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02-10-2016, 11:13 AM   #1
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Some help with my DA 300mm f4 please

Hi there, I'm pretty new here, recently purchased my first nice lens, a DA*300mm f4, very nice. The first day I used it, it worked perfectly. Focus was smooth and quiet, fairly fast, I got some very good first photos with it.

Well it got really cold here, snowy too. I took it out to try to get some pictures of the birds in the snow. Suddenly the AF is having a terrible time achieving focus. It click and clicks, often just stops trying and doesn't get focus at all. It will do this over and over again, and only occasionally get focus. Once it even threw everything out of focus, then stopped and I couldn't get it to even try to focus.

So I'm pretty new to this lens, so if it is something I'm doing, what can I do differently? Or could it be the cold? I'm not sure the exact temperature while I was out, but I think it was around 17 degrees F. I'm just confused. It worked so great the first time I used it, but it was a little nicer out, much warmer too. Like I said, I totally accept it could be me. I just need some advice here.

Thanks!

02-10-2016, 11:50 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarnowlAnnie Quote
Hi there, I'm pretty new here, recently purchased my first nice lens, a DA*300mm f4, very nice. The first day I used it, it worked perfectly. Focus was smooth and quiet, fairly fast, I got some very good first photos with it.

Well it got really cold here, snowy too. I took it out to try to get some pictures of the birds in the snow. Suddenly the AF is having a terrible time achieving focus. It click and clicks, often just stops trying and doesn't get focus at all. It will do this over and over again, and only occasionally get focus. Once it even threw everything out of focus, then stopped and I couldn't get it to even try to focus.

So I'm pretty new to this lens, so if it is something I'm doing, what can I do differently? Or could it be the cold? I'm not sure the exact temperature while I was out, but I think it was around 17 degrees F. I'm just confused. It worked so great the first time I used it, but it was a little nicer out, much warmer too. Like I said, I totally accept it could be me. I just need some advice here.

Thanks!
Drat. I think you got a dud. The smooth and quiet fairly fast is normal. The stuttering and clicking isn't. I'd suggest talking to whomever you bought it from and ask for a replacement. I had one that did pretty close to that, would try focusing and eventually stopped. I had it repaired and it has been smooth, quiet and very nice since.
02-10-2016, 12:19 PM   #3
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Agreed with what Derekkite said: send it back ... seems like a SDM problem.
02-10-2016, 12:33 PM   #4
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What the others said, my first copy of this lens showed the same behavior - worked fine for a day, then started clicking and endless focus hunting.
The replacement works fine for almost two years now and is still my favourite lens. No problems at all using it in freezing conditions.

02-10-2016, 12:33 PM   #5
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How long was your gear outside in the cold before you starting shooting and having trouble? If less than an hour I suggest leaving it outside to acclimate for a while before using it. I've had binding issues with zoom and focus rings lenses going from warm to extreme cold too fast (< 0F). It takes time for the entire lens and internals to reach ambient air temp. Cold can actually make the metal and seals contract and bind.

Also use care returning gear in from the cold. Put the whole thing in a zip lock bag before coming indoors so you don't get condensation on and inside the lens.
02-10-2016, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thank you for all your responses. I wasn't out long before I started using the camera, maybe 5 minutes, long enough to get out back and in a good spot. I was out for a while though, same the whole time I was out, and I tried a second time. I will try your suggestion to let it adapt to the cold first and see if I get any different results. Thanks for the tip about the zip lock bag, I will certainly do that.

It has been inside for a few hours now, I'm going to turn it on and give it a try in here. I figure if it acts the same in here after it has warmed up, then I will take your advice and get a replacement. I wonder if I should buy an extended warranty for it. What do you all think?

---------- Post added 02-10-16 at 01:25 PM ----------

One question about putting the lens in the bag: Do you take the lens off the camera first, put caps on it, and then put it in the bag, or do you put it camera and all in the bag? Thanks!
02-10-2016, 01:45 PM   #7
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Bag the camera + lens. Make sure you dry it off first if you have snow (or rain) on the outside. If my gear gets wet I leave it in my car outside to dry off. Then bag it before bringing it indoors.
02-10-2016, 02:26 PM   #8
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Is the lens new or used? Is it working fine out of the cold?

02-10-2016, 03:28 PM   #9
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It is a new lens. I've only had it for a about a week. It is doing the same thing inside as well. I put my kit zoom on and tried that as well, to make sure it isn't my camera that developed a problem. The kit zoom is achieving focus. Sometimes it is a little slow since it isn't very bright in my house, but it is consistently getting focus.

---------- Post added 02-10-16 at 03:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffB Quote
Bag the camera + lens. Make sure you dry it off first if you have snow (or rain) on the outside. If my gear gets wet I leave it in my car outside to dry off. Then bag it before bringing it indoors.
Thank you!
02-10-2016, 03:46 PM   #10
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Return it.
02-10-2016, 03:58 PM   #11
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There are really no problems with this lens in cold conditions, i have used the DA*300 extensively in bad weather, heavy snow, -15C/5F, heavy rain just above freezing, around 25000 shots altogether.
Pentax even advertises it (along with the K3) with promo pictures in those conditions (in a snow storm if i remember correctly).

Although its a good und useful tip to use a dry bag or to let the camera/lens adapt to the temperatures i have never done this at all.

Its worth the hassle of exchanging it for another one because when it works its a fantastic lens, wish you luck with the new one!
I dont know about extended warranty policies elsewhere but when i had the same problems with my first sample of this lens and researched about it seemed it either fails right in the beginning or works forever.

Edit: It was the 60-250 being in a snow storm, the 300 is just in the rainforest
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Last edited by Bewatek; 02-10-2016 at 04:28 PM.
02-10-2016, 07:28 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bewatek Quote
There are really no problems with this lens in cold conditions, i have used the DA*300 extensively in bad weather, heavy snow, -15C/5F, heavy rain just above freezing, around 25000 shots altogether.
Pentax even advertises it (along with the K3) with promo pictures in those conditions (in a snow storm if i remember correctly).

Although its a good und useful tip to use a dry bag or to let the camera/lens adapt to the temperatures i have never done this at all.

Its worth the hassle of exchanging it for another one because when it works its a fantastic lens, wish you luck with the new one!
I dont know about extended warranty policies elsewhere but when i had the same problems with my first sample of this lens and researched about it seemed it either fails right in the beginning or works forever.

Edit: It was the 60-250 being in a snow storm, the 300 is just in the rainforest
Wow, great pictures! Your camera sure has seen some action! Thanks for the info, looking forward to getting my replacement!
02-10-2016, 08:37 PM   #13
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I have had the DA*300/4 since shortly after its release to market. I have only had one problem with it after I managed to bend out the gold contacts on the body side of the lens mount. There needs to be absolute continuity between the lens and those two gold contacts for the lens to perform well. If not, all kinds of weird things can happen. So check the contacts on both the lens and camera body to see if everything is fine before sending it back. And I routinely have the lens out in cold winter weather down to -35C (granted, using manual focus at those temperatures) so I doubt that has anything to do with your problem.
02-11-2016, 02:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarnowlAnnie Quote
Wow, great pictures! Your camera sure has seen some action! Thanks for the info, looking forward to getting my replacement!
Oh i'm sorry i should have made clear that those are just promotional pictures from Pentax to advertise their weather resistance.

Both my pictures and myself look far less impressive But my DA*300 has been in far worse conditions than the lenses in these pictures!
02-11-2016, 07:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bewatek Quote
Oh i'm sorry i should have made clear that those are just promotional pictures from Pentax to advertise their weather resistance.

Both my pictures and myself look far less impressive But my DA*300 has been in far worse conditions than the lenses in these pictures!
Those pictures look unreal and staged. I'm glad they aren't yours.
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