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06-30-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Pentax DA* 60-250mm - my first impressions and a horror story

After almost a year without a proper telephoto lens (see here for why), I finally ran to B&H and took the plunge on a DA* 60-250mm lens a few days ago. As my first professional-grade lens, these are my first impressions.
  • Since I am not used to handling professional lenses, I found the lens unexpectedly heavy, to the point where the system feels very unbalanced when the battery grip is detached from my K-5. (I've handled high-end Canon cameras with L lenses before, but certainly not on a regular basis.) The build quality is excellent, with the lens barrel being constructed of metal and high-quality plastic. Even the hood feels super-durable.
  • As with all DA* lenses, the lens bears a golden ring with the name, serial number, and filter diameter engraved and filled with paint.
  • The image quality is excellent. Although there is minor softness wide open at 250mm, it is definitely far better than my DA L 55-300mm at any aperture (before it failed, of course). Stopping down to f/5.6 noticeably improves sharpness and contrast at all focal lengths. Chromatic aberration is far better controlled than any of my other lenses, vignetting is of no practical significance, and the bokeh is excellent (9-blade diaphragm FTW!).
  • Autofocus is nearly silent, but slightly slower than my DA 18-135mm. It isn't too slow, though, is far better than my old 55-300, and is sufficient for the sports and action I intend to shoot with this lens. SDM failure is not likely to be a concern as this lens does not appear to suffer from the same issues the DA* 16-50mm, DA* 50-135mm, and DA 17-70mm did. However, I did find some AF inaccuracy requiring a significant adjustment in the camera body (+10; later +7). Precise manual focus can be difficult, though, because the focus ring travels only about 65 degrees from infinity to minimum focusing distance. Pentax really should have made the distance scale rotate slower than the focus ring when the focus ring is turned, as with professional lenses from other brands, and as they did with the DA* 200mm and DA* 300mm lenses.
  • The tripod collar is cleverly designed to allow the lens and camera to rotate between orientations without removing it from the tripod or monopod.
In the end, you get what you pay for, and there is a big difference between a consumer lens and a professional lens. See my review of the DA* 60-250mm lens here (most of the same stuff is there).

Questions, thoughts, or comments?

--DragonLord


Last edited by bwDraco; 11-25-2013 at 04:12 PM.
07-01-2013, 10:31 PM   #2
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Catastrophic SDM failure!

The SDM has catastrophically failed.

The lens will not attempt to focus at all. MF is not displayed in the viewfinder. Upon removing the lens from the camera, there is a clear burning smell from the mount end of the lens. It's going back to B&H.

--DragonLord

Last edited by bwDraco; 07-01-2013 at 11:10 PM.
07-01-2013, 11:14 PM   #3
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Was it from their used department?
07-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #4
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The lens was purchased brand new. It is old stock predating the Ricoh acquisition, though, as the box says HOYA Corporation and does not contain a card indicating the change in company name.

--DragonLord

07-03-2013, 07:40 PM   #5
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That is terrible, DragonLord! Must leave an awful taste in your mouth considering how pleased you were initially. Will you get a replacement? Feeling for you!
07-04-2013, 12:33 AM   #6
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DragonLord, that Sucks! I'm so sorry that happened to you! I hope that your next lens will be fine... Maybe the extended warranty is in order!
07-04-2013, 01:33 AM   #7
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I`m sorry to hear that, DragonLord.
QuoteOriginally posted by Gilzuma Quote
DragonLord, that Sucks! I'm so sorry that happened to you! I hope that your next lens will be fine... Maybe the extended warranty is in order!
Extended warranty? If the dates in the posts are an indication for the purchase and failure then the SDM died within a week.
07-04-2013, 02:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
I`m sorry to hear that, DragonLord.


Extended warranty? If the dates in the posts are an indication for the purchase and failure then the SDM died within a week.
But then again sometimes these lens' show no sign of trouble and then 2 years later... *poof* the SDM is gone... Take it in on the extended warranty and get a new one! People aren't always so lucky for a lens to die during the warranty period. That was my thought.

07-04-2013, 03:26 AM   #9
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Yes, offcourse but this does seems to be an obvious case of regular warranty.
07-04-2013, 04:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
Yes, offcourse but this does seems to be an obvious case of regular warranty.
yup it does... I'm just saying, prepare for the worst hope for the best with the next lens.
07-04-2013, 04:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gilzuma Quote
yup it does... I'm just saying, prepare for the worst hope for the best with the next lens.
Kind of sad actually, buy an expensive lens and hope for the best...
07-04-2013, 04:38 AM   #12
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It's been replaced. The sales associate noticed the burnt smell as soon as the lens was taken out of the soft case. The replacement unit works, but the SDM seems to suffer from excessive friction when traveling from infinity to minimum focus distance and may get stuck while focusing in Live View. It is, once again, old stock predating the Ricoh acquisition. I'll see how it goes. I hope this does not have to go back again...

--DragonLord
07-04-2013, 08:06 AM   #13
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I would send it back again, it won't last long .

Just in case, try to clean contacts on the body and lens (if not yet). Once I had 16-50 showing some weird behavior but after contacts were cleaned it worked flawlessly.

(Sorry to hear your story, I too was just going to buy the lens from BH. Now I'm in doubt.)
07-04-2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by disya2 Quote
I would send it back again, it won't last long .

Just in case, try to clean contacts on the body and lens (if not yet). Once I had 16-50 showing some weird behavior but after contacts were cleaned it worked flawlessly.

(Sorry to hear your story, I too was just going to buy the lens from BH. Now I'm in doubt.)
The contacts are clean on both the body and lens. The SDM does run smoothly when shooting through the viewfinder. This behavior only occurs in Live View.

--DragonLord
07-04-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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This whole episode is nothing short of pathetic. Seriously.

Upon realizing that there was a problem with SDM, lenses should have been recalled from dealers and replaced. since the company was unwilling to do this, they deserve all of the bad press they've gotten for SDM failure. It's been a known issue for several years, and the fact that it hasn't been corrected is, in my opinion, inexcusable.

I just want to ask the people over at Pentax, "Have you ever spend more than $1000 on something, only to have it fail within days of purchasing it? If so, how did that make you feel?"
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