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11-12-2009, 12:02 PM   #1
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50-135/2.8 SDM lens – sad story, happy end !!


I think this story is of interest, with regard to the SDM failures frequently discussed by many Pentaxians in recent months.

I bought my Pentax 50-135mm/2.8 SDM lens on June 2008, and like most users, fell in love with its excellent optical qualities. A real gem.

A few months ago (needless to say, shortly after the warranty expired…), the SDM mechanism started to fail, as several others described in previous postings. Initially, some coarse movement, then occasional hangs while focusing, and getting worse with time.

When I first tried it on my new K-7, it refused to work at all, and caused an immediate "shutdown" of the battery protection circuit. (It would still work occasionally on my K20D, very poorly though…)

With no warranty, I imagined that repair will be very costly, perhaps not justified, but decided to try anyway.

Living in Israel, I contacted "Karat Israel" , Pentax distributor in Israel, and was referred to Guy Ben-nun, their marketing manager. The lens went first to a local professional repair lab associated with Karat. They confirmed the failure of the SDM drive, and advised that the lens has to be shipped to Pentax/Europe for repair and calibration (the very small Pentax DSLR user base in Israel does not justify yet a complete repair & calibration setup…). This only made things worse. With no warranty, and adding shipping charges from Israel to Europe and back. I thought this was the end of my beloved lens.

But it was not.

Guy contacted Pentax in Europe, perhaps did some magic too … and to my great surprise and joy informed me that Pentax agreed, as an exception, to exchange the lens, at no charge. A brand new 50-135mm SDM was shipped to Israel and handed to me a few days ago, while my old lens went the other way to Pentax in Europe.

I mounted the new baby on my K-7, and fully enjoyed the smooth, silent sharp focus of an SDM drive of a great lens…WOW.
What else is there to say? Not in my wildest dreams ….

A huge, warm "thank you" to Guy Ben-nun, to Karat, and to Pentax for an exceptional customer service. A very happy customer indeed…

11-12-2009, 12:24 PM   #2
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Wow... this is wonderful indeed!

I myself have stayed away from these DA*s due to all the horror stories, but this is an amazing example of it all ending well...

All the best!
11-12-2009, 12:33 PM   #3
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Lucky you got this exception.

Problem is we can't trust exceptions will always happen.

That's why I don't buy one DA* 50-135 (and I really want one ....)
11-12-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Makes me wonder about the 50-135 since it is next on my list, especially with SDM some times refusing to work on my 16-50, my only DA* lens so far.

I am not there to take the plunge yet on the 50-135 but once I get there, it seems like I'll have to rethink my options.

11-12-2009, 02:01 PM   #5
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I just had a chance to buy a new/open box 50-135/2.8 off eBay from the Ritz/Wolf Camera liquidation for US$649 + $10 frt and it should arrive any day now (they wouldn't sell to Canada so I had to go through a big hassle to get the people I work with in USA to bid, buy and ship to me).
But if it arrives, and is undamaged, and a good copy- sounds like I'm still not out of the woods....with these reported SDM failures.
I was kind of hoping that my first pro-caliber zoom investment would be more positive and less nerve-wracking, haha.
Good to hear your story ended well, Itzik, and hope the replacement gives you many many more years of happy shooting.
11-12-2009, 02:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by F8&Bthere Quote
...Good to hear your story ended well, Itzik, and hope the replacement gives you many many more years of happy shooting.
Hope so too.
I have not seen anywhere official comments from Pentax, whether these SDM failures are associated only with early production batches. I assume the replacement lens sent to me is of a recent batch, perhaps with an improved design...So far, it works beautifully, as silent, sharp and fast as one can hope for...
11-12-2009, 02:37 PM   #7
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Good to hear that Itzik!

Mine has been at Pentax Europe for 2 months now.......or is it 3 months

Not for SDM troubles though.... heavy BF and decentred lens.....

I miss that thingy.... It was in fact realy good regardless of the faults it had. That says very much about the quality.......or my judgement
11-12-2009, 02:44 PM   #8
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Good outcome - good to hear.
Hope this fine lens lasts a lifetime for you.

11-12-2009, 04:16 PM   #9
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Pentax USA did the same for me this year as well.
11-12-2009, 04:20 PM   #10
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Every time I read one of these stories, I fear for my 50-135mm! I do hope Pentax will eventually address this issue. I'm glad Pentax came through for you this time!
11-13-2009, 12:36 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
Pentax USA did the same for me this year as well.

Out of warranty? If so, any tips on how you accomplished it?

I am simply in awe of the IQ of my 50-135 every time I use it, but the unreliable focusing is very annoying. Too many times I go to use my 50-135, turn the camera on, go to focus for a shot and it does nothing. It always comes back eventually, whether by cleaning the contacts or just taking it on and off, but this doesn't happen with any of my other lenses, whether my DA limiteds, Tamron zooms, etc. I'd love to swap this one out.

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