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09-22-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
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DA* 16-50 on it's 3rd sdm failure

So, I've got a bit of a dilemma on my hands and wanted to poll for some of your thoughts. Our DA* 16-50 is now onto it's 3rd SDM failure. The first two were under warranty, this one won't be.

Should I throw in the towel and buy a new one, knowing that FF is coming soonish?

Should I get this one repaired, knowing that if past behavior indicates future behavior, that it will break again, in about a year? Has anyone done this repair with CRIS and found out the cost?

Weather sealed is important to me on this lens, so if your argument is to jump brands, the option must be weather sealed.

Thoughts?

09-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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That's not good to hear, but sadly a story we hear too often. My (second-hand) DA*16-50 worked well for a couple of years until displaying its first SDM issue. Thankfully, when the DIY fix was first posted, I was able to revive mine for a while, but I've had to repeat it several times since, with increasing frequency, until it now lasts one session before seizing up again. So, like you, I'm wondering what to do next. The screw-drive work-around looks like it might be the way to go, at least in the interim. I would have hoped Pentax would have made a definitive statement about the longevity of the replacement SDM service, by now, to assure us that a future failure was unlikely, but no such luck. Have you considered going to the screw-drive option?
09-22-2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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Convert it to screw drive and never worry again.
09-22-2013, 10:41 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Convert it to screw drive and never worry again.
+1

I am sorry to hear your problem. That is not good. If the lens is not under warranty, I would lean towards Sandy's suggestion, thus you keep weather sealing.

My 5 cents...

09-22-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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Gaze into the crystal ball-ness that is the A*1200 for the answer lies within. Be wary of abberations caused by off-brand filters. Please do share your discoveries with the rest of us here!!
09-23-2013, 01:58 AM   #6
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Sorry to read about your dilemma.

The fact that you've repaired your lens twice now suggests to me that you like it a lot.

I would also lean towards Sandy's suggestion. I have a DA* 50-135, and if the SDM ever broke on that I would probably do the same.

Otherwise, sell it for whatever you can get and just get one of the many alternatives.
09-23-2013, 06:28 AM   #7
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A friend of mine has his DA* 16-50 at CRIS right now for SDM failure/repair. His quoted cost was $232 I believe. But.....they've had if since June with no expected repair date. They are telling him parts are not available since Pentax is moving their warehouse. To me that is unacceptable......
09-23-2013, 07:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
A friend of mine has his DA* 16-50 at CRIS right now for SDM failure/repair. His quoted cost was $232 I believe. But.....they've had if since June with no expected repair date. They are telling him parts are not available since Pentax is moving their warehouse. To me that is unacceptable......
Good morning Stan,
You are right. And I am on vacation now with the Tamron 17-50 and not really missing the 16-50 at all. I would suggest to anybody getting one repaired to go to plan B since it may take months to get it back. Pentax could not even give me any hint of parts availability.

09-23-2013, 07:31 AM   #9
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I don't understand these posts. The 16-50 SDM doesn't not have any more failures than any other company or lens in its category.
09-23-2013, 07:42 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
I don't understand these posts. The 16-50 SDM doesn't not have any more failures than any other company or lens in its category.
You need to have a sarcasm tag. I think it is clear that the 16-50 and 50-135 both have significantly higher rates of motor failure than other Pentax lenses with internal motors. That said, none of the camera companies publishes failure rates and so hard numbers are not available.

I really hope that Pentax with their 18-70 lens will put a stronger/faster motor into the lens with more durability.

Still, I think we know that screw driven lenses will out last their internal motor driven counterparts (from any company).
09-23-2013, 07:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
Good morning Stan,
You are right. And I am on vacation now with the Tamron 17-50 and not really missing the 16-50 at all. I would suggest to anybody getting one repaired to go to plan B since it may take months to get it back. Pentax could not even give me any hint of parts availability.
There you are - I kind of posted on your behalf knowing you were on vacation. Wanted to give Clinton an idea of the cost.
09-23-2013, 07:58 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
I don't understand these posts. The 16-50 SDM doesn't not have any more failures than any other company or lens in its category.
How low can you go? You you're dumping on people who have had the misfortune to get a bad copy of a lens? Why you weren't banned from the forum long ago is beyond me. Be happy I'm not a mod, really , really happy.

QuoteQuote:
I would suggest to anybody getting one repaired to go to plan B since it may take months to get it back. Pentax could not even give me any hint of parts availability.
Just discussing the SDM thing, after this number of failures there are just so many questions, not the least of which is are Pentax even competent to deal with this? After 3 failures the obvious conclusion would be there is something wrong with the construction of the lens and it's taking more effort to focus the lens than it should. Either that or someone should be working out the odds of three motors failing on the same lens using whatever the normal failure rate is. I assume Pentax is testing it and it's coming out within spec, but for resistence, this lens should be modified to be on the low end of spec, rather than the high end. When I buy gear from Henry's the extended repair says if it fails 3 times in the 4 years of the warranty you get a new one. I've never considered it for cameras. But on a lens, which will be expected to last through numerous camera bodies., that might be a really good option. Especially on this lens which is clearly not up to Pentax's usual standard. Personally, I never bought that lens. The Tamron 17-50 is optically better as far as I can tell, and a fraction the price. It's very rare that the noise of the screw drive is an issue on a lens of that length. But if you already own it, converting it to screw drive , you still get the WR. You don't have to pay for another lens, what's not to like?

I'd probably just tell Pentax to send my lens back, but I also seem to be more willing to write off a misfortune than others. I don't get hung up on what "should" be. Having been though the civil rights movement etc. I've learned there are a great many things that should be that never will be. Important things. Things way more important the SDM or screw drive on a lens. You confine your battles to the ones you can win. Getting a lemon, regardless of whether it's a car, a vacuum cleaner or a camera just isn't one of those battles you're likely to win. And even if you do, is it going to be worth what it costs you? Idealists tend to have a different view. But if you look at the history of activist movements, it isn't until a few practical people interested in incremental change, and not terribly caught up on what should be, get in and take over from the idealists that anything gets done.

In this case, trying to get Pentax to do the right thing, you have to decide if this is something you want to devote time to. I'd rather be taking pictures myself. My guess after following this for a long time, is these lenses are within spec, but the specs were not written tight enough. If you get a motor within the weaker end of spec and a lens that's at the stiffer end of spec. failure is imminent. At this point we can pretty much assume your lens is at the stiffer end of spec.. and Pentax doesn't want to deal with that. Maybe put it on a stepper motor and program it to crank the focus ring in and out a couple thousand time when you get it back.

Last edited by normhead; 09-23-2013 at 08:09 AM.
09-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #13
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Thought I'd share my experience with the Tammy to assist Clinton decide what he want to do next, it's a great lens optically, but beware it does have it's own problem too. I had one for travel, awesome lens, sharp across the frame and at all aperture settings, however, the zoom ring on mine went kaput after 18 months gentle ownership, admittedly it's a used one and I don't know about the treatment in the previous owner's hands, but I've since learnt that the zoom ring failure is a rather common fault for the A16P model, I called up our Aussie Tamron dealer and they quote me a repair cost of $250.... that's more than Pentax charge for SDM repair which is around the $200 mark, about what I paid for the lens in the first place come to think of it.

my 2 cents
09-23-2013, 08:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
You need to have a sarcasm tag. I think it is clear that the 16-50 and 50-135 both have significantly higher rates of motor failure than other Pentax lenses with internal motors. That said, none of the camera companies publishes failure rates and so hard numbers are not available.

I really hope that Pentax with their 18-70 lens will put a stronger/faster motor into the lens with more durability.

Still, I think we know that screw driven lenses will out last their internal motor driven counterparts (from any company).
I'm still not sorry for buying my Tamron 17-50. Sharp, consistent, fast focusing, RELIABLE. one of the best things is that it was CHEAP with a 5 year Tamron warranty.
09-23-2013, 08:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Getting a lemon, regardless of whether it's a car, a vacuum cleaner or a camera just isn't one of those battles you're likely to win. And even if you do, is it going to be worth what it costs you?
I've won several battles.

And yes, it was worth what it cost me (almost nothing) and thensome.
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