I have a Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-200mm and I have a problem with the focus ring. It goes fine from infinity to about 0.9m, then it just stops there and I can't go down to 0.5m no matter how much I turn the ring. Autofocus can't go lower either. This happens at all focal lengths. Is there something I can do about this myself or do I have to send it Nikon for a repair and hope that it doesn't cost more than a new one?

I bought the lens used about two years ago and I have only used the autofocus before, but now I need to use manual focus for the first time (more or less only use the camera on holidays) and then noticed that it stuck on 0.9m.

I should mention that the focus works fine in the range that I can turn it to.

  • Does this hold true at all focal lengths? 18mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, etc. all the way up to 200mm? – Michael C Jul 1 '15 at 0:16
  • Yes, the problem persist for all focal lengths. – SpaceOgre Jul 1 '15 at 5:25
  • Did it work ok before? and can it autofocus below 0.9m? – Digital Lightcraft Jul 1 '15 at 13:27
  • No autofocus can't get below 0.9m either. To be honest I'm not sure if it has worked before, I bought the lens used about 2 years ago and I have only used the autofocus befor but now I needed to use the manual for the first time (more or less only use the camera on holidays atm) and then noticed that it stuck on 0.9m – SpaceOgre Jul 1 '15 at 13:45
  • While the marks says "0,9m", what is the actual focusing distance? I'd bet on that that index plate is misaligned. – Euri Pinhollow Apr 12 '16 at 16:21

The most likely answer is that the lens has been damaged. I had a Nikkor lens (75-300/4.5-5.6) that had this same problem at one point. I sent it in for repair and Nikon advised that the lens had impact damage. It had most likely been dropped or fell onto a hard surface, which damaged the focusing helicoids.

The only way to know for sure would be to disassemble your lens (risky) or to send it away for service (costly).

Note that if the theory is right, you may not be getting optimum sharpness from the lens, either, as elements have possibly shifted slightly due to the impact.

  • This could very well be the case, I have not noticed a problem with sharpness but since I bought it used it is hard to tell since I don't have anything to compare to. ATM it is working good enough so until it breaks down more I will use it as is. – SpaceOgre Jul 25 '18 at 7:00
  • @SpaceOgre It's possible that only the focus helicoids were affected by the suspected impact, so you could be lucky and the glass could be perfectly fine. – Jim MacKenzie Jul 25 '18 at 14:37

A similar issue just happened to me with my Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-200mm but instead of not getting below 0.9m, mine was a bit higher. My lens had been in storage for several years due to the fact that I basically moved to full-frame D600 and as such, I had really no need to use that lens along with my D7000. Today, I was forced to press the lens and the D7000 back into service and found the problem. The lens worked perfectly before it was placed into storage.

Luckily I was able to fix the problem rather easily. Recently, I was reading how the initial generation of the AFS 28-70mm f/2.8 lenses suffered from a similar problem where the lens would lose its autofocus ability due to a 'failure' in the lens' focusing motor. The failure was due to a slight bit of oxidation in the motor causing the mechanism to fail. The solution was to clean off enough of the oxidation so that the motor would move freely. Since I needed the lens right away, I didn't have time to get it repaired or disassemble it to clean it myself. So, I vigorously worked the focus ring back and forth between infinity and where the lens stopped focusing. Slowly but surely after about 5 minutes of working that focusing ring, the focusing range of the lens increased to its full range for both manual focus and autofocus.

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