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05-03-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
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DA* lenses are they built to last ?

We all know that the body of an slr would only last for so long, then in time will eventually crap out. I have no problem with that.

But to invest a lot of money in a lense we expect it to last a very long time, and why not we all spend our hard earn money on this and put faith in these lenses. That will last way beyond the body, and still work for future generations to enjoy, a fine piece of glass that our children/grandchildren will inherrit when are gone.

However I like many others here spend a lot of money on the da* weather sealent sdm lenses, many are not even past warrenty and are getting problems, and those who are past their warrenty, have a choice deal with it or pay more $$$ to get it fixed and you are not garentted it will not cause problems or crap out again.

The way the future runs is this "you can not make money off a one time buy."
I have only bought the DA* 50 135 and DA* 300 in the process of getting the DA* 200. Not a done deal till I pay the balance owing on the 3rd one.

But I am wondering should I scrap the DA*200 and get glass that will last as long as I live, or gamble with the DA* lense ?

The DA* 50 135 has a year left in warrenty and the DA* 300 is only 2months old should I return the DA*300 and scrap the final sale of the DA* 200 and put the money in glass that is built to last ?

ABCWinter

05-03-2009, 09:52 AM   #2
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IMO, the Limited series looks quite a bit more durable. Metal is metal, and I have perfectly good 30-year-old lenses in my bag. Can't see that happening with a plastic lens.
05-03-2009, 10:57 AM   #3
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I have a bad feeling that the SDM lenses might have problems.
There sure does seem to be a spate of them failing.
05-03-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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Kind'a like electric locks and windows and electronic ignition in autos, ain't it?

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05-03-2009, 11:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I have a bad feeling that the SDM lenses might have problems.
There sure does seem to be a spate of them failing.
Agreed.
I have personal experience with a failing DA 16-50 (replaced by Pentax with a new lens which is great - so far) and there are a lot of reports showing up about failing sdm in the DA 50-135 as well.
However, I have yet to read anything similar about a DA 200 of DA 300.
Or a DA 17-70 fot that matter.
I do suppose there are a much greater number of copies of the DA 16-50 and DA 50-135 around. Either that or Pentax fixed something in the later models.
05-03-2009, 11:51 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
...However, I have yet to read anything similar about a DA 200 of DA 300...
I stand corrected.
And another one.

Last edited by Bart; 05-03-2009 at 12:11 PM.
05-03-2009, 12:53 PM   #7
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In my opinion:
Limited lenses: YES
DA* lenses: NO

Put another way: I have a long history with Pentax products, and K-mount lenses. I NEVER had a single problem until the DA* series of lenses. I have replaced three DA* 16-50's for optical reasons until I gave up, and now I have returned a DA* 50-135 for SDM failure. Good thing I noticed it failing recently because it will be out of warranty at the end of this month!

Since my 50-135 will be out of warranty after it comes back from service, I am resigned to the fact that someday it will simply end up as a MF lens, because I won't want to keep spending a few hundred dollars for service every time the SDM fails.

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 05-03-2009 at 01:05 PM.
05-03-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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the rubber gaskets and sealings in time will definitely degrade as well

05-03-2009, 04:54 PM   #9
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I'm thinking that DSLRs and lenses are starting to get more and more related to other consumer electronics. With manufacturers coming out with new models every six months, longevity is probably not at the top of their priority lists.
Lenses with motors in them will fail sooner or later. I think lenses with IS, i.e. floating elements, are even more prone to failure than Pentax' non-IS lenses. That being said, the problems people are reporting with SDM certainly are disconcerting.
05-03-2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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My best performing lenses in terms of solid feel, durability and accuracy are my Takumars. They are approximately 40 years old, and I see no reason they should ever stop working as long as they are periodically serviced - say once every 20 years.

Same for my mechanical cameras, as long as there are parts (or donor bodies) and film available.
05-03-2009, 06:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
My best performing lenses in terms of solid feel, durability and accuracy are my Takumars. They are approximately 40 years old, and I see no reason they should ever stop working as long as they are periodically serviced - say once every 20 years.

Same for my mechanical cameras, as long as there are parts (or donor bodies) and film available.
Sorry but talking about legacy lenses is a different context altogether to a modern AF lens, which is frankly quite a lot different construction wise. For one thing, lenses today have to factor in AF. Lens designers have to contend with the size and weight of the focusing ring and focus throw as it has a bearing on the load and inertia the focusing motor has to overcome.

If one were to open up an SDM lens, you will be very surprised to find that the SDM motor is about the size of a button or small coin. My take is some of the SDM lens failures we hear about is probably because early production SDM lenses had not so robust motors. Talking with my local Pentax agent, those lenses that had these SDM issues were sent back to Japan and had their motors replaced with new ones with no subsequent issues arising. One of the early adopter pitfalls.... heck I just recently saw with my own eyes a Sony user's new Sony A900 had its mirror lock up rendering the camera useless... apparently a known issue.

One thing I know is the DA* lenses are pretty solid in build quality, which I can't really say for the DA and some DA Limiteds, the common loose and wobbly lens barrels come to mind.
05-03-2009, 07:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
If one were to open up an SDM lens, you will be very surprised to find that the SDM motor is about the size of a button or small coin.
In that case I suggest Pentax make the SDM motor a user-replaceable part and sell it at reasonable price ($10??), perhaps even include a spare one with every new lens purchased. That would create a lot of goodwill.
05-03-2009, 07:36 PM   #13
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Yeah the issue is going to be with the SDM mechanism. I have had two DA* lenses suffer failed SDM within the first year of use.
05-03-2009, 07:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
In that case I suggest Pentax make the SDM motor a user-replaceable part and sell it at reasonable price ($10??), perhaps even include a spare one with every new lens purchased. That would create a lot of goodwill.
What goodwill would that engender? Just because it's a small item doesn't make it practical to be user replaceable. You'd still need to open the barrel of the lens to get to the motor. That's not something I want to be messing with just because a small percentage of the units sold had failures.
05-03-2009, 07:49 PM   #15
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My take is that they don't make 'em like they used to and they never will again. Buy the lens that fits your needs and use it. If you wear it out you'll have gotten your money's worth. Odds are that advances in technology and design will make it useless in 10 years anyway (and yes, I too regularly shoot a 20 year old 50 1.7 on my K10D...but remember, they don't make 'em like they used to ).

Just did a bit more research on SDM technology. Coming from Canon like I did, I just assumed SDM was an ultrasonic ring motor like Canon pioneered 20 years ago. Turns out I was wrong. Pentax's SDM technology is actually an ultrasonic drive motor connected to the screw drive shaft. My guess, all of the torque on that tiny motor is just too much for it to bear. A traditional ring type ultrasonic motor is much more robust as it spreads the torque load out around the entire perimeter of the lens barrel.

Last edited by Robert S Donovan; 05-03-2009 at 08:16 PM.
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