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02-27-2010, 08:57 AM   #1
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Are SDM issues impacting used sales?

I've been looking on the forum's marketplace for several months now and it seems to me that folks selling SDM lenses seem to take longer to sell and for less than asking price. If there's a good deal right out there right now on a SDM lens, is it worth the risk? Anyone know the average SDM repair cost? Has anyone had repaired SDM fail?

02-27-2010, 11:07 AM   #2
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A couple months ago I was in the market for a DA* 50-135mm. There was one available on the marketplace for slightly less than new retail cost. The one on the marketplace had suffered an SDM issue in the past, had been fixed under warranty by Pentax, and had been given a brand new 1 year warranty as a result. There was still 5 months left of that warranty when I was considering purchasing it.

I almost bought it, even made plans to pay the seller. But after discussing it with my wife, we decided that we didn't want to spend $700+ on a lens that has a problem-prone technology AND has had issues in the past. There's never any way to know what was repaired, or how it might fail again in the future. We felt more comfortable spending $840 on a brand new lens with a full 1 year warranty instead.

So yes, SDM issues definitely affect sales of used lenses. Just like the resale value of Toyotas has plummeted recently, the resale value of SDM lenses tend to be much lower than retail. I LOVE the image quality of my DA* 50-135mm, but the SDM issues always cast a shadow of doubt over my choice.
02-27-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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Not sure about taking longer to sell, but I thought in general prices of Pentax SDM lenses, as well as DA and FA Ltds, have only gone up in the last year. Both for used and new, and both here on the market place and elsewhere.

Pentax replaced SDM in my 16-50mm because as it was still under warranty, but I've heard of $175-200 for such repairs by those who had to pay.
02-27-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by EsBee Quote
Not sure about taking longer to sell, but I thought in general prices of Pentax SDM lenses, as well as DA and FA Ltds, have only gone up in the last year. Both for used and new, and both here on the market place and elsewhere.
We don't have much control over what Pentax sells their lenses for, but the fluctuating used prices tend to go along with the fluctuating new price. People selling their old lenses check how much a new one currently sells for, then set a price slightly lower than that. The price of a DA* 50-135mm has varied between $800 and $1200 over the last couple years. When I bought mine at $840 brand new, I thought that was a pretty sweet deal.

02-27-2010, 12:49 PM   #5
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$850 new with warranty sounds like a good price. Was that including tax? When I compare new with used prices I keep reminding myself to add the tax. Then the decision becomes less obvious.
02-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by xinu Quote
I've been looking on the forum's marketplace for several months now and it seems to me that folks selling SDM lenses seem to take longer to sell and for less than asking price. If there's a good deal right out there right now on a SDM lens, is it worth the risk? Anyone know the average SDM repair cost? Has anyone had repaired SDM fail?
I guess everyone had a different take on this issue. I was tempted by the DA* zooms 2 years ago but the ongoing issues reported by different users turned me toward Canon. I still have an array of Pentax primes but only slot AF. The way I see it, shipping is a hassle for any repair, and there is always a chance any repair might not be done properly the 1st time (have seen enough in the past). The unknown waiting period is also a consideration. And then there is the expensive labour for any repair. Spare parts are usually cheap, but you are paying for the labour really. IMHO, $200 extra should be put aside for any SDM purchase, new or used because there is a good chance you might need it down the road. And even if you don't mind the repair cost, parts usually dried up between 5-10 years (though APS-C might not live that long). But if you can repair your own gears, then why not? Pentax Canada is helpful on selling parts, and lens repair is always fun (to me anyway). I would love to get my hands on a broken DA* someday and see what the fuss is about.
02-27-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by xinu Quote
$850 new with warranty sounds like a good price. Was that including tax? When I compare new with used prices I keep reminding myself to add the tax. Then the decision becomes less obvious.
pfff... tax sucks. I buy in the US. I just checked to be sure, and I actually paid $799, not $850. Shipping was free, and since my mailbox is in Vermont, I paid no tax at all through Amazon. So final price for a brand new DA* 50-135mm: $799

Of course, buying in the US means it only has a 1 year warranty, as opposed to the 2 year warranty in Canada. But I feel the savings were well worth it.

For comparison, the one I was considering on the marketplace was $720 plus $20 shipping. My wife didn't feel comfortable giving up 7 months of warranty and getting a lens with a faulty history for a lousy $60 savings.

edit: I just noticed that the lowest price for a new DA* 50-135mm right now is $944. I could probably sell my existing one for a profit and buy something even better with the money But I won't, I love my DA* 50-135mm.

Last edited by GoremanX; 02-27-2010 at 01:14 PM.
02-27-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
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I have been watching a few sales because I'm interested in the question. My conclusion so far is the impact is small, possibly larger in our marketplace than on eBay. It's hard to separate economic issues in general from buyers avoiding SDM.

02-27-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
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IMHO the marketplace is just too damned expensive now. Used prices are just way too close to new prices to justify it.

You've got FA43's selling for $500+, they are $575 at Adorama so no thanks.

77 ltd's at nearly $700, again Adorama.

70 ltd's for $400, Aden in Toronto selling new for the same price ..

I could go on and on ..... I have not bought in ages and Craigslist is just as bad. I used to buy off craigslist quite a bit but no thanks.

There's one idiot in Toronto that has been selling his ENTIRE high end pentax kit for at least three months and refuses to budge on price even if I throw a hiuge wad of cash to buy the entire package.

I'm not paying more than 75% of the new price, it's senseless.
02-27-2010, 03:36 PM   #10
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I would never consider buying any SDM equipped lens second hand, only new & then only with at least a 2 year warranty in case of failure. The 16-50, which seems to have the highest failure rate, I wouldn't buy unless new & with at least a 4 year guarantee.

So definately no second hand.
02-27-2010, 03:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
IMHO the marketplace is just too damned expensive now. Used prices are just way too close to new prices to justify it.
The problem is, those lenses you mentioned are as good used as they are new. They'll probably be as good 5+ years from now as they are today, assuming proper care. Screw-drive focusing may be noisy and clunky, but it works extremely reliably and there's almost nothing to break within the lens. My archaic SMC F 35-70mm focuses faster than all of my other lenses, despite being 2-3 generations old and severely used. It also takes pictures as well (or better) now than it did when it was new. So it's understandable that Limited lenses would retain their value and still be worth nearly as much on the used market as they are new.

Meanwhile, SDM lenses don't have that luxury. They include a technology that's bound to fail eventually. If one of those weak micro-motors lasts beyond 5 years, I'll be very surprised. Their very nature makes them worth less as they age. And yet people still expect to sell their used ones for 90%+ of the current price of a new one. That's silly, and I think the marketplace will reflect that more and more over time.

If Pentax ever comes up with a new focus motor technology, I'll be first in line to trade in my DA* 50-135mm. Hoya's recent patent application for an electro-magnetic ring-type focusing motor is a very encouraging development.
02-27-2010, 04:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
There's one idiot in Toronto that has been selling his ENTIRE high end pentax kit for at least three months and refuses to budge on price even if I throw a hiuge wad of cash to buy the entire package.
Hope he doesn't go by the name Fastoys2nv.
02-28-2010, 02:20 AM   #13
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it does seem affected the demand for it, but the price still remains the same whether it is brand new or in used condition. prices are just pretty much jacked up right now in the used market. mostly nobody wants to shed or loss a bit of money or plainly just want to make money.
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