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08-06-2010, 08:12 AM   #1
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SDM: Do current models still have issues?

I have been dreaming about the DA*50-135mm for some time now, but I have read many posts which discuss the dreaded SDM failure/irregularities issue.

I was wondering if I bought a new lens now would there be less chance of these issues occuring? Has Pentax addressed this issue in any way? Have people found that once they had their first SDM fail did the replacement work properly?


08-06-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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From what I've read of the many threads on this issue, my general impression are that:

1. no one really knows if Pentax has fixed this problem.
2. when it gets repaired it seem to solve the problem, but not always.
3. when SDM gets used it seems not to fail. it seems to fail more when it's not used.

I also have the impression that if it fails one is more likely to write about it than not. For example, I have a DA*16-50 and a DA 17-70 both SDM. They are my best lenses and get a lot of use. I have had no problems with either of them at all for almost 2 years now. Are they ticking repair bombs, or did I just get lucky? Don't know but if they fail they will be repaired because they are really excellent lenses and my photography is built around them. Personally, I would have no problem getting another Pentax lens with SDM.

Last edited by blackcloudbrew; 08-06-2010 at 09:07 AM.
08-06-2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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Since the SDM problem was never acknowledged by Pentax openly, there is no official answer to your question.

Supposedly they have made changes to the SDM so it should be more reliable. It is your choice, really.

I can speak for myself in saying that I sold all my SDM lenses and acquired the FA trio which is a must if you have the $$.

If you plan to use the DSLR for covering events and other situations where a zoom is needed, go with SDM, but try to get them under warranty, for peace of mind.

My two cents
08-06-2010, 12:32 PM   #4
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I am not buying any new SDM lenses until Pentax explicitly announces an improved version of SDM, say, SDM II.

This should be a must even for Pentax if it plans to drop the screw-driver support in their new bodies.

08-06-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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I was also hoping that Pentax would release an SDM II. At least then it would be an "official" way of not acknowledging the problem, but offering a solution.

It seems extremely strange to me that Pentax have approached this problem so lightly. I am no engineer or technitian, but I cannot believe that the mechanism cannot be updated in some way to address this. I think for the time being i will continue to avoid SDM. Shame... I really wanted that 50-135.
08-06-2010, 06:58 PM   #6
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Ben Kanarek had his SDM motors replaced and was told that they have been updated and are stronger now than before. His 16-50 had failed and he went ahead and the motors on his 50-135 replaced at the same time. There is no official word on it however and if the motors have been jazzed up, no one knows when, so you wouldn't really know if the lens you are getting has new or old motors.

Just get the lens you want with an extended warranty.

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