicks in place it's enough?

Yes.

But, as I said, it still died.

How long would you say it took from you started having problems with it until it died completely?

Hard to say. I remember it going very quickly once I got to stage 3 (taking off, remounting).

 Rich Rosen's gear list:Rich Rosen's gear list
Nikon D1X Nikon D500 Fujifilm X-E3 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +22 more
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

Rich Rosen wrote:

PerAE wrote:

Rich Rosen wrote:

One other thing I did between magically started focusing and remounting, was to make sure the lens was properly seated in the mount. When I made sure it was locked in, it began to focus.

But as long as it clicks in place it's enough?

Yes.

But, as I said, it still died.

How long would you say it took from you started having problems with it until it died completely?

Hard to say. I remember it going very quickly once I got to stage 3 (taking off, remounting).

Thanks! Probably not much left here then, yesterday it seemed like taking it off was necessary a couple of times

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 20,584
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically
2

PerAE wrote:

Yes, I understand that, but the seller wanted to hear what the repair shop thought before deciding what to do and I have no problem with that.

It seems to me the seller is "playing for time" rather than taking the lens back.

As the lens is faulty you send the lens back - and leave the seller to sort whatever the problem is.

If on strip down of the lens if other problems are found - if you agree too get the lens repaired this type of problem likely transfers from the seller to you.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than anything else.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +28 more
BasilG Veteran Member • Posts: 8,185
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

PerAE wrote:

hikerdoc wrote:

If you can return this lens I would not wait for some repair shop estimate. You have already done all of the simple stuff. Any evaluation and repair is very likely to exceed the value of this lens and you will be hard pressed to recover the cost from the seller. Even a fixed rate lens repair facility like KEH quotes 320 USD for a zoom lens repair. The lens may have been sold because it was sitting unused in the seller’s closet, seller totally unaware of the issue; but more likely this lens was acting up before the sale. Let the seller decide if the lens is worth the cost of repair.

Yes, I understand that, but the seller wanted to hear what the repair shop thought before deciding what to do and I have no problem with that.

I think the seller didn’t know anything about the malfunction (and it’s also possible that it has been mishandled by the postal service), he seems like a really honest person

No matter what you do, do not sink any money into this. The lens clearly has a problem and this needs to be dealt with by the seller.

hikerdoc Senior Member • Posts: 2,779
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically
1

That is the problem. No repair center is going to do a diagnostic tear down of lens for electrical and focus issues, and then carefully put it back together without charging for the service. How do they test to make sure it is broken only to the extent it was before they tore it apart? Once he authorizes a repair center to take that lens apart the seller may attribute any issues to the teardown and reassembly and is not likely to accept it back. I believe the cost of this damaged used lens and the diagnostic services just to estimate repair costs is going to exceed the cost of a new lens with warranty.

 hikerdoc's gear list:hikerdoc's gear list
Apple iPhone 8
OP PerAE Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Autofocus on Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR stops working periodically

hikerdoc wrote:

That is the problem. No repair center is going to do a diagnostic tear down of lens for electrical and focus issues, and then carefully put it back together without charging for the service. How do they test to make sure it is broken only to the extent it was before they tore it apart? Once he authorizes a repair center to take that lens apart the seller may attribute any issues to the teardown and reassembly and is not likely to accept it back. I believe the cost of this damaged used lens and the diagnostic services just to estimate repair costs is going to exceed the cost of a new lens with warranty.

It's not going to be torn apart, the seller just wanted to hear what the repair center think it is. i sent them a mail, hopefully they'll answer and then it'll probably will be clear that a repair is way too expensive

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