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03-12-2014, 03:03 PM   #1
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Pentax 300mm f/4 DA - noisy SDM

Hi all! I'm new to pentax, I am a Nikon shooter. I just got my first pentax setup K-3+300mm f4 SDM. First question about it since I have never used pentax let alone a SDM lens in the past. The AF has a slight squeak when starting AF operation. It doesn't do it through the whole focal range. Is this normal?

I once bought a brand new NIkon 300mm f2.8 that squeak through the whole focal range and was told the AF motor needed replacing. I wanted to know if this was the same situation. Thanks!

03-12-2014, 03:05 PM   #2
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Mine does not squeak - if yours is new I would ask for a replacement. Even if nothing wrong mechanically the AF should be silent.
If it is a used copy then it could be that the SDM is about to go out maybe?
03-12-2014, 03:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Mine does not squeak - if yours is new I would ask for a replacement. Even if nothing wrong mechanically the AF should be silent.
If it is a used copy then it could be that the SDM is about to go out maybe?
Thanks. I'm not seeing too much about this doing a quick Google search either so I'm assuming it's not normal.
03-12-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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It should not be noisy. Mine is nearly silent.

03-12-2014, 06:00 PM   #5
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I got an RMA for it but they don't have it in stock so it's just going back. I'm going to try using greentoe to get a better deal on one. I've heard good things from them.
03-21-2014, 05:06 PM   #6
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0 for 2 now. I posted a video this time. Considering this is the only SDM lens I've ever tried my confidence in the product is shot.

I think this one is worse than the first....
Recorded from K-3 with external mic:

Recorded with iPhone:
03-21-2014, 09:20 PM   #7
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Wow... you must have bat ears...


I shoot my original DA*300/4 almost everyday (since 2008) with no gear related issues.


As to your videos, other than the swish and ear cracking static I'd expect to hear from my speakers progressively tuned to max volume, I did not hear anything in your recordings like you describe, or would give me pause.


Cheers... M
03-22-2014, 03:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Wow... you must have bat ears...


I shoot my original DA*300/4 almost everyday (since 2008) with no gear related issues.


As to your videos, other than the swish and ear cracking static I'd expect to hear from my speakers progressively tuned to max volume, I did not hear anything in your recordings like you describe, or would give me pause.


Cheers... M
This is what I expect a silent AF motor to sound like. Let me know if you hear a difference.


---------- Post added 03-22-14 at 06:23 AM ----------

I've sent the videos out to both the dealer and Ricoh. I've asked them for their assessment on whether or not this is normal. If it is my attempt at shooting Pentax will be short lived. I can't have my lens sound like a high pitched bell ringing when shooting wildlife. Last thing I want is my subject to be scared off because of my gear.


Last edited by dgrPhotos; 03-22-2014 at 04:20 AM.
03-22-2014, 06:05 AM   #9
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Wow, I definitely hear that high pitch whir. I'm looking at this lens (among a couple others) currently for my K5 so am interested to see where this goes for you. It would be my first SDM lens as well. Pardon my ignorance, but could this be related to the camera body in any way?
03-22-2014, 06:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgrPhotos Quote
0 for 2 now. I posted a video this time.
I have a DA* 300.

Your second copy seems to be very sluggish and the high-pitched whine is not right. I would recommend that you return it.

- Craig
03-22-2014, 06:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
I have a DA* 300.

Your second copy seems to be very sluggish and the high-pitched whine is not right. I would recommend that you return it.

- Craig
The slow focusing was caused by using live view. Right now I'm debating whether or not to just send it to Ricoh to fix or return it. I don't really want to keep going back and forth and hoping for a silent copy.
03-22-2014, 06:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgrPhotos Quote
The slow focusing was caused by using live view.
Thanks for the clarification. I just tried mine using LV (which I had never done before). Yes, like yours, my copy also focuses slowly in LV. I also heard a (very) faint squeal during one of the focus runs from infinity to minimum focus distance. The other half dozen runs didn't produce an audible squeal.

How does your lens perform while in phase-detect (i.e., 'viewfinder') mode? Any apparent issues?

As for the Nikon example, it's not really 'silent' - I can hear something while it focuses. One might conclude that there's a faint 'grinding' noise. It's quiet, but not silent.

- Craig
03-22-2014, 07:31 AM   #13
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Perhaps I need a hearing test. Try as I must, I do not hear what you describe in your recordings, or when using my DA*300 paired to my K-7, K-5, K5 IIs, or K-3. More importantly, my subjects have never mentioned, or seem to notice anything odd, either.


BTW: If the Nikon lens represents the 'go to' standard you wish for the DA*300/4, I'd vote a HUGE "UGH-NO-hhh". It's sandpaper grinding sound would drive me nuts...


Cheers... M

Last edited by Michaelina2; 03-22-2014 at 07:38 AM.
03-22-2014, 10:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Thanks for the clarification. I just tried mine using LV (which I had never done before). Yes, like yours, my copy also focuses slowly in LV. I also heard a (very) faint squeal during one of the focus runs from infinity to minimum focus distance. The other half dozen runs didn't produce an audible squeal.

How does your lens perform while in phase-detect (i.e., 'viewfinder') mode? Any apparent issues?

As for the Nikon example, it's not really 'silent' - I can hear something while it focuses. One might conclude that there's a faint 'grinding' noise. It's quiet, but not silent.

- Craig
It just went out with it for a test and it sounded like a high pitch bell ringing. I say "sounded" because 30 minutes into testing the motor died.

---------- Post added 03-22-14 at 12:40 PM ----------

This is what the AF now looks like with the 300..

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