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11-11-2015, 04:43 PM   #1
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Pentax 16-50mm f2.8

How likely is the SDM to fail in this lens? Anyone own a Pentax 16-50mm f2.8 lens that hasn't failed?

Considering this lens, or the 20-40mm Limited. Which is sharper?

Thank you.

11-11-2015, 05:02 PM   #2
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I don't know about either but I just bought my first zoom in at least several years (I was/am a big time prime user) and I got the 16-85.

I can say that the lens is very sharp. It is not to be overlooked.

True it is slower which means some other compromises, but it's very sharp.
11-11-2015, 05:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brucie Quote
How likely is the SDM to fail in this lens? Anyone own a Pentax 16-50mm f2.8 lens that hasn't failed?
If you are buying new I would say the chance of the SDM failing is not much higher than any other in lens motor. Those fail at some percentage on all lenses. If you are buying used I would assume a much larger failure rate depending on the manufacture date, which is likely unknown. Perhaps approaching 100% so you need to factor that into the price.

I've used the 16-50 for years and feel it is a very capable lens but the SDM failed, was repaired and failed a second time. I've converted it to screw drive now and given up on the SDM.

One thing to consider is the current price, at the original price of over $1,000 this was an expensive premium lens. At current used prices of around $400 - $450 it is quite a bargain even if the SDM fails.
11-11-2015, 05:36 PM - 1 Like   #4
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You could get Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 for cheaper, if you are willing to sacrifice the 1mm wider angle.

11-11-2015, 06:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brucie Quote
How likely is the SDM to fail in this lens? Anyone own a Pentax 16-50mm f2.8 lens that hasn't failed?

Considering this lens, or the 20-40mm Limited. Which is sharper?

Thank you.
Tough call...!

I've had 3 SDM failures on that lens (new since 2008), the last one was fixed free of charge as under warranty after a long battle to get my point across...!!! It's still working...like a charm today. My 2 cents on this: get one and if the SDM fails (it may be something else?) disable it and keep on truckin' because its a super piece of glass at f2.8. But... remember to check for someone who knows how to disable that SDM, or maybe you can do it, its technical...so be warned (check the posts on that procedure).
My best walk around lens together with my DA10-17mm...95% of the work.
11-11-2015, 07:10 PM   #6
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Mine has had the motor replaced twice. Once at the end of 2013 and then again 7 months later. The latest repair seems to be working fine, but I find that I don't use it as much as I used to. During the latest repair, it was gone for 8 months and during that time I picked up the 20-40. The 16-50 is prone to lens flare, definitely more than the 20-40. I don't tend to shot with the 16-50 wider than f4. Weather sealing is key for me and both are great in that regard, but there isn't much of a hood on the 20-40, so that may be something to consider. I find the16-50 to be a bit soft at wide apertures though. I really like the 20-40. Its a bit lighter to carry and I know it will always autofocus. I find the 20-40 sharper than the 16-50 at wider apertures.(i.e. wider than f5.6) after that they seem fairly even. I haven't done repeated tests to prove this, just my general impressions.
11-11-2015, 07:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brucie Quote
How likely is the SDM to fail in this lens? Anyone own a Pentax 16-50mm f2.8 lens that hasn't failed?

Considering this lens, or the 20-40mm Limited. Which is sharper?

Thank you.
Don't know about this lens from SDM failure standpoint. After reading the PE review I went with the Tamron 17-50 better IQ for less than half the price, only drawback lack of weather proofing but that's what plastic bags are for. Besides if the Tammy does get wet I can get a new one and still be ahead.
11-11-2015, 08:04 PM   #8
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The DA*16-50 is an optically superb lens which I have owned now for several years.
No doubt in my mind that it is a tough act to follow by the other 3rd party brands out there.
Now, for the SDM "thing" .... mine needed one repair by Pentax (under warranty back then) and it failed again two years ago. I have since then modified it to screw drive and it's back doing what it's supposed to: great images ! Excellent IQ !
Still have it and no intention to ever sell it.

Of course, as mentioned earlier in this thread, you could probably pick one up (used) for a very good price.
I would certainly consider this option.

Cheers!

11-11-2015, 08:12 PM   #9
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I have one and after two repairs it does not work and I need to convert it to screw drive I guess. However, it produced excellent IQ while it was working.
11-11-2015, 08:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by godavari Quote
I have one and after two repairs it does not work and I need to convert it to screw drive I guess. However, it produced excellent IQ while it was working.
Go ahead and do this conversion ... well worth it !
11-11-2015, 08:29 PM   #11
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I have owned mine since late 2007, and it still works flawlessly, SDM and all. There are a few shots with it on my Flickr site.
11-11-2015, 08:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Go ahead and do this conversion ... well worth it !
Is there a way i can do this by myself or should I send it somewhere to get it done?
11-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #13
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I have a Tamron 17-50 / 2.8 that no longer autofocuses reliably (known problem with an older batch).
The Pentax 16-50 / 2.8 is around 18 months old and hasn't even coughed with moderate use.

just my experience, AS usual YMMV

Bruce
11-11-2015, 10:30 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by godavari Quote
Is there a way i can do this by myself or should I send it somewhere to get it done?
THIS THREAD is the definitive resource on the subject.

I did it to my DA*16-50 a couple of years ago and I've never looked back; it is my most used event lens.
11-12-2015, 12:00 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
THIS THREAD is the definitive resource on the subject.

I did it to my DA*16-50 a couple of years ago and I've never looked back; it is my most used event lens.
yes -that is the definitive thread - I've also converted one lens (DA*50-135) and about to convert one of my two DA*16-50's also.

The process is pretty straight forward if you are somewhat "tecky" - it does involve a few steps, and there are a few classic mistakes that can be made along the way, but the process itself is sound and if followed correctly works like a charm.

For the OP - yup I have 2 of these lenses - one for me, and one I bought for my daughter.
Bought both used, and for less than $400
One has some issues with the SDM and I'm about to convert to screw drive. The other works fine.
I love this lens so much I bought one for my daughter (also into Pentax photography) just so she wouldn't ultimately steal mine.
yes it is prone to flare. Yes the SDM AF can be flakey (but easily bypassed).
I love the range, I love the sharpness, I love the WR....
At used prices this lens is fantastic. I just wouldn't shell out brand new prices for it.

Edit: just finished converting the DA*16-50 to screwdrive. worked like a charm.

will have to convert my second before my daughter goes off to university with my K20D..

Last edited by mholford; 11-12-2015 at 12:41 AM.
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