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24-70 light leak "not a problem with normal shooting" says Nikon USA  
Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | by Rob Galbraith
Nikon USA's stance on a possible distance panel light leak affecting the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED is that it's "not a problem with normal shooting." The company also says that any U.S. owner of the lens may request to have it inspected and "if deemed necessary Nikon will take the appropriate steps to address the issue."

These are the highlights of a statement given in response to questions we posed to Nikon USA last week about the matter, which has been a hot topic on photography forums lately and which prompted several readers to ask for more information.

The full statement is below.

Nikon USA statement on possible AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED distance panel light leak

We have received indications that when extremely bright light strikes the lens while shooting at high sensitivities, light other than that passing through the front of the lens may be reflected. This is not a problem with normal shooting and occurs very rarely under very specific conditions.

We value our customer feedback, and if a user is inconvenienced by this issue, they may request an inspection of their lens. If deemed necessary Nikon will take the appropriate steps to address the issue.


As is common to these types of statements, it's short on specifics. It does appear to suggest that Nikon USA service can determine whether a particular 24-70's light-tightness is as it should be, and if it isn't, adjust the lens accordingly. This course of action is roughly similar to what's outlined in a July 2, 2010 posting in the customer support section of the Nikon Korea website (English translation).

Owners of this lens in the U.S. who wish to make contact with Nikon USA can do so through the company's support channels. If you're not in the U.S. then you'll want to contact Nikon in your area to get the skinny on what, if anything, is being done in response to 24-70 distance panel light leak complaints.

Site co-editor Mike Sturk and I each own an AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. It's a bread-and-butter lens that gets steady use with the D3S and other FX and DX format Nikons. Through the course of shooting assignments or personal pictures, neither of us has seen evidence of the distance panel light leak. We don't intend to have either one looked at by Nikon service.

That said, by placing the lens' distance panel inches away from a 640ws flash and then tripping the shutter, a brightening along the upper edge of the photo is visible. Our results from this experiment are consistent with online examples, though perhaps less severe than some of what's circulating on the Internet.

A low-tech solution is to stick gaffer tape over the distance panel. With the tape in place as shown below, the lens passes our 640ws flash test with flying colours. That said, we're not likely to do even this much, given that we view the real world risk as being minimal.

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Light Bright: The AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and its distance panel, left. The distance panel covered by gaffer tape, right. Click photos to enlarge (Photos by Rob Galbraith/Little Guy Media)

Korean photographer Andy Kim posted a video earlier this month demonstrating how to re-create the distance panel light leak, either by hitting it with 2400ws from a Speedotron pack or by accumulating dimmer light in a long exposure with the camera set to a high ISO.

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