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02-04-2015, 08:31 PM   #1
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What to do with my DA* 16-50?

Hi, all. I just realized that I've not posted on here in about 3 years. Life got in the way and the family got bigger, so priorities just shifted, I guess. Anyway, I have a 16-50 with what seems to be a dead SDM motor. I've tried converting it to screw drive, with no luck for some reason. In the time that it has been dead, I've shot a bunch manually focusing it (DA* zooms are not optimized for manual focus, by the way) and a bunch with my FA 43.

What I've learned is that I don't like the size and weight of the DA*, but the 43 isn't wide enough. I think it might be time to get rid of the DA* and look for wider, more portable equipment. In this situation, what would you do? How much do you think I could expect to get for the lens in its current state? Is it worthwhile to get it fixed first, or maybe figure out how to convert it to screw drive? Other suggestions?

02-04-2015, 08:41 PM   #2
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I'd either try to convert it to screwdrive or sell it on here and use the proceeds to get a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 since it is a great deal now, or if you can swing it a Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 (I love mine) if you want even faster. The Tamron should be lighter than either the 16-50 or the Sigma 18-35, but is not weather sealed like only the 16-50 is of it. I've heard the Tamron has better IQ anyway.
02-04-2015, 09:04 PM   #3
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Size and weight is a legitimate reason to be unhappy with the 16-50 I reckon: go for either a 15 or 21 limited - depending on where you mostly used the 16-50.
and also get the 18-135. This gives you a high quality lens that's small at the focal length you most use, plus a zoom that's weather sealed, small and light, very flexible and actually pretty good.

I'd also think about moving on from your k10d - I get so many more shots I'm happier with on the k-3 than I ever did with the K10d or K7.
02-04-2015, 09:04 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jason 407 Quote
Hi, all. I just realized that I've not posted on here in about 3 years. Life got in the way and the family got bigger, so priorities just shifted, I guess. Anyway, I have a 16-50 with what seems to be a dead SDM motor. I've tried converting it to screw drive, with no luck for some reason. In the time that it has been dead, I've shot a bunch manually focusing it (DA* zooms are not optimized for manual focus, by the way) and a bunch with my FA 43.

What I've learned is that I don't like the size and weight of the DA*, but the 43 isn't wide enough. I think it might be time to get rid of the DA* and look for wider, more portable equipment. In this situation, what would you do? How much do you think I could expect to get for the lens in its current state? Is it worthwhile to get it fixed first, or maybe figure out how to convert it to screw drive? Other suggestions?
I'd get it serviced, the repair is still far cheaper than the cost of a new lens.


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02-04-2015, 09:07 PM   #5
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There's quite a few people who've succeeded with the conversion so I would try to convert the 16-50 to screw drive. If you do decide to sell it then the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a very good lens, albeit you loose weather sealing and 1mm at the wide. If you don't mind plastic mount I would consider the DA35/2.4 which is probably one of the best bang for buck lenses available, that and the DA50/1.8.
02-04-2015, 10:53 PM   #6
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I like my DA*16-50, but since you're not so happy with it, fix it and sell it (or just sell it - whichever is cheaper).

Is 20mm wide enough? The FA20-35/4 is a very nice lens. I had one; I like it better than what I've seen from the DA20-40 Ltd, though that's an option too. They're both quite small and light, too.


Images from the new HD 16-85 look pretty nice, if you don't need a wide aperture. I thought it was overpriced until I saw the output.
02-05-2015, 04:24 AM   #7
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Have the lens repaired as Adam has pointed out. I am on my third DA*16-50. The first was defective straight out of the box. The second was a fantastic copy, but I got stupid and sold it. The third had SDM problems and had to be repaired 4 times, but once they got it right it is a wonderful walk around lens.
02-05-2015, 05:24 AM   #8
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Convert it to screw drive.

Tamron is not any lighter than the DA*16-50 and it seems weight/portability is your concern. Also Tamron is a screw drive so I don't see why you should not attempt enabling screw drive hack on your 16-50. Its a no brainer. DA* is definitely better than Tamron on Contrast and color saturation let alone the weather sealing. It also outperforms Tamron @f5.6.

02-05-2015, 07:03 AM   #9
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DA20-40 Limited
02-05-2015, 10:54 AM   #10
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Thank you for all the alternative lens suggestions. I think I might look seriously at the 20-40 limited, though I do love primes. I wish that Pentax had a fast 35mm equivalent in the lineup. I think if I had that plus one of the telephoto zooms for the oddball occasion that I need reach, I would have 90%+ of my needs covered. It has me seriously contemplating selling off my DA* and my beloved FA43 to move to a Fuji with their 23/1.4.

So, back to the original question, has anyone had an SDM repair done lately? Any idea of what I'd be looking at, cost-wise? Any idea what I could get for the lens if I don't fix it (maybe if I do the screw drive hack)?
02-05-2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jason 407 Quote
Thank you for all the alternative lens suggestions. I think I might look seriously at the 20-40 limited, though I do love primes. I wish that Pentax had a fast 35mm equivalent in the lineup. I think if I had that plus one of the telephoto zooms for the oddball occasion that I need reach, I would have 90%+ of my needs covered. It has me seriously contemplating selling off my DA* and my beloved FA43 to move to a Fuji with their 23/1.4.

So, back to the original question, has anyone had an SDM repair done lately? Any idea of what I'd be looking at, cost-wise? Any idea what I could get for the lens if I don't fix it (maybe if I do the screw drive hack)?
There was a 16-50 on the marketplace advertised for $250 and sold not too long ago. I beleive the seller disclosed the issue as a "failed hack". There have been a few 16-50 on ebay with "focus issue" that sold for as high as $350. www.precisioncamera.com is now the official Ricoh/Pentax repair facility. Their online repair quote for a DA16-50 is $206 , whether that is simply a test/evaluate or includes SDM is something you may need to clarify with over the phone. Your current camera is ripe for an upgrade but with the recent FF announcement, I would hold on for a while specially to your FA43.
02-05-2015, 01:52 PM   #12
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No doubt the body needs to be upgraded, even if I figure out a good way to meet my needs and stay with Pentax. Either way, it doesn't look like I will get a lot out of what I have. I'll need to buy any new lenses and body using whatever funds I can get out of selling off current gear, so I might be priced into just finding a decent point and shoot at this point. I would probably only be able to net about $600 total.

Maybe I was too hasty. This listing is for one with the hack performed, currently with one bid at $400:

Pentax SMC Da 16 50 mm F 2 8 Al SDM If Ed Lens | eBay

Hmm, so maybe I could sell it plus the K10D with grip and finance a more budget option...

Last edited by Jason 407; 02-05-2015 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Did some research on eBay.
02-05-2015, 09:05 PM   #13
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what was the trouble when you attempted to convert it? I just converted mine so I know the process.
02-06-2015, 05:14 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
what was the trouble when you attempted to convert it? I just converted mine so I know the process.
Actually, it was abortive before it even got started. I couldn't get my camera body into debug mode. I don't have a Windows PC, so I can't use PKTether. I sort of half tried, so I'll just have to go give it a real attempt. Is it possible to do this without PKTether?
02-06-2015, 03:36 PM   #15
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Debug mode that might work but I don't have a K10D so I can't be certain.

Otherwise, you might be able to use Parallels or Virtualbox to run windows on your mac.

Or even find someone willing to convert it for you. Just make sure they save the original lenseep file in case you ever want to go back to SDM.
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