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12-05-2009, 08:20 PM   #1
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Two DA Autofocus Motor Failures!

I own a K20D along with DA 16-50 and DA 50-135 lenses. Shortly after my warranty ended, the autofocus motor in each lens crapped out. I have tried in vain to get Pentax to help me with the $130 repair per lens, but it refuses to do anything as the warranty has expired. Its arrogance is surprising.

I have owned Pentax equipment for over 20 years and have never had issues with quality. Now to have the motors fail on both lenses at the same time had me believing the issue must be broader than some freak failure limited to my camera bag. In searching the internet and this forum this evening, Pentax does appear to have a problem with these lenses.

I am quite annoyed Pentax refuses to address the issue. But, I didn't come here necessarily to complain. I am debating on whether I should repair the lenses. I don't want to drop $260 to get them repaired only to have the motors fail again as soon as the repair warranty is up. I'd rather just use the manual focus. For any of you that have had your lenses repaired, how are they holding up? Is Pentax using different motors for the repairs? Anyone have any success getting Pentax to man up?

I am very disappointed to have paid so much for these lenses only to have these issues. My perception of Pentax has been permanantly tainted. I would have been okay if the problem had been isolated to one lens, but both?!

Ken

12-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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sorry to hear that iflyfisher.

My two lenses (DA*55 and DA*50-135) still work and they're both SDM. Could be that I use manual focus 99% of the time that is 'preserving' them, but who knows.

I will be keeping an eye out on my autofocus. Hence my entire reliance on manual focus.
12-06-2009, 06:16 AM   #3
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Very unlikely for two lenses to have the same problem at the same time.
I presume you've cleaned the contacts on the lenses and (especially) the camera body?
12-06-2009, 06:55 AM   #4
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Ken welcome to the forum despite the unfortunate circumstances.
If you've ensured all other possibilitis for the lens failures have been accounted for, and you are assured it is the SDM that has failed in both (rather than the camera or the contacts between them), then consider how often and how you use these lenses.

If they're your bread and butter for photography, they'd be worth fixing - but as to how long the repaired lenses will last, that's hard to know. You could perhaps get an extended warranty on the repairs.

Hope it works out well for you.

12-06-2009, 07:43 AM   #5
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That's quite unfortunate, to have two SDM lenses fail at the same time. In the Netherlands we also have 2-year warranties on lenses, but the law goes a little further. Basically the law expects goods, which are used normally, to last longer than just the warranty period. Especially lenses which are already in the upper price bracket. This law means that the company that made the goods should at least pay a part of the repair costs.
12-06-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, it is the lenses. I originally sent the body into the Pentax, thinking the issue had to be the body as both lenses stopped working. When I got the body back, the lenses still did not work, so I sent the body and both lenses to Pentax. Pentax checked the body again and sent it back. It then forwarded the lenses to CRIS for repair. CRIS called me two weeks ago with the repair estimate, and I have had several discussions with Pentax, who flat out told me it would do nothing as the warranty had expired.

I have sent emails to Pentax that have gone unanswered, so I am apparently on my own. I just have no confidence in these motors as both lenses failed. If I knew the repair would last me a dozen years, I'd do it. But I have this fear that they would fail again in a few months.

Rather sad as the tele lens had been used very little. No reason for a motor to go out in either given the light to moderate use.

So no one has any insight as to whether a repair would permanently fix this issue?

Thanks again,

Ken
12-06-2009, 10:24 AM   #7
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Wow that really sucks, that would be my worst nightmare if both lenses failed on me at the same time. It's kind of a mystery of why Pentax even added screw-mount on these DA*'s when you can't even use it, just pointless really. I'm guessing you had both for a little over a year?
12-06-2009, 10:50 AM   #8
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Yeah, I got them both in June 2008. The issue started popping up in July of this year when I first sent the camera back to Pentax. They had it for almost two months then. I got it back around September/October and eventually sent it back with the lenses early November. I have hardly had use of the thing for the past five months. I am now using it with a 20 year old Takumar zoom lens that autofocuses without a hitch. Go figure. My SDM lenses are still with CRIS.

Ken

12-06-2009, 12:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by iflyfisher Quote
... I am now using it with a 20 year old Takumar zoom lens that autofocuses without a hitch...
You learn something new every day: I never knew there were autofocus Takumars
12-06-2009, 01:05 PM   #10
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It looks like you should research your local consumer protection legislation. Just because the warranty has expired shouldn't let Pentax off the hook. Are there any clauses in local consumer protection laws relating to merchantable goods?
The drive motor problem is something that Pentax will be well aware of and if they are still selling lenses with failing drives then they are selling goods that with a known fault that should place an onus on them to rectify despite an expired warranty.
12-06-2009, 01:46 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by xjjohnno Quote
It looks like you should research your local consumer protection legislation. Just because the warranty has expired shouldn't let Pentax off the hook. Are there any clauses in local consumer protection laws relating to merchantable goods?
The drive motor problem is something that Pentax will be well aware of and if they are still selling lenses with failing drives then they are selling goods that with a known fault that should place an onus on them to rectify despite an expired warranty.
Unfortunately, not in the USA. A warranty period is a warranty period. Period.
12-07-2009, 09:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Unfortunately, not in the USA. A warranty period is a warranty period. Period.
Not just USA. It's the same everywhere. I work in retail and have learned a bit or two about this. Once the warranty period is over, it's over. The supplier is not obliged to do absolutely nothing.
Many do though take into account wear and tear and offer either discounted prices fore repairs or discount towards replacement (again, they DON'T have to do this, it's so called goodwill gesture) but if Pentax ever used goodwill gesture it would be:
a) admission of failure with SDM - at least on first lenses to use it (haven't heard any problems with 55 and 60-250 yet)
b) set precedent that would enable others to use this and that would make many people furious...

As sad as it is, that's the world we live in.

BR
Peter
12-07-2009, 09:24 AM   #13
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Earlier this year I posted a letter to Ned Bunnell in the Pentax forum at photo.net complaining about the SDM failures on my 16-50 and 50-135 which were then just out of warranty. He replied directly to me and the upshot was they were replaced with rebuilt lenses which so far have been working perfectly (fingers crossed and knocking on wood). No guarantees but it might be worth a try to email him. Just my .
12-07-2009, 09:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by iflyfisher Quote
Yeah, I got them both in June 2008.
Did you pay with a credit card that extends the warranty? A number of cards do this as a benefit, automatically without any enrollment, for usually another year after the manufacturer's warranty expires.

Thank you
Russell
12-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Not just USA. It's the same everywhere. I work in retail and have learned a bit or two about this. Once the warranty period is over, it's over. The supplier is not obliged to do absolutely nothing.
I beg to differ. Apart from the written/express warranty every product also carries an implied warranty. It's described in many consumers protection info websites.

From WVAG: FAQs: Consumer Protection Division: Implied Warranties
"If the goods have mechanical, electrical or thermal components, the goods must be in good working order and operate properly in normal usage for a reasonable period of time."

And from Federal Trade Commission's Warranties
"Implied warranty coverage can last as long as four years (although the length of the coverage varies from state to state)."

Problem is the onus is on us to challenge Pentax that an SDM motor in normal usage is rightly expected to do much better than a year. To underline this point I dare Pentax to make a public statement that one year is not abnormal SDM life. If Pentax won't then it should honour the implied warranty.
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