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08-07-2016, 10:30 AM   #1
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DA* 60-250 F4 : autofocus failure, twice.

Hi !

Just wanted to share my experience with the famous DA* telezoom.
I've had a first copy for almost a year before the focus system basically died during a photo session (either manual or auto, focus was not able to move anymore).
I'm GLAD it was still during the warranty period.
So I got a new copy almost a month ago, been using it for like 5000 shots, and guess what... focus failure yesterday, exactly the same problem.
This time, I'll just return it and order the HD DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR instead (I would never have imagined).

No need to say it never crashed or shocked against anything. I'm using it for sports mainly, so always in AF-C, and I auto-focus threw the "AF" button on my K-3ii.

Other than this problem, that's occured twice, I really liked that lense for its IQ.
AF is decent, quite OK for the sports I'm shooting (with ONE AF spot, but adding more it becomes too slow e.g. for mountainbiking), for sure not as good as some Canon AF.

So this is it, deception in the air, had to give it a chance but the second failure just a month after getting the new copy was just unbelievable, I won't try a 3rd one

08-07-2016, 10:37 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
I won't try a 3rd one
You should. Best lens in my bag.

Sad that you have had issues but if it is only a month old then return it or get it repaired under warranty. 55-300 is a nice lens, but not in the same class as the 60-250.
08-07-2016, 11:50 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear your 2nd copy of the lens has failed. I've heard that the 60-250 isn't as prone to SDM failure as the 16-50 and 15-135, but it seems there are still issues with it occasionally. I hope my copy either doesn't experience the problem, or fails within the 2 year warranty period... if the latter, I'll definitely get it repaired and stick with it. As John says above, the 55-300 is a nice lens (I have one and I like it a lot), but the IQ isn't comparable to the 60-250; it really is a different class of lens, so you'll need to adjust your expectations accordingly.
08-07-2016, 02:08 PM   #4
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What is interesting is that manual focus wouldn't work, either - something was stuck, from what I understand. AFAIK a dead SDM motor would not prevent manual focusing (nor screw drive AF, if converted/on an older body).
Perhaps it's the clutch mechanism, or something else?

08-07-2016, 02:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
What is interesting is that manual focus wouldn't work, either - something was stuck, from what I understand. AFAIK a dead SDM motor would not prevent manual focusing (nor screw drive AF, if converted/on an older body).
Perhaps it's the clutch mechanism, or something else?
^^^ yup

Did you ever attempt to turn the focus ring while the AF motor was still operating? This could eventually break the lens and lead to the behavior you're describing.

YMMV but I'd recommend just getting the 60-250mm repaired again, since this doesn't sound like plain old AF failure.

QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
Hi !

Just wanted to share my experience with the famous DA* telezoom.
I've had a first copy for almost a year before the focus system basically died during a photo session (either manual or auto, focus was not able to move anymore).
I'm GLAD it was still during the warranty period.
So I got a new copy almost a month ago, been using it for like 5000 shots, and guess what... focus failure yesterday, exactly the same problem.
This time, I'll just return it and order the HD DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR instead (I would never have imagined).

No need to say it never crashed or shocked against anything. I'm using it for sports mainly, so always in AF-C, and I auto-focus threw the "AF" button on my K-3ii.

Other than this problem, that's occured twice, I really liked that lense for its IQ.
AF is decent, quite OK for the sports I'm shooting (with ONE AF spot, but adding more it becomes too slow e.g. for mountainbiking), for sure not as good as some Canon AF.

So this is it, deception in the air, had to give it a chance but the second failure just a month after getting the new copy was just unbelievable, I won't try a 3rd one

Adam
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08-08-2016, 11:18 AM   #6
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I do understand you all about getting the same lens rather than the 55-300.
For sure I won't expect the same IQ, but I like the idea of a lighter, smaller, more versatile and way cheaper lens, as a "second choice" / rescue lens.

The thing is, that problem happening twice during the time of year I do need it professionally was really embarrassing. (I find myself with a borrowed EOS 1D - first of his name dinosaur! - with an old but wonderful 70-200 L IS lens). I realized I really need a second choice lens in that occasion.
Also, I have in mind a future upgrade to FF, so I'd rather invest that amount of money later on a FF lens (150-450 or 70-200...).

If it can help understand my choice ;-)

QuoteOriginally posted by Kunzite Quote
What is interesting is that manual focus wouldn't work, either - something was stuck, from what I understand. AFAIK a dead SDM motor would not prevent manual focusing (nor screw drive AF, if converted/on an older body).
Perhaps it's the clutch mechanism, or something else?
Yes, manual focusing is NOT working it's like stuck (sometimes moves, sometimes doesn't, but it's impossible to focus where you want to).

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Did you ever attempt to turn the focus ring while the AF motor was still operating? This could eventually break the lens and lead to the behavior you're describing.
Not intentionally AFAIK !
08-08-2016, 11:26 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
Yes, manual focusing is NOT working it's like stuck (sometimes moves, sometimes doesn't, but it's impossible to focus where you want to).
I had a similar problem with an 18-135 lens. It was eventually replaced, but the problem was not the lens motor, something had broken or come loose inside and was jamming the focus ring. Obviously this is a completely different lens and lens motor so the cause might be different. Still, what you describe does not sound at all like SDM motor failure but rather something broken or loose inside.

Even if you get the 55-300 as a backup I would suggest (assuming this is under warranty) to get it repaired. The 60-250 is truly one of the best lenses Pentax makes. And it works just fine on FF. I'm using it on the K-1 now after removing a baffle that caused some vignetting. Still likely my second most used lens after the DFA 24-70.
08-08-2016, 11:44 AM   #8
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I didn't know it worked well on FF, what is that baffle removing you did ?

I had to make a quick decision whether to buy another copy of the same lens or something else because I just need a telezoom NOW ;-). I'll receive the 55-300 tomorrow and anyway, I have and will take some time to think about what will be the next first choice telezoom lens, which has to be FF. I'm also considering the Canon options because the autofocus just blows me away every time I try it (70-200 L series) and I mainly use the telezoom for sport photography.

And basically, it's really been deceiving that a such high-class lens fails twice that way (for some 20 days warranty left, I just had to pay for that).

08-08-2016, 11:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
Hi !

Just wanted to share my experience with the famous DA* telezoom.
I've had a first copy for almost a year before the focus system basically died during a photo session (either manual or auto, focus was not able to move anymore).
I'm GLAD it was still during the warranty period.
So I got a new copy almost a month ago, been using it for like 5000 shots, and guess what... focus failure yesterday, exactly the same problem.
This time, I'll just return it and order the HD DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR instead (I would never have imagined).

No need to say it never crashed or shocked against anything. I'm using it for sports mainly, so always in AF-C, and I auto-focus threw the "AF" button on my K-3ii.

Other than this problem, that's occured twice, I really liked that lense for its IQ.
AF is decent, quite OK for the sports I'm shooting (with ONE AF spot, but adding more it becomes too slow e.g. for mountainbiking), for sure not as good as some Canon AF.

So this is it, deception in the air, had to give it a chance but the second failure just a month after getting the new copy was just unbelievable, I won't try a 3rd one
I'm reasonably confident this is not a common problem, motor : Yes - but mechanism {as this seems to be} : NO. If this were a common problem, we would have heard a chorus of complaints of this very kind, and your post would have attracted confirming / agreeing posts like honey attracts flies. If I were in your position, I'd be scared of trying a third time, but if it really does give the best IQ ...

Incidentally, you didn't mention which camera you are using. Is it a K-3ii, or some other camera compatible with the new DA 55-300 PLM lens?
08-08-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
If I were in your position, I'd be scared of trying a third time
That's the point!

QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Incidentally, you didn't mention which camera you are using. Is it a K-3ii, or some other camera compatible with the new DA 55-300 PLM lens?
It is a K-3 ii indeed.
08-08-2016, 11:55 AM   #11
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Details on the mod to allow FF use are here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/304092-da-60-250-mod-ff-6.html In short the lens does work on FF with some vignetting. Removal of the baffle allows it to work without the vignetting. I am quite happy with it on the K-1.

QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
it's really been deceiving that a such high-class lens fails twice that way
Not sure about 'deceiving' that implies an intent to defraud which I do not believe to be the case. You have had bad luck with the lens and I understand your frustration, however many, many people use this lens and have had no issues. If mine died I would replace or repair it as it fits in with what I do. The range is excellent, the image quality also excellent. It is only f/4 so for some that is an issue.

QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
I mainly use the telezoom for sport photography.
Pentax may not be the best choice for sports, though the auto focus, especially on the k-1 is just amazing, the tracking function does lag compared to other vendors. And the 60-250 is definitely not a fast focusing lens. I use it nearly daily for product shots and also for landscape and nature. It is my lens of choice when out in the car. But it is not a fast focusing lens.
08-08-2016, 11:59 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by azath Quote
That's the point!
It sounds like your mind is made up, and if that's the case, I wish you better luck with the DA55-300 or whichever other lens(es) you choose.
08-08-2016, 12:20 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Not sure about 'deceiving' that implies an intent to defraud which I do not believe to be the case. You have had bad luck with the lens and I understand your frustration, however many, many people use this lens and have had no issues. If mine died I would replace or repair it as it fits in with what I do. The range is excellent, the image quality also excellent. It is only f/4 so for some that is an issue.
Frustrating is a better word then. And agreed about the excellence of this lens which I always considered my best lens and always been happy with until this. That thread, as reh321 said, at least indicates that it does not seem to be a common problem so that is a good point.

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
It sounds like your mind is made up, and if that's the case, I wish you better luck with the DA55-300 or whichever other lens(es) you choose.
Yes as I said before, I needed immediate solution and that was my quick choice, that the 55-300 will become my second choice telezoom lense (with other pros than IQ). Now I'll take some time to consider the options for the next first choice FF telezoom, basically : 150-450, 70-200, 60-250, or even Canon. It was the opportunity to reconsider. But I do not exclude that lens from possibilities because I really enjoyed it.
08-09-2016, 11:12 AM   #14
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I have the same issue ... it died after I had it for 1.5 years, so it's out of warranty. It seems like this may be a common problem. It started acting squirrely - sometimes the AF wouldn't work and it would work fine in manual. then both of them became sketchy. it's $300 to fix this issue. i love the lens, but i don't want to get it fixed only to have it go kablooey in a few months. is there any kind of warranty on a repair? since this seems to be a known issue, i wish they'd give one a break on the price of repair ... or something.
08-09-2016, 11:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CynthiaL Quote
It started acting squirrely - sometimes the AF wouldn't work and it would work fine in manual. then both of them became sketchy.
Exactly how it happened to me indeed.
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