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09-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 20
DA* 16-50mm repair dilemma

I have a dilemma regarding a DA* 16-50 lens repair.

When I first bought my copy a while back, it seemed to test out well. But over the first few months of use I started to notice what I believe is the usual decentering/alignment problem: the sharpest area of focus is the lower left quadrant, but it's really only noticable at wide apertures, and when shooting flat subjects. In those conditions, the upper/ upper right area shows blurriness and slight ghosting.

Overall, the lens is great: the sharpness and image quality under most conditions is outstanding, and the weather sealing has opened new opportunities for shooting - a wonderful thing on the rainy Pacific coast.

Due to needing to use the lens, I had to wait until the warranty was almost expired before sending it in. Pentax Canada had the lens for two months, and eventually sent it back with only a "focus adjustment" performed. The alignment/centering issue was unchanged, and now the lens was out of warranty.

I've since sent the lens back to Pentax Canada, requesting a replacement lens as they seem unable to repair this one, and expressing my opinion that the warranty should still be honoured as it was still active when I first sent it in for this specific issue.

In response, they say the lens "meets manufacturer's specifications", and they can't find a problem with it. They say the "focus adjustment" they performed when I sent it the first time concluded their warranty obligations, and the lens is no longer under warranty. However, they've offered the following:

1) To send the lens to Japan for confirmation of their diagnosis. (No idea how long this will take, or if there will be any difference in the outcome.)

2) To send a replacement "demo lens", as a goodwill gesture. They say this lens will be mechanically and optically perfect, has never been sold, and would have been used by a store or sales rep for demonstration purposes. They can't provide the serial number in advance, and it's a "one-time-only" offer with no extension of warranty - no recourse if there's a problem with it.

The problem: sending the lens to Japan could take months, and might not change anything. Accepting the demo replacement leaves me no further recourse, and considering the reputation of the lens there's a slight possibility that the demo might actually be worse than my current copy, which I was fairly happy with.

What would you do? Any advice or opinions would be appreciated.

Vancouver, BC

09-10-2009, 12:01 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
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Tight spot.
You'd like to have the lens with you, which you've been happy with, although this issue seems to be bugging you. If it doesn't bug you all that much you may do well to keep it as it is.

Otherwise if you're sending it to Japan, you're effectively wanting it to be serviced, which will cost you, and your fill-in lens may or may not be better than your own one.

Decentering is a problem that should have shown itself early on.
Not noticing it until recently probably means it bears little effect to what you use it for.

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