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View Poll Results: Do you have, are about to have an SDM/HSM lens and how is it functioning?
I have, so far so good (with SDM camera). 9347.45%
I have, notable problems (Glitches, sometimes not working ,Slower or worse AF , had to service). 3718.88%
Don't have, but would buy someday / are about to buy (or no SDM camera). 2211.22%
Don't have and try to avoid. 3919.90%
Other (explain in thread). 52.55%
Voters: 196. You may not vote on this poll

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08-12-2009, 11:04 PM   #1
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SDM lens, safe to buy?

I've red numerous opinions about SDM lenses. Both good and bad, but when reading such qualitative information you tend to focus on possible issues.

So until now i've been unsure if it is safe or preferable to buy SDM lens. To have a better impression of how things are actually instead of seeing only picked descriptions of problems encountered i've made this poll.

I've offered answers that match my situation best.
If 1:3 votes would indicate bad experience i don't think its a safe option to invest your money in.


Last edited by ytterbium; 08-12-2009 at 11:15 PM.
08-13-2009, 06:13 AM   #2
Ash
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It's not safe to buy SDM - the motor emits supersonic radiation that fries bodily organs in close proximity to it.

But seriously, although you'll hear more problem stories than praise ones with any item, you're also going to get similar response biases with this poll, so I'd still take the results you get here with a grain of salt.

Just self-assess *why* you want an SDM lens and go ahead and buy your most coveted SDM lens from a reputable dealer with warranty. Then go all out with the lens!
08-13-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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I think SDM is reasonably fast. The only thing is it doesn't feel USM fast/quiet. Back when I owned the Canon 30D and a few lenses (among them the 28-70mm f/2.8 L and 35-90mm $20 cheap lens) I never noticed how fast Canon USM was (b/c in reality it WASN'T "fast" compared to my 50-135mm). The big difference was was how quiet and accurate the AF was. My 50-135mm would occasionally hunt around in doors (even outdoors it is EXTREMELY occasional). Also, SDM isn't super quiet at all. It may be much more quiet than the scratching sound of screw AF, but compared to USM (even non ring USM), SDM is comparatively loud. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't bother me at all, but it seems strange that Canon has had this technology since the 199 something and Pentax is only just starting to use it and even this technology is inferior to the super old 28-70mm i use to have.

I still have no idea why Canon USM is so fast...

I have never had a real problem with SDM before, but I have had to service my 50-135mm due to a loose MF ring. I later found out you can tighten this yourself...
I would still recommend it. If you have never tried USM before, then SDM should seem pretty fast/ quiet.

The AF hunting could just be my camera body though... the 30D apparently had super fast AF system.
08-13-2009, 08:33 AM   #4
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looks like there has been less reports of sdm failures this year, but nevertheless, there are and i wanted to get the 16-50, but still contemplating if the difference in price between that tamron/sigma and the possibility of getting a dud outweighs it.

the warranty of 1 year is way too short compared to the 4 and 6 year warranty from sigma/tamron.

08-13-2009, 08:57 AM   #5
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SDM comparatively loud, GL?
How much louder could it be?
I never though that would be a point to consider whether to go SDM or not...
08-13-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
SDM comparatively loud, GL?
How much louder could it be?
I never though that would be a point to consider whether to go SDM or not...
It's very quiet, but compared to USM, it's louder. ALthough I don't really care. I didn't switch over to Pentax from Canon and expect faster/quieter AF. THe sound of SDM is in between the sound a Canon 18-200mm (has a micro motor not quite USM) and a real ring type 28-70mm f/2.8L USM.

Last edited by GLXLR; 08-14-2009 at 12:06 PM.
08-13-2009, 10:51 AM   #7
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Results seem nice.
My main concern is 16-50. Which if safe to buy should be my goal.
If it is still too buggy and uncompleted i shall wait for some next revision like 16-50 II with real ring motors, or be able to save money for something like Tamron 17-50 much faster.
01-07-2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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I have one (DA*300mm)--ok so far. I'm not going to buy another until there's reason to believe Pentax has resolved the SDM issues.

01-07-2010, 12:48 PM   #9
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I refuse to buy Pentax lenses because of SDM. It's a joke. It's not really USM. It's basically taking the screwdrive motor out of the body and stuffing it in the lens. Except the screw drive is more reliable, and in some cases, faster. I'll be buying Sigma HSM lenses for my new K-7, because Sigma uses true ring-type USM.

When Pentax gives us ring-type USM, I'll consider their lenses. Right now? The only Pentax lenses I'd consider are the Limiteds. I will not purchase a DA* lens.
01-07-2010, 12:58 PM   #10
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Does anyone really want to spend almost $1000 on a lens where this question has to be asked?
01-07-2010, 01:29 PM   #11
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I've seen enough reports of SDM issues to believe there is an inherent lack of QC and possible design flaw. As a consequence, I would not buy an SDM lens, new or used regardless of warranty. If the manufacturer can't get it right I won't support them.

Last edited by Damn Brit; 01-07-2010 at 01:59 PM.
01-07-2010, 04:38 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
Does anyone really want to spend almost $1000 on a lens where this question has to be asked?
for that price, I would rather buy a Tammy 28-75/2.8 and 70-200/2.8. I know that they have their share of lemons but atleast I don't have to worry much about warranty and SDM failure.
01-08-2010, 04:12 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
It's not safe to buy SDM - the motor emits supersonic radiation that fries bodily organs in close proximity to it. ...

Ash - for goodness sake don't mention about them going super critical and taking the whole neighbourhood out.
01-08-2010, 05:21 AM   #14
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If you get one, get an extended warranty. I don't usually recommend it, but these lenses don't seem to have lasting ability. At the same time, both the 50-135 and the 16-50 are amazing optically and a lot of folks are missing out on some good glass for fear of SDM. In the middle of their ranges, both of these lenses are prime sharp!
01-08-2010, 05:46 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
a lot of folks are missing out on some good glass for fear of SDM.
I know that's true. I think the K-x + DA*50-135 would be ultimate for my daughters B-ball games but I can't bring myself to put down that kind of cash for an iffy lens.
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