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Canon EF 16-35mm F4.0 USM autofocus “clicking” in video

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I recently picked up a 16-35mm F4.0 for video. It’s a fantastic lens, but in video there is a very strong clicking noise whenever the lens focuses. As in, the lens focuses, then slows to stops then moves a tiny bit more in very short intervals which results in this clicking sound. It’s so pronounced that when I use a videomic pro, it ends up in the audio. 

I went to the store to try a few other models to make sure mine isn’t just a nugget, but all of the 16-35mm F4.0 I tried have the same problem. Some a little bit less, but it was still there. 

The store clerk first didn’t believe me and had to press his ear onto the lens to get what I was talking about, but then told me the USM motor is older and wasn’t made for video, so older generation lenses might have this problem, but I never heard or saw anyone else complaining about this. 

Here’s a audio sample I recorded with the videomic pro (mounted on the hotshoe, not facing the camera): I sat in front of the camera (EOS R), locked onto my face with face tracking and moved slightly back and forth repeatedly to force the lens to refocus. Then took the audio and cranked up the volume to make it more clear what I’m talking about. The actual clicking is of course not this loud and more subtle, but it’s still there. 

Audio file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/sizx9ujo8io8ovj/lensclicking.mp3?dl=0

 

Anyone else here got this problem or has a solution? Do newer USM lenses like the 16-35mm F2.8L family have the same issue? Does it have something to do with the camera I’m using? (DPAF w/ EOS R)

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The solution is to not use camera-mounted microphones. Even STM lenses create enough noise to be picked-up.

It's fine in a pinch or for sync audio but if you're trying to produce real content, it's time to move the microphone(s) off-mic.

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