SoCalBob 3:10am, 31 March 2008
I wanted to post this here because I know many group members use the very popular Nikon 18-200 VR lens in conjunction with their D80s. One enduring complaint about this lens, mentioned repeatedly on Flickr and elsewhere since it first came out, is the very annoying "zoom creep" that afflicts the vast majority of samples of this lens.

Most of us who love the versatility of the lens learn to live with the annoying creep. But the creep had really progressed beyond simply "annoying" with my lens, which I've used for more than two years. So today I finally did something about it and managed to solve the problem.

NOTE: This zoom creep fix is neither new, nor something I just invented. It's been around for awhile, usually employing gaffers tape.

Since gaffers tape isn't something you can just walk into any store and buy, although B&H does sell it -, I took a trip to Home Depot and found a 1"x30' roll of 17 mil Gorilla Tape for $2.79 in their masking tape section with the paint supplies.

Gorilla Tape is cloth-based, relatively thick at 17 mil, with an adhesive that sticks to anything, tolerates temperature extremes well, and stays in place.

Back home, as I recalled reading descriptions of on other websites, I applied a 1x1-1/8" strip of the Gorilla Tape to the bottom of the larger (nearest the camera) barrel of my fully extended lens as shown here:
Creep Fix 1

Here's a closeup of the application:

Creep Fix 2

Apply the 1" wide side of the strip of tape as close to the zoom ring as possible, or even a bit beneath it, and cut it to a length of 1-1/8" to extend out along the barrel as shown.


My zoom ring resistance is now a bit stiff, especially in the 70-135mm range, but that's certainly preferable to the loosey-goosey, free-turning zoom with the awful creep that I had before.
rich_gersh PRO 10 years ago
I seem to remember reading something on DPReview about a fix with one of those large, thick rubber bands that come wrapped around vegetables like broccoli and asparagus, but can't seem to find it now.
-jase- 10 years ago
You should never put tape on your lens like that. It will flake off, or shred and fall into the lens itself. Then you have pieces of junk inside your lens. Great.

If you want something to stop the creep, place one of those yellow Lance Armstrong live strong bands around the zoom ring. You know the ones people wear around their wrists? It will hold the ring snug preventing it from turning.
rich_gersh PRO 10 years ago
Yes, ka-boom!! That was it. The vegetable rubberbands work, too.
SoCalBob Posted 10 years ago. Edited by SoCalBob (member) 10 years ago
@ka-boom!! - Never fear, I will be monitoring this fix VERY closely for any signs of flaking, shredding, peeling, etc. It is a solution that quite a few other folks have employed very effectively with no long-term adverse consequences.

The original post where I got this idea last March is on the Nikon Cafe website here:

Via email Birger, who posted this, indicates that he has employed this fix for the lens effectively since last March without any adverse effects.
Fried Toast PRO 10 years ago
I was going to try this fix last year and, after consulting a local photographer, I gave up on this idea as we'd both come to the same conclusion. It's a gamble. We all have to make decisions on what to gamble on. This was one that I wasn't willing to try, but apparently it works well for others (with no apparent side-effects). On the other hand, there are probably things I'd do that those same people would not do to their cameras.

So we all have to choose what we want for our cameras. There never is a one-size-fits-all solution for anything.

While I didn't opt for it, I want to thank Bob for bringing the subject up again (and providing personal experience regarding it).
level house [deleted] 10 years ago
If the tape was Duct tape, I would agree; but I've used gaffers tape (among other high-quality tapes) for hundreds of impromptu uses in the theater world before with few mishaps.

Worth a shot, as well as its well monitored.
skypecaptain PRO 10 years ago
How about drawing a thin line of epoxy and let it dry. That should never come off and couldnt introduce residues into the lens body.
It might decrease the resell value but then who will sell his wonder lens anyways? :-)
btw after one year of use my 18-135 starts to creep slightly once in a while
vigorous room [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by vigorous room (member) 10 years ago
I have been using a nice soft cotton stretchy wrist sweat band ,I have had a few comments from those who see it .

I also cut a section from a beer can /drink cooler , that worked fine ,the thinner the wetsuit material the cooler is made from ,,the better ? Good quality wetsuit materials have a stretchy material on one side ,good grip .....

Not going to stick anything to my lens ,,,,sorry Bob .

I am still working on a viable fix thats cheap ,non damaging ,easy to remove / fit and looks good .

Also trialing some black 3/4 inch wide elastic material (the stuff that holds your undies up ), sewn into a band and fitted over the moving rings ....not bad so far .

But I like my sweat band best ,Im going to get one made up much narrower in black with NIKON embriodered on it in GOLD .

Taking orders ?
*labaronesa* PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by *labaronesa* (member) 10 years ago
Thank you, gentlemen. I feel vindicated now. I've suggested using the bands in several threads to the amusement of some others. A friend gave me one in black but I can't find it, may not look great, but it works. Another thing that works is a thick ponytail hair band that can be bought (in black) at Target in the hair accessories area.

So here's another question about the tape: I was going to put some on my camera to cover the Nikon name when I travel abroad. Do you think that will also flake and go into the lens, or because of a lack of movement it should be ok?
[ Noktor-Matic ] 10 years ago
wow!!your 18-200VR is japanese made!
lol nice!!
i guess you got one of the better ones haha
whats your filter?
it looks a little too big to be a UV filter
maybe it is
vigorous room [deleted] 10 years ago
hairband sounds great .

Get some Canon decals that should fix the security thing overseas?

Not happy with Tape ,but good quality electrical tape would do for awhile . PRO 10 years ago
The other fix I've tried blows. Basically, it involves an O-ring in the seam between the zoom ring and the middle of the lens barrel. The O-ring itself twists, creeps, and slides around. I tried a black pony-tail rubber band with similar results. So... I just live with the creep.
*labaronesa* PRO 10 years ago
Get some Canon decals that should fix the security thing overseas? :-)

Thanks...I'll use some electrical tape.

Perhaps the hairband wasn't tight enough. I've never had that problem. You might want to try a different kind. Next time I'm at Target, I'll see the name and type I get.
slick1ru2 10 years ago
I have 2 old mid 80s Minolta camera bodies that have gaffers tape on them. I read in the 80s to put it on the bodies because it protects them and if traveling in third world countries they look broken and worthless. Anyway, its 25 years later, and they have been packed away in closets and even a garage,and the tape did not fall off. Trying to get it off was a little of an ordeal though. The adhesive got hard and had to be chipped off.

I think I will live with the creep.
debonair throne [deleted] 10 years ago
I got dust in my lens without the tape idea. Does not seem to be a problem, but there is dust inside the lens. Anyone else have this?

Maybe I should take it back to Nikon for a clean.
SoCalBob 10 years ago
@slick1ru2 - That's a very good point about the adhesive on the tape hardening over time and becoming difficult to remove. With the kind of tape fix I propose, it would probably be a very good idea to replace the tape periodically so that doesn't happen (and the tape is cheap). That's what I plan to do because the fix works very well. - That issue of dust inside the lens is really another subject. But yes, the very long movement of the lens barrel and elements when zooming in and out with 18-200 is known for sucking dust into the lens because the lens acts as a bellows. This can be minimized by zooming slowly, and a small to moderate amount of dust inside the lens does not adversely impact image quality. However, if you have a ton of dust inside it and notice degradation in the quality of your photos, it's time to send it to Nikon for cleaning.
winkysan1941 10 years ago
Does everyone have a zoom creep problem with their 18-200mmVRs? If so, does anyone know if Nikon is doing anything about it?
I have been thinking about getting one of these lenses too and now, I don't know.....but it does seem that the good qualities with this lens outweigh the creep problem. Seems I got some thinking to do.
calvin_gsc PRO 10 years ago
Nope, Nikon has never addressed this problem. I bought mine a couple of months ago, and it still does creep. Apparently only the earlier batches of Made in Japan lenses were the only ones without this creep issue. Mine's made in Thailand.
*labaronesa* PRO 10 years ago
The good definitely outweighs the bad. It is a fabulous walk-around lens for traveling and a day out.
SoCalBob Posted 10 years ago. Edited by SoCalBob (member) 10 years ago
@winkysan1941 - I've been keeping informal track of this for two years now, and to a greater or lesser degree the zoom creep problem seems to afflict about 95% of the samples of this lens. A statistical minority (probably about 5%) of samples exhibit no creep at all. The vast majority creep to some degree, ranging from mild to moderate. On the other end of the bell-shaped curve that characterizes typical production sample variance is another 5% with severe creep.

Nikon typically will not correct the lens creep problem under warranty, stating that a lens that creeps is still within production tolerances, and the creep is within normal limits for a consumer lens of this type.

However, it is undeniably a very fine, extremely versatile lens that is on my camera most of the time, creepy or not. I continue to recommend it very highly to anyone who wants this unique kind of all-purpose lens.

As *labaronesa* says, it's the perfect one-lens solution to 90% of your average photographic needs.
vigorous room [deleted] 10 years ago
I trialed these ideas............
Black clothing elastic
18-20mm VR creep bands (1)

Friendship rings
18-20mm VR creep bands (2)

Drink cooler cut to size .
18-20mm VR creep bands

Sweat band
18-20mm VR creep bands (3)
stoney_runes 10 years ago
@scoti49: which one worked the best?
*labaronesa* PRO 10 years ago
Where's the pic with the ponytail band??
calvin_gsc PRO 10 years ago
I fix mine with a rubber O-ring which I picked up from a hardware store.

vigorous room [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by vigorous room (member) 10 years ago
*labaronesa* says:
Where's the pic with the ponytail band??

WELL what a disaster that was, I went to take the ponytail band from out of my own ponytail ,my toupee slipped off , fell in the kitchen sink ,got caught up in the garbage disposal ,burnt out the motor ,blew all the power in the house and half the neighbourhood ,and left me naked from the forehead upwards .

Sorry any more bright ideas Missy ?

I do like that `O` ring idea

The one that works best is the sweat band , it looks like I could start a trendy new trend in `Lens Wear` ,just like those `Leg Warmers` the Female Stars wear ?

Im still working on other ideas ,but I like that O ring one ,simple ,cheap and it wont cause so much friction and possible wearing off of the Gold paint ?
*labaronesa* PRO Posted 10 years ago. Edited by *labaronesa* (member) 10 years ago
Oh....several...and I can't wait to share them with you!!! ;-)

If we all put a sweat band on our lenses, it would be like a secret handshake....we'd recognize each other as a kindred spirit no matter where we were.
calvin_gsc PRO 10 years ago
Using a sweat band is so bulky and I feel you don't get much control out of it.
Tony Cyphert PRO 10 years ago
I've never had any zoom creep with my 18-200 as long as I keep it at 18mm. Zoom out to take a pic and close it back down when I'm done. I have to admit the sweat band idea sounds kinda cool though.
Curtis Joe Walker PRO 10 years ago
Tony Cyphert at closed (18mm) the lens won't creep. It's only when partly zoomed that the problem occurs, which would be a big problem if you were shooting a plate of food on a table with the camera pointed 45º down towards it, or any similar situation.

I like the banding idea more than the tape on the tube for some reason. That said, I just got my 18-200 in the mail on Friday and it seems to have no creep issue yet. I don't know if it is because the lens isn't broken in yet, or if Nikon actually addressed the problem. I've played with looser lenses, for sure. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
calvin_gsc PRO 10 years ago

Once your lens has been "conditioned" Then you might start noticing the creep. It took mine a month or two when it started creeping on me.
vigorous room [deleted] Posted 10 years ago. Edited by vigorous room (member) 10 years ago
*labaronesa* says:
Oh....several...and I can't wait to share them with you!!! ;-)

If we all put a sweat band on our lenses, it would be like a secret handshake....we'd recognize each other as a kindred spirit no matter where we were.

We could meet in Paris ,I would recognise you by your D80 Lens Wear sweatband and that secret handshake .

My hand is shaking typing this ,be still my beating heart !

calvin_gsc says:
Using a sweat band is so bulky and I feel you don't get much control out of it

calvin ,its either trendy or it dont work ,now what do you want ?

Curtis ,,,please dont fret about it its not a HUGE problem,as you say at 18 its cool ,but its a thing that Nikon wont address so we are worikng on it ................
Rangefindergeneral 10 years ago
I wonder if Nikon will start making sweatbands to fit or will Tamron make a cheaper lighter one out of plastic?
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