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03-08-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
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No more SDM failures? -Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM

Hello. I'm considering getting myself a brand new DA* 50-135 but since it's quite costly (for me anyway) I'm digging as much info on the internet as possible. What I found tho doesn't brighten my day - massive reports about SDM failures.
However all of the topics I've found were a little old (2 years+ old) and I'm wondering if Pentax did something about it since then?
I'm not a huge fan of lotteries, don't want to buy a new lens and hope it's the working one.
Another thing - I keep reading about those 7 year warranties, what are those? And is it possible to get one in Europe? Price?
Thanks in advance!

03-08-2012, 06:31 AM   #2
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The reports of failures have seemed to taper off for the 50-135 anyway. I have one from last year, and it is doing well. This is an excellent lens you will not regret it.

Here is a link to the survey results about SDM failure from this forum.
SDM Reliability Survey Results - PentaxForums.com
03-08-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Thhe 50-135 is a wonderful lens. I was out snowshoeing with it in 20F weather for 3.5 hrs on Tuesday. No problems with it at all. I've had it for 3 years now. If i could only keep one lens, that would be it.
03-08-2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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No problems with mine, though only had it for a few months. My go to work horse, fantastic for shows, portraits, events and just about anything where there's a little bit of distance between you and your subjects! I'd probably agree with philbaum, if only one lens in the world could exist, I'd wish it was this one.

03-08-2012, 10:13 AM   #5
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I love my 50-135. I have one where the SDM stopped working shortly after the warrantee expired. Luckily, I use a K10D and was able to back it up to firmware 1.2 (before the SDM activation at 1.3). I've been unemployed for too long and I don't want to spend the money to get it repaired until my earnings pick up again. So while I'm not happy about the SDM failure, I'm not too upset either (no money also means no camera upgrade and bad SDM makes the camera upgrade more expensive). HOWEVER, I still love my DA* 50-135 for it's IQ and quality of build. Now that the SDM issue appears to have calmed down a bit, I don't hesitate to recommend the lens with only a minor cautionary note added.
03-08-2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by calicojack Quote
I love my 50-135. I have one where the SDM stopped working shortly after the warrantee expired. Luckily, I use a K10D and was able to back it up to firmware 1.2 (before the SDM activation at 1.3). I've been unemployed for too long and I don't want to spend the money to get it repaired until my earnings pick up again. So while I'm not happy about the SDM failure, I'm not too upset either (no money also means no camera upgrade and bad SDM makes the camera upgrade more expensive). HOWEVER, I still love my DA* 50-135 for it's IQ and quality of build. Now that the SDM issue appears to have calmed down a bit, I don't hesitate to recommend the lens with only a minor cautionary note added.
Someone has posted a comment here from Pentax that it isn't the actually motor that fails but a misalignment of a shaft so it might be possible that if you keep using it with the build in motor that you really screw the AF mechanisme...
03-08-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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I've had mine for 3 or 4 years now (can't even remember!) without trouble - I do have a K100d (non-super) as a backup camera (also doubles for infrared photography use) in case it does go, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Great lens, no reason to worry at this point - there really haven't been many complaints at all for the last couple years.
03-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #8
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I'm also considering getting a DA* lens as I'm just not comfortable with the image quality from the kit lenses and want something weather sealed instead of worrying about killing my too expensive FA 31mm Limited. I guess the real question is whether or not the price of repairing an SDM failure is prohibitive out of warranty. Anyone here learned from experience?

David

03-08-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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I bought a 50-135 from a forum member even with the horrifying idea of SDM failure.
It works well for now. Even with the SDM failure possibilities, the photos are looking great. Almost makes me forget the worry in the back of my mind whenever I see images from that lens.
03-08-2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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I'm confused, I hate anything with the word power, electric or auto in most things so I have never bought any new lenses for my K20D, just used my old A's, but can't you just take a new lens and switch it to manual when the drive craps out and use it like a plastic APSC sized A lens? You make it sound like the camera will reject it and stop working, I am ignorant in this matter.

I was considering eventually getting newer lenses, maybe not.
03-08-2012, 07:30 PM   #11
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Had mine almost 2 years, but recently it's started to squeek a little bit while focusing....
03-13-2012, 06:57 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Had mine almost 2 years, but recently it's started to squeek a little bit while focusing....
Ah, don't worry, its just learned how to talk to you . I just stretched a giclee canvas 24" by 36" from a 50-135 image and its BW gorgeous. I've entered it into a local juried competition, will find out on March 23 if its accepted, but they'd have to be crazy not to accept it. I'm sure it'll print to 32" by 48" so i'm thinking of going to that size next for a juried show in another city in Nov.

I really hope that Pentax comes out with similar quality zoom lens in the 16-70 or 80 range, i'd buy it in a flash.
03-13-2012, 10:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
I'm confused, I hate anything with the word power, electric or auto in most things so I have never bought any new lenses for my K20D, just used my old A's, but can't you just take a new lens and switch it to manual when the drive craps out and use it like a plastic APSC sized A lens? You make it sound like the camera will reject it and stop working, I am ignorant in this matter.

I was considering eventually getting newer lenses, maybe not.
It will operate as a auto aperture, manual focus lens. I just won't AF. On some cameras/firmwares, you can continue to AF using screw-drive AF.
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