Why Does Your Lens Rattle? Do You Need to Worry?

| Last Updated On: June 18, 2022
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What is Lens Rattle

If you own a camera and you have been taking pictures for a good chunk of time, then it is safe to say that you may have gone ahead and heard some rattling noise that is coming from the lens.

This is normally called lens rattle, and it is something that has confused and, honestly, scared a lot of people over time, but the question here is that what exactly is lens rattle to begin with.

Do not worry; it is not something that is going to kill your lens or camera, but we are still going to take a look.


What’s That Rattling Sound Coming From Your Lens?


Okay, the first thing that you need to understand is that lens rattle is something that is completely normal; the rattling or clunking sound that you hear is nothing to worry about.

It is just the image stabilizer disengaging from the optics after it has managed to stabilize the glass elements in the lens. So, what you are hearing is just the rattle from that, and it should not be a worry to anyone, to be honest.

image of a 35mm fujinon lens

However, in some cases, you might be hearing the rattling coming from the lens even when it has nothing to do with the image stabilization system, and if that is something that you are experiencing, then it is more than likely the auto-focusing system or the aperture changing mechanism.

I understand that when you are a beginner, things like that can be scary, but after going through the usage case, it never really is something to be concerned of.

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The Reason For Lens Rattle Is Image Stabilization


Honestly, I cannot stress this enough but having a lens that can go ahead and stabilize the image is more or less a blessing because a stabilized lens will allow you to shoot better in low light, not just you will also be able to shoot some excellent footage. However, not every lens is stabilized, and the ones that are; are happen to be more expensive than normal.

However, that should not really stop us from going ahead and experimenting, right? With that said, the lens rattle that you are hearing is basically the image stabilization mechanism disengaging from the glass elements of the lens, and when that disengaging happens, you end up hearing a rattle, which should not be a concern at all.

Another cause for the rattling sound could simply be the autofocusing system because some lenses do happen to have a louder AF system, and that is fine, to be honest. Therefore, it is always better to keep in mind.


The Nikon Autofocus System Noise


One can simply not deny the fact that the Nikon camera and their lenses are excellent in almost every regard. To a point that almost every one of us have experienced their lenses to some extent, and that certainly is a good thing and the way to go.

With that said, if you are dealing with one such lens, then it is safe to say that you may have experienced the autofocus system noise.

image of Nikon D810 Camera
Image Credits: Gift Habeshaw

The noise is often called the autofocus drive noise, and it is something that you cannot really avoid if you are using your lens on autofocus. Turning it to manual will get rid of the noise but will leave you with a much more difficult control over focus.

Needless to say, there is nothing to worry about here, and that is what we can guarantee.


The Canon Autofocus System Noise


Just like Nikon, Canon is also really, really famous and well-versed in making both lenses and cameras, and over the past couple of years, the company has managed to create some really amazing lenses.

image of A Canon DSLR on desk

I still remember when I got my hands on the EF 50mm f/1.8, and that was my first experience with a proper lens, and the autofocusing noise scared the life out of me. I spent at least 2 hours trying to figure out what was happening until I realized that it was just the STM function working.

So, yes, lens rattle is just as common when you are talking about canon cameras, and honestly, after years, I can confidently tell you that it is never an issue.


Why Does There Sometimes Be A Rattle-Like Noise?


If you have been wondering just why the rattle-like noise takes place, to begin with. It should not be complicated at all, to be honest. A lot of times, people have little to no understanding of it. Thankfully, it is not that complicated.

For starters, like I have mentioned before, the rattle happens when the autofocusing mechanism is working. Additionally, it also happens when you are shifting the aperture.

Not to forget, another reason why the lens rattle happens is that the image stabilization mechanism ends up disengaging once it is done doing its job. This is not at all something that is going to be scary.

So, if you have been worried about lens rattle coming in the way, I can assure you that this is not going to be an issue for you.


Is Lens Rattle That Big Of An Issue?


Now that we are heading towards the end of this article, we are going to talk about whether or not lens rattle is that big of an issue. To be honest, it is not at all an issue, so you do not have to worry about it. Always know this before you proceed.


The Internal Parts Rattle When I Move The Lens. Is It Broken? Can I Fix It?


If you are moving the lens and you can hear some rattle, chances are it is just the mechanism in it, especially if the lens is working perfectly fine.

However, in case it is not working fine, and there are some rattling noises, you might have to go ahead and get that fixed. I would never advise anyone to attempt the repairs on their own as that can damage the lens.

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Wrap-Up:

The point here is that if you have been looking for lens rattle, the chances are that they are rattling because of the internal mechanism, and there is nothing really to worry about.

However, if the lens has malfunctioned in general and you will have to find a workaround and potentially take the lens to someone who knows how to make the fixes you want.

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