My go-to lens for the past three years has been the Nikon 18-200mm f3.5mm-5.6mm DX VR Lens. I paid just under 900 dollars for it. It’s been worth every penny. Sharp as a tack, and relatively fast with quick auto focus, it lives on one of my cameras. I never remove it. On my last trip to New York, it was the only lens I took. Talk about traveling light! I’ve never had a moments trouble with it until recently when I started to notice the dreaded Zoom Creep. Never heard of it? If you own a zoom lens, it will eventually reveal itself. All zoom lenses that have loose turning actions will mostly likely develop it. It’s quite annoying. You’re walking along with camera and lens hanging around your neck; gravity causes the lens to slowly extend until it’s at its maximum length and thumping against your chest. Some lenses have a lock switch that prevents the lens from extending. Mine doesn’t. It can be more than just annoying. Often loose turning zooms will extend when aimed up or down messing up your focus. What to do? While there’s always gaffer’s tape, I found a better answer at the produce counter in the supermarket. I bought a bundle of fresh asparagus spears held together by a very attractive lavender rubber band. When I got home and removed the rubber band, it looked to be the perfect diameter and width to put on my lens to keep it from slipping. I slipped it on the lens barrel allowing one section of the rubber band to extend onto the extension section of the lens. It worked. I was right pleased with myself and had dreams of marketing this little fix until I came across a product called Lens Band. A synthetic band, wider than the common rubber band, it comes in a variety of colors along with black. I’m sure it works great…maybe even better than my asparagus rubber band rig and it probably looks better. Frankly, I don’t mind a little band of lavender on my lens. It kind of dresses it up. I admit though, I did turn the rubber band inside out so as to hide the words “Fresh Asparagus”. If you don’t care to have a produce rubber band on your zoom, just google “Lens band” online and order one. They go for 4.99 each plus shipping.
Now for the rest of the story. No sooner had I solved my Zoom Creep than another problem popped up on my 18-200. The rubber grip on the lens focus ring had stretched out. It looked like a wet noodle. I found another asparagus rubber band in our Kitchen catch all drawer (every home has one…right?) and that seems to have tightened up the focus ring to take out the slack. I started to wonder if Nikon makes a replacement. They do! I found one at uscamera.com. Search for Nikon Replacement zoom ring rubber grip. $7.75 each. And one last tip, if you don’t eat fresh asparagus, think about putting it in your diet. It’s real good for you and it can be pretty good for your lens too. Bon Appetite! See you next time on most of this same blog.