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12-04-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
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Pentax 18-135 lens motor durability

I have had some rather unpleasant experiences with fragile HSM motor in Sigma lenses in the past. Since then, I have avoided lenses with built-in motor. I am now considering getting a Pentax 18-135 as a Christmas gift for someone who is very enthusiastic about this lens. I, however, do not share this enthusiasm, given my experiences the HSM of Sigma.

My question: is the motor to be found in Pentax lenses built along the same lines as Sigma's HSM?

I have doubts about the mechanical durability/reliabilty of lenses with built-in motor in general. Anyone else who shares this scepticism?

Dom

12-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
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All lenses with motors like HSM or SDM can fail at some point and probably will. Gone are the days of a 20-30 year old perfectly operational AF lens. That will be less likely to find vs a old manual focus lens from 20-30 years ago. That being said, I would not care to go back to manual focusing all the time and I am willing to accept the possibility of failure. I currently have no less than 6 lenses with SDM or DC motors and they are all working fine. I have only had one SDM motor go out on me and I had it repaired and went on about my business.
Saying all that, the DC motor of the 18-135mm is probably one of the most reliable in the Pentax line-up.

YMMV
12-04-2013, 09:13 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
All lenses with motors like HSM or SDM can fail at some point and probably will. Gone are the days of a 20-30 year old perfectly operational AF lens. That will be less likely to find vs a old manual focus lens from 20-30 years ago. That being said, I would not care to go back to manual focusing all the time and I am willing to accept the possibility of failure. I currently have no less than 6 lenses with SDM or DC motors and they are all working fine. I have only had one SDM motor go out on me and I had it repaired and went on about my business.
Saying all that, the DC motor of the 18-135mm is probably one of the most reliable in the Pentax line-up.

YMMV
That's not very encouraging.

The old school AF lenses never failed me. Guess I should get the 18-135 enthusiast to consider an alternative.
12-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #4
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I wouldn't worry about the DC motor - and I don't, having a 18-135 myself. You'll find lots of stories about SDM motors breaking (even though that's supposed to be a problem of the past), but not many have complained about the DC motors that I have seen.

Of course, the old and noisy screw drive AF doesn't have any motor at all. Fair enough if you want to stay with those, but I must say I really like the speed and silence of the DC driven focusing of the 18-135.

12-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DominicVII Quote
I have had some rather unpleasant experiences with fragile HSM motor in Sigma lenses in the past. Since then, I have avoided lenses with built-in motor. I am now considering getting a Pentax 18-135 as a Christmas gift for someone who is very enthusiastic about this lens. I, however, do not share this enthusiasm, given my experiences the HSM of Sigma.

My question: is the motor to be found in Pentax lenses built along the same lines as Sigma's HSM?

I have doubts about the mechanical durability/reliabilty of lenses with built-in motor in general. Anyone else who shares this scepticism?

Dom
The 18-135mm's DC system is probably just as reliable as screwdrive, because it just uses a ring motor. Nice and simple

Adam
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12-04-2013, 09:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
I wouldn't worry about the DC motor - and I don't, having a 18-135 myself. You'll find lots of stories about SDM motors breaking (even though that's supposed to be a problem of the past), but not many have complained about the DC motors that I have seen.

Of course, the old and noisy screw drive AF doesn't have any motor at all. Fair enough if you want to stay with those, but I must say I really like the speed and silence of the DC driven focusing of the 18-135.
I have not read any reports of 18-135 failures either; but this got me a bit worried:

How long would your HSM motor last?: Third Party Lens Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
12-04-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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My 18-135 has given me exactly zero problems.
12-04-2013, 09:38 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DominicVII Quote
Guess I should get the 18-135 enthusiast to consider an alternative.
The engine of my Freelander 2 ceased before 100000km. You've just convinced me to buy a bicycle instead of another car

12-04-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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I have an 18-135 that I love and it's given me zero problems. DC motor and SDM aren't the same thing, though?
12-04-2013, 09:53 AM   #10
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Those lenses with motors must be handled more carefully cos motor is weakest point to broke with hits. I did read this from somewhere and did believe, do not start to trought stones on me pls
12-04-2013, 09:58 AM   #11
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Adam has said it: The DC motor in the 18-135mm is probably just as reliable as a screw drive. I might add, based upon my own experieces: Only smoother, quieter and nicely fast in comparison with my screw-drive zooms.

DC and SDM are definitely not the same thing and I don't recall having heard about "DC-failure" as a problem. I use my 18-135 an awful lot, and it has never let me down!
12-04-2013, 11:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DominicVII Quote
I have had some rather unpleasant experiences with fragile HSM motor in Sigma lenses in the past. Since then, I have avoided lenses with built-in motor. I am now considering getting a Pentax 18-135 as a Christmas gift for someone who is very enthusiastic about this lens. I, however, do not share this enthusiasm, given my experiences the HSM of Sigma.

My question: is the motor to be found in Pentax lenses built along the same lines as Sigma's HSM?

I have doubts about the mechanical durability/reliabilty of lenses with built-in motor in general. Anyone else who shares this scepticism?

Dom
I found only one report of the DC motor failure on pentaxforums:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/204704-af-d...5-wr-lens.html

Mine is quick, silent, and trouble-free after 3 years of regular use.
12-04-2013, 12:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pete-tarmigan Quote
I found only one report of the DC motor failure on pentaxforums:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/204704-af-d...5-wr-lens.html

Mine is quick, silent, and trouble-free after 3 years of regular use.
Make that 2 reports of DC motor breakdown:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/229389-pent...essions-4.html

However, 2 reports is still a small number.
12-04-2013, 01:19 PM   #14
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Hmmmm, I was going to say two reports, but I never thought of looking them up. Mine is almost 3 years old. I've had no problems at all… I have 7000 keepers still on my computer that I took with it, I'm guessing that's at least 20,000 images, and probably a lot more. I have no where near a 3:1 ratio, tossed images to keepers.

Last edited by normhead; 12-04-2013 at 01:39 PM.
12-04-2013, 01:37 PM   #15
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My 18-135 is at CRIS right now because the AF motor started making a high pitched noise, but only when focusing near to far. It still focused fine, and the noise wasn't that loud, but thought I should send it in before my 1 year warranty expired.
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