Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8G VRII and Dust
I have a new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII that I bought from Adorama three months ago. I've only had a chance to use the lens twice since it arrived. I just examined the lens and see a spot of dust on one of the internal elements. It is closer to the edge than the center. I believe the dust spot arrived with the lens, but it never occurred to me to examine a new lens closely for dust.
On the one hand, I know this will not affect the photographs, but on the other hand I am not happy with a spot of dust on the inside of a new $2,400 Nikon lens. If there is one spot of dust now, I suspect others will follow.
I've already registered the lens and it is three months old, so I don't think I can return it for a replacement. Does Nikon USA consider this something that falls under the warranty?
Has anyone else seen dust on a new Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G? If so, what did you do about it?
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#1. "RE: Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8G VRII and Dust" | In response to Reply # 0WildIsle Nikonian since 06th Jan 2010Sat 30-Mar-13 11:30 AM
Dust in zoom lenses is a fact of life, plain and simple and you are right, there's more dust to come, you'll have to get used to it.
I've had my share of it but only once in an EXTreme case (long term, frequent use in a sandy environment) did I bother having it cleaned and even then the Nikon dealer kinda shrugged off the need.
Personally I wouldn't give it another thought.
#2. "RE: Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8G VRII and Dust" | In response to Reply # 0agitater Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sat 30-Mar-13 12:45 PM
I've never seen a zoom lens, new or used, that didn't have some dust particles of one sort or another on at least one of the internal elements.
The act of zooming pumps small amounts of air in and out of the lens barrel. The best lenses, including your 70-200 f/2.8, have some degree of reliable weather sealing. But such seals can never be perfectly air tight, so dust makes its way into the lens barrel. Unless the internal elements are almost literally coated in dust, none of it will show up in photos and none of it will in any way degrade the quality of your images.
Lens makers don't guarantee that lens elements should be free of dust particles because such particles make no difference to image quality. Lens makers strive to ensure that no 'pollutants' of any kind are trapped inside the lens when they're first assembled at the factory. But even the act of testing a zoom lens before it's packaged at the factory can pump dust into the thing. It's unimportant. I echo what Philip said - use the lens, enjoy it, and forget about the dust particles.
#4. "RE: Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8G VRII and Dust" | In response to Reply # 3agitater Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 31-Mar-13 11:39 AM | edited Sun 31-Mar-13 11:44 AM by agitater
>Thanks for the information. I thought only push-pull zooms,
>like my old 80-200mm f/2.8, were susceptible to dust.
I think you've raised an interesting point that touches on more than just lens dust.
There's no doubt that dust pumping might seem a bit counter-intuitive. Instead of movement of an outer barrel section though, consider it in terms of groups of internal lens elements being moved back and forth through a column of air for the purposes of zooming and focusing. Even though a non-push/pull barrel design has fairly convoluted paths for air ingress, the pressure change caused by fast focusing or fast zooming can occasionally draw in dust. High-use zoom and prime lenses also generate a few small particles internally because of very gradual wear on the gears and tracks used by the autofocus system. Lens design for the past 40 years or more has been good enough to dramatically reduce drawn-in dust problems and dramatically reduce the shedding of internal bits due to wear. But eventually, particulates build up and a high-use lens will then need some TLC at an authorized service center to clean and calibrate the thing.
I've seen consumer lenses used moderately and regularly for ten years or more that still had too little internal dust to merit a cleaning. I've seen pro lenses used very heavily for only a few months that were internally polluted beyond easy description (though image quality still didn't seem to be noticeably affected), and which needed a complete overhaul.
Then there are the really good mid-grade lenses (such as a 16-85 I saw two years ago) which after a very heavy use trip to Baja and the rally racing tour (about two weeks of very heavy use) was basically gritted up to the point of complete seizure. The photographer was not cleaning her gear each day, she was sloppy with lens changes, and the result was a dead lens and a camera mirror box that was effectively coated with sand and grit - jammed mirror, scratched OLPF, scratched focusing screen, jammed shutter. Nikon Canada (in Mississauga) fully overhauled both the D300s and the 16-85. A much more lightly used 70-200 f/2.8 VR (first edition) on the same trip fared quite a bit better, because the photographer was blowing it clean and wiping it down after each shooting session, and then sealing it into a good lens bag. I don't know why she wasn't treating the 16-85 the same as the 70-200, but that's the way it goes sometimes.
My own 80-200 f/2.8 that I've used on & off for about fifteen years has only been in to Nikon Canada twice for cleaning and calibration. The first time was about 7 or 8 years after I first purchased the thing. The service technician at the counter looked at the lens and said, "I'm not really sure that it needs a cleaning. How's the focusing? Everything okay?" When I responded that it seemed "pretty good still" the technician asked me approximately how many shots I'd made with the lens. When I replied that I thought it had been something like 5,000-7,000 shots (between film with my F100 and digital with my D100 and D200), the tech kind of shrugged his shoulders and asked me if I really thought that spending $350 on a full service was okay. By then I'd talked myself into the service so he went ahead with it.
I bring my heavy-use DSLR bodies in for overhaul (which includes calibration) every two years and my heavy-use lenses in for overhaul (which includes calibration) every three years. Don't know why, exactly - I just do it. I've convinced myself that it's good preventive maintenance. I've talked at length to five photojournalists in recent years and I noted that only two of them were concerned enough about lens dust to regularly have their main lenses overhauled by Nikon or Canon. All of those PJs use their gear very hard - no babying or cradling of lenses while they're working on an assignment or a project. Hard use means everything from riots to active combat zones to crowded event/exhibition floors to political rallies. Dust and heavily polluted air environments (occasionally toxic), very high numbers of photos, banging, bumping, scraping and bouncing, fast and rough lens changes under the pressure of the moment, and a few other things that are inappropriate to describe here. Pro glass holds up well. The lenses don't look pretty and the front elements are quite often startlingly messed up, but the lenses function perfectly well. Those PJs clean their lenses daily, and are meticulous about eliminating grit, dust, grease, oils, splatters of all kinds and anything else that might, maybe, or even merely vaguely possibly contribute to a lens failure in the middle of an important moment.
None of those PJs look for internal dust more often that once every few months or so (if ever), because internal dust is not what hurts (or even affects) image quality in any way. I believe it's perfectly possible for a lens to become so internally polluted with dust that image quality would be noticeably affected, but it's also likely at that point that the lens would no longer zoom or AF properly either. I've never actually seen such a situation directly.
I hope these observations are of interest and of some help to anyone who is concerned about lens dust.