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09-05-2015, 09:41 AM   #1
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autofocus problem with DA*300 after firmware 1.06 update for K30

I updated the K30 firmware from 1.05 to 1.06. With 1.05 I have been using the DA*300 combined with a Tamron 1.4x teleconverter and they have been working fine (albeit with some autofocus hunting). After the update the Tamron 18-250 lens that I use for a lot of general photography seems to work fine. Today I thought I would try some wildlife photography and I put the DA*300 and Tamron 1.4x converter combination on the K30. Autofocus wouldn't work and though it seemed to be possible to alter aperture and fire the shutter at first, I later had problems even with these functions. I thought perhaps the problem was caused by the TC following the update, perhaps as I know the update was partly brought in for the new pentax 1.4x rear converter. I tried the K30 just with the DA*300 alone. It wouldn't autofocus or fire the shutter. I tried running the firmware update again. The problems persisted. Any ideas please? Is it possible to roll back to firmware 1.05?

Paul

09-05-2015, 01:42 PM   #2
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Does manual focus work on the DA* 300? Maybe an issue with the SDM motor?
09-05-2015, 03:10 PM   #3
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You might try cleaning the contacts on lens and camera. Buffing a bit with a micro-fiber cloth works well. Many odd behaviors are sometimes eliminated by cleaning the contacts. If that does not help, not sure what else to try. I doubt very much it had anything to do with the firmware.
09-05-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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Thanks transam879. Manual focus does work ok with the DA*300. The lens with and without the Tamron TC worked fine about 8 weeks ago when I last used them. Can't see why anything should have gone wrong in the meantime other than a random failing of the SDM motor, but perhaps that is what has happened and the firmware update is not significant. Thanks jatrax I will give the contacts a clean and see if that does anything. Tomorrow I will also put the lens on my old K10D that I still have as a further check. If the SDM motor has failed it will be very frustrating; the lens hasn't had that much use.

Paul

09-05-2015, 04:18 PM   #5
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SDM failure on the 300mm has been quite rare as I remember. I believe Pentax stated it uses a different set of hardware from the 16-50 and 50-135 which did have a lot of problems. And from what I remember failure did not just happen one day, it was usually presaged by intermittent focusing, squeaking, and periods of good operation interspersed with periods of poor operation. Not saying it could not be, but I would look for other issues first. Trying it on a different camera is a good test.

There is also another possible answer, perhaps too obvious to mention but............ you did check the AF/MF switch? Flip it back & forth a couple of times. I have had it end up sorta in the middle where it looked like AF but was just off enough not to work.
09-05-2015, 06:52 PM   #6
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If the SDM did fail, KEH offers a good rate for prime lens repair. Sometimes with the SDM motors, you have to press the shutter button halfway (auto-focus) and work the manual focus back and forth. Also, you are able to convert it to screw-drive (with a compatible body), though it is not as efficient as the 16-50 and 50-135 conversion.
09-06-2015, 12:26 AM   #7
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No haven't had any intermittent focusing problems. Cleaned contacts on the lens and camera this morning but no change. I have checked the AF/MF switch. I am in England so, if it has to be, I know of a Pentax repairer under an hour away. Now tried it on the K10D and SDM still doesn't work so firmware update confirmed as not relevant. Have started to try procedure with camera and lens in AF mode with lens cap still on and moving focus ring back and forth but blinking green light doesn't go out as someone suggested it should so no luck so far. Paul

Last edited by channeler; 09-06-2015 at 01:12 AM. Reason: to add info on further tests
09-06-2015, 09:30 AM   #8
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I tried for a while the procedure of moving the focus ring back and forth. There seem to be a number of variations of this suggested on the forum. Some people say to set camera and lens to AF mode and rotate the focus ring back and forth while pressing the AF button. I was a bit concerned doing this as the manual says not to move the focusing ring while autofocusing. Others suggest just rotating the focus ring while in manual mode (camera or both camera and lens?). I tried both but SDM still dead. Then I came across a member (sorry can't remember who it was now) who had said by accident he had been pointing the camera down and autofocusing and then up and autofocusing and his sdm lens came back to life. I tried this a number of times autofocusing pointing down, then up, then level. Nothing at first but kept repeating the routine then suddenly there was movement in the SDM. Kept doing it for a while and lens now seems to be working as normal (touch wood!). Whether the earlier rotating procedure had also contributed to success I don't know. Anyhow I'm very relieved. Thanks for your help.

Paul

09-06-2015, 09:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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It is clear that ghosts live in SDM motors.
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