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07-04-2015, 07:09 AM   #1
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18-135mm WR won't focus to infinity?

Hey Pentaxians,

I got a kit lens with my original purchase of a K-5 about a year ago. Once or twice during a trip out west, I noticed that it didn't seem to be focusing properly. When autofocusing on something far away, the picture would turn out blurred. Even turning the focusing ring didn't help any. I tried turning all the way to macro, then back, and seemed to help, because I don't remember of a problem after that. That was several months ago. Now just in the last couple of days, it's started again! I can't focus all the way to infinity, even if I try to manually focus! I can't make it focus, no matter what I do, and that's rather disturbing... Nearly all the photos that I took are blurred, but every once in a while it will work correctly. I don't know what to do, and I'm away from home, without any other lens but a 55-300, so I need to figure out what's going on! Does anyone have any advice?

07-04-2015, 07:32 AM   #2
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Clean the contacts on both the lens and the body, use a lens cloth, alcohol if you have any available and makes sure you apply just a little to the cloth. Also make sure the focus lever is all the way in position, they can get nudged to where they are sitting between settings and strange behavior can happen.
07-04-2015, 07:36 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by 12345 Quote
I tried turning all the way to macro, then back,
Just to be sure we are talking about the same lens, there is no 'macro' setting on the 18-135? Perhaps you mean minimum focus?

Anyway, when you press the button to focus can you hear the lens trying to focus? Feel it try to move at all? I assume you tried the 55-300 and it does work?

A couple things to try:
1) Move the AF/MF switch on the camera back and forth several times and make sure it is solidly in AF not stuck part way between.
2) Using a soft microfiber cloth buff the contacts on the lens and camera to make sure they are clean.

The 18-135 has been a very reliable lens but my wife's exhibited a similar behavior and was sent in for repair. It stopped focusing and even though the focus ring would turn manually it was not actually moving the lens elements. Long story but after three trips to the repair shop Ricoh eventually sent her a new lens as her's was deemed unrepairable. If you are on a trip and need the camera the only suggestion beyond the above is finding a local source for a 18-55 or similar inexpensive lens to tide you over.
07-04-2015, 07:37 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion, I shall try, but like I said, it affects the manual focus too, so it can't merely be a dirty contact issue. The original problem was on a K-5, but this last incident was with my K-5 IIs, so it's not even a camera body issue either!

By focus lever, do you mean, the MF/AF switch?

---------- Post added Jul 4th, 2015 at 10:51 ----------

QuoteQuote:
Just to be sure we are talking about the same lens, there is no 'macro' setting on the 18-135? Perhaps you mean minimum focus?
Yes, minimum focus. I think macro, because even though it's not called a macro, it is really quite a nice little macro lens for butterflies, etc.

I tried switching the MF/AF switch, but it didn't seem to help any. Usually when that happens, the lens was focused quite far away already, so I don't really remember of hearing the lens trying to focus. Autofocus works just fine, it's just out toward infinity when the focus acts up, whether AF or MF.

07-04-2015, 03:47 PM   #5
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My 18-135 started behaving like this a few months back. Its way out of warranty and does not do it all the time, so I have been scratching my head with what do with it (I live in NZ).
Like you, even manually focussing it does not reach infinity, so I'm pretty certain its not electrical. I have not been able to work what triggers it to happen because it seems to occur fairly randomly. My only guess is there is something internally that is loose, sticky or has some play. Lately it has been behaving Ok and in any case I have not been using it that much.

Often (but not always) zooming the lens to 135 then back to 18mm a few times clears the problem for me. Other than that, when I need longer focus points, I have resorted to stopping down to f11, in manual focus (at "infinity" or as near as it will do).
07-04-2015, 09:51 PM   #6
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Thank you @kiwi_jono for your advice! I find it comforting that someone else has had this issue, so I'm not the only one...

If it tries to do that again, I will certainly try out your suggestion!

Thank you again! Have a good Lord's day!
07-05-2015, 01:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 12345 Quote
Thank you @kiwi_jono for your advice! I find it comforting that someone else has had this issue, so I'm not the only one...

If it tries to do that again, I will certainly try out your suggestion!

Thank you again! Have a good Lord's day!
You are welcome - pity you have the problem too. I am interested to hear how you go.
I have just been shooting with my 18-135 and its not playing up at all!
07-06-2015, 07:47 AM   #8
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Curious if either of you feel a 'bump' or small slight protrusion under the zoom ring while turning it? It is very slight but noticeable. This became present when my wife's 18-135 failed to focus and is not present on the replacement lens. I do not recall it being noticeable on the failed lens prior to it failing. Wondering if something gets broken or misaligned internally that either results in the problem or is another symptom.

07-20-2015, 01:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Curious if either of you feel a 'bump' or small slight protrusion under the zoom ring while turning it? It is very slight but noticeable. This became present when my wife's 18-135 failed to focus and is not present on the replacement lens. I do not recall it being noticeable on the failed lens prior to it failing. Wondering if something gets broken or misaligned internally that either results in the problem or is another symptom.
Not in the case of my 18-135. Seems fairly smooth zoom through the range - it has a bit more resistance as it moves through the range but this seems to be proportional with the amount of barrel extension.
07-20-2015, 07:17 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Not in the case of my 18-135. Seems fairly smooth zoom through the range
Not resistance. An actual 'bump' a protrusion that can be felt through the rubber of the zoom ring. It felt as if something had broken loose and was pushing out against the inside of the zoom ring. It was present on the bad 18-135 but is not on the new one. Zoom function was always smooth despite the 'bump'.
07-20-2015, 08:21 PM - 1 Like   #11
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My 18-135 lens developed the same problem. I was unable to focus to infinity at the wide end. When I lightly pushed the barrel in, the lens would achieve infinity focus. I took the lens apart and found one of the barrel extension screws had come loose. I tried to tighten it but it was stripped so I glued it in place with JB Weld. It has been working well for a few months since the repair.
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