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06-16-2021, 12:34 AM   #1
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Pentax HD-DA 55-300 failing focussing motor

I have a Pentax HD-DA 55-300, which I am using on my K70, over the past 12 months I have had issues with the lens not focussing in AF or MF. This has been sent away to the official UK Ricoh Pentax repair centre ; John Pye Technical, based in Uttoxeter and they have confirmed that the lens cannot be repaired as no parts are available. Before I throw a £400 lens in the bin has anyone else experienced the same problem or does anyone know a lens technician that maybe able to repair this lens. The lens was purchased in 2017.

06-16-2021, 01:14 AM   #2
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Hi Ian, and welcome to Pentax Forums!

First of all, can I assume you are talking about the PLM RE version of this lens? As the earlier versions are all screw drive, I guess you must be.

I'm astonished they don't have access to spare parts for what is a fairly recent model. If I send a lens to CR Kennedy for repair in Australia, they will occasionally send it on to Japan if they lack the specialised equipment. Surely your mob could do the same....
06-16-2021, 03:29 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by IanB66 Quote
I have had issues with the lens not focussing in AF or MF
Can you explain more about it not focussing in MF ?
06-16-2021, 03:31 AM   #4
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£400 in 2017 means most likely the DA55-300PLM.

That is as well the only Pentax 55-300 lens which has a motor that could fail, a very quiet DC-motor.

The non PLM DA55-300 lenses were much cheaper and don't have an internal motor but the screwdrive mechanism,
i.e. driven by the internal motor of the K-70.

If I guessed right then there are two things that puzzle me:

1. Not focusing in manual mode: The DA55-300PLM if focused manually has the focus-ring not at the front but its back right after the bajonet.
If the K-70 is correctly set to MF, then one should be able to focus by turning this ring

2. The DA55-300PLM is a current lens. If it's DC-Motor is failing, it should be possible to be repaired. No parts available for this lens sounds like
fairytales to me. It would be ridicilous!

06-16-2021, 03:44 AM   #5
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Did they say why they don't have parts available? Could be possible that they are temporarily out of parts due to the global semiconductor crisis.
06-16-2021, 04:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by romay Quote
Did they say why they don't have parts available? Could be possible that they are temporarily out of parts due to the global semiconductor crisis.
That would be my guess, too. I cannot imagine Ricoh intentionally not supplying one of their official local repair centres with parts of a current product anymore. I assume the lack of parts is Covid related.
06-16-2021, 04:38 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Not focusing in manual mode: The DA55-300PLM if focused manually has the focus-ring not at the front but its back right after the bajonet.
If the K-70 is correctly set to MF, then one should be able to focus by turning this ring
QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Can you explain more about it not focussing in MF ?
The PLM is a focus by wire. So the electronics in the lens must work, otherwise you cannot use MF.


Last edited by AfterPentax Mark II; 06-16-2021 at 05:20 AM. Reason: adding a new line
06-16-2021, 04:48 AM   #8
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Could this be a dirty contacts problem?, the PLM lens is reliable, at least I'm not aware of any issues with it.

OP: Welcome to the forums! - please clean the contacts with a rubber and cloth, on both the body and lens. Then ensure it is properly clicked into place and try again. Do you have another body to try it on? has it been damaged in anyway - dropped, but looks OK?.
06-16-2021, 05:19 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Mark II Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
The DA55-300PLM if focused manually has the focus-ring not at the front but its back right after the bajonet.
If the K-70 is correctly set to MF, then one should be able to focus by turning this ring!
The PLM is a focus by wire. So the electronics in the lens must work, otherwise you cannot use MF.
Yes, I am aware, I have and like that lens.


I tested it today (for the first time body set to MF) on my KP and K30 prior writing this message:
On both bodies I was able to focus manually and take photos. OPV + LV.

No focus confirmation though.

The 55-300PLK also kind of works on NON-KAF4-Pentax bodies, but only wide open.
06-16-2021, 06:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
I was able to focus manually and take photos. OPV + LV.

No focus confirmation though.
I do get focus confirmation via OVF but not while in LV , not sure why.
06-16-2021, 03:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
On both bodies I was able to focus manually and take photos. OPV + LV.
Yes, of course because the electronics in the lens work. Try the same with both camera's turned off and you cannot focus in OVF.
06-17-2021, 12:20 AM   #12
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Firstly, thank you to everyone that has taken the time to respond.

The lens is the PLM WR RE and Iím being told that both the AF and MF are driven by the motor, therefore if this is failing both are affected.

I advised my local camera store that it is an intermittent issue and would have hoped that cleaning the contacts would have been the first stage of them checking for a random fault. They confirmed that it was a focusing motor issue and this was verified by John Pye Technical who had the lens for a couple of weeks.

Yesterday I wrote to Ricoh UK to establish whether the parts issue was a UK problem only. John Pye Technical advised my local dealer that they would obtain a price for the replacement, which I assumed would be considerably cheaper than available to the market to recognise the fact that the item was unrepairable, they came back with £449, nearly £50 more than I could by the lens via a simple Google search.

I will update the thread when/if I get a response from Ricoh UK.

Thanks again everyone for their comments and suggestions.
06-17-2021, 01:19 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Mark II Quote
Yes, of course because the electronics in the lens work. Try the same with both camera's turned off and you cannot focus in OVF.
One never stops learning. You are right, no focusing possible with the camera turned off!

---------- Post added 06-17-21 at 01:21 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by IanB66 Quote
I will update the thread when/if I get a response from Ricoh UK.
Good luck!

I think it is the motor, replacement should be possible.
06-17-2021, 05:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
One never stops learning. You are right, no focusing possible with the camera turned off!
Glad to be of help!
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