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04-13-2019, 05:38 AM   #1
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Emergency DIY advice?

My beloved DA* 300mm just developed a fault. The focus ring does not respond. Something let go under the ring, I suppose, but it happened suddenly, and there was no accident or bump or anything: I was taking osprey and garganey photos - and suddenly it stopped working.

Two bits of backstory: the exact same thing happened (last easter in fact!) with my former copy of the DA* 300mm. I had had that one for years though, and used it heavily in all sorts of weather conditions, and on top of that I suspected that one of the kids might have pushed it off of the table and not told me: A small bit of plastic had been knocked off the top of the K3 house that it was mounted on, so I suspected the problem was associated with that. I considered sending it to the UK for support, but I could not imagine not having my favourite lens all spring, so in the end I retired the lens and got a new copy.

I have treated my new copy well. It did fall off of the front seat of my car just once when I had to brake, but it didnít fall far, and it has worked with no issues at all for weeks after that.

Now it stopped. Of course it is still under warranty, but here is the catch: We have plane tickets to Spain tomorrow. We are going to spend a week in Malaga, and a main reason is birding.

And now my birding lens broke!!

I still have my old copy of the 300mm DA*. If someone might be familiar with this type of problem, and maybe be able to offer a guide to a DIY-fix, I am ready to try it out on my old copy of the lens. I am not brave, but I AM definitely desperate!


Last edited by MetteHHH; 04-13-2019 at 05:51 AM.
04-13-2019, 07:02 AM   #2
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I don't have any repair advice, but you could consider renting a lens for your trip. If there's not time before your fligt, you could probably have it shipped to your hotel to meet you there: Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com
04-13-2019, 07:20 AM - 1 Like   #3
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A rubber o-ring related to weather resistance may have jammed in the focus ring. I don't know if you could dismantle it and reseat or replace it.

I'd look for a local purchase of a 55-300 - not as good but... Better than nothing for the trip.
04-13-2019, 10:02 AM   #4
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Question: is the lens autofocus still working? I may have misread your post.

04-13-2019, 10:53 AM   #5
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I had one that failed like that and we fixed. I don't think that there is anything you could do unless you know how to dismantle and assemble lenses. I'd start looking at a rental or some generous friend who has one. I have one you could use, but it is on a different continent.
04-13-2019, 02:19 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
A rubber o-ring related to weather resistance may have jammed in the focus ring. I don't know if you could dismantle it and reseat or replace it.

I'd look for a local purchase of a 55-300 - not as good but... Better than nothing for the trip.
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Question: is the lens autofocus still working? I may have misread your post.
No, I think you got it right UncleVanya: The focus is (was?) completely stuck. The idea of an o-ring jamming the focus ring makes sense: Nothing seems out of place really, nothing seems loose or anything when I handle or gently shake the lens, but the focus just doesn't respond when the rubber ring is turned.

QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
I had one that failed like that and we fixed. I don't think that there is anything you could do unless you know how to dismantle and assemble lenses. I'd start looking at a rental or some generous friend who has one. I have one you could use, but it is on a different continent.
That's the thing. I do NOT know how to dismantle and assemble it, and I am quite scared of the idea. BUT my eldest son, who is a makerspace enthusiast and afraid of nothing, teenage-style, took a look and promised to help. So we got out the old copy of the lens, and he was looking it over, trying to figure out where to start - and searching for advice on reddit - when suddenly the ring began to respond again. I mounted the old copy, and now the focus suddenly worked again!

So we took the new copy, messed around with it for a while, just turning, gently shaking, doing nothing sensible really - and, well, suddenly it responds as well. I went to show my husband, and then it jammed again. Now it works again. So I have two periodically failing DA*300mm lenses. I will bring both. And... just possibly also my 55-300 - because I DO have that one, but it is really quite soft at 300mm, and when you shoot birds and tend to crop heavily it isn't a very rewarding lens.

When we get back from our holidays, I will pull myself together and send the warranty-covered lens in for repairs, and maybe we can find out if it IS the o-ring issue. I will get back to you if I end up any wiser. Right now at least I have some hope for my holiday birding. I just REALLY hope that the next fault doesn't happen right when that lammergeier turns up overhead...

Thanks a million for your support and advice. As always, I love this forum.
04-13-2019, 02:27 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Good luck on the trip!
04-13-2019, 03:39 PM   #8
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Don't want to be a downer, but I had this happen to me last year with my DA*300. Focus clutch and various other bits had to be replaced. I had had mine since it was originaly released. Like new when I got it back.

04-13-2019, 03:42 PM   #9
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Best wishes for a successful trip and working lenses
04-14-2019, 02:08 AM   #10
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Since you find the 300mm indispensable I would also consider sending in the first lens in for a repair estimate. If the cost seems reasonable have it repaired and keep it as a reliable backup and even consider picking up a second body to use it on.
04-14-2019, 06:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
My beloved DA* 300mm just developed a fault. The focus ring does not respond. Something let go under the ring, I suppose, but it happened suddenly, and there was no accident or bump or anything: I was taking osprey and garganey photos - and suddenly it stopped working.

Two bits of backstory: the exact same thing happened (last easter in fact!) with my former copy of the DA* 300mm. I had had that one for years though, and used it heavily in all sorts of weather conditions, and on top of that I suspected that one of the kids might have pushed it off of the table and not told me: A small bit of plastic had been knocked off the top of the K3 house that it was mounted on, so I suspected the problem was associated with that. I considered sending it to the UK for support, but I could not imagine not having my favourite lens all spring, so in the end I retired the lens and got a new copy.

I have treated my new copy well. It did fall off of the front seat of my car just once when I had to brake, but it didnít fall far, and it has worked with no issues at all for weeks after that.

Now it stopped. Of course it is still under warranty, but here is the catch: We have plane tickets to Spain tomorrow. We are going to spend a week in Malaga, and a main reason is birding.

And now my birding lens broke!!

I still have my old copy of the 300mm DA*. If someone might be familiar with this type of problem, and maybe be able to offer a guide to a DIY-fix, I am ready to try it out on my old copy of the lens. I am not brave, but I AM definitely desperate!
Like you, my DA* 300 is my main birding lens. I bought a HD DA 55-300 PLM for travel and backup. I could not be happier with the purchase. I would not try to kid anyone and say the PLM could equal the DA* 300 when fully zoomed out but up to about 280 mm it is more than good enough for birding and offers super fast and quiet autofocus as a bonus. I use mine with my K-3. If you can afford both in time and cost to get the PLM before your trip, it will certainly serve you well while you get your DA* 300 repaired. One caveat; if you have the 1.4x TC it works much better on the DA* than on the PLM. Good luck and enjoy your trip.
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