Is my lens broken? Or just broken?
June 30, 2011 9:59 AM   Subscribe

I think my camera lens is broken. Is my camera lens broken? Image (and more information) within.

So, I was on vacation last week, dutifully snapping some photos when I noticed a CRACK in my camera lens. Or, well, not the lens, but the lens body.

It's a Canon 28 - 105mm 1:3.5 - 4.5 II USM lens. It's difficult to notice when the lens is fully "retracted", but when it's extended all the way it looks like this

Now, I'm not a serious photographer, really - it's just a hobby - and when I looked at the photos I took, they all seemed to look OK - but with a crack like that I'm concerned about... well, all sorts of stuff - I'm concerned with stuff I don't even know if I should be concerned about.

I mean, should I just replace it? Is it likely to cause light pollution or something as light works its way behind the lens? Or could the glass shift position if it's not anchored by the plastic properly? Could other horrible things happen? Is it more likely to show up with long-exposure/night photography? Should I just keep taking pictures until I start to notice bad stuff? I'd rather it didn't fail on me in the field.

Hey, thanks for all your insight and advice!
posted by kbanas to Technology (7 answers total)
I'd say you will be more worried about dust getting into places you can't clean, than in light leakage. Second worry would be that the crack messes up internal alignment such that you can no longer change focal lengths, but looking at this guy's dissection of his broken lens of the same model I think that is less likely.

Your bigger problem is that cracks never shrink, they only grow. Sometimes slowly, sometimes very quickly, but always growing.
posted by nomisxid at 10:39 AM on June 30, 2011

Best answer: I'm a professional commercial photographer. Camera/lens damage rarely becomes cheaper with time. If you can afford to, it would be best to have it repaired as soon as possible. Dust, sand, moisture, etc. may all be able to enter the lens through the crack and with use, grind away at the glass & seals.

Some damage can be temporarily sealed with gaffer's tape, but this is more of an "oh sh*t" field fix than something you could work with in the long term.

You may want to check in with the camera shop that sold you the lens to see if they have an in-house repair department or alternatively, a CPS account. The latter may mean your lens could be repaired by Canon HQ.
posted by muirne81 at 10:41 AM on June 30, 2011

Best answer: The latter may mean your lens could be repaired by Canon HQ.

Even if you are dealing with Canon directly as a hobbyist rather than a pro (CPS) they easy to work with. I have dealt with their NJ service center a couple of times and turnaround time was surprisingly quick. So definitely look into getting it fixed before dust, water, and so forth get in and render it unrepairable. I have also heard some people claim that when you get a camera (or presumably lens) serviced by the manufacturer everything is adjusted by hand to the proper specs so that a recently serviced item may actually perform better than one off an assembly line.
posted by TedW at 11:07 AM on June 30, 2011

Best answer: I can vouch for the wonderfulness that is Canon service. They're lovely, really. So easy to work with, and the turnaround is very quick, as TedW says.
posted by cooker girl at 11:15 AM on June 30, 2011

Response by poster: I could go look (and will!) - but is there a warranty on these things? I have to imagine I bought this particular lens in 2008.
posted by kbanas at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2011

Best answer: but is there a warranty on these things?

Probably only one year. You may be able to contact Canon with the serial number for more details.

TedW is correct - Canon is pretty great to deal with and at least in my experience with CPS, lenses come back in excellent shape. You may want to contact them directly just to see what kind of options you have.
posted by muirne81 at 11:35 AM on June 30, 2011

Response by poster: I contacted Canon. I paid $230 for the lens back in January of '08, and they want $120 to repair it out of warranty, which is pretty good, I think, so I went ahead and went through the repair process and now just have to box the thing up and ship it off. Thanks for the help, all!
posted by kbanas at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2011

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