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Nikkor 300mm f/4 AF-S Purchase

Richard Snow , Aug 24, 2010; 06:12 p.m.

First of all, thank you to everyone for the advise you're about to give.

Here's my situation. I have a chance to purchase a USED Nikon USA AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/4D IF-ED for a little bit of nothing. I've shot with it and everything seems fine except for an irritating squeak when the lens auto-focuses. In searching the forums, this seems quite normal for early AF-S Lenses. I'm wondering about two things before I take the plunge and buy this lens.

#1 Can the squeak be fixed and does anyone know how much it will cost

#2 Does the squeak lead to any internal damage within the lens?

Any help would be greatly appreciated


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John W. Wall , Aug 24, 2010; 06:30 p.m.

How long has it been squeaking? Did it squeak when it was brand new? I bought a used 17-35mm that squeaked, also got a very good price, and it didn't affect the quality of the images I got from it. I usually used it in MF mode, though.

I have a 300/4 AF-S that does not squeak. I frequently use it in AF mode, and I'd probably be driven to distraction if I heard a lot of squeaking. You might not mind it in the first 15 minutes of use. But how about by the end of the day? You'd either not even notice it anymore, or you'd be in screaming hysterics. Personally, I would not want a squeaker at any price.

Joel J , Aug 24, 2010; 07:29 p.m.

Squeaking in general is bad. Look at it this way, this is an indication that somewhere in the lens parts that should be lubricated, are not, or parts that shouldn't be touching at all are. I wouldn't touch the lens without first sending it to Melville.

Shun Cheung , Aug 24, 2010; 07:32 p.m.

I bought my gray-market 300mm/f4 AF-S back in 2001 or so for $900. The AF-S motor is still working fine. There has been a thread or two in the last 2, 3 month on replacing the motor on the 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S. The repair cost seems to be around $500. It sure is not cheap. (You need to search for those threads yourself.)

Charles Beddoe , Aug 24, 2010; 07:43 p.m.

The squeak is likely the AF motor. I had my AF-S 17-35 f/2.8 repaired for about $350.
My AF-S 300 f/4 doesn't (yet) squeak.

Richard Snow , Aug 24, 2010; 07:57 p.m.

After extended use today, it seems like the AF is intermittent, mostly when I first use it. The squeak is annoying, but I'm shooting sports with it, so the noise is distracting, but not interfering with anything. I can buy the lens for $400, so any advise if this is a decent deal would be appreciated

John Crowe , Aug 24, 2010; 08:19 p.m.

I have also read the threads that say the noise means absolutely nothing, and the price is hard to pass up. My only concern now is that you say the AF may be intermittent. Do you have an opportunity to use it a bit before buying? Or at least try it out more carefully to see.

Richard Snow , Aug 24, 2010; 09:00 p.m.

Oops... that was supposed to say that the AF SQUEAK is intermittent, mostly when I first start using the lens. After about 10 minutes the squeak goes away.

Shun Cheung , Aug 24, 2010; 09:09 p.m.

The new value for that lens has gone up to around $1300 so that a used one in excellent condition should be around $1000 or perhaps a bit more. Why are they selling it for $400? Is there something else wrong with it?

If everything else is fine, even though you may need to get the motor replaced, it still seems to be a good deal. Just keep in mind that this lens is also a prime candidate for Nikon to add VR, but who knows when that will happen?

Richard Snow , Aug 24, 2010; 09:18 p.m.

Just keep in mind that this lens is also a prime candidate for Nikon to add VR, but who knows when that will happen?

True, I'm surprised Nikon hasn't added VR to this lens yet. Although I will be shooting primarily sports with this lens, you will likely never seem me without a mono-pod, so VR likely won't help me. As it is, I don't use VR on my 70-200 when shooting sports.

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