I have the first version of the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM lens. It has annoying zoom creep. If I walk around with this lens, with the camera hanging from my neck, occasionally the zoom automatically extends from 24mm. This happens rarely enough that checking the zoom ring every 5-10 minutes is enough to stay most of the time at 24mm, when walking around -- I counted approximately three occurrences of zoom creep per hour when walking around. There is no zoom lock in this lens. I have never found the zoom ring too hard to rotate, contrary to the criticism by Ken Rockwell.

I would like the zoom mechanism to be stiffer so that the zoom doesn't creep. How to achieve this? I wouldn't want to throw away a perfectly fine second-hand-purchase and purchase a 1200 USD new lens instead. The lens is absolutely flawless apart from this zoom creep issue.

Related, although this question asks about the typicality of the issue and not how to fix it: Is it typical to experience zoom creep with the Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 L IS USM?


It is not necessary to throw away the lens, as zoom creep on this lens is trivial to be fixed (or some could say worked around).

There is a gap between rotating parts, between the distance scale and the zoom ring of the lens. Purchase a 20 USD collection of O-rings of variable sizes, and put an O-ring over this gap. The O-ring I used is marked F-32 and it appears to have an inner diameter of two inches and tube diameter of 3 mm so it's relatively thick. It requires a bit of force to put the small O-ring around the large lens (diameter 79mm at this location), but once this has been done, the O-ring resists rotation of the lens so much that the zoom creep no longer occurs. The zoom ring is markedly stiffer to turn as well after this modification, much to the horror of Ken Rockwell. Problem solved!

Depending on the severity of the zoom creep, it may be necessary in extreme cases to use an even smaller inner diameter O-ring. Furthermore, the tube diameter of the O-ring probably affects what is the optimal inner diameter of the O-ring (thicker-tubed O-rings require less difference between the O-ring inner diameter and the lens outer diameter), so don't treat "2 inches" as an absolute truth.

The modification likely improves the weather resistance of the lens, as well. It is practically invisible from a distance: as the O-ring is black and small, nobody notices you purchased poor-quality gear and had to modify it. For someone to notice the modification, one needs to look at the lens very closely.

Lens with O-ring

Others who have solved the zoom creep:


A zoom lock included in the design of a lens was more common back 30-40 years ago than it is today.

Many experienced photographers today use something that is almost the butt of jokes about duct tape fixing anything when they wish to keep a zoom lens at a specific setting for a series of photos: gaffer's tape. It holds well enough but doesn't leave any residue once removed.

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There are several other methods involving wide rubber bands. There's even a company that makes them and specifically markets for this use: lens bands. Most such bands aren't much different from the wrist bands that have become popular for showing support for various causes. Depending on the size of your lens, one of the wrist bands might fit the bill. I have a rubber wristband on my very well used EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS to prevent zoom creep.

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You can also find a plethora of DIY methods by searching the internet for "fix zoom creep". Some of these methods are lens specific. Including the lens name in your search will help find those specific to your model lens.

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