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06-07-2017, 03:28 PM   #1
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Pentax DA* 16-50 repair? Worth it?

Hi,
Recently my DA* 16-50 has begin to not be able to focus at infinity. It went out during my last vacation. I can't focus to infinity in manual or autofocus, using either the viewfinder or the live-view screen. It just started to happen recently after converting it to screwdrive. It worked perfectly fine in screwdrive and I didn't have any issues before it happened, but I only had it in screwdrive for a couple weeks before my vacation.

SDM had issues in the past, intermittent like usual and I didn't want it to fail while on vacation, thus the reason I converted it to screwdrive. I reverted back to the original ROM and SDM still works, but focus at infinity is still a problem.

I tried contacting KEH (no response yet) and Precision for quotes. Precision has a flat fee of $212.50 which is reasonable, but they won't clarify what they will fix. If I send it in for repair, I was contemplating getting SDM replaced while it was there.

Has anybody recently used Precision for a 16-50 repair, including a SDM replacement? Any estimates on cost or can you recommend some place that will replace the SDM motors and fix the focus issue? This lens is from 2009.

Thanks for any suggestions!

06-07-2017, 04:10 PM   #2
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answer is yes or eBay it or sell it here
06-07-2017, 05:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jotarou1 Quote
Pentax DA* 16-50 repair? Worth it?
QuoteOriginally posted by jotarou1 Quote
Precision has a flat fee of $212.50 which is reasonable, but they won't clarify what they will fix. If I send it in for repair, I was contemplating getting SDM replaced while it was there.

Has anybody recently used Precision for a 16-50 repair, including a SDM replacement? Any estimates on cost or can you recommend some place that will replace the SDM motors and fix the focus issue? This lens is from 2009.
Hmmm..... I hope the answer to the first question is "yes", since I have my DA*16-50 at Precision Camera now. The quote seems to be a standard quote for that lens repair. Here is a brief timeline of my DA* 16-50 issues:

February, 2017 - zoom froze at about 16 mm focal length while on a vacation
April 17 - sent lens to Precision Camera
April 20 - May 20 - Precision Camera progress tracker shows lens was received April 20 and went into repair April 20
May 20 - I sent Precision Camera a note asking for a progress update, since it had been a month and no additional progress was shown on the progress tracker
May 23 - Precision Camera replied that the lens was shipped to the factory for repair. They said this usually takes 3-5 weeks, so please just give it a little more time. They did not say which factory.
May 24 - Precision Camera progress tracker changed to "In Service Delay" and to please allow for more time
June 1 - Precision Camera calls and asks for my authorization to spend the $288 that is required for repair. They did not say what the lens problem was or the nature of the repair.
Today - Precision Camera progress tracker shows the same "In Service Delay" note. No other indication of repair progress has been provided, or an estimate of completion


Prior to the lens issues, the lens SDM worked great and I was very happy with the images. I bought the lens from another forum member here.

I'm not sure if Precision Camera would work on a non-SDM lens, but if they could, I would leave the lens as non SDM. I have heard so many good things about disabling the SDM. That seems like they way to go, provided that you can tolerate a bit more focusing noise. Precision Camera seems to be very slow, especially on lenses. There are some reports here on PF that state they are pretty good at repairing cameras, but not so good at lenses. They sure are taking their time with my lens now. I am about to give up, but what can I realistically do? I do not know who else repairs lenses. Based on my experience here, I would be tempted to try to use another repair company. The Pentax web site has us contact Precision Camera for any service or repairs. Notice that in my case, Precision Camera is just a handling agent between me and the factory.

I know this probably does not help you much to resolve your questions, but maybe this perspective helps a bit. Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out.
06-07-2017, 07:00 PM   #4
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WOW precision doesn't change its spots.

06-07-2017, 11:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
I'm not sure if Precision Camera would work on a non-SDM lens, but if they could, I would leave the lens as non SDM. I have heard so many good things about disabling the SDM. That seems like they way to go, provided that you can tolerate a bit more focusing noise.
GlennG,
I have no problem with the screwdrive since I have other lenses that are screwdrive and I am used to the sound. But, since the flat fee for opening it up and fixing the infinity focus would hopefully be covered by the $212.50 flat fee, if replacement of the SDM motors made it like $300, I would be OK with that. And if SDM failed in the future, then I would go screwdrive again. I just don't know if the infinity focus issue will be covered by the flat fee and how much the SDM would cost to replace.

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
KEH is flat fee repair. Prices here Repair | KEH Camera
Brooke,
Do you know if that flat fee includes replacement of the SDM. My SDM has had intermittent issues where it works and doesn't work. Currently it is working and it works more often than not. Also forgot to mention, I did email them asking if SDM replacment would be included, but I have not received any responses. Precision Camera said they couldn't tell me what they would or wouldn't fix when I explained the situation. All they said was "The base rate is regardless of the issues you are experiencing with your lens. It includes the shipping from us to you, a 90 day warranty on any of the work we perform, and a complete repair and cleaning. It does not include high cost parts. If we need to replace parts that exceed the base rate, we will contact you with the new repair rate. If it goes out of your budget, you are only responsible for the return shipping."

Thanks for feedback so far.

Last edited by jotarou1; 06-07-2017 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Add info about Precision Camera's response email
06-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jotarou1 Quote
I have no problem with the screwdrive since I have other lenses that are screwdrive and I am used to the sound. But, since the flat fee for opening it up and fixing the infinity focus would hopefully be covered by the $212.50 flat fee, if replacement of the SDM motors made it like $300, I would be OK with that. And if SDM failed in the future, then I would go screwdrive again. I just don't know if the infinity focus issue will be covered by the flat fee and how much the SDM would cost to replace.
Good thinking on the opportunity to repair the SDM. As for cost.....who knows? In the few interactions I've had with Precision, they did not offer a lot of technical information to me. As for my frozen zoom, I was guessing that was a repair that was covered by "base" costs. I've read numerous reports of frozen zooms, so it would seem this was not an unusual problem. But, the lens has been sent to a factory and an extra charge applies. I approved the expenditure, as I like the lens a lot, and if you want WR for this type of lens, the DA* 16-50 is the only game in town. I've also read reports of infinity focus issues, so one would assume the repair is covered by the "base" charge. But again, who knows about options and costs.

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
KEH is flat fee repair. Prices here Repair | KEH Camera

They been very responsive to me. Sent me back a no cost repair on a 540 flash ( cleaned contacts) and fixed my zoom jammed 546 FA 80-160. Took some time for parts from Japan but the lens is perfect. I've bought from them forever and trust them.

Really good to know about KEH; thanks for sharing this. I check KEH frequently for used gear, but had no idea about repairs. Almost hard to believe about the flat fee repair, what with so many repair possibilities. Unless the flat fee is set so high that nearly any problem can be fixed with that fee.
06-08-2017, 11:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
I approved the expenditure, as I like the lens a lot, and if you want WR for this type of lens, the DA* 16-50 is the only game in town. I've also read reports of infinity focus issues, so one would assume the repair is covered by the "base" charge. But again, who knows about options and costs.
Right now I am leaning towards sending it in with a note (hope they actually read it) and asking if they could fix the focusing issue and before they complete the repair if they could let me know how much it would cost to replace the SDM motors. I would like to get it fixed because like you said Glenn it is one of the few high quality wide angle WR zoom lenses available. I have a kit 18-55 lens from my K-x to hold me over as well as a FA31 coming in the mail as I write this! So I could be without this lens for awhile.

Base on your experience, it could be 2-4 months before I get it back, lol.


Last edited by jotarou1; 06-08-2017 at 11:04 AM. Reason: Quoted too much of Glenn's response
06-08-2017, 11:45 AM   #8
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Who in there right mind would send anything to Precision????? WELL, GUESS YOU get what you deserve then
06-08-2017, 12:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by niceshot Quote
Who in there right mind would send anything to Precision????? WELL, GUESS YOU get what you deserve then
Well, severalsnakes Sara had a really great experience with Precision Camera, and documented it in this thread:

Positive experience with Precision - PentaxForums.com

So, good can happen!
06-08-2017, 10:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by niceshot Quote
Who in there right mind would send anything to Precision????? WELL, GUESS YOU get what you deserve then
niceshot, where do you recommend I send it to for repair? I am not having any luck getting any confirmation about what repairs will be done or cost.
06-09-2017, 02:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jotarou1 Quote
niceshot, where do you recommend I send it to for repair? I am not having any luck getting any confirmation about what repairs will be done or cost.
To tell you the truth that is a tough one. Try pm dcshooter, or check out the company in Canada called SUN
07-28-2017, 07:25 PM   #12
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Have you tried manually turning the screwdrive screw with a screwdriver....perhaps you can clear the jam?
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