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11-09-2010, 07:54 PM - 1 Like   #1
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SDM response from cameralensrentals

I am thinking about buying a K-5, so I have been doing some lens planning, and I have been concerned about the reports of SDM problems, so I sent the following email to cameralensrentals.com:
Have you found the Pentax SDM lenses to have higher failure rates than other Pentax lenses and lenses of other brands?
Their response was they had problems with some 50-135's when they first came out, but that since then they "have not had to send in any lenses for repair to to being non-functioning from the Pentax line."

I followed up with an email asking their OK to refer to their response in online forums. The woman with whom I was communicating said it was OK to do so, "as it is the truth LOL." She also wrote, "When the 50-135s first came out I think we ordered 5 or 6 the first week and 4 of them were not good copies. They were replaced right away and have had no problem since then, so it was a production problem I would assume."

I am posting this not to discount the problems that people have had with their SDM lenses, but to provide another data point.

Jeff


Last edited by Jeff Charles; 11-09-2010 at 07:59 PM. Reason: clafification
11-09-2010, 09:43 PM   #2
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Yup, it seems that the SDM failure issue has been resolved. The next step is to speed up SDC- which the DC motor in the 18-135mm will hopefully accomplish

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11-09-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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All brands of ultrasonic focus system lenses have failures.
But Pentax did go through a tough time with their SDM lenses initially, and it does appear as if there are fewer complaints of SDM failures.
So don't let those initial hiccups get in the way of you getting the fine DA* glass available...
11-10-2010, 12:08 AM   #4
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I own the 50-135 and it's a really fine piece of lens. First trying it out, it really opened a new world for me.

I had an early copy - and yes... I had SDM failure after about 1 year. Replaced the SDM-engine 2 month ago and it costed 150 euro including everything.

But I belive and they've solved the problem with the early SDMs. I've friends with early SDMs that hasn't had any problem now nearly 3 years later.

So a DA* is highly recommended - and let's say that you can expect a failure after 5 years... then 150 euro isn't a that high price for what you get. Other brands reports failure of their AF-engines as well.

11-10-2010, 12:15 AM   #5
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I believe Pentax has fixed the SDM reliability problem, but it has not yet addressed the performance. It's my experience that SDM lenses are slower than some non-SDM. They're quiet, yes, but slow. I sold the 50-135mm since it was too slow for me. I got the FA 77mm and recently acquired the FA 50:1.7. While I have not had a chance to use the FA 77mm much to comment on its AF performance, the FA 50:1.7 is one of the fastest Pentax AF lens I've ever used.
11-10-2010, 04:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vtqanh Quote
I believe Pentax has fixed the SDM reliability problem, but it has not yet addressed the performance. It's my experience that SDM lenses are slower than some non-SDM. They're quiet, yes, but slow. I sold the 50-135mm since it was too slow for me. I got the FA 77mm and recently acquired the FA 50:1.7. While I have not had a chance to use the FA 77mm much to comment on its AF performance, the FA 50:1.7 is one of the fastest Pentax AF lens I've ever used.
Those who have used the 50-135 with screw drive and compared it to SDM say that it is equivalent as far as speed. The speed issue with the DA * zooms has to do with a combination of a longer focus throw and heavier lens elements, particularly compared to a small prime lens. SDM is no faster or slower than screw drive on a given lens.

Pentax seems to want to give good manual focus ability to auto focus lenses and in so doing, really slows down their auto focus ability. They just need to make short focus throws like the DA 40 has and their auto focus times will improve significantly.
11-10-2010, 05:22 AM   #7
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I moved this to the Lens section as the discussion is really about the AF drives in lenses and not about the K-5.
11-10-2010, 05:51 AM   #8
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Funny story about AF speed...

I'm one of a few Pentax shooters here at work. Most people shoot Nikon, with the occasionnal Canon.

A few weeks ago I brought the WR kit lens, F50 f1,7, and DA21 LTD at work. we started talking about AF speed, so I put on the kit on my K20D, and asked a Nikon friend to focus. He couldn't believe the speed (and had a hard time believing that lens was a KIT lens, given the build quality). I smiled politely and had him try the DA21 and F50...

Let's just say this guy will never claim Nikon has the fastest AF around.

11-10-2010, 07:23 AM   #9
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Thanks

QuoteOriginally posted by mel Quote
I moved this to the Lens section as the discussion is really about the AF drives in lenses and not about the K-5.
Thanks. I posted in the DSLR section without thinking.
11-10-2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by peteng Quote
I own the 50-135 and it's a really fine piece of lens. First trying it out, it really opened a new world for me.

I had an early copy - and yes... I had SDM failure after about 1 year. Replaced the SDM-engine 2 month ago and it costed 150 euro including everything.

But I belive and they've solved the problem with the early SDMs. I've friends with early SDMs that hasn't had any problem now nearly 3 years later.

So a DA* is highly recommended - and let's say that you can expect a failure after 5 years... then 150 euro isn't a that high price for what you get. Other brands reports failure of their AF-engines as well.
Thanks for the info
03-29-2011, 05:04 PM   #11
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I'd love to believe this points towards reliable SDM, but looking at their site it seems like they only have maybe one copy of these lenses. Maybe I'm wrong but when lenses are flagged as "returning 3/9/11" or "in stock" that makes me suspect they only have 1 or maybe 2 copies.

Lensrentals which publish lens reliability information wont publish stats on a lens unless they have at least 9 copies.

In other words, the comment from this company carries no more weight than an individual user of a lens here.
03-29-2011, 05:24 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by peteng Quote
I own the 50-135 and it's a really fine piece of lens. First trying it out, it really opened a new world for me.

I had an early copy - and yes... I had SDM failure after about 1 year. Replaced the SDM-engine 2 month ago and it costed 150 euro including everything.

But I belive and they've solved the problem with the early SDMs. I've friends with early SDMs that hasn't had any problem now nearly 3 years later.

So a DA* is highly recommended - and let's say that you can expect a failure after 5 years... then 150 euro isn't a that high price for what you get. Other brands reports failure of their AF-engines as well.
Yes they do. There is a lot of complex technology in modern lenses. If they were built to last forever....we could not afford them.
03-29-2011, 08:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I'd love to believe this points towards reliable SDM, but looking at their site it seems like they only have maybe one copy of these lenses. Maybe I'm wrong but when lenses are flagged as "returning 3/9/11" or "in stock" that makes me suspect they only have 1 or maybe 2 copies.

Lensrentals which publish lens reliability information wont publish stats on a lens unless they have at least 9 copies.

In other words, the comment from this company carries no more weight than an individual user of a lens here.
But even if they only have one copy (the way they answered the original question it sounds like they have more than one?) it's probably safe to say it'll see way more use (and abuse?) than the average user will ever subject his 50-135 to...
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