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Zoom creep?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Paul_R, May 23, 2007.

  1. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Hi All

    I have a Canon 17 – 85mm IS USM lens that I bought in September 2006.

    I have recently noticed that if the camera / lens is tilted down i.e. the front of the lens is pointing to the ground; it slowly slides, changing focal length. I believe this may be known as ‘zoom creep’?

    Is this normal and should it be happening on an 8 month old lens? Do you think the store would be willing to consider a replacement or is this to be expected and thought of as being ‘normal’?
  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    A textbook case of...

    I doubt the store would be willing as zoom creep is a common occurrence. 8 months old is perhaps a little early but then the 17-85mm contains a fair amount of glass so it's not impossible. Perhaps yours had a slightly looser zoom mechanism than some. My EF 35-135 has a pretty loose zoom mechanism so it zooms easily but doesn't suffer from zoom creep so much as 'zoom rush'.... :D Though to be fair it's quite a lot older than yours. My 28-105 on the other hand doesn't creep at all but the zoom ring is sufficiently tight as to make smooth zooming very tricky. Like many engineering situations it's all about compromise and I guess whether the compromise is right depends on whether you like smooth zooming or really hate creep. My Sigma 17-70 ironically has a zoom lock but so far seems both tight enough not to creep but not so tight the zoom is jerky, only time with tell if it loosens enough to need the lock. As long as the mechanism isn't sloppy I don't think you need worry.

    FWIW older style 'one-touch' or 'trombone' zooms were very prone to zoom creep, even when new.
  3. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    I do have an old Tamron zoom which does this, I wouldn't expect it from a newer lens especially from Canon. With the Tamron I just carry a bit of Bluetac and stick that on to stop the creeping. It works fine and doesn't mark the lens, but I would send your lens back to Canon, did you get a warranty with it?
  4. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    You'd probably just get told it's "within tolerances".
  5. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info and explanation. I do feel it’s a little premature though, after all, 8 months of minimal use is a little disappointing. Its not ‘sloppy’ and it only moves a shortish distance but this is enough to alter the focal length which can be a little annoying, especially if you don’t realise until you have fired off a few shots! I just thought I would get peoples opinion on this as I have had limited experience with such things. I suppose I have nothing to loose by contacting the store.
  6. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Mine isn’t as bad as that but its still annoying especially if you take a shot and then realise the focal length has changed! The only warranty I have is the standard 12-month manufacturers warranty. I would imagine I would need to return it to the shop I bought it from in the first instance? If I got no joy from them then I suppose I could try contacting Canon direct.
  7. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    No doubt! But the annoying this is its not really fit for purpose if the lens keeps moving of its own accord, unless it results in me getting a better shot as a result ;)
  8. JDCB

    JDCB Well-Known Member

    I had a Nikon 24-120 (the original non-VR version) that had appalling zoom creep which developed about 6 months after I bought the lens. Apparently, that was a well known fault with that model. I sold it in P/Ex for an 85 1.8.

    I don't recall anyone suggesting sending it back to Nikon when I took it in to Grays (I bought it there), but they did give me a pretty good price for it (something like 80% of the original IIRC). I suppose that I could have been more upset and demanded a replacement, but to be honest I was fed up with the lens by then and didn't fancy taking a chance on another. It was nothing special, optically. In some ways, Grays were probably pretty generous, as I expect they made a loss if they then sold it on to someone else.

  9. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the feedback, James. I suppose that outcome was better than nothing but I think I would have wanted a replacement or credit towards another, different, lens.
  10. Keitht

    Keitht Well-Known Member

    Duh! Isn't that what the viewfinder is for - things like checking the framing of the shot. If you don't notice the change of focal length surely it isn't actually a problem??
  11. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    A shortish distance!....... somehow I don't think Canon are going to go for a warranty replacement then. Typical zoom creep means the lens can easily go from minimum to maximum FL during even a fairly short carry.... A little creep is almost inevitable during carry as the whole camera is bouncing about a fair bit even at gentle walking pace. Yes it can be annoying if, like my 35-135, it's slipped out to max when you put the camera to the eye and actually want 35mm but even then zooming back is scarcely a chore... and it's generally still quicker than trying to do a lens change........ ;)

    Zoom creep is pretty much guaranteed in a lens which is designed to have infinitely adjustable focal length. Short of having a positive lock at each major focal length (which would make it more a varifocal lens than a zoom) it's difficult to guarantee stopping it entirely without making the zoom function extremely difficult to use. Now if it was the focus creeping during carry that would be really alarming.

    The thing is not to get too paranoid... and don't let the internet doom-mongers wind you up either. The lens ain't broke so don't fix it. :)
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    What Nigel said. My 70-300 IS has a zoom lock to prevent it creeping - it's the nature of the beast.
  13. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    Hi Nigel / Nick

    Good advice :)

    Thanks for the info and advice. As I said in my original post, I have very limited experience with regards to what is ‘normal’ or whether its something more serious which is why I asked for advice from the more experienced ;)
    Thanks for putting my mind at ease ;)

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