Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 noisy after getting wet

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by pcg, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. pcg

    pcg New to Mu-43

    Mar 3, 2014
    Yesterday my EM-1/12-40 Pro lens combo got wet for the first time. Not soaked, but I was outside in a dripping forest for a few hours on a windy, misty, 40 deg day. I shielded the camera when I could, but it was hit briefly several times with light rain, and I was zooming the lens in and out a lot.

    When I got home it I dried everything off as best I could, zoomed the lens all the way out, and left it on my desk to dry. This morning all appears fine except now when I zoom the lens in and out I hear and feel a very subtle dry scraping sound that wasn’t there before. Noisy is a bit of an exaggeration and it doesn’t sound like there is dirt or grit inside the movement or anything like that. However, before when I zoomed the lens in and out it was absolutely quiet and felt silky smooth, now it feels and sounds like two clean smooth dry (non-lubricated) surfaces sliding fairly quietly across each other.

    Should I be concerned that some sort of lubricant has washed away? That’s what it sounds and feels like.
    Is there any way I can restore it to its pre-rain state of silky-smooth silent movement?
    Has anyone else experienced this?
    Has anyone zoomed their 12-40 in and out a lot while wet and NOT noticed this afterwards?
    Should I send this back to Olympus for warranty service?
  2. BobbyTan

    BobbyTan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 26, 2013
    Long Beach, CA
    Wow … you have me worried now. Oddly enough, I was shooting last weekend in a drizzly condition i.e. it wasn't pouring, so I wasn't worried as the lens is supposed to be weather-sealed. Just checked the zooming and I noticed a muffled scraping noise too. The thing is, I really don't know if it was making a similar sound before, so I have nothing to compare it to. I guess I could go down to a store to check and see if another copy makes a similar noise. Turning the camera on and off makes no difference - the noise is exactly the same. Anyone else having this "problem"?
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    I've wondered about weather sealed lenses that extend when zooming (e.g. O12-40/P12-35, versus something like the O12-50)... there are gaskets sure, but the extending barrel could collect debris/soluble residues (e.g. salt) that rub up against said gaskets when zooming once dried. Perhaps that's what's making the noise?
  4. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    Good reason for an internal zoom in a weather sealed lens, like the P35-100.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Sounds like some of the rain that fell may have had a bit of pollution in it. I had that happen with a cheap nikkor zoom years ago.

    That may have eaten away at the grease used in the zoom mechanism that keeps it smooth. Often a special grease is put in the zoom mechanism to smooth out the plastic-on-plastic friction and make the zoom mechanism feel more "viscous".
  6. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I just checked mine after reading this, but I can't remember what it sounded like before. It is noisy but not enough for me to notice it before, I mean since that walk

    Freezing temperatures by savingspaces33, on Flickr
  7. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Mine has the (same?) grind noise when zooming in and out. It had that straight out of the box though. Since all of my other zooms are smooth and silent I already wondered about the "noise" and planned to record it and upload the sound file here in the forum. Haven't found the time to do so yet, however.

    Maybe others have recorded their "zoom noise" already? Googeling for the Oly 12-40 and grind/zoom noise didn't turn anything up, though.
  8. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Here is a recording of my Oly 12-40 zooming in and out a couple of times (maybe you have to turn the volume up).

    I used the lens quite a bit in the last time and didn't bother with the grinding noise. Recording the noise and "listening" to it, I have the impression that it is less "grindy" then when I took the lens out of the box.

    View attachment Objektiv.mp3
  9. pcg

    pcg New to Mu-43

    Mar 3, 2014
    Thanks for posting the audio file and yes, that sounds just like what I am hearing now, but never heard until after the lens got wet and was then dried. I guess I am left with three thoughts...

    1) I miss the silky smooth movement it had before, a minor aesthetic loss I guess.
    2) I'm wondering if the lens is less weather-proof now that it appears to have lost some sort of lubrication that might have helped to seal out moisture.
    3) What should I do, if anything, about it?
  10. MacBook

    MacBook Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 24, 2010
    South Carolina
    Mine is new (3 weeks old), never been in the rain, snow, ocean, forest, river, or on a mountain, and it sounds just the same, as do some other zooms (such as the 40-150).
  11. pcg

    pcg New to Mu-43

    Mar 3, 2014
    OK, well that is encouraging. I will ignore the noise from now on unless I hear otherwise. Thanks everyone for your comments.
  12. shizlefonizle

    shizlefonizle Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 21, 2012
    I have the same noise but I think its common in any extending zoom
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