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Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR: Is It Prone to AF Motor Failures?

With the loaner Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR that I have from a reader, I let him know today that the lens focusing motor is making a lot of noise, and feeling clunky (not sure how to describe it exactly). Which makes me wonder if the 80/1.7 is prone to problems.

I recalled from several weeks ago that Roy P had similar sounding issues he had mentioned to me, and I inquired today as to what had happened with his 80/1.7. He responds:

It started with making motorboat-like grumbling sounds when trying to focus.  This was not the same as the rattling you hear from the 110/2 when power is off - the 80/1.7 did not make that rattling sound.  This was when the camera was powered and I was using it.  At first, I thought it was a noisy AF drive and I was surprised it made so much sound, since AF tends to be pretty quiet in most cameras.  And all my other GF lenses were very quiet, so I started wondering if there might be an issue with my copy of the 80/1.7.

As I continued to take some test shots, the condition got worse.  The lens started to continue hunting for focus even after first acquiring focus. So I used to see the target come into focus, but then the lens take it out of focus and keep hunting, as it kept making the noise.  It got to the point that if I clicked at precisely when I saw the subject come into focus, I could grab a shot in good focus, but even that got to a 50-50 proposition.

I was getting ready to send it back anyway, but I had a lens that was very sharp and based on a bunch of photos from a distance of about 200-300 feet, it seemed very symmetrical.  So I was reluctant to ship it back, and I spoke to the Fuji tech support people to see if there was any firmware update that might fix it.  They told me it sounded like a hardware problem, so I finally sent it back.

I am seeing excess noise while using the lens, including weird activations of the AF motor in manual focus mode as well as some hunting that seems strained in some way. It is still good enough to use and the focus is stable once acquired, but it’s really disturbing, making me think it’s going to wreck the focus.

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