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12-06-2013, 03:25 PM   #61
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No response from B&H and my work schedule kept me from doing anything this week, anyway. I know my next step before visiting B&H but it would be counterproductive to discuss it in public.

12-06-2013, 03:51 PM   #62
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My 16-50 just got in -- thankfully it seems to be a pretty sharp copy once I got the AF adjustment in. +7 seems to work best at all focal lengths but I've yet to test it in daylight.

Serial number starts with 904, papers said 2010 HOYA corp. SDM works fine, overall a pretty awesome lens. My only complaint is the zoom ring gets a little stiff around the 28mm area.
12-06-2013, 04:12 PM   #63
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I have often wondered what happens to a lens or a body that did not cut someones idea of a great product and was returned to B&H. If it is a complaint about a subtle misalignment, do they return the lens to the manufacturer for correction or do the resell the lens hoping the next buyer is a little less critical or maybe does not catch the anomaly in the first thirty days of ownership. I had a DA 15 that I enjoyed using until I bought a Panasonic GH2 with a 12-24 zoom. The microFT zoom just kicked the APC prime all over the place. At the time of the 15's purchase, I had no other wide lens to compare it to so accepted it's output as good. How many times had that lens gone out and been returned waiting for me to just accept it's myopic output. I read of some who order and order till they get a primo copy. How many hands did my lens go through before it came to me.

I have a back ordered 60-250 from B&H that when it arrives, I have to put it through it's paces quickly so I know I am not getting a obvious lemon. Even the fact that it is back ordered does not guarantee that it is a new lens. It could just be some returned stock from an over seas vendor who B&H has contracted to fill their voids. The fact that some buyers are still getting serial numbers older than some bought in 2010 just shows that this stock is fluid between stores. B&H should never have such old stock considering the volume they process over the years.

It bums me that I may get somebodies reject but not catch the problem in time. It bums me that I may get an old lens that sat on some other vendors shelves for years and sold to me as new. It bums me that even if neither are true, Ricoh has such little faith in this old inventory that they refuse to offer a warranty longer than one year since most SDM failures happen after that time frame. It bums me that if my lens fails, I may go on a nightmare merry go round ride like DL has been on for the last while. I do not think Ricoh or B&H are a standouts in this shady gear market but one makes my Dslr of choice the other is the main source of my gear. And I do not trust either of them or any other camera manufacturer or seller to truly have my best interest at heart. Yes, B&H is in business to make money and so is Ricoh. I understand this and that the cost of rechecking and fixing every product that is returned would be astronomical. It just makes me so wary when the box arrives on my doorstep when I should really be happy. There rant over...
12-06-2013, 04:54 PM   #64
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Please let's not turn this into a complaint thread. I just want to learn when my lens was made, if 16-50 SDM has been improved, and if it ever needed to be improved.

QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
The fact that some buyers are still getting serial numbers older than some bought in 2010
It's unconfirmed that the serial number can be used to determine manufacture date. It's certainly plausible (and I think correct), but it's also plausible that they partially randomize numbers to hide production levels from competitors and from us.

QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
Ricoh has such little faith in this old inventory that they refuse to offer a warranty longer than one year
Even the brand new screw-driven lenses have a one year warranty in the USA. The warranty length seems like inertia from Hoya or earlier decisions. One year is unfortunately a standard warranty for many USA products; companies can get away with it so there's little incentive (and maybe even disincentive) to offer longer warranties.

12-06-2013, 05:12 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Please let's not turn this into a complaint thread. I just want to learn when my lens was made, if 16-50 SDM has been improved, and if it ever needed to be improved.

It's unconfirmed that the serial number can be used to determine manufacture date. It's certainly plausible (and I think correct), but it's also plausible that they partially randomize numbers to hide production levels from competitors and from us.

Even the brand new screw-driven lenses have a one year warranty in the USA. The warranty length seems like inertia from Hoya or earlier decisions. One year is unfortunately a standard warranty for many USA products; companies can get away with it so there's little incentive (and maybe even disincentive) to offer longer warranties.
Seeing as how there doesn't seem to be any actual pattern correlating serial numbers with production date, I think it's pretty safe to say that they don't mean much. I know a couple guitar manufacturers that have totally random serial numbers that say nothing about when or where it was assembled.
12-06-2013, 09:02 PM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
No response from B&H and my work schedule kept me from doing anything this week, anyway. I know my next step before visiting B&H but it would be counterproductive to discuss it in public.
My lens just arrived and it also has a serial number of 90456xx. Not sure that number makes all that much difference though. It arrived after dark so it's somewhat hard to judge, but it appears to be working right. I was just typing that I really need to get a generic camera plate so that I can use the K3 on my tripod, when I realized that I have a perfectly good K5 that has an L bracket (duh! - I got up too early this morning). Off to take some low ISO pictures...
12-07-2013, 05:34 AM   #67
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It sounds like we're all going to have to live with uncertainty regarding this lens. If you can't accept this, punting is the only option for those who purchased on Black Friday.
12-09-2013, 05:28 PM   #68
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I'm not here to slam anyone either but it would be nice that we at least got a response from B&H...that fact that they haven't responded reinforces to me that we may be right...otherwise why wouldn't they just respond to say the serial numbers don't mean anything and that our product hasn't been sitting on their shelves...I hope I am wrong but I have been a very loyal customer with B&H and may have to reconsider if I buy any future photography equipment..

12-09-2013, 05:50 PM   #69
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All of this tempest is based on a possibly erroneous supposition that there are "good" new motor lenses out there and "bad" old motor lenses. This is purely speculation and honestly, even if you got a older lens, using it heavily in the first year of use, would hopefully stress the motor enough to get you a new motor replacement. But, as I say, this is all speculation. Pentax and Ricoh have never acknowledged anything and forgive me if I am cynical, but ever since the first couple of years, there have been rumors of new motors that were better. Ben Kanarek supposedly got new motors that were better and they failed him within a couple of years.

That said, my old 16-50 has been performing fine and I have owned it for over 5 years now. It is a fine lens, but I certainly wouldn't put a whole lot of stock into rumored better motors.
12-09-2013, 06:29 PM   #70
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As I understand it, someone working the Pentax booth at a camera show in Germany was interviewed and spoke about SDM. It's just the word of one employee or contract worker but Pentax/Ricoh has not issued a correction. Companies tend to clarify things when their representatives make incorrect statements that hurt the company.
12-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
As I understand it, someone working the Pentax booth at a camera show in Germany was interviewed and spoke about SDM. It's just the word of one employee or contract worker but Pentax/Ricoh has not issued a correction. Companies tend to clarify things when their representatives make incorrect statements that hurt the company.
I have never heard Pentax ever say anything about SDM, except to say that it did not "have unexpected rates of failure during the warranty period." Whatever that means. I am not afraid of SDM -- I own four lenses that feature it. I just don't buy that anything has really changed, particularly since the only reason to believe it has changed are single employees here and there saying so.

If Pentax had really changed something about SDM, wouldn't they release version II of their lenses with a somewhat longer warranty (say 3 years)? I have to think the silence on this issue, combined with the high price of the lenses and short warranty period kills their sales. Anyway, sorry to be cynical, as I say, but I just wouldn't take rumors of a motor change as proof of anything.
12-09-2013, 07:46 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
As I understand it, someone working the Pentax booth at a camera show in Germany was interviewed and spoke about SDM. It's just the word of one employee or contract worker but Pentax/Ricoh has not issued a correction. Companies tend to clarify things when their representatives make incorrect statements that hurt the company.
B&H is in a difficult position and I believe they wouldn't be where they are in the photography business if they weren't the high quality company we believe them to be. They order product from manufacturers and sell them to the public. I'm sure there have been poor quality products over the years that they have stopped handling. I even believe that Chuck at B&H might be on our list of DA*16-50 owners. That said, B&H really can't get into this potential mess. We need real data and answers from Ricoh/Pentax. So how do we corner the company to give us some answers? Is there one high company official in the states we could contact? Does this possible problem fall under individual state offices of consumer protection that are located in the state attorney generals offices? Any attorneys own a DA*16-50?? We just want some information from Ricoh...
12-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I have never heard Pentax ever say anything about SDM, except to say that it did not "have unexpected rates of failure during the warranty period." ...[snipped for brevity]...Anyway, sorry to be cynical, as I say, but I just wouldn't take rumors of a motor change as proof of anything.
It's more than a rumor. A Pentax representative at Photokina 2012 was paraphrased saying:
One could say that the AF components used in these lenses was prone to failure from the get-go due to their design. The 16-50mm and 50-135mm lenses share the same circuitry and motor, which is why they both have such a high failure rate. Other SDM lenses don't fail as much. The components used in the 16-50mm and 50-135mm lenses have been redesiged, and all lenses produced in 2012 or later should no longer fail. (source Pentax Engineer on SDM Failure and Pentax DC - Photokina 2012 - PentaxForums.com)
As far as I know Pentax Ricoh has been silent on the issue since then. If the person giving the interview was misinformed or Adam got the translation wrong I think we would have seen a correction.
12-10-2013, 12:30 PM   #74
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I don't think the person was misinformed. I was told by CRIS that the repair parts that they are using (circuit board and motor) are redesigned. That was part of the reason that my repair took 5+ months on my first 16-50. Probably dumb to sell it but I did. After seeing what is going on here, I still believe that Ricoh has not been in command when any 16-50 lenses were produced. If they were, they are not in the supply chain as of yet. Maybe by next BF we will see some new production. Also the Serial numbers pretty much follow a pattern if you look at the serial number data base on that lens.
12-10-2013, 03:15 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
I don't think the person was misinformed. I was told by CRIS that the repair parts that they are using (circuit board and motor) are redesigned. That was part of the reason that my repair took 5+ months on my first 16-50. Probably dumb to sell it but I did. After seeing what is going on here, I still believe that Ricoh has not been in command when any 16-50 lenses were produced. If they were, they are not in the supply chain as of yet. Maybe by next BF we will see some new production. Also the Serial numbers pretty much follow a pattern if you look at the serial number data base on that lens.
What kind of pattern are you seeing in our serial number data base? I'm curious because I'm really confused about the whole random use of serial numbers. Sounds pretty odd to me. I still really like my new lens and have my fingers crossed that it will be a good one. We need an "insider" at Pentax in Japan.
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