My Nikon 18-200 lens on a D300 camera will not focus when it is zoomed between 135mm and 200mm. Is there any tips on how to solve this besides handing it in to a photo store?


There really isn't all that much you can do with lenses yourself without making things worse. It sounds like something mechanically is wrong, and the only way to fix that is going to be to open up the lens.

I would take it to a Nikon authorized repair shop. If you are in the US, this form will take you to the list of authorized repair shops.

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  • That's what I tought. I will contact the store next week. Thank you :) – Espo Jul 17 '10 at 14:30
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    +1, but I'd send it to Nikon. These modern zoom lenses are insanely complicated and the store may not have the appropriate tools/parts/skills (and they might send it to Nikon anyway). Good luck! – Reid Jul 17 '10 at 15:38
  • Not a helpful answer. – Chris Peacock Nov 2 '18 at 14:08

Just a note. I found this thread while researching the same issue, though the range that wouldn't focus for me was more like from 80ish to 200. After reading the comment by GRM, I investigated my lens and found the front element to actually be loose, having backed out on its threads. As I never take the UV filter off, I never would have found this with out GRM's comment. I tightened the element snugly, trying to resist my urge to torque the crap out of it, restored my UV filter to its rightful place, and bam. Autofocus issue appears to be fixed. Thanks, GRM.

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  • Thanks to James Duncan for his solution, which solved the problem instantly. My front element was loose, so I gently snugged it down (about one full turn clockwise) and VOILA, problem solved. My lens now focuses at all focal lengths. There is a notch in the outer ring of the front element (on the outside); I just placed a fingernail in the notch and gently turned until it stopped. What a relief! – user15660 Jan 18 '13 at 7:27
  • To James Duncan; thanks that is the same thing that was wrong with my lens. No need for the repair shop. Wow just that one little thing. Thanks – user19398 Apr 16 '13 at 14:58
  • I had the same issue: Nikon 5100 couldn't focus when my 18-200mm lens was zoomed in very far. This started happening while I was on vacation in Europe, so it was terrible timing. Fortunately, I came across this post, removed my UV filter, tightened the inner ring on the very front of the lens, and presto! Instantly fixed for free, just in time for several days in Amsterdam! Thank you (or, as they apparently say here, Dank u wel for alles!) – user19641 Apr 28 '13 at 19:45
  • OMG.... thank you so much James Duncan. The same thing happened to me recently on a Tour of Norway searching for The Northern Lights; which was incredibly poor timing :( I just checked the inner ring of my lens and it was incredibly loose. I tightened it 2-3 revolutions and now focussing perfectly again, YAY :) – user19763 May 6 '13 at 17:12

I also tightened up to outside element and it fixed the problem immediately. The element has to be tightened using the inner ring, not the outside of the lens. As mentioned previously, look for two notches adjacent to the lens glass and use these to screw the element back into position. It works!

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  • Welcome to Photography on StackExchange. Always nice to see another New York stater. I live a ways up the river from you in Troy (Albany area). – AJ Henderson Mar 27 '13 at 14:56
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    @AJ He: Sorry to hear that. I went to school in Troy, and we used to say that New York City was the butt end of the universe and Troy 120 miles upriver (slightly toned down to not get deleted here). To be fair, there are actually a few nice sections of Troy, but not anywhere students could afford the rent. One summer I lived on 8th street, which is where the police were afraid to get out of their cruiser and would only talk to people outside thru the slit formed by rolling down the windown one inch. – Olin Lathrop Apr 28 '13 at 20:25
  • @OlinLathrop - RPI grad? I'm class of '06. I live in a nice part of town in South Troy. RPI's also been dumping a lot of money in to cleaning up more of Troy, so it is getting better even in the historically shady parts. – AJ Henderson Apr 29 '13 at 0:31

I have experienced the EXACT same issue. I sent it to repair and they said that the top had to be screwed back on. I have also read that this could be caused by dirty contacts so you can also try to clean them.

I have seen some articles about this on different forum so I guess it's a rather common problem and you shouldn't pay anything to get it fixed.

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Send it to Nikon, if you have a USA lens, most likely you have a 5 years warranty on your lens. This can mean free repair.

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