Is Your Camera Lens Zoom Stuck? – Here’s How to Fix This Common Issue

Is Your Camera Lens Zoom Stuck? – Here’s How to Fix This Common Issue
Dustin Olsen

Is your camera lens zoom stuck? This is a pretty common problem for photographers who travel a lot or who frequently perform outdoor shoots.

Camera lenses are pricy investments, and it can be quite a heartstopper to see your favorite lens malfunction. This can be an especially huge issue if you are smack in the middle of a photo shoot and don’t want to miss any important shots.

In this guide, we will look at the best ways to repair your camera lens all on your own without causing damage to this delicate instrument.

Why is My Camera Lens Zoom Stuck?

Camera lenses can get stuck for a number of different reasons, including dirt and deposit buildup, physical damage to the lens, and even a lens that is too old or has a defect. Below, we go over these issues in detail.

Dirt and Deposits

The most common cause of a stuck camera lens is dirt or sand. These deposits can get stuck in the zoom ring and cause it to jam. This common issue can be repaired at home with minimal disassembly and the help of a brush or vacuum cleaner crevice tool.

The Lens was Dropped

If your camera lens’s zoom function stopped malfunctioning, then the chances are pretty good that some of the metal rails inside might have gotten bent. This type of issue is a little bit more challenging to repair, especially if the lens falls from a significant height.

The Lens is Worn Out or Flawed

In the case of older lenses, it might be that the components have become worn down after many hours of frequent use. If this is the case, the metal rails inside the lens have likely become worn or bent and the lens will need to be taken apart and repaired.

For brand-new lenses that become stuck, there could be an issue with the manufacturing, and they should be returned for repairs or a refund.

Should You Repair the Stuck Camera Lens Yourself?

Is Your Camera Lens Zoom Stuck? – Here’s How to Fix This Common Issue

This might depend on the type of lens you have and the date of purchase.

If your camera lens is still under warranty, then it is always best to send it to professionals for repairs and cleaning. High-end camera lens brands like Canon lenses often have an extended warranty of up to five years. 

With these types of lenses, you can get them fully restored by professionals no matter how big or small the issue might be. You likely won’t have to pay for the repair or replacement.

For cheap lens brands and camera lenses that are no longer under warranty, you can attempt to repair them on your own. This is because some camera repair centers and technicians can charge quite a lot to repair lenses since these tasks are quite labor intensive and spare parts can be hard to come by.

With that said, it is probably still best to send it to professionals if you know that you dropped the lens because there could be extensive damage that you cannot repair on your own at home.

How to Fix a Jammed or Stuck Camera Lens

There are quite a few different methods that you can try if your camera zoom lens gets stuck. With all of these methods, it is very important to be very careful with your device. Camera lenses are delicate instruments that can develop problems if they are not cared for properly or if they are taken apart by someone who doesn’t know how to handle these devices properly.

Here is a quick look at some of the best things you can do if your camera lens becomes stuck.

Check the Batteries

The lens won’t function properly if your batteries are drained. Check the battery life by trying a fresh set that is charged to full capacity. Alternatively, you can remove and re-insert the batteries just to make sure that there are no battery issues.

Reset the Camera

DSLR cameras can sometimes malfunction if they are over-used. You can try to reset the camera the same way you would reset a smartphone or computer if it starts to malfunction. Turn off the camera and remove the batteries from the slot. 

Wait a minute and return the batteries so you can turn the camera back on again. Now test to see if the zoom lens is functional or still jammed.

Check the Warranty

The very best thing you can do if an expensive and high-end camera lens becomes jammed is to check its warranty coverage.

It is always best to send your camera lens to professionals for deep cleaning or repairs. But this can be pricey if your lens is no longer under warranty.

Quality camera brands like Canon, Nikon, and Sony often offer warranties for many of their cameras and accessories.

Check the purchase dates of your camera and the warranty duration. If the warranty is still in place then you should send the lens to a repair shop. This way, you won’t have to pay for repairs and you can possibly get a brand-new lens should there be significant damage to the zoom lens.

It is very important not to do your own repairs on a lens that is still under warranty. This will void the warranty and could cost you the opportunity to get a replacement lens if it is significantly damaged.

If the lens is no longer under warranty, then you can attempt to fix it all on your own.

Add Light Pressure to the Lens

When zoom lenses normally expand, the mid-lens barrel sections will lightly rotate. If the lens is stuck, you can lightly rotate the mid-section by pulling or pushing on it (depending on whether it is already expanded or still contracted).

This can be risky which means you need to be very careful and delicate when doing so. Too much force could bend the components. You should push or pull very gently while trying to expand or retract the lens. This could loosen up some lodged dirt particles that could be the root cause of the problem.

Remove Dust and Stuck Deposits

Is Your Camera Lens Zoom Stuck? – Here’s How to Fix This Common Issue

If you used your DLSR lens outdoors then the chances are pretty good that there could be some sand particles stuck in the lens components.

You can clean the camera lens by using a hair dryer or air blower, or vacuum cleaner. The blower should be put on cold air at a low-blowing or low-sucking setting. Try to blow into the lens barrel and all around the apparatus, or use a vacuum cleaner to suck out dust and deposits.

You can also use a lens cleaner brush or soft bristle brush and brush around the lens circumference to remove deposits and dust.

Take the Lens Apart

If you are a skilled photographer and are quite confident in your abilities, you can attempt to disassemble the lens for thorough cleaning. Bear in mind that interchangeable lens cameras are complex devices that consist of multiple components. It can be difficult to properly re-assemble your lens if you are not too familiar with these devices. This could end in disaster if you cannot put it back together again.

Gently take the lens apparatus apart. There should be two metal rails within the lens that allow the zoom lens to contract or expand. Check these rails for dust particles and inspect these areas for bends or dents.

These rails are removable, but it will take a little bit of force to get them out. Hold these lenses straight and place them inside the lens. If there was a jam due to clogging or bends, then this should clear the jam out.

Final Thoughts

If your camera lens zoom is stuck, then the best thing you can do is send it in for repairs or cleaning, especially if your lens is still under warranty. To save time on repairs, you can try a couple of DIY restoration hacks that we covered in this article. 

If the camera lens is very old, it can be a good idea to experiment a little bit with cleaning or taking the lens apart so you can expand your photography skills and learn to solve the problem independently.

We hope this guide helped you clear up your lens zoom issue so you can get back to your favorite hobby and take some great close-up pictures.

If you’re looking for other great photography and camera care tips, then you should look at some of the other guides on Camera Guider. With our guides, you can learn more about the latest and best camera gear and find all sorts of useful hacks that can improve your photography skills or help you take much better care of your expensive equipment.

Is Your Camera Lens Zoom Stuck? – Here’s How to Fix This Common Issue

Dustin Olsen

Mastermind behind When no one is telling me what to do or where to be, you'll find me outside (hopefully flying my drone) soaking up some sun.