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11-30-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
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Pentax SDM lenses, how much they are really worth or are they worth it?

aside from the answer "garbage" coming from disgruntled owners of such lenses, are they worth the premium that you paid for?

before my initial shift to Pentax, the DA* zoom lens were sold for around 600-700 CAD + 12% tax brand new, now there are selling for about 1,100-1,200 + the government's holiday spendings. that's around 500 dollar hike since March this year. those SDM zoom lenses were actually in my wishlist months ago. but after encountering 5 unsuccessful used items transactions due to evident defects, I gave up on getting one. this is no joke but those lenses were being sold slightly used for around 700 bucks minimum for a lens that has defects, which is outrageous.

I think I read somewhere here in this forum that these lenses were being sold cheap in Vietnam costing for around "50" bucks/lens. probably because it's really cheap there considering it's where it's being manufactured and that the real cost is really cheap or probably because most of the lenses are factory defects that didn't went thru the line of approved later defective lenses.

for me, as far as my initial experiences with the SDM lenses, I would strongly refuse to pay even a hundred bucks for it. although 50 bucks I might consider including the shipping, because for me, that's what the lenses true worth. a looming SDM failure. heck, it's no different from buying an MF lens.

there has been a growing number of sentiments regarding this lens and will certainly affect and hurt Pentax's lens sales in the near future. I hope Pentax would do something about this now !!!

11-30-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
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Price discrepancies from cost at factory floor to retail store are astronomical, but is not unique to photographic equipment. Just look at Nike shoes, for example. The raw materials for a pair of shoes may cost $2.50, the labour in creating it a further dollar (with SE Asian labour in particular) and the packaging a few cents. Where other costs may come in are the factory machinery and middle men, but ultimately the greatest price hikes occur in between. I envisage this to be no different with lens producers.

There are enough SDM-hate threads about now, I don't believe we need another one.
Just get proactive if you care enough about Pentax gear.
11-30-2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Price discrepancies from cost at factory floor to retail store are astronomical, but is not unique to photographic equipment. Just look at Nike shoes, for example. The raw materials for a pair of shoes may cost $2.50, the labour in creating it a further dollar (with SE Asian labour in particular) and the packaging a few cents. Where other costs may come in are the factory machinery and middle men, but ultimately the greatest price hikes occur in between. I envisage this to be no different with lens producers.
There are enough SDM-hate threads about now, I don't believe we need another one.
Just get proactive if you care enough about Pentax gear.

Ash, I appreciate the optimism. this is not really an SDM hate thread but more of a concern. I forgot to mention that such lenses have only 1-2 years warranty depending on the seller or local distributor. pay extra for extended warranty. for a lens that costs more than a thousand here in Canada, the warranty is very limited. why can't Pentax extended their warranties for 10 years like Sigma does? I think 5 years would also suffice because by that time, I'm sure one would be capable enough to have a lens repaired or replaced. a thousand dollar lens with a life expectancy of 1 month and replaced by impending failing lens seems ridiculous.

I do appreciate your effort of sharing our concerns with Pentax personnel eventhough they are the usual not really helpful at all customer service staff. I just hope that these complaints are being reported or sent up the ladder.
11-30-2009, 09:20 PM   #4
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Absolutely!
This was the one thing I strongly encouraged Pentax to implement to bolster confidence in SDM lenses - *worldwide* extended warranty.

They can do that NOW, and not have to face up to repeated criticism that their 'perfect SDM-technology' isn't so perfect after all.

I do realise all of our protests may just fall on deaf ears. But it's worth pursuing anyway - more pressure may get their butts into gear...

12-01-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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With the price increases this past year, I held off on some purchases. The SDM failure issue has me very hesitant to buy one. If Pentax would extend the warranty period on these lenses I would consider one, especially the 17-70.
I wouldn't touch a used one with a 10 foot pole.
12-01-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
With the price increases this past year, I held off on some purchases. The SDM failure issue has me very hesitant to buy one. If Pentax would extend the warranty period on these lenses I would consider one, especially the 17-70.
I wouldn't touch a used one with a 10 foot pole.
I agree with this statement on the 16-50mm. I purchased the 50-135mm and love it. Fortunately no issue to date. But considering the cost, the warranty, and the potential of getting a bad copy, I said screw it.
12-01-2009, 11:36 AM   #7
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I have been very fortunate.
My 16-50 was an EX+ ?used copy from KEH.
Haven't had any SDM issues yet (knocking wood) other than the sometimes irritating infinity focus hunt.
But all of what I've heard so far makes me extra vigilant to keep a tab on its performance with time, an to ensure that I test it at least weekly...
12-01-2009, 02:20 PM   #8
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Count me as a "no". It's neither reliable nor fast in my experience, albeit with the only SDM lens I own.

I've got a DA* 50-135mm that's been slow to auto-focus and now over the weekend appears to have failed altogether. The SDM focusing has been no faster (and feels slower) than either my DA 12-24mm or DA 70mm Limited.

I'm currently in the market for 16-50mm or 16-70mm f/2.8 zoom but I've pretty much ruled out the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 as an option despite the fact that it would be the perfect companion to the 50-135mm. The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 will probably be my purchase. I find it frustrating to not have enough choices for a premium lens in this focal length range.

If my K20D had the option to go either SDM or screw-drive with these lenses as a backup system I'd probably reconsider the DA* 16-50mm...but not until there's a firmware or update or hack that will give me the option.

Regards,
Terry

12-01-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
"I think I read somewhere here in this forum that these lenses were being sold cheap in Vietnam costing for around "50" bucks/lens. probably because it's really cheap there considering it's where it's being manufactured and that the real cost is really cheap or probably because most of the lenses are factory defects that didn't went thru the line of approved later defective lenses."
Where did you read that? If that were true, drug dealers would all become lens dealers. I could fly there, have a nice vacation, buy a few lenses, fly back to the US, sell the lenses and make a nice profit.

The last time I was in VN, there were no Pentax lenses yet. Levi's jeans (made in VN, just a few blocks from my mother-in-law's house) were more expensive that what I would pay for in the US. Cheap "Levi's" jeans were either counterfeit or stolen goods.

A few years ago, Japanese companies (Sony in particular) threatened to withdraw all investments in VN if the government didn't crack down on large scale stealing (organized by VNese high-ranking government officers). The control/security of manufacturing facilities have become tighter and tighter. You don't find "factory second" goods there.
12-01-2009, 06:57 PM   #10
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I have both the DA*55/1.4 and the DA*60-250.
Both are perfect.
12-01-2009, 11:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
Where did you read that? If that were true, drug dealers would all become lens dealers. I could fly there, have a nice vacation, buy a few lenses, fly back to the US, sell the lenses and make a nice profit.

The last time I was in VN, there were no Pentax lenses yet. Levi's jeans (made in VN, just a few blocks from my mother-in-law's house) were more expensive that what I would pay for in the US. Cheap "Levi's" jeans were either counterfeit or stolen goods.

A few years ago, Japanese companies (Sony in particular) threatened to withdraw all investments in VN if the government didn't crack down on large scale stealing (organized by VNese high-ranking government officers). The control/security of manufacturing facilities have become tighter and tighter. You don't find "factory second" goods there.
I believe it was mention here in Pentaxforums, I think it's an old thread. setting the pun drug dealer argument aside and given the fact that you had been to Vietnam from god knows when (maybe the Vietnam war), they do sell cheap items nowadays not because they are counterfeits but because they are now items that are locally made there. if you will take notice of your Nike shoes, Laptop parts and accessories, you will notice that they are made in Vietnam. a close friend of mine who frequently visits Vietnam yearly, called me up if I wanted him to get me a RAM for my laptop. was suprised when he mentioned the price coz it only costs 1/4 of the price that it was being sold for in the general market. I too was a bit skeptic since it might be a counterfeit. it turned out to be an authentic Kingston memory.

btw, my big brother is also a visitor there during the summer 2 years ago, and buys a lot of gadget there as well for a cheap price. so this ain't no tall tale. if given the chance that he goes back there for a vacation again, I might ask his help to find me some camera gears, eventhough he doesn't know anything about them.
12-02-2009, 12:08 AM   #12
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Pentaxor,

I'm sorry I didn't mention that I'm from VN. I haven't been back there for a few years now but I have a brother and two sisters still living there. My mom lives here in the US, but she goes back visiting every year.

My sister-in-law is an English teacher over there; her husband is a photographer. They ask me if I could bring laptops and photography equipment back when visiting because according to them, the real stuffs over there are more expensive than they are here, and it's difficult to tell the real stuffs from the counterfeits.

But maybe your friends know something my family members don't.
12-02-2009, 02:09 AM   #13
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I have the 16-50, 50-135 and 300. While I feel my Taks and Ks can equal / surpass these, when I need to have consistent shots, I will reach for the DA*.

Perhaps one day one might fail....I'll get it fixed....it's worth it.

Bottom line, the new WRs are a kit lens....and the DA*s are not. We live in BC and there is some comfort going out with a premium weather sealed lens...
12-02-2009, 02:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by smc Quote
Perhaps one day one might fail....I'll get it fixed
How many times?

Thank you
Russell
12-02-2009, 03:43 AM   #15
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I only have one DA*, the DA*300/4 and it produces stelar images. I use it to bird shoots and it's perfect with the plus that it's sealed and light to carry.


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