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10-20-2009, 02:35 PM   #16
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Thanks for your comments, wlachan. You've helped me visualize how it all fits together; I appreciate it. The contacts are thoroughly mangled and will require replacement, but it seems like these should be pretty standard parts for Pentax lenses, so hopefully as you suggest there shouldn't be any problem sourcing them. I've just shipped it off to Eric, as I feel more comfortable having a professional tinker. I'm mostly thumbs when it comes to stuff like this.

Thanks to all! I'll update the thread again once I hear back from Eric.

10-20-2009, 10:17 PM   #17
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Good luck with the repair thirdofthree,

QuoteOriginally posted by thirdofthree Quote
I've just shipped it off to Eric, as I feel more comfortable having a professional tinker.
Does Eric repair FA lenses
I hope that he does, but was recently told that he may not
10-20-2009, 11:41 PM   #18
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Thanks, little laker. Hopefully it goes well.

All I can say is Eric has agreed to look at it. To me, that doesn't mean he can or will fix it, just that he'll consider it after reviewing the broken lens. However, I'm hopeful, since he indicated he's seen this problem a few times before.

FWIW, I wouldn't rely on second hand commentary about what any pro will or will not repair. Best way to find out for sure: contact Eric directly. He may repair FA lenses. He may not. He may do so on a limited, discretionary basis only. I don't really know.
10-25-2009, 04:41 PM   #19
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Yes... mine did *exactly* the same.

No warning and it was never badly treated by me. I ended up throwing it in the bin as the Pentax support here in Australia did not want to know about it since it had fallen apart (WTF!!!)

oh mine had *exact* the same symptoms as yours. wouldn't focus to infinity out of the blue one day. nothing had changed with the lens. not dropped or anything. just focus stuffed up and I switched to manual focus and rotated and out she popped. *exactly* the same.

of course here in australia the one Pentax repair centre in Melbourne did not want to know about it and getting rough pricings from third party repair places made it totally pointless trying to repair ($200+ for a $500 lens)

11-24-2009, 02:44 PM   #20
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An update:
  • Eric has indicated the part required for repair (Product # 41001, Part # E401) is unavailable. (Repair may still require other parts, but at this point...that's the only obviously damaged piece.)
  • Pentax US parts department swiftly emailed me the FA 50 f/1.4 parts PDF, including the parts list + exploded illustration.
  • I've confirmed with Pentax-US parts dept (720-988-2653, actually outsourced to Wildernest Logistics Solutions) that the part, and its interchangeable piece (Product # 41010, Part # E401, for the F 50 f/1.7), are no longer available.
  • I've contacted the main Pentax Service Center in AZ (outsourced to C.R.I.S.) and they say they don't have parts, can't get them, and don't have any spare "parts" lenses available.
  • None of the 8 US-based authorized 3rd party Pentax service centers has this, or any other, FA 50 f/1.4 part. One shop, (Forster's Camera Service), says they have a mountain of "parts" lenses, but want me to send in my FA 50 before they root through the pile to see if they find an FA 50 f/1.4 or F 50 f/1.7 junker. On a side note, I was stunned to hear that several of the service centers say they throw away "junk" (i.e. parts-worthy!) lenses.
  • Pentax Customer Care, when queried about how Pentax will service FA 50mm f/1.4 lenses still under warranty, indicated they will either replace the lens outright with a new (old stock) lens, or simply refund the purchase price. (Of course, my lens is out of warranty.)
11-24-2009, 02:56 PM   #21
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Ugh.

The potential delayed-gratification approach is to look on eBay (set up a search that emails you results periodically) for a scratched or fungused-up FA or F at a reasonable price, then send both lenses to Eric to see if he can do an organ transplant.
11-24-2009, 02:57 PM   #22
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Yup, that's the plan: see if I can find a junker lens for dirt cheap to cannibalize for parts. I'm also starting to look for a reasonably priced and functioning F 50 f/1.7 as a replacement.
11-24-2009, 03:25 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by thirdofthree Quote
An update:
  • Eric has indicated the part required for repair (Product # 41001, Part # E401) is unavailable. (Repair may still require other parts, but at this point...that's the only obviously damaged piece.)
  • Pentax US parts department swiftly emailed me the FA 50 f/1.4 parts PDF, including the parts list + exploded illustration.
  • I've confirmed with Pentax-US parts dept (720-988-2653, actually outsourced to Wildernest Logistics Solutions) that the part, and its interchangeable piece (Product # 41010, Part # E401, for the F 50 f/1.7), are no longer available.
  • I've contacted the main Pentax Service Center in AZ (outsourced to C.R.I.S.) and they say they don't have parts, can't get them, and don't have any spare "parts" lenses available.
  • None of the 8 US-based authorized 3rd party Pentax service centers has this, or any other, FA 50 f/1.4 part. One shop, (Forster's Camera Service), says they have a mountain of "parts" lenses, but want me to send in my FA 50 before they root through the pile to see if they find an FA 50 f/1.4 or F 50 f/1.7 junker. On a side note, I was stunned to hear that several of the service centers say they throw away "junk" (i.e. parts-worthy!) lenses.
  • Pentax Customer Care, when queried about how Pentax will service FA 50mm f/1.4 lenses still under warranty, indicated they will either replace the lens outright with a new (old stock) lens, or simply refund the purchase price. (Of course, my lens is out of warranty.)
All policies that Hoya hopes will encourage you to purchase a DA* 55. I am really getting discouraged by all the negative-experience threads on this site. Funny that we haven't heard from JCPentax now that the K-7 is rolled out.

11-24-2009, 04:13 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
All policies that Hoya hopes will encourage you to purchase a DA* 55. ...
Honestly I can't see how you can come to such an opinion?
If the said lens is out of warranty and there are no parts for it... regrettably that's tough luck. But this applies just as much whether the lens is FA or older legacy lenses, if there are no parts for it... you're pretty much on your own. But I don't see how you can pin this to Hoya encouraging people to buy the DA* 55mm.
01-28-2010, 05:27 PM   #25
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same thing happened to me yesterday. Is this depressing or what. I just got the K7 on Monday... for my birthday, only to have this happen with the lens a couple of days later.

I don't know if this makes sense but someone mentioned stresses on the lens; I did have the feeling that the K7 is being quite brutal with this lens. It did focus A LOT faster than on the K100D, but I had the feeling that the K7's motor is really pushing the lens. It was zipping back and forth really hard and you could feel the lens hitting the stops. Hard to say if this is what caused it, but it's a thought.

And when I say faster focus, I mean that with the K100D I was really not very keen to use it because of how bad it was at AF in low light, but with the K7..? I didn't want to take it off the camera. The difference was amazing, it was like a different lens. Only to die in a couple of days... The short happy life of the FA50.

Maybe we can open a club and post photos of our broken lenses, taken with other favourite lenses we have; then analyze for sharpness, bokeh, etc

@thirdofthree and all, thanks a lot for this thread; it's given me a good headstart and saving some time and frustration; this forum is just fantastic.

So, I gather that "Product # 41001, Part # E401" is the little metal bit with the thin wires that provides the contacts, right? You haven't inquired with Pentax Europe if they may have that part in stock, have you?

In any case, I have already sent an e-mail to Pentax Germany asking for help, I'll let you guys know what happens.
01-28-2010, 07:05 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnmtsn` Quote
same thing happened to me yesterday. Is this depressing or what. I just got the K7 on Monday... for my birthday, only to have this happen with the lens a couple of days later.

I don't know if this makes sense but someone mentioned stresses on the lens; I did have the feeling that the K7 is being quite brutal with this lens. It did focus A LOT faster than on the K100D, but I had the feeling that the K7's motor is really pushing the lens. It was zipping back and forth really hard and you could feel the lens hitting the stops. Hard to say if this is what caused it, but it's a thought.

And when I say faster focus, I mean that with the K100D I was really not very keen to use it because of how bad it was at AF in low light, but with the K7..? I didn't want to take it off the camera. The difference was amazing, it was like a different lens. Only to die in a couple of days... The short happy life of the FA50.

Maybe we can open a club and post photos of our broken lenses, taken with other favourite lenses we have; then analyze for sharpness, bokeh, etc

@thirdofthree and all, thanks a lot for this thread; it's given me a good headstart and saving some time and frustration; this forum is just fantastic.

So, I gather that "Product # 41001, Part # E401" is the little metal bit with the thin wires that provides the contacts, right? You haven't inquired with Pentax Europe if they may have that part in stock, have you?

In any case, I have already sent an e-mail to Pentax Germany asking for help, I'll let you guys know what happens.
I think it is more of the lens fault due to it's possible low tolerance stress limit.
01-28-2010, 10:07 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by dnmtsn` Quote
...So, I gather that "Product # 41001, Part # E401" is the little metal bit with the thin wires that provides the contacts, right? You haven't inquired with Pentax Europe if they may have that part in stock, have you?

In any case, I have already sent an e-mail to Pentax Germany asking for help, I'll let you guys know what happens.
Those tiny contact wires probably get bent when the lens comes apart. If yours are bent but not broken, I'd try to bend them back. That style of contact is used in many Pentax AF lenses, though the exact part may differ just enough to make life difficult. That's not what caused the failure, but without it, the lens won't send signals back to the camera, and AF probably won't work at all or as well.

I wish I could read Chinese. I think Frank's link to a Chinese forum has the solution to getting this lens back together, in the text somewhere. I can't tell what went wrong either. I'm not surewlachan is right when he says the helicoid guide plates came out of their slots, but it's a better theory than anyone else's. If he's right, you could get this lens together, though it would require a lot of patience. It is simply ( ) a matter of screwing the helicoid back together the way it came apart. It's challenging because the helicoid screw has multiple starting points for the thread. The helicoid guide plates and aperture connector can help guide you to the correct one.

My doubt comes from two things. The Chinese guy appears to have taken the lens apart way more than required, and like Ben Edict said, something is always there to keep the helicoid from unscrewing. It's not just the helicoid guide plates; the focus ring has a stop screw, or some other mechanical limiter. Otherwise a lot more lenses would fall apart.
01-29-2010, 12:23 AM   #28
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QuoteQuote:
My doubt comes from two things. The Chinese guy appears to have taken the lens apart way more than required, and like Ben Edict said, something is always there to keep the helicoid from unscrewing. It's not just the helicoid guide plates; the focus ring has a stop screw, or some other mechanical limiter. Otherwise a lot more lenses would fall apart.
You are quite right that there are 3 screws from the front too, but they are for the focus calibration and merely holding the focusing ring in place. From what I have learnt, Pentax lenses in recent history have the tendency of loosing screws which aren't threadlocked properly. The fact that the FA50 is using plastic helical guide plates (which flex when stressed) instead of brass might be the reason for separation.
01-29-2010, 03:13 AM   #29
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Here's a quote from the reply I got from the technician at the Pentax repair center in Germany (I sent the message last night and he replied this morning):
how to say ? Over the years I have seen diverent kind of lenses whitch are falling in parts but not in this way, its strange.
I am nearly sure that it is possible to repair and I think the costs will be aprox. 100-150,- Euro + tax and shipment.

Fortunately the wires on the contact brush are not broken, they are just bent.

Now, I paid for this lens 220USD+shipping from B&H, so the cost of this repair would get close to the cost of the new lens. Of course, B&H's price today is 369USD, but you can still find this new or slightly used at around 250 in other places, including this forum. Besides, I am not sure that I want to take the risk of something like that happening again, so I may consider buying another fast fifty, like the F1.7 which is even cheaper. I guess it's a no-brainer that I have to try something myself, even though I'm not really crazy about fumbling with small screws and springs.

About the Chinese site - are you guys sure that that's a successfull repair? There's no photo with the lens back together in one piece... and one of the last photos show the two parts packed, looking like he was sending them for repair.
01-29-2010, 03:35 AM   #30
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Shit happens.
I would send it in for repair.

PS: I have seen at least twice a DA Limited in two pieces like this.
It seems not that unusual.
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