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10-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #16
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I don't believe it. Very good advice Adam. +1

10-24-2011, 08:13 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by brosen Quote
I've been thinking to add to my lens collection some DA* lenses, like the 16-50, 50-135, 60-250 and 55, I currently have the K-5. My only concern is that I've read multiple articles about reliability issues with the SDM system, and I do not have the option to buy an extended warranty for the lenses, as I did with the K-5, which is now protected for 3 years (1 + 2 years of extended warranty). What are your thoughts ?, It's really hard for me to believe that such expensive lenses are still unreliable (the SDM system) after so many years of production, I would have expected that Pentax would have solved all the problems already, thanks
I have had the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 since the first time I could get my hands on them somewhere near the second batch that hit the US or so.

My 16-50 failed within the warranty period and would not focus. It was replaced, not repaired, and has never had a problem since then. Note that it is on one of my Pentax bodies almost all the time.

The 50-135 has not failed, but it does sometimes squeak, which is often a pre-cursor to SDM failure. It gets far less use.

No one here has any way of knowing if there has been any running changes to the design or to the specifications of the SDM motor to address these problems and we also have no way of knowing whether the current failure rate is better or worse than earlier.

The 16-50 is good, but not great optically (especially at the wide end wide open) but the 50-135 is just excellent.

I would not hesitate to buy them both again. If they fail during warranty, send them to be fixed. If they fail after warranty, pay to get them fixed or try the DIY SDM screw adjustment fix. If you can get a good extended warranty, that probably would be a good idea.

Lastly, it does seem quite silly that Pentax never issued a simple firmware update to allow screw-drive use of these lenses in the case of SDM failure. The lack of noise with SDM is nice, but knowing the lens will not let you down in a critical shoot and become completely useless seems to be perfectly in keeping with the intent of DA* lenses and a camera like the K5. After all, they are WR and have quick-shift manual focus, why not back-up screw-drive?

Maybe we should get Adam to contact Ricoh about getting this feature added to address the never-ending fear about buying SDM from Ricoh/Pentax.

Ray
10-25-2011, 12:28 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
No one here has any way of knowing if there has been any running changes to the design or to the specifications of the SDM motor to address these problems and we also have no way of knowing whether the current failure rate is better or worse than earlier.
Very true..and unfortunate from the (lack of) Pentax communication side.

QuoteQuote:
I would not hesitate to buy them both again. If they fail during warranty, send them to be fixed. If they fail after warranty, pay to get them fixed or try the DIY SDM screw adjustment fix. If you can get a good extended warranty, that probably would be a good idea.
This is a problem. The 60-250 is around $2000, and the 50-150 not much cheaper.
Spending that kind of money should not put anything into the 'disposable' category. If/when Pentax finally makes a real UM/ring type updated lens, will they still repair out of warrantee SDM lenses, and if so, for how long, and at what price? for a 1-2k lens, yeah, I'd expect it to be still working 10 years from now, at the very least. Pentax 1 year lens warrantees don't instill much confidence, either.
Were I a pro taking 50k images a year, I might be ok with considering it the 'cost of doing business' if i had one or two failures over time, and reasonable repair rates, but the stories of people with multiple repairs on one lens, SDM 'stalling,' squeaking, and I believe at least one case where the mount for the SDM motor was mentioned to be plastic and somehow not repairable in some cases...just isn't terribly compelling.

QuoteQuote:
Lastly, it does seem quite silly that Pentax never issued a simple firmware update to allow screw-drive use of these lenses in the case of SDM failure. The lack of noise with SDM is nice, but knowing the lens will not let you down in a critical shoot and become completely useless seems to be perfectly in keeping with the intent of DA* lenses and a camera like the K5. After all, they are WR and have quick-shift manual focus, why not back-up screw-drive?
This is completely silly, couldn't agree more. I believe that there are also some SDM or DC lenses that no longer even have the screw drive at all?
Pentax is making sure they don't get too much $ from me for my holiday spending. Dropping 1k+ for a single item is a lot of cash for a hobby, and I've been considering it, but having a real warrantee length, knowing the designs have changed/been updated, and actually faster than screw AF would go a long ways towards making me not concerned about buying what may become an expensive paperweight in a few years. I'm indeed waiting to see if Pentax does release such an update, and won't consider any lens that is only SDM/DC with no screw drive unless something changes to convince me of long term reliability.

QuoteQuote:
Maybe we should get Adam to contact Ricoh about getting this feature added to address the never-ending fear about buying SDM from Ricoh/Pentax.
Ray
That would be great. I'm sure a well worded poll could provide some results to back it up as well...which could be set to invite only if Adam didn't want google to return results on 'sdm problems' going to such a poll about if people would consider buyign now, or if only with changes, etc.
10-25-2011, 04:13 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
Very true..and unfortunate from the (lack of) Pentax communication side.


This is a problem. The 60-250 is around $2000, and the 50-150 not much cheaper.
Spending that kind of money should not put anything into the 'disposable' category. If/when Pentax finally makes a real UM/ring type updated lens, will they still repair out of warrantee SDM lenses, and if so, for how long, and at what price? for a 1-2k lens, yeah, I'd expect it to be still working 10 years from now, at the very least. Pentax 1 year lens warrantees don't instill much confidence, either.
Were I a pro taking 50k images a year, I might be ok with considering it the 'cost of doing business' if i had one or two failures over time, and reasonable repair rates, but the stories of people with multiple repairs on one lens, SDM 'stalling,' squeaking, and I believe at least one case where the mount for the SDM motor was mentioned to be plastic and somehow not repairable in some cases...just isn't terribly compelling.


This is completely silly, couldn't agree more. I believe that there are also some SDM or DC lenses that no longer even have the screw drive at all?
Pentax is making sure they don't get too much $ from me for my holiday spending. Dropping 1k+ for a single item is a lot of cash for a hobby, and I've been considering it, but having a real warrantee length, knowing the designs have changed/been updated, and actually faster than screw AF would go a long ways towards making me not concerned about buying what may become an expensive paperweight in a few years. I'm indeed waiting to see if Pentax does release such an update, and won't consider any lens that is only SDM/DC with no screw drive unless something changes to convince me of long term reliability.



That would be great. I'm sure a well worded poll could provide some results to back it up as well...which could be set to invite only if Adam didn't want google to return results on 'sdm problems' going to such a poll about if people would consider buyign now, or if only with changes, etc.
Just to qualify your prices a little, the 60-250 is running 1400 dollars at B and H and the 50-135 is 950 there. Pretty reasonable for what they are optically in my opinion.

I agree that giving the option of screw driving them would be great, although I would like to see a second generation with a more powerful motor in the lens and more durability.

10-25-2011, 04:38 AM   #20
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Just my experience so far. I've had my DA 16-50 for almost a year and a half, problem free. But I like many have said, I picked up an extended warranty for next to nothing. Adorama currently has a 7 year warranty listed for $40, but I got my for twenty something.
10-25-2011, 05:12 AM   #21
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I am on my 3rd 16-50 now. The first two had a combined total of 3 failed motors. Pentax replaced my last lens with a new copy, but it also squeaks, and needs a little time to wake up after mounting it each time.

All my copies have had great optics and I've been very pleased with the image quality and colors however their motors just suck. And what sucks more is Pentax's reluctance/inability to provide screw-drive capability on these lenses.

On the other hand, my 50-135 has been working great, which makes me wonder if the external zoom mechanics may be contributing to the SDM failures on the 16-50. But then again, 60-250 seems similar to the 16-50 in that respect yet reports of its SDM failures seem far fewer, but that could also be because 16-50 sells more...
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