I'd take it to a shop, but I'm in Queenstown, New Zealand. I noticed it because my shots were overexposed. I checked out the body and even posted for ideas in D800. Then I asked myself if a lens could cause the overexposure. Of course, the answer, only if the aperture is sticking. So I looked and sure enough. I have blown air in the slot by the lever and worked the lever, but it is still sluggish and sometimes sticks. What if I put a tiny drop of machine oil beside the lever? Or just WD40 the *&^%.
Sorry to hear of your problem. DO NOT use oil or WD40!!! I would not blow air in the lens either. It will make the problem worse and more than likely coat the lens elements with oil and cost you more to fix. Send it to Nikon Service or a Nikon Authorized Service Station. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
This happened to me a week ago while on a theatrical shoot. It went off to Melville (One of Nikon's US repair facilities) the next morning. I've got another shoot tomorrow nite and I'll have to use the 24-120 f/4…
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I tried to buy a 24-120 in Queenstown, but they couldn't get it until friday and at 2300 NZ$. Even at .82 exchange rate, I opted for a 50 1.8 and get the 24-70 fixed when I get home. I will still probably buy the 24-120 to travel with the 16-35 and 70-200. It's a more manageable kit than 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200. Lot of plastic in those f4s making for lighter load. Also less heartburn when I get hit by a big wave or end up in a dust storm or bushfire. All have happened on this trip.
Waves? Dust storms and bush fires? I think I am seeing a thread that may explain your lens problem. I'm not trying to be facetious or pedantic, but you are shooting in some pretty extreme conditions and I think, should probably expect some of the trouble you are experiencing. After you get your camera situation taken caer of, you may want to consider your own safety! BTW, some of the "next level" lenses don't have the same weather seals you now have. Good luck and good shooting! Take care of your cameras AND yourself!