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07-12-2011, 12:54 PM   #1
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Pentax Warranty only 1 year? (DA*)

It seems strange that the Pentax DA* lenses have only a 1 year warranty considering they have a known SDM issue. Tamron warranties their lenses for 6 years. Considering the known issues, you have to consider B&H's 5 year extended warranty for over 200 dollars. You could also make the purchase on an american express and get 1 year extended warranty free. I think Pentax should extend the warranty for all SDM issues to 6 years at the least. I was considering running second shooter for my cousin's wedding photography service to pay for my hobby, but I can't consider buying any SDM lenses after reading the horror stories.

07-12-2011, 01:00 PM   #2
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IMO, if a product is prone to fail and will fail again after repair, it is not worth the trouble with or w/o the warranty.
07-12-2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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Which that would be nice, I think that they should invest in redesigning all their new lenses with the DC autofocus system to begin with, as SDM is slower than screwdrive...

BH's extended warranty should have you covered should your sdm fail.
07-12-2011, 01:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
IMO, if a product is prone to fail and will fail again after repair, it is not worth the trouble with or w/o the warranty.
In general, I agree.

However, it would be nice if there were hard numbers/statistics about the real failure rates of the various DA*/SDM lenses. While there is no doubt an issue, it is impossible to properly quantify the actual risk of buying an SDM lens and therefore hard to say if it's worth the trouble or not. Just my $0.02.

07-12-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
In general, I agree.

However, it would be nice if there were hard numbers/statistics about the real failure rates of the various DA*/SDM lenses. While there is no doubt an issue, it is impossible to properly quantify the actual risk of buying an SDM lens and therefore hard to say if it's worth the trouble or not. Just my $0.02.
Of course, and we consumers will never know the actual failure rate of any products. However, we can get an idea if there is a "pattern". Whether to accept or dismiss is up to the individuals. And then there are always the trouble-free copies, and good for those lucky users.
07-12-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal evidence -- on either side. I have a 50-135 which is nearly four years old without a hiccup. I have a 16-50 that was repaired 5 or 6 months after purchase and now has been working for 2 and 1/2 years without a problem. I just don't think my personal experience means a lot.

I do think that SDM issues are like divorce statistics: it is the repeat offenders that skew the numbers.
07-12-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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Considering the price of the lenses it is scary to buy one without a longer warranty. I need a 6 year prenup to feel comfortable saddling myself with a DA*.
07-12-2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Of course, and we consumers will never know the actual failure rate of any products. However, we can get an idea if there is a "pattern". Whether to accept or dismiss is up to the individuals. And then there are always the trouble-free copies, and good for those lucky users.
And there is certainly a pattern, I certainly won't argue against that. I personally would just like to know the true failure rate data (which I realize is never going to happen) as it's nearly impossible to estimate the real failure rate from anecdotal evidence.

QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Considering the price of the lenses it is scary to buy one without a longer warranty. I need a 6 year prenup to feel comfortable saddling myself with a DA*.
Depends on your point of view. I've owned all the DA* lenses at one time or another and currently have 4 of them. All of them were purchased used, outside of any type of warranty and I did not purchase any type of extended warranty either. My personal viewpoint is that if I can save $200+ by buying a used lens (from a reputable source), then I can quite easily self-insure against a potential SDM failure, should one occur. In other words, of the 4 DA* lenses I currently own, I saved about $1000 by buying used (vs new with warranty). It would take more than 4 SDM failures over the time I own those lenses to even get be back to the break even point. No matter how high you believe the SDM failure rate to be, I think it's extremely unlikely that I will have 4 or more SDM failures among those 4 lenses.

By extension, the decision to purchase a $200 extended warranty on a new lens would follow similar logic. You'd need to decide if you though there was a better chance that you're SDM would fail more than once (compare to not failing at all) during the time you own it (or 5 years, which ever comes first).

Just a thought.

07-13-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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My solution is simple. I do not buy any lens with a * in its name. Don't need then in the first place but even if I did, I would buy an FA version before risking my money of a * model. I have had quirky gear in the past with the known problem and it drove me crazy. It is a shame that there are probably many Pentax owners who think like me and Pentax just loses by not fixing the problem once and for all.
It is one thing to get a fluke lens or body as these things happen but another thing all together to buy one knowing that you have even a 10% chance of getting a bad one. I did not buy my K-5 till the dust settled on the stain and FF issues. Had they not been, I would still not own any Pentax gear. What I do have all works and fabulously if I must say so. When the DC versions come out, I will be first in line but till then, I just don't see the need to ask for trouble.
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07-13-2011, 11:31 AM   #10
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I think its reasonable for a 3 year warranty to be offered on DA* and Limited lenses. In fact it is akin to bush league not to.
07-13-2011, 11:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
My solution is simple. I do not buy any lens with a * in its name.
That is certainly one way to make sure you never have an SDM issue

Don't get me wrong, I'm no a fan of the SDM motor itself and I would be happier if the DA* lenses could be (optically) screw driven in the even of an SDM failure and/or as an option should someone prefer. Of course it would be nice if the motors were faster and more reliable making the above described option moot, but it is what it is (for now).

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I think its reasonable for a 3 year warranty to be offered on DA* and Limited lenses. In fact it is akin to bush league not to.
That would certainly be a step in the right direction and would take thing (just) outside the bush league. Again, not really addressing the main issue, but it would be better than the current offering of one year.
07-13-2011, 03:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
That is certainly one way to make sure you never have an SDM issue

Don't get me wrong, I'm no a fan of the SDM motor itself and I would be happier if the DA* lenses could be (optically) screw driven in the even of an SDM failure and/or as an option should someone prefer. Of course it would be nice if the motors were faster and more reliable making the above described option moot, but it is what it is (for now).



That would certainly be a step in the right direction and would take thing (just) outside the bush league. Again, not really addressing the main issue, but it would be better than the current offering of one year.
I see you own the DA* 300mm. That may be the only DA* lens I would risk getting as I have heard the primes are not as affected by this failure nearly as much. Although I am not sure if they fail less or there are just fewer of them to fail so it seems less often. The FA* 300mm f4.5 seem like a real nice alternative as small and light is also high on my list. At least it is both in a relative sort of fashion.

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07-13-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
I see you own the DA* 300mm. That may be the only DA* lens I would risk getting as I have heard the primes are not as affected by this failure nearly as much. Although I am not sure if they fail less or there are just fewer of them to fail so it seems less often. The FA* 300mm f4.5 seem like a real nice alternative as small and light is also high on my list. At least it is both in a relative sort of fashion.

Dave
I'm honestly not sure if primes are less affected by SDM failures or if there are just so many more zooms (specifically the 16-50 and 50-135) that it skews our perception. My gut tells me that each lens design puts different stress on the gears/motor and so each one likely has it's own failure rate. Certainly based on anecdotal evidence it would seem lenses like the DA*300 have fewer issues, but again it's hard to know how much of that is because there are far fewer DA*300 lenses out there to fail.

The F/FA*300/4.5 are outstanding lenses. When I bought my most recent DA*300 I was simultaneously looking for either the F or FA* 300. The prices on used F/FA* were a good bit higher than the prices the used DA*300 I bought. The margin was about enough to cover an SDM failure down the road, should that happen. But regardless, all things equal I prefer the DA* as it has quick-shift (which is useful on a long lens like this), weather sealing and a convenient removable tripod foot (smaller than the huge one on the F*, and better than the lack of one on the FA*) and is slightly faster at f/4. That said, had a well priced F/FA* come along when I was looking I probably would have picked it up to try out
07-14-2011, 04:20 AM   #14
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I really don't understand why Pentax doesn't warranty these lenses for three or four years (except, I guess that they don't think they have to). The SDM motors aren't particularly expensive -- they should be able to do the repair for an actual cost of 30 or 40 dollars.

It just would make sense. Warranty the DA * and Limited lenses for three or four years and the DA lenses for one year.

On the subject of SDM, I wish they would come out with SDM II. Not even so much from a durability stand point, but more from a speed standpoint. At the same time, there are many places where screw driven lenses are frowned upon (my wife shoots weddings).
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