The strange case of the weird rattling noise

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Troy, NY
(cross posted M43)

I enjoy “messing about with cameras.” Give me a free moment or two, and I’ll fiddle with settings, plunge into menus, take a picture of my feet, the reading lamp, the plant across the room, the dog’s ear, the feeder outside the window.


If you’re old enough to have shot film when film was the only choice, you know why. Back then, in the before-you-take-the-shot phase of photography, there were only three choices: aperture, shutter speed, and whatever film you decide to load.

But now it’s an entirely different story. There are dillions of choices, combinations and permutations of settings, controls, knobs and dials, software switches, and menus choices enough to make a statistician’s head pop. It’s possible to invoke conditions and behaviors in today’s modern digital cameras that you don’t know how to “un-invoke,” causing a frantic search for “reset all.” (And this isn’t a theoretical construct, I’ve had to completely reset cameras on two or three occasions.) I figure if I fool around long enough, there's an outside chance I might actually understand what I am doing.

The above is simply a prelude, an intro, to what happens next.

I was passing my desk last evening when I noticed my OMD EM5 II sitting there with the 14-150 II attached. When I picked it up (I can’t remember now what I intended to do with it), and as I raised it, I heard a very faint click-click.

Hmmm. I don’t remember it doing that before. I wiggle it. Click-click. I check to make sure the UV filter (there to protect the lens) is tight. Yes it is. I power up the camera, give another little wiggle. Click-click. Zoom all the way out. Click-click. Full wide. The same.

Could something have gotten loose inside the lens? A couple of test shots appear to be sharp, bright, in focus. I double check the tightness of the protective filter. Still snug.

I search my brain: could this click-click have been there all along and I simply didn’t notice it? Highly unlikely . . . one of the things I love about Olympus gear is that it feels rock-solid, professional quality, suggesting high reliability. (Except, of course, for those stupid eyecups on the OMD EM5 and OMD EM5 II . . . but I found a solution to them slipping off . . . a small strip of black masking tape over the top of the eyecup and onto the faux pentaprism stops the eyecup from running away and looks okay on a black camera.)

Nevertheless, I put the camera away for the night. In the morning, the click-click is vexing me like an itch I can’t reach. I grab the camera and wiggle it again. Click-click. I detach the lens and wiggle the camera body. No noise. I wiggle the detached lens. Click-click. I detach the filter and wiggle the lens. No noise.

I wiggle the detached filter. Click-click. Really?!! How in heck does a filter rattle? Further investigation reveals the glass part of the filter is loose inside its mount. I squint at the assembly. There is a notch in the ring above the filter glass. I stick the point of a gel pen in the notch and rotate the ring clockwise. After about a quarter turn, the entire assembly tightens up and the click-click has gone away.

The strange case of the weird rattling noise has been solved.

Cheers, Jock

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