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A collection of photographs and stories by Invercargill photographer Rick Harvey

Lens Wobble With My Nikon 18-55 Zoom Lens

Nikon 18-55mm Zoom lens

Now I know that kit lenses supplied with many DSLRs are certainly not top-end lenses, but generally they give pretty good results and represent excellent value for money.

Such is the case with the Nikon 18-55mm zoom that came with my Nikon D5100, but I have noticed recently that photos taken with this body/lens combination started to appear soft and not all of the image was in focus a lot of the time.

Then I noticed that the focus barrel on the lens was suffering from some serious wobble. Over time the wobble was so bad I thought I might be able to use it as a tilt-shift lens! There was also a slight rattling sound coming from somewhere inside the lens.

Suspecting the worst I saw dollar signs flashing in front of my eyes thinking I would have to buy a new lens.

But sanity prevailed and a Google search suggested that it is not an uncommon fault with the 18-55 zoom amongst others, and better still there is an easy fix for the problem..

So I am indebted to Stephen Villagrasa who posted this video on YouTube showing how to put things back to normal.


Being a dismal damp and cold day today, I decided to sit down and crack the lens open and put it to rights. It took me all of ten minutes! And after the quick repair, both the zoom and focus functions are working much more smoothly than they were.

A few photos taken from our front porch show that the lens now appears to be working normally. Yay!

Raindrops on roses
Roadside wheelie bins

This last pair of images – taken at the wide 18mm setting – show before and after photos of the view looking across to the park from our front door, plus the effect o using Luminar 3 for image adjustment/correction.

[twenty20 img1=”4895″ img2=”4891″ offset=”0.5″]

It never ceases to amaze me how well modern image processing software can compensate for lens distortion.

All corrections/adjustments were made to RAW files (Nikon’s RAW files are NEF files) using Luminar 3 – an inexpensive package I love and highly recommend.

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