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07-12-2018, 06:02 PM   #1
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DA 17-70 with dead SDM, Fix it or Forget it!

Hello All

I am requesting feedback from anyone who has or had a DA 17-70 and had the SDM motor replaced. Last year the SDM on my copy died. I looked into getting it repaired but a like new DA 16-85 popped up at a price not much more than repairing the DA 17-70 and I bought it. Since then I have been using the 16-85 as my primary walk around zoom. Looking over my lenses since I have both a K-5 and a K-3 I am trying to decide of repairing the DA17-70 would be worth it. I would rather have it as a usable lens, not a paperweight. I checked precision and they gave an online quote of about $220 USD flat rate. I am thinking it may be worth it if I will get a good working lens again as a backup to the 16-85, or if my wife or son will be using the K-5 while I am using the K-3 & 16-85 combo. The scenario I do not want is to get it repaired only to have the SDM fail again. The lens would be a backup to the 16-85 which will be my primary zoom.
Has anyone had their DA 17-70 repaired and are they satisfied with the repair? Will precision put in a better SDM motor than the original? My copy dates back to 2010 and I know SDM failures were common with this lens from that time. I would hope a more robust motor would be installed.

Thanks in advance,


Last edited by jddwoods; 07-12-2018 at 06:19 PM.
07-12-2018, 07:02 PM   #2
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Can it be converted to screw-drive? That might be cheaper to do and more reliable.
07-12-2018, 07:09 PM   #3
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No it can't... It can be fixed or used as a manual focus lens...
07-12-2018, 07:11 PM   #4
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Cannot be converted as there is no screw drive mechanism. I would just use it as a manual focus near-macro lens. The manual throw is kind of short but I like the rendering of the 17-70 so would keep it as a manual focus lens since you can buy a working model used for less than the repair cost.

07-12-2018, 07:11 PM - 1 Like   #5
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The 17-70 isn't screw-driven.

The 17-70 is a great lens, optically, much better than the 16-85. When the 17-70 was released, I bought one to compare with my DA* 16-50, 18-55, and 16-45. The 17-70 was my favorite, but after having the SDM replaced under warranty, I kept only the 16-45.

I sold the 17-70 to someone local, with all Precision receipts. The SDM died a short time later. The new user paid to have it repaired again, and was quite happy with the lens. This was years ago. Hopefully they have better replacements for you now.
07-12-2018, 08:22 PM   #6
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I was lucky to buy a refurbished 17-70 that had SDM replaced and it has never failed in the 4 or 5 years we have had it. It is my step-cousins only lens on her KS2 and she loves it. I think she has used the heck out of it. I agree that the 17-70 is optically a tick above what people realize. It is a great lens to pair with the 60-250 for a nice ranged f/4 kit. But as mentioned by another poster, the depressed price of the lens makes SDM replacement a hard to swallow option. For kicks contact KEH and see if they can do it cheaper. There was a time they were doing some SDM replacements cheaper than Precision.
07-12-2018, 08:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
Hello All

I am requesting feedback from anyone who has or had a DA 17-70 and had the SDM motor replaced. Last year the SDM on my copy died. I looked into getting it repaired but a like new DA 16-85 popped up at a price not much more than repairing the DA 17-70 and I bought it. Since then I have been using the 16-85 as my primary walk around zoom. Looking over my lenses since I have both a K-5 and a K-3 I am trying to decide of repairing the DA17-70 would be worth it. I would rather have it as a usable lens, not a paperweight. I checked precision and they gave an online quote of about $220 USD flat rate. I am thinking it may be worth it if I will get a good working lens again as a backup to the 16-85, or if my wife or son will be using the K-5 while I am using the K-3 & 16-85 combo. The scenario I do not want is to get it repaired only to have the SDM fail again. The lens would be a backup to the 16-85 which will be my primary zoom.
Has anyone had their DA 17-70 repaired and are they satisfied with the repair? Will precision put in a better SDM motor than the original? My copy dates back to 2010 and I know SDM failures were common with this lens from that time. I would hope a more robust motor would be installed.

Thanks in advance,
It would probably be cheaper (or around the same price) to replace the lens, given that it's on sale for just $260 right now:
amazon.com : Pentax 17-70mm f/4 DA SMC AL IF SDM Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras : Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&

Replacing it with the 16-85mm for the more reliable AF and bigger zoom range is also not a bad idea, IMO.

Adam
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07-13-2018, 03:44 AM   #8
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the repair looks quite easy, why dont you try?
Pentax DA 17-70 SDM Repair Video - PentaxForums.com

07-13-2018, 05:52 AM   #9
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Where do you find replacement motors?






QuoteOriginally posted by shyrsio Quote
the repair looks quite easy, why dont you try?
Pentax DA 17-70 SDM Repair Video - PentaxForums.com
07-13-2018, 07:20 AM   #10
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I have the DA 17-70 that dates to about that time. The SDM died in 2013 and I paid about your quote to have it repaired in Chandler AZ. I used it on K100d Super and K5 classic. Supposedly it was repaired with an upgraded SDM so should not have been a problem any longer. In 2014 the lens began to have focusing issues in the 50-70 mm range, but was fine and fast otherwise. I basically set it aside to try the DA* 16-50 and that is what I mostly use now. I'm debating what to do with the lens at this point. As for image quality, range, and overall use it is a great lens. I really loved it, and maybe that is why I've held onto it. I believe I have heard a few here report that their focusing issues were much better when they updated to a newer camera body, but I've not done that, obviously.

As I've considered repair, I have also noted as others have that you can buy a used lens for about the repair price, and a new one for not much more. It makes the repair question more difficult. You asked was I satisfied with the repair. Initially, definitely for about a year or a little longer. After the 50-70 mm focus issues crept back in, I was a little less satisfied.

I hope this provides a little perspective. Good luck with your decision. It is a great lens, and another way to think about is that if you spend for the repair, you may have a great lens for a long time. If it does not work out......well, there are lots of things in the photography world that cost more than $220 just to give something a try to see how it goes.
07-14-2018, 03:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
In 2014 the lens began to have focusing issues in the 50-70 mm range
the 50-70 focusing issue is a well known issue of this lens, mine gets it right at about half the times. however i've read that it is not motor related but rather it has to do with the lens circuit. one guy had it replaced while under warranty and has had no problems since.
07-14-2018, 11:11 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. Earlier today I put the lens on my K-5 and took s few pictures with this lens in MF mode. My conclusion is; this may be one of the worst lenses in MF mode since the focus throw is so short and the ring has absolutely no damping whatsoever. I ended up overshooting the focus point on too many shots making it just not worthwhile as a usable manual focus lens. From what I am hearing and seeing on the lens review database is that replacing the SDM is somewhat of a gamble that the fix will last. I checked KEH.com and their repair estimate is even higher that Precisions. So I am not liking the idea to gamble $220 or more plus shipping to fix it. I also doubt my lens has much residual value with a dead SDM when copies with working SDM are $260 or less. So for now, it is forget it with this lens and I will just stick with my 16-85 and primes covering 15mm to 70mm on my two cameras. Too bad, I would really like this lens if it did not have so many issues.
07-15-2018, 03:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
My conclusion is; this may be one of the worst lenses in MF mode since the focus throw is so short and the ring has absolutely no damping whatsoever. I ended up overshooting the focus point on too many shots making it just not worthwhile as a usable manual focus lens.
Also similar experience as I've had.

QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
I would really like this lens if it did not have so many issues.
. Concur. I keep thinking that based on optics feedback, if Pentax had just made this lens in the same way as they made the 12-24, it would have been a GEM of a lens. That is not what they chose, however.
07-15-2018, 03:16 PM   #14
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Consider it as a lens for astro at 70mm then tape the focus at actual infinity and it is still useful. Or at 17mm for Milky Way images. (I have tried both and it is the only way other than as a near focus Macro that a SDM failed 17-70 is good.)
07-17-2018, 06:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
Also similar experience as I've had.

. Concur. I keep thinking that based on optics feedback, if Pentax had just made this lens in the same way as they made the 12-24, it would have been a GEM of a lens. That is not what they chose, however.
I had always wished I had an inside communication track to Ricoh/Pentax to suggest they do a refresh of this lens with the PLM motor. I doubt that will ever happen but as far as the next best thing it turns out to be the DA 16-85 which in my experience is a better overall lens. last year I pondered fixing the 17-70 SDM and when I got quote from KEH and Precision. I was ready to send it to Precision, but along came a used 16-85 in Like new condition for $100 more than repairing the 17-70. I bought the 16-85 and am very happy with it, but a year later watching the 17-70 collecting dust, I gave a second thought to repairing it, hence this thread. Again, no repair, but I just can't get myself to toss it in the trash, so I will revisit the repair possibility sometime in the future. My main reason for skipping the repair is feedback that SDM failures still occur on replacement SDM motors making the repair not worth it. Even if I got it working my primary go to zoom would be the 16-85.
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