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08-20-2009, 09:28 AM   #1
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Sent my 50-135 back today...SDM failure.

Started having problems with the AF slowing to a crawl and it is still in my 30-day return for refund period so even though I bought it at a better price I decided to send it back.

My decision was based on the reading I did while trying to see what is up with the lens. I found SDM is, on it's best day, kinda fragile. Again, Pentax surprises me in that this sort of technology has been around over a decade yet here is a premium line of lenses with a fussy AF system and only a one-year warranty...then I find there have been a lot of issues with the SDM failures.

So, I am putting any further SDM, specifically DA* lenses on hold. I cannot afford to be stuck in a year with lenses that have either lost their resale value and/or have failed simply because I used them anywhere but resting on a silk covered feather pillow. (hey hyperbole is fun...hehehe)

BTW, you know how frustrating it is to search on just SDM? Some days I wanna slap the crap out of the original developers of vB...hehehe...I realize it saves on indexes to not allow less than 4-characters but well, for this stuff it sorta matters...but Google is our friend and does an OK job finding the posts & threads...just me whining is all...

I LOVED the 50-135 and it is a big concern to basically have it die of crib death in under 30-days...all with never doing more than sitting in it's bag on a shelf and some basic use for product shots.

BTW, i am one who does not see the rational for wanting to be able to select the screw drive over SDM...I bought the lens with the more modern AF system being a significant feature and see no reason to accept anything less than perfection. FF/BF issues I can live with but mechanical failure and the degree of it is just not worth the risk considering the short warranty and cost. I'll probably grab a cheaper WR DA lens for an all-weather lens for now. If it croaks well, no huger investment compared to the DA* lineup.

08-20-2009, 05:27 PM   #2
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My 50-135 failed on me within the first year as well. I contacted Pentax support and they asked me to send it right in. The nice thing was that instead of repairing the lens, they sent me a brand new one with a new one year warranty. I'm not sure how you bought your lens, but some credit card companies extend your warranty for a year on any product you buy using their card.
08-20-2009, 05:29 PM   #3
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The 50-135* is *so* good that I'll risk SDM failure. And if it does break, I'll get it fixed. Best of luck with the return.
08-20-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by MShawn63 Quote
My 50-135 failed on me within the first year as well. I contacted Pentax support and they asked me to send it right in. The nice thing was that instead of repairing the lens, they sent me a brand new one with a new one year warranty. I'm not sure how you bought your lens, but some credit card companies extend your warranty for a year on any product you buy using their card.
You missed my point...I am not paying nearly a grand for a AF system that is very prone to failures as SDM seems. I returned it for a refund not for exchange. Yes it is an amazing lens and takes great shots...but this one failed in under 30-days. I am not going to let Pentax (or any company) skate on something this important. It is like the K7 sensor issue...we are talking a problem that can reduce the lifespan of the product significantly...right now I wonder of the current SDM lenses will last 3-yrs let alone the 2-3 decades of other AF lenses...

Only lens I ever had to return before was a Sigma 10-20 (Canon mount) which I actually dropped as I took it out of the case for the first time...it was fine for several months then it lost infinity focus. Tech said not to worry as it was a common failure of the lens and they repaired it right away and said the drop was not a factor in the failure. Never dropped any other lens since!! knock-wood!! hehehehe....

QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
The 50-135* is *so* good that I'll risk SDM failure. And if it does break, I'll get it fixed. Best of luck with the return.
No luck involved, I have a 30-day full refund return...it's that simple. It has already been authorized not simply an RMA but the return is a done deal. Someone will get a nice referb lens as I never too the thing out at all only some shots around the house and some numpty shots on a tripod...the lense was AMAZING, really but the SDM thing has me leery of investing in the tech right now. Like I mentioned I will get one of the DA WR lenses, probably the 50-200 WR as a bad weather & sewer shoot. The 50-200 WR seems to actually be pretty nice and a good price as well. Reminds me of the value the Canon 55-250 IS represents...actually a great lens on it's own but consider the price and it's a really nice bit of gear.

You are soooooo right that it was a very difficult a decision not to keep it and instead get it repaired. Repair was my original intention, it sucked but these things happen now and then. Then I started searching on SDM failures and learned a lot more...Plus but right now I need a lens that is going to work long term. If reported SDM failures decrease I'll be happy to buy another, even at the new price it's such a great lens...I imagine when they move to a ring-type system things will improve...or not as the case may be...

For now primes will be all Pentax all the time but for any of my zooms it is going to be 3rd party over SDM. I know for sure a Sigma 100-300 and then prooobably a Sigma 70-200 HSM Macro II buuut, the Tammy looks good as well...might be fun to try it out...can always sell it later on. I really am going to look into the two when I am more in the mood after I adjust to some recent changes around here. And I already have my brand new 24-60mm Siggy which will be the real work-horse as it always has been for me. And I actually think the Pentax version focuses a bit faster than the Canon mount did.

Still gonna finish my "silver place setting" with the 31ltd...and hunt for old K-mount lenses at our thrift shops and estate sales. I grew up around such places because the family biz was antiques, so to me shopping is FUN and I LIVE for finding deals!! When you all know me better I'll tell ya what my better 2/3's calls me...if I say it now it can come across as kinda bad but in reality to me it's funny because of how I grew up and the biz we were in...no matter the shopping sorta makes me an anomaly for a guy...I love shopping but only for deals not just for shopping sake and decorating..I am a great shopper but well, am a sheety decorator...hehehe...but I swing a mean framing hammer.

08-20-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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You probably got one of the early copies.
08-20-2009, 10:27 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about another SDM failure, but I'm with nostatic on that one...
Sure, it's a premium to pay, and the risk will ALWAYS be there for any electrical mechanism (much higher than a basic mechanical one), but the lens really is *that* good and unrivalled in IQ.

Should a failure occur, attribute it to fate, and send it in for repair as you have, or avoid DA* lenses and just do without weather sealing and quiet AF.
08-20-2009, 10:45 PM   #7
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I'm sorry to hear about your lens problem brecklundin, and I understand why your returning it.
I probably would too.

QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
Pentax surprises me in that this sort of technology has been around over a decade yet here is a premium line of lenses with a fussy AF system and only a one-year warranty.
Don't forget that it isn't Pentax actually making these lenses. It's Tokina
I believe that Pentax supplies the glass, but that's about it.

In my opinion Pentax should have either insisted on better QC, or moved onto another company. However they may be locked into a pretty tough contract.

I'd honestly like to see what Sigma could do with Pentax glass, however I'd hate to have one of the first lenses. It appears to take Sigma a month or 2, to work their bugs out.
08-21-2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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I've had my DA 50-135 3 weeks now and its an exceptional lens. It hardly leaves my camera. I read some of the posts about SDM problems, but came to the conclusion if i worried about every lens report, there wouldn't be any design to buy.

But like the op, if i had that experience, my outlook might be different. I've had my DA-300 for a year, and so had more confidence in the SDM drive.

I think if i couldn't find a good 50-135, i'd probably go with the Sigma 50-150 lens, but it's not cheap either.

best wishes,

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