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Kit Lens grinding noise

edited March 2017 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
I've had my D5100 for a few years and have finally decided to learn how to use it non-automatic mode. I've been playing around with the settings, and I'm not sure if I caused it, or if dirt got in the lens, but my lens got stuck at about 24 mm and I couldn't set it any further than that. My husband "fixed" it and it goes past there now (he says he didn't force it), but now when I turn it, the area it was stuck at catches a bit and it doesn't glide like it should. When I was playing in manual mode with some settings it wouldn't let me take a picture (not sure if this is related) and just makes this horrible grinding noise. Even as a complete amateur I can tell it's not a good sound! Is the kit lens (18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G) worth getting looked at to be fixed? I just purchased a 50mm 1.8g lens and was wondering if that would substitute. I take pictures mostly of my family and just everyday stuff, nothing fancy. Thanks!


  • edited March 2017
    If the problem is in the zooming rather than the focusing, it might be a particle of grit, and not so bad, but if it's beginning to make a grinding noise in the auto focus, that may be worse, as there are little rollers in there that can wear out. My 18-55mm, for example, has developed a loose roller and its outer barrel is a little floppy.

    The failure to take a picture was probably its failure to lock focus, and nothing by itself to worry about. If you've been using Auto mode, it defaults to auto area focus, but when you switch to manual mode, it may choose single point. Make sure that your focus point is centered if so.

    The 50mm lens will work very well, but of course it can only shoot at 50mm, which is a bit narrow for many purposes. A 35mm prime would make a better all around choice for a normal prime.

    If you want the kit lens back, I doubt it's economical to have it repaired, especially if it's not under warranty. I'd keep using it if it works, but keep an eye out for a replacement. If you look at KEH.Com, for example, you'll find good (warranteed) used samples of that and similar lenses for well under $100, and that's likely cheaper than getting your old one fixed. If yours is one without VR, you can get the next model up with VR, or even the next after that, with VRII and a non-rotating front element (and said to be a wee bit sharper), for a pretty decent price. For myself (not being too restricted on price despite being a cheapskate) I found a nice but somewhat expensive 16-85mm lens to replace my old kit zoom. That one is quite expensive even used, but much nicer in many ways, and much better built. There are less expensive Nikon zooms too, such as 18-105mm and 18-140mm, which though more than the kit zoom, are better made, and quite nice to use. The 18-140mm is decently made, and bitingly sharp.

    There are also, of course, some other third party lenses, and other Nikon zooms that might be a little nicer than the kit lens. Make sure, though, that you remember AF on this camera requires an AFS lens. Older AF lenses with no motor of their own will meter, but will not auto focus.

    In the mean time, I'd use the time between now and when the current lens fails to start shopping for a good replacement.
  • Thanks for all the info and tips!
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