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Low-Tech Fixes: The Slipping Lens
As part of a new monthly series on Too Many Adapters, we want to hear about your Low-Tech fixes. Got a good story about a repairing your tech on the cheap? Have you repurposed an old piece of gear for something new? Let us know in the comments and we may feature your story in a future instalment.
How I fixed my 18-200mm lens for $3
It’s often said that as you get older, your hobbies get more expensive. I know this because a lens is a pricey piece of gear. Even with the cost of some fancy glass, plastic, and gears, no piece of tech is ever perfect (looking at you fanboys…)
On day hikes, I often carry my DSLR across my shoulder instead of a camera bag for easy access and quick shots. The Nikon D90 (check prices) I typically shoot with isn’t terribly awkward itself, but a weighty lens really makes it front heavy with a shoulder strap. Our friend gravity obviously wants to pull it down to the earth really bad.
When my 18-200mm Nikkor zoom lens began slipping out during my treks in New Zealand and putting it in serious danger of breaking, I had a couple of options.
1) Buy the new version of the lens, which had one exactly one new feature: a zoom lock for about $800
2) Figure something else out for less than $800.
I chose the latter.
Turns out those trendy silicone wristbands that were all the rage to show your support for any number of causes was just what the lens doctor ordered. Slipping the one I picked up at “The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Co” (sidenote: not actually legendary) over the lens proved to be a perfect fit.
The friction from the silicone on the area where the lens zoomed out gave me the perfect amount of play to operate the lens when I needed to, and prevent it from slipping out on the trails when I didn’t. I can adjust the amount of play I have with it by moving the wristband over more of the gap for more resistance, or away for less resistance and easier zooming.
The Round Up
- $4NZ ($3USD/CDN) Silicone wristband (choose your favourite cause to support)
- 1 minute fiddling with it on my lens
- $797 savings over buying a new lens with a zoom lock on it
I performed this fix in early 2010 on my Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR which was replaced in 2009 by the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II (check prices) which added the much-needed zoom lock switch.
It has held its own since then, only requiring a little repositioning here and there, particularly in hot climates where perspiration and precipitation cause it to slip a bit.
Do you have any stories of low-tech solutions when your high-tech problems pop up? Let us know in the comments.