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I have had a Nikkor 18-55mm lens for about 3 years. I just realized that my lens only zooms upto 45mm and then gets stuck.

This was my first SLR lens, and I did not pay attention to the zoom range earlier. I have dropped the lens once from around waist level to a hard concrete floor once. I don't know whether the lens was defective when I got it, or if it got damaged due to the fall.

Apart from the restricted zoom range, the lens works fine (as far as I can determine).

Is there any way to find out if the lens was always defective or if got damaged from the fall. Should I try to contact Nikkon regarding the lens warranty[1]? Or should I just leave it alone; it is a cheap lens and works fine till 45mm.

1 I bought the lens in USA and since then have moved to Canada, so I don't know how the warranty will work, but that is a separate question.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is a way to find out if the focal lengths were accessible earlier. Given that you haven't had any other lenses in the same focal length range, you could use a tool like ExposurePlot to run over your older photos and see if you have ever used any focal lengths in the now inaccessible area. The results are shown in 35mm equivalent, so look for usage of focal lengths from 70 to 84.

Difference between 45mm and 55mm is actually not very big. You can still achieve similar field of view by cropping about 20% of width and height from a photo taken at 45mm.

I would not bother with getting such a small defect on such a cheap lens fixed, even if it does qualify for warranty (which I doubt, given the facts here).

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Thank you. I'll try ExposurePlot. If nothing else, I will be able to figure out whether it was my fault or not. –  Aditya Jun 6 '11 at 18:09
    
I found a few pics around the 80mm mark. That means that the lens was damaged by the fall. So, it was my fault and not the manufacturer's. –  Aditya Jun 8 '11 at 15:55

A warranty is normally meant to cover defects caused during the manufacture and shipping of a lens to the customer. Damaging of your own property does not usually fall under warranty even though manufacturers of certain equipment do sometimes show some leniency in the name of customer satisfaction. In this case, I would suggest making the best use of the lens as 3 years is also going to be outside of the scope of the warranty in any case. The difference between 45mm and 55mm is but a step forward or so as it is, so, if it works, use it for as long as it works.

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I was wondering how does the difference in focal length correspond to 'stepping up' until I realized that you meant that I should move forward :) –  Aditya Jun 6 '11 at 18:06
    
@Aditya Yep, it's always a good idea to keep moving to seek new angles anyway :) –  Roland Jun 6 '11 at 18:11

Congratulations you have the perfect excuse to buy yourself a new lens and improve the quality of all your future photos!

Seriously, you have a cheap lens that you may have even damaged yourself. Warranty won't cover that, unless it is clearly their fault. Repairing such a lens is probably more costly than your lens and, at best, you'll get a cheap lens back anyways.

The best thing to do is get yourself a nice lens for your camera. Something like the Nikkor 17-55mm F/2.8 is the best replacement for this type of range. That may not be ideal for you, so you could do some research by reading a Lens Buying Guide.

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Thanks for your comment, but I don't think that I'll venture into buying a $1500 lens anytime soon; at least not until my photographic technique improves significantly. For now, the three cheap lens: 18mm-55mm, 55mm-200mm, and a 35mm or 50mm are fine for me (I have the first two, and plan to buy one of the cheap primes). –  Aditya Jun 6 '11 at 18:15
    
Fair, if it is above your budget. There are other good but cheaper alternatives too. It is generally better to have fewer higher quality lenses then more cheap ones but the ultimate choice depends on the type of photography you do. –  Itai Jun 6 '11 at 23:40
    
If I were on a restricted budget trying to replace the 18-55, I might go with the newer 18-55 VR (which isn't half bad, though still slow), a 3rd-party f/2.8, or maybe two or three primes. Unless you really need/want a metal-bodied, weather-sealed lens, a 3rd party f/2.8 zoom will do everything the Nikkor does for a third of the price. –  Evan Krall Jun 7 '11 at 5:11

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