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02-26-2011, 07:02 PM   #1
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DA* 50-135mm failure

This is becoming an annual tradition! Sent this lens in to Pentax Canada about this time last year, and they:
- Replaced Motor
- Replaced PCB
- Replaced Gear Plate Assy.

The SDM has failed again; the lens cannot autofocus at all, on K20, K5. Tried leaving it attached to a powered on camera for a while, no luck.

I think I'm going to ask Pentax for a whole new copy of this lens; are newer units any less likely have SDM autofocus failure?

My other SDM lenses are OK so far. Wish Pentax would allow the lenses to be used as screwdrive in case of SDM failures.

02-26-2011, 07:15 PM   #2
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Just stay calm. Roll it over by your car a few times, hammer it with all your strength, then pack it well and ship to Pentax Japan along with a well written letter. Hopefully they will offer you a brand new copy handpicked fresh from Japan. If that didn't work, just add some corn starch and ship to Pentax USA. When it hits the headline, the higher management will take note.

Last edited by wlachan; 02-26-2011 at 07:29 PM.
02-26-2011, 07:34 PM   #3
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I'm calm, and I'm certainly not going to smash the lens or anything.
Pretty unhappy with my experience with this particular lens. It's frustrating, because it's such a great lens when its working properly.
02-26-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
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If the DC motor is supposed to replace SDM... why haven't they announced it?

This makes me very sad. I'm sorry, you must be so frustrated.

02-26-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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Not good at all. It's a great lens when it works, but your patience must be wearing thin by now
02-26-2011, 08:32 PM   #6
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It's frustrating, but not the end of the world. I've got some other lenses. The DA* 200 is excellent, and hasn't given me any problems at all.

I'm still covered by warranty, and hopefully this'll be the last time I need to send the lens in to repair.

Anyone having better luck? I bought the lens in 2009- are the newer units less prone to fail?
02-26-2011, 08:59 PM   #7
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Hope im not jinxing myself here but i have had mine since june 08 and it rarely leaves my camera. Taken thousands of pics in 3 countries and never a problem. Love it.
02-26-2011, 09:29 PM   #8
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Every reported SDM failure serves as a beacon pointing to the excellent 3rd party alternatives that are backed up with much better warranties.

02-26-2011, 11:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sean Quote
It's frustrating, but not the end of the world. I've got some other lenses. The DA* 200 is excellent, and hasn't given me any problems at all.

I'm still covered by warranty, and hopefully this'll be the last time I need to send the lens in to repair.

Anyone having better luck? I bought the lens in 2009- are the newer units less prone to fail?
Sean, I must have bought my lens around the same time - must look it up. anyway, its been perfect, i suppose going on 2 years. Had a little pause starting up 3 weeks ago, but since then its been fine. If i'd have 2 die on me, i'd be frustrated as well. It takes such great images when its working.
02-27-2011, 12:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing your experience Phil; I'm happy to hear yours has been working well. It is a great lens optically: it really is like having a set of really good primes in one lens. Hopefully I'll have better luck with it going forward.

@JHD: What would you recommend for a 3rd party zoom in similar FL? I'm still hoping I can get some satisfaction from Pentax on the 50-135, as I really do like it (when it works.) But, I think its time to start shopping for a replacement/ backup.
02-27-2011, 01:59 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sean Quote
@JHD: What would you recommend for a 3rd party zoom in similar FL? I'm still hoping I can get some satisfaction from Pentax on the 50-135, as I really do like it (when it works.) But, I think its time to start shopping for a replacement/ backup.
The Tamron 70-200, it's bigger and weighs more, but it the IQ is every bit as good as the 50-135 - if not better. I'd prefer the size and weight of the 50-135 however the extra reach is a fair trade off.

It should also be mentioned that the Tamron is backed up with a much better warranty - six years. Also for every ten DA* 50-135 that show up on the used market, you might see one Tamron 70-200, which in turn suggests greater satisfaction derived from owning the Tamron as opposed to the Pentax.
02-27-2011, 07:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JHD Quote
The Tamron 70-200, it's bigger and weighs more, but it the IQ is every bit as good as the 50-135 - if not better. I'd prefer the size and weight of the 50-135 however the extra reach is a fair trade off.

It should also be mentioned that the Tamron is backed up with a much better warranty - six years. Also for every ten DA* 50-135 that show up on the used market, you might see one Tamron 70-200, which in turn suggests greater satisfaction derived from owning the Tamron as opposed to the Pentax.
Owning both of these zooms, I beg to differ. The Tamron is significantly bigger and heavier and before long I'm wishing for (or using) a monopod. As far as the handling properties of either lens "in the field", the 50-135 is much nicer to deal with (and that includes the Quick Shift ability). And although the Tamron does have great IQ, at f2.8 I'd give the 50-135 the edge. Nine times out of ten I grab the DA*50-135 instead of the big Tamron.

I'd say for that particular focal length (50-135), the Pentax DA* is pretty unique. The only other lens in that class was the Sigma 50-150, which has been replaced (IIRC) with their new OS model- and unfortunately that one is now almost identical in size to their 70-200 zoom.
02-27-2011, 09:16 AM   #13
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Not sure what you are differing with - the difference in size and weight was noted, but after 2 months of extensive research, you're not going to convince that the DA 50-135 has better IQ. Moreover for anyone who is fed up with SDM issues the Tamron is an excellent alternative for $150 less than the DA* 50-135 here in Canada.
02-27-2011, 09:42 AM   #14
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Thanks JHD! I'll have a look at it.

Hopefully my 50-135 will be revived, and survive for a while after this year's visit to Pentax Canada.
02-27-2011, 10:49 AM   #15
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I bought a Pentax to have a smaller camera body and lighter lens. Even if the Tamron has equal
IQ I wouldn't consider it as it would defeat the whole purpose of going to Pentax for me. I had Canon equipment and had the Canon 70-200 and while a great lens I got tired of carrying it.
I haven't got the 50-135 but it is on my list . I will probably buy an extended guarantee to protect myself .
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