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12-26-2010, 05:20 PM   #1
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Buy an SDM lens recently?

Hey all,

I'm really being torn in two by my desire to buy a DA* 50-135. On paper it's perfect. Seeing the https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/106166-da%2A-5...at-can-do.html thread makes me drool. But the whole SDM issue just won't seem to go away!! It's SO frustrating.


I'd also eventually like the DA* 16-50 and DA* 60-250.

So, has anyone purchased an SDM lens recently? If so, are you just hoping that the SDM issue is fixed? Did you purchased an extended warranty (which one)? Do you just not care if it breaks?

I've seen this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/126676-my-16-5...ive-motor.html... it sounds good... but...

Why doesn't Pentax just pull their head out and give people some info?!?! Don't they realize how frustrated people are?!?! They must be loosing so much business due to not letting people know what's going on with the SDM issue.
</rant>


(How much does it cost to get the SDM fixed if your warranty is over?)

12-26-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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Hey Greg,

I just bought a new DA*50-135 from Adorama in December. I did not get an extended warrranty. I'm super interested in the 16-50 as well as the 200, but for now, my 50-135 is treating me well! I hope the problem has been solved, and I did go back and forth a while trying to figure out if I wanted to buy an SDM lens or not. In the end, it's on of the best lenses you can get for a Pentax, so, it wasn't really a question.
12-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #3
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Greg:

I believe the SDM issue is about dead; has been pretty much everywhere BUT in the lens forums where it gets beaten and churned over again. I have both the 16-50 and a recently purchased 50-135, and I love both these lenses. Now, that said, the 16-50 which I bought use some time back WILL lose it's mind every so often and has to be gently rocked through it's focal range to wake it up.... but it has been on three different Pentax bodies for me and has done a great job.

The 50-135 was purchased last month and has been flawless. The SDM has been perfect and has never been an issue.

Someone posted elsewhere here on PF that they heard that Pentax is using a NEW SDM motor, and that the vast majority of the SDM problems could be tracked to an old style motor not in supply anymore. It was only one report so it can't be taken as gospel, but I tend to believe that the problem has been addressed (quietly) by Pentax.

So unless you buy a used 16-50 of unknown origin and age, I think you can stop wringing your hands over it and get yourself some DA* goodness!

One of the downsides of forums like this ... old fears, doubts and uncertainties never seem to go away! I'll bet a sawbuck we'll be calming people down about stained sensors well into 2012!

best,

germar
12-26-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
The 50-135 was purchased last month and has been flawless. The SDM has been perfect and has never been an issue.
Wow that's great. My brand new car works flawlessly too. Must mean they're all perfect and will remain so forever.

QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
Someone posted elsewhere here on PF that they heard that Pentax is using a NEW SDM motor, and that the vast majority of the SDM problems could be tracked to an old style motor not in supply anymore. It was only one report so it can't be taken as gospel, but I tend to believe that the problem has been addressed (quietly) by Pentax.
People have been saying that for years. They were saying the exact same thing back when I bought my 50-135mm a year ago. It failed last month. This lens has been on the market for many years. Everyone wishes the issue would get fixed "silently". Every Tom, Dick and Harry who buys a new one and has it working for more than a month starts making the claim that the problem "MUST BE FIXED!"

12-26-2010, 08:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
Someone posted elsewhere here on PF that they heard that Pentax is using a NEW SDM motor, and that the vast majority of the SDM problems could be tracked to an old style motor not in supply anymore. It was only one report so it can't be taken as gospel, but I tend to believe that the problem has been addressed (quietly) by Pentax.
I do want to believe!! But I see a review on Amazon - someone purchased a 50-135 in Feb 2010 and just updated her review to report an SDM failure. Plus two other reviews on there reporting SDM failure - one purchased in 2008, failed in 2009, so that could be from an "old batch" - and one review written in Jan 2010 reporting two failures (the second being the replacement for the first) - but no dates were specified.

QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
I'll bet a sawbuck we'll be calming people down about stained sensors well into 2012!
What the heck is a sawbuck?

Greg
12-26-2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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I purchased the 50-135mm last January 2010 and the 16-50mm in March 2010. I also bought a 3 year extended warranty through Square Trade after hearing all the horror stories of the SDM failures. So far so good, I haven't had a problem with either lens. A lot of the failures seem to occur a year or so later or when the lenses do not get used regularly. We'll see as I hit my one year mark with the 50-135 soon, here's hoping I don't have to use the extended warranty.
12-27-2010, 02:49 AM   #7
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I'm drawn to the 50-135 too but I'm not willing to risk buying a DA* lens until Pentax comes clean on the matter. It's total chicken shit on their part to to not even acknowledged the problem... and now some are suggesting they quietly fixed the problem? Oh puhleeze spare me the delusional optimism! If Pentax had any respect for their customers they wouldn't remain silent on this SDM / DA*issue. As it stands if this is the best they can do, then they should stop making them.

If they acknowledged the problem and announced a solution and backed it up with a warranty on par with what the 3rd party manufacturers offer, then we could buy SDM / DA* lenses with complete confidence. But I for one am not loyal enough to the brand and willing to roll the dice. SDM has a horrific track record.
12-27-2010, 10:15 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by GregX999 Quote
So, has anyone purchased an SDM lens recently? If so, are you just hoping that the SDM issue is fixed? Did you purchased an extended warranty (which one)? Do you just not care if it breaks?
I bought the DA* 300 back in May. I initially wanted to get a F* 300/4.5 precisely to avoid SDM, but when I saw an F* 300 sell on ebay for $1,340, I gave up and bought the DA* 300. Looking back on it, I think I made the right choice. While I wouldn't go so far as to say I don't care if it breaks, I'm resigned to that inevitability. (All in-lens focusing motors will break eventually, the only question is how long they will last before giving up the ghost.) I see it as part of the price one pays for using these otherwise marvelous optics. In paying for a DA* lens, you have to add to the price (1) the cost of an extended warranty and/or (2) the price of replacing the SDM after your warranty expires. That's the real cost of the lens, not the price you paid for the lens up front. If this "real" price is to high, then you should look elsewhere to satisify your LBA cravings.

12-27-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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I own two of the lenses that were supposed to be the biggest culprits: the DA * 16-50 and the DA *50-135. The DA 16-50 had an SDM failure about five months after purchase and was fixed under warranty. I do think the motor is better after the fix and it has not been problematic since (over a year ago). The DA 50-135 is over two years old and has had not a problem a long the way.

I just bought a DA *55 and feel comfortable enough with the situation that I did not get an extended warranty on it.

I do have a feeling that SDM is better. At the same time, Pentax has not (a) admitted that there is a problem or (b) said anything about fixing it. This makes sense, I guess, because if they stated there was a problem and did a recall then they would be deluged with lenses for perceived SDM problems, while if they say nothing and just fix things as they break, then they end up spending less money. You really have to decide if you want the optics of the DA * lenses and if so, what your tolerance for risk is. Everyone of us does risky things every day, if buying an SDM lens is the riskiest thing you do, you are in pretty good shape.
12-27-2010, 01:50 PM   #10
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My experience is only with two of them, 16-50 and 50-135.

I got the DA*16-50 used from someone around here, with its SDM fixed under warranty just a month or so earlier. But its new SDM failed soon after so I got it replaced again under warranty. And then SDM failed again for the 3rd time just after the repair warranty expired. I've been using it on a *ist DS (screw-driven) because the optics on this copy of the lens happen to be very good.

And I got the DA*50-135 new straight from a vendor about a year ago, I think, and that lens has been working great so far, SDM and all.
12-28-2010, 10:01 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
It's total chicken shit on their part to to not even acknowledged the problem.

If they acknowledged the problem and announced a solution and backed it up with a warranty on par with what the 3rd party manufacturers offer, then we could buy SDM / DA* lenses with complete confidence.
Couldn't have said it better. These ARE (supposedly) their "pro-level" lenses after all.

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I see it as part of the price one pays for using these otherwise marvelous optics. In paying for a DA* lens, you have to add to the price (1) the cost of an extended warranty and/or (2) the price of replacing the SDM after your warranty expires. That's the real cost of the lens, not the price you paid for the lens up front.
I guess that's the best way of looking at it. I can see how much extended warranties are on various sites, but does anyone know the SDM replacement cost for an out-of-warranty lens?

QuoteOriginally posted by einstrigger Quote
I also bought a 3 year extended warranty through Square Trade after hearing all the horror stories of the SDM failures.
I've read a lot of good things about the Square Trade warranties. Are they only offered through Amazon? (Good thing Amazon has good prices and return policy.)

Unfortunately, I've read mixed (but more bad than good) reviews of B&H's SageMax plans.
12-28-2010, 11:28 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by GregX999 Quote
I guess that's the best way of looking at it. I can see how much extended warranties are on various sites, but does anyone know the SDM replacement cost for an out-of-warranty lens?
About $280 a shot. I've heard of people having it done on more than one occasion. It only takes 3 such repairs, and the cost of the lens has suddenly doubled.
12-29-2010, 07:46 AM   #13
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Staying on topic

QuoteOriginally posted by Hound Tooth Quote
Wow that's great. My brand new car works flawlessly too. Must mean they're all perfect and will remain so forever.
Hound Tooth, the title of the thread was "Anyone bought a SDM lens recently?"

I have, and that's what I offered here. My new 50-135 has been on the camera since I bought it and it works flawlessly. I can guarantee that sometime in the future it will have an issue. Maybe twenty weeks from now, or twenty years from now. That's how it goes with precision equipment with moving parts. Does that mean I should tell the poster to NOT buy a new Pentax DA* because a relatively small but vocal group experienced a failure? ... not a chance, the glass is too good. If he's the sort of person who can't tolerate the chance of failure, Tamron's 17-50mm 2.8 is a very good lens of similar specs with screw drive. But that wasn't the original topic.

I think the OPs original question was if the SDM issue was still prevalent and should it still be a concern for someone buying a new lens. My opinion is that he should go for it, enjoy the lens and hopefully he'll be one of the thousands of 16-50 owners we never hear from in this forum. You have a differing opinion. It's unfortunate that his thread degenerated into the standard SDM rant about how chicken*** Pentax is for not "coming clean" and handing out free lenses for every out-of-warranty failure. That's been done to death elsewhere.

And to whomever asked: a "sawbuck" is an old term for a US 10 dollar bill. I guess I've watched too many old gangster movies.
12-29-2010, 08:51 AM   #14
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Santa has brought me a DA* 60-250 recently. It is my walk-around lens now

As germar noted, it will break eventually. May be in 6 months, may be in 6 years. When it does, I will still enjoy the photos I made with it.

It is all how you look at it.
12-29-2010, 09:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by germar Quote
I have, and that's what I offered here...
I like so many other people would like to try a DA* lens, however the fact is the SDM issue remains and there's nothing in your post that inspires confidence on what shamefully remains as a serious quality control issue.

By ignoring the issue and remaining silent, Pentax is doing disservice to the brand. Consumers who have chosen Pentax deserve better. When a company won't address well known issues with their products, it's time to look elsewhere.
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