tory_heaslop wrote:At no point does it go to 3.5. Only to 5.6. My understanding was the this lense would go to 3.5...
It will only go to f/3.5 on the wide end of the zoom. Try setting the focal length to 18mm and the aperture should open up to f/3.5 when adjusted.
If you've adjusted the aperture while shooting at 55mm, then set it back to f/5.6, it won't automatically open up to f/3.5 as you go back to the wide end of the zoom - the camera remembers being set to f/5.6, not being in some kind of 'max aperture mode'. If it won't go to f/3.5 while the lens is set to 18mm, it sounds like the aperture mechanism in the lens is probably buggered. Not a common occurance, but not unheard of either, it normally wouldn't adjust either way wider/smaller if this is the case - it'd normally just be stuck.
If the lens/aperture is working correctly - AFAIK, if you set the aperture to f/3.5 on the wide end, it should go back to that when zooming in and out - UNLESS you adjust the aperture while shooting with the zoom extended (as per above). Hope that helps.