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12-02-2010, 04:29 AM   #1
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Updated Versions of DA* lenses without SDM?

With all the unreliability of the SDM DA* lenses, is it expected that Pentax will update these lenses with non-SDM versions? If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a lens I want to know it will still be working in 10 years if it is taken care of, and SDM doesn't seem to cut it. So, can we expect an update/replacement? Optically the reviews are fantastic, and after a lot of research it sounds as if their weather sealing is as good as it gets, it is just the motor problems that make me way too nervous to buy one.

Thanks for any input -LE

12-02-2010, 04:32 AM   #2
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This year was the year of the bodies (k-r, k-5, 645d) so next year maybe lenses? We can hope
12-02-2010, 05:11 AM   #3
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I was talking to my local Pentax rep about this very thing. Apparently, the number of lenses that have gone back for repair of SDM is actually quite low in comparison to the number of them sold.
I have heard fairly reliable reports that SDM lenses that are used on a daily basis don't break, it's the ones that sit for months on end that have problems.
12-02-2010, 05:41 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
With all the unreliability of the SDM DA* lenses
The end of that sentence should be, "which has fallen back under control and has not been a real issue for about a year"...

12-02-2010, 06:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I was talking to my local Pentax rep about this very thing. Apparently, the number of lenses that have gone back for repair of SDM is actually quite low in comparison to the number of them sold.
I have heard fairly reliable reports that SDM lenses that are used on a daily basis don't break, it's the ones that sit for months on end that have problems.
That's just what I'd expect a sales rep to say. Reliable reports demand hard evidence and how much of that can anyone point to?
12-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
With all the unreliability of the SDM DA* lenses, is it expected that Pentax will update these lenses with non-SDM versions? If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a lens I want to know it will still be working in 10 years if it is taken care of, and SDM doesn't seem to cut it. So, can we expect an update/replacement? Optically the reviews are fantastic, and after a lot of research it sounds as if their weather sealing is as good as it gets, it is just the motor problems that make me way too nervous to buy one.

Thanks for any input -LE
I was thinking along the same lines b4 purchasing the 50-135mm lens. I rented it first for my daughter's dance in terrible light conditions. The pics dont look that great on the lcd screen of the camera but when I opened it on the computer, I knew I had to buy the lens. I decided to take a chance but got an additional 3 year warranty for pretty cheap. Not had any problems with the SDM so far-about a year. I really wanted to buy the 16-50 also after using the 50-135 but the former is somewhat heavy to be a frequently used lens so that is the only reason I have yet to buy that lens. I am waiting for more reviews of the newest sigma 17-50

The reality is that if you wait for an 'update to the SDM' how long can you afford to wait?
12-02-2010, 07:16 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I was talking to my local Pentax rep about this very thing. Apparently, the number of lenses that have gone back for repair of SDM is actually quite low in comparison to the number of them sold.
I have heard fairly reliable reports that SDM lenses that are used on a daily basis don't break, it's the ones that sit for months on end that have problems.
I use(d) the DA*16-50 regularly, in one word: often.

My first such lens was sent back during 2009 for repair and was actually replaced with a new one.
This last "new" one was sent for repair just last week after it started to squeak and hunt.

I don't know about the stats regarding the percentage of returns for repair/replacement but my guess is that it is low.
Unfortunately for me, it has been a 100% return rate.

If anyone tells me that the new series, from 2009 onward, has been better, I would certainly disagree.
Talking with a Pentax rep around here is a Mission Impossible; at best, Canadians can always TRY to get someone on the phone either in Montreal or Toronto, and I tried that to no avail.
Wheatfield: if you have a Pentax Rep number which I can call, I would appreciate that you pass it on to me.

To the OP: this is a great lens, don't get me wrong, but whether you will get 10 years out of it is another story.

JP
12-03-2010, 06:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I have heard fairly reliable reports that SDM lenses that are used on a daily basis don't break, it's the ones that sit for months on end that have problems.
But then almost all of the new lenses would have problems since they sit in store for months (or even a year) before somebody buys and starts to use them.

12-03-2010, 09:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I was talking to my local Pentax rep about this very thing. Apparently, the number of lenses that have gone back for repair of SDM is actually quite low in comparison to the number of them sold.
I have heard fairly reliable reports that SDM lenses that are used on a daily basis don't break, it's the ones that sit for months on end that have problems.
The problem is, I don't use my DA* 300mm lens every day. For that matter, I don't use the 17-70 everyday either because I don't like zooms that much and got it strictly for events. So that comment sounds good on the surface but "the ones that sit for months" sounds dodgy as hell.
12-03-2010, 09:35 AM   #10
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I originally bought the 50-135 two years ago. After using for a year, I liked its IQ so much that I decided to sell my Sigma 17-70 in favor of the Pentax 16-50mm. I bought it last spring used and have been very happy with its performance. I would add, the 50-135 does sit for months sometimes because I am busy taking wildlife pics with the Bigma and (knock wood) I have not had any issues with SDM going to sleep. I would like to see Pentax update their DA* lenses to something different. But, I also read quite often about Nikon and Canon lenses having bad motors as well. It really seems that one of the downsides to incorporating electronics into the lenses is a more problematic service life. You could probably use a SDM lens for 20-30 years or more if you chose to manually focus it. I would guess that as a manual focus lens, they are as reliable as any old M or K series lens. There is a cost to the focusing technology.
12-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #11
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I have both DA* 16-50mm and 50-135mm lenses which by all accounts more prone to failure. The 16-50mm was replaced at the beginning... but has been holding up so far, knock on wood; 50-135mm never had problems. These two lens get used whenever I can but not as much as the FA limited.

Because of the potential SDM issues, these two lenses are really a bargain for the price comparing to equivalent lens in the Canikon world. The optics and coating on these lenses are really good, especially the 50-135mm. If I didn't have these lenses, I would get them now despite of the potential issue, and hopefully the problem comes before warranty expires.
12-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #12
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If DC motors are faster (if not as silent), I would be fine with them switching SDM for them. Of course, we have no real idea if the DC motors hold up any better long term than the SDM motors do. Often, the new thing seems better, just because it is new.
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