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02-03-2014, 09:05 PM   #1
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SDM failure rate as of late

Just going to ask everyone with an SDM lens, how is the SDM AF on their glass holding up recently?

My DA*50-135, which I got January of 2013 (with a serial number probably indicating it was a new batch from late 2012) has lasted throughout the year without a hiccup. Anyone else who bought an SDM lens lately? (1 to 2 years). I've heard before that the failure rate is common in the first and second year of use before...

02-03-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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It is believed that newer lenses have an improved SDM motor....moreover, I have modified the firmware and set my suspect lenses to screw drive...
02-03-2014, 09:28 PM   #3
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The uproar over it has certainly simmered down but I don't want to buy a 16-50 until they release a new model that is free from the awful legacy of SDM failure. If you look at any marketplace listing you can see how badly it haunts the current owners.
02-03-2014, 10:08 PM   #4
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I guess Ricoh needs to address the SDM issue before anything else....

02-03-2014, 10:38 PM   #5
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What might be useful is for a couple of technically-competent Forum members with early and late model DA*50-135 lenses to dismantle them and inspect/document the drive motors and driver circuit boards. The process for the DA*16-50 isn't difficult (I know, because I've done it with mine), so I imagine the DA*50-135 is similar.

I have an early(ish) 50-135, and I'd be willing to be the guinea pig for that group, if we can find someone with a newer copy who's willing to open it and peer at its entrails. I don't mind using my (second-hand, and needing a nudge if it hasn't been used for a while) copy for this, but someone with a brand-new copy might baulk at the idea if they haven't done such a thing before.
02-03-2014, 10:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by manishved Quote
I guess Ricoh needs to address the SDM issue before anything else....
Well, we think they have, from previous discussions here, but Ricoh hasn't officially admitted to anything so far, and I wouldn't expect them to, because it's likely to be an undocumented contingent liability from the buyout. Of course, if it is, then Hoya could be held liable for it, but they would no doubt claim caveat emptor, and Ricoh should have done their due diligence enquiries more thoroughly. We'll probably never know.
02-03-2014, 10:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
What might be useful is for a couple of technically-competent Forum members with early and late model DA*50-135 lenses to dismantle them and inspect/document the drive motors and driver circuit boards. The process for the DA*16-50 isn't difficult (I know, because I've done it with mine), so I imagine the DA*50-135 is similar.

I have an early(ish) 50-135, and I'd be willing to be the guinea pig for that group, if we can find someone with a newer copy who's willing to open it and peer at its entrails. I don't mind using my (second-hand, and needing a nudge if it hasn't been used for a while) copy for this, but someone with a brand-new copy might baulk at the idea if they haven't done such a thing before.
I don't think anyone with a brand new one is going to put it on the chopping block unless you can convice the lens rental blogger to do it.

This is a good idea though and a non-destructive option might be to get an early model and late model and put them on a very accurate scale. If they made a design change, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few grams difference between the old and the new one.
02-03-2014, 10:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I don't think anyone with a brand new one is going to put it on the chopping block unless you can convice the lens rental blogger to do it.

This is a good idea though and a non-destructive option might be to get an early model and late model and put them on a very accurate scale. If they made a design change, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few grams difference between the old and the new one.
Well, it isn't actually risky for someone who knows what they are about and takes time to do things properly, but I can understand some people being wary of possibly voiding warranty. I'd have no qualms personally, but I respect other people's reservations about it.

02-04-2014, 12:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
Just going to ask everyone with an SDM lens, how is the SDM AF on their glass holding up recently?

My DA*50-135, which I got January of 2013 (with a serial number probably indicating it was a new batch from late 2012) has lasted throughout the year without a hiccup. Anyone else who bought an SDM lens lately? (1 to 2 years). I've heard before that the failure rate is common in the first and second year of use before...
The AF on my two SDM lenses is holding up pretty good. Bought a new 50-135 in mid 2009. Heavily used in all kinds of conditions ( rain, snow, beach, crowds, theaters), not babied. My primary portrait lens.

Bought a used 17-70 about two years ago, workhorse lens. Delivered a good size print order today, most made with 17-70. Happy customer.

This is from last Sat.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2014 at 09:18 PM.
02-04-2014, 12:51 AM   #10
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SDM on DA* 16-50 fine so far. Bought last year.
02-04-2014, 01:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
The AF on my two SDM lenses is holding up pretty good. Bought a new 50-135 in mid 2009. Heavily used in all kinds of conditions ( rain, snow, beach, crowds, theaters), not babied. My primary portrait lens.

Bought a used 17-70 about two years ago, workhorse lens. Delivered a good size print order today, most made with 17-70. Happy customer.

This is from last Sat.
Snap 5 SDM lens bought 2008-2009

1 failure repaired under warranty, all approaching their twilight years and going strong

With the Ricoh SDM adapter finally looking like it may move from vapourware to a reality I'm moving all my lens over to SDM/HSM as screw drive is very poor for tracking in comparison.
02-04-2014, 01:21 AM   #12
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Just a datapoint. I got my DA*300 at the end of September 2010 and it has been flawless. I think most if not all of the SDM problems have been with zooms.

Jack
02-05-2014, 10:52 PM   #13
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I bought my 16-50 used in 2007. Worked fine until last summer, when SDM was replaced by CRIS for ~$225. AF speed has never been its strong suit and still isn't.
02-06-2014, 03:42 AM   #14
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thanks for the information you guys post! hope to see further data from more members so we can compile for reference in the future.
02-06-2014, 04:18 AM   #15
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I have four SDM lenses. The oldest one was purchased in 2008 (50-135) and it is still going strong. 16-50 purchase in March of 2009 had its motor replaced 6 months after purchase and has been fine since. 55 and 200 both seem fine as well (I got the 200 used and not sure how old it is).
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