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12-17-2011, 09:18 AM   #1
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Loud Screw Drive

So how come the screw drive on the K-x is so noisy? I mean on Canons and Nikons the lenses barely make a sound.

I want a quiet lens to go on my K-x something to replace the Kit really that's not too expensive. Can anybody recommend one?

12-17-2011, 10:01 AM   #2
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The screw drive is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can stick a 30 year old Pentax lens on your K-x and have fun. A curse because, as you see, it can be loud. Pentax has a number of lenses that focus with a quiet internal motor instead of the screwdrive. For an all-purpose kit lens I'd look at the 18-135. A step up are the DA* lenses - 16-50mm F2.8, 50-135mm F2.8. Look for either SDM or DC labeled lenses in the lens database - Pentax DA Zoom Lense Lens Reviews and Specifications - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
12-17-2011, 10:12 AM   #3
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I second the 18-135mm- it's currently the only Pentax af lens that's both fast and quiet. Other SDM lenses are quiet bu about 10 percent slower than screwdrive, lol.
12-17-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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Just wondering why Pentax's SDM is more expensive than say Nikon's SWM.
I mean Nikons kit lens has it, and that can be had for only 90, whereas the cheapest Pentax SDM is more than 3 times that!

12-17-2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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If it were a standard I'm sure it would be cheaper, but the fact that they have 2 different AF systems probably isn't helping. Not that SDM is worth getting, IMO, unless it's on a Sigma lens or the 18-135mm.

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12-17-2011, 10:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by userage Quote
Just wondering why Pentax's SDM is more expensive than say Nikon's SWM.
I mean Nikons kit lens has it, and that can be had for only 90, whereas the cheapest Pentax SDM is more than 3 times that!
IIRC, the entry level Nikon camera bodies do not have a built-in AF motor.
12-17-2011, 10:40 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by userage Quote
Just wondering why Pentax's SDM is more expensive than say Nikon's SWM.
I mean Nikons kit lens has it, and that can be had for only 90, whereas the cheapest Pentax SDM is more than 3 times that!
That's a fair point. Pentax's next kit lenses should be silent. I'd even go a step further and say that all new Pentax lenses should be silent, and I think that they are slowly heading in that direction.
12-17-2011, 10:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Not that SDM is worth getting, IMO, unless it's on a Sigma lens or the 18-135mm.
The 18-135 is DC, not SDM.

12-17-2011, 10:47 AM   #9
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Hmm.. Would be nice to have a more affordable lens. Seems to be my only con for the K-x.

Thanks for replies though
12-17-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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The screw-drive on some lenses - eg the DA 40 - is very snappy and quiet. Not surprising, considering the simplicity and compactness of the lens.

I believe the newer DAL 35 f2.4 also has a rather quiet AF. It is also an affordable upgrade prime from the K-x kit.

Having said that, I never found the AF noisy on my K-x 18-55 kit lens. It is however noisy on the 55-300, which has a rather long focus throw.
12-17-2011, 03:41 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Having said that, I never found the AF noisy on my K-x 18-55 kit lens. It is however noisy on the 55-300, which has a rather long focus throw.
I actually have a D-Xenon 18-55. Do you know if they are noisier than one or another? Just wondering, many people say they are almost exactly the same.
12-17-2011, 04:52 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Pentax body based AF is noisy and there is no workaround it. If you cannot stand it, switch b4 you are too deep into Pentax, seriously.
12-17-2011, 11:03 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by userage Quote
I actually have a D-Xenon 18-55. Do you know if they are noisier than one or another? Just wondering, many people say they are almost exactly the same.
They should be identical in optics, and construction too.

FYI youtube is full of videos demonstrating various lenses and their AF noise, or lack of noise. It is worth spending time there if you want to research this.

Here's one for the DA 35 2.4 AL on a K-5. As you can see and hear, AF is fast and quiet on that lens. The main noise is the lens hitting the end of the focus throw, not the screw drive operation itself.


For most Pentax lenses (Pentax, Sigma, Tamron included), the screw drive noise is not an issue, for me. I rarely even think about it. With some cameras (eg the K-x, and other brand's cameras too, like some of those noisy Canon's !) the shutter noise can often be more intrusive than the AF.

And at least with the AF, in places where you may need to operate super quiet, you can go manual focus.
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