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11-25-2015, 12:10 PM   #1
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New DA* 300 has SDM noise - Opinions? Failing? Return?

Hi all, New DA* 300 f4 -Need advice and comments before returning the lens or exploring "other" options...
Facts:
Second day of testing with K3 (fw 1.11) and K500 on tripod in dry, sunny days with temperatures around 65 F (Ideal conditions).
Purchased new from Adorama - 30 day return(?) and came with 4 year leaf warranty.
First DA* series lens, but second SDM lens.
Pictures look GREAT and focus is nearly perfect in spot mode of birds in trees.
I have a concern with the noise that is coming from the SDM motor. It is louder than expected and sounds like high pitched "digital noise" and clicking as it is attempting to focus. It has failed to focus on a few occasions, going from near to infinity before giving up or locking in shaded areas.
I am comparing the noise to my only other SDM lens, the 18-135, which is nearly silent and has more of a faint "whirring" sound. In contrast, the DA*300 is much louder and more abrupt and does not sound right.
Am I being paranoid or does this sound like it could be an early indication of an SDM failure or an issue with the SDM in general.
I am upgrading from the Sigma 170-500, which is MUCH louder with the screwdrive AF, but I thought the SDM motor of the DA* should be nearly silent.

11-25-2015, 12:23 PM   #2
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Should sound like this:

I don't have the lens so can't help further.
11-25-2015, 12:25 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ggascay Quote
I am comparing the noise to my only other SDM lens, the 18-135, which is nearly silent and has more of a faint "whirring" sound. In contrast, the DA*300 is much louder and more abrupt and does not sound right.
The 18-135 is not SDM but a DC Motor lens. I don't have a DA*300 but do have other DA* lenses that still run on SDM (16-50 and 55 1.4). The latter is an SDM only (KAF3) without screw drive option. They both "squeak" a bit during focusing especially at the point where motor takes-off or stops when it locks focus. I do have an 18-135 as well and if I were to compare the AF noise against DA*, to me they're about the same except that 18-135 doesn't squeak at all.
11-25-2015, 01:03 PM   #4
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I have had this lens for 9 months now. It has always had a little high pitched squeak but has never failed to focus (the camera itself has no locked a few times but this is the k5s crappy focusing not the lens).

One if the third party reviews noted a squeak in some of the da* 300 lenses. I don't think you should worry.

11-25-2015, 01:57 PM   #5
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My DA*200 SDM squeaked, then would not focus after a time. SDM was replaced and lens is now completely silent. The 18-135 makes little noise, just enough to know when it is seeking focus. The DA* now, as I said, is noiseless to my ears.
11-25-2015, 02:45 PM   #6
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My 60-250 has the high pitched squeal, but has never failed. You can't hear when you step away from the camera a few feet.
11-25-2015, 03:25 PM   #7
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Original Poster
@ bertwert - Wow, The video puts it in perspective. In the video, I can hear the indicator window racking back and forth, but can not hear the motor. On my lens, its the opposite - I can hear the motor clicking from closer to the front, much louder than the indicator window.
I want to try to make a video to show my experience

@ waterfall - That was my concern too - I thought the DA* series were supposed to be about the best modern Pentax lenses they made and the experience should reflect that. If the SDM is misaligned, damaged, or minimally lubricated, it could fail with heavy use.

From the other responses so far, it sounds like I shouldn't worry about it too much and just enjoy this beautiful lens. I really like wildlife and bird photography (on a budget), and this lens was about 3x the price of any other lens I've acquired so far and has been rated the highest without going 3x higher in price for a minimal or similar increase in IQ and further reach.
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