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09-22-2016, 07:38 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
These days there are so many people posting opinion and reviews I trust the wisdom of the crowd over them. I don't worry about it too much.
Man, you're really steamed at them. At least they count something, you may not agree with them, but they count something. To me, that's always way ahead of opinion.

09-22-2016, 07:46 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Thats interesting. I wonder if the past issues with SDM auto focus failures on lenses might have contributed to this? I know of people that have had multiple SDM failures too. As far as we know, the problem has been fixed on more recent SDM lenses.
My understanding is that the survey is for dSLR/MILC bodies.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-22-2016 at 08:31 AM.
09-22-2016, 08:29 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'd go with Consumer Reports numbers any day.....as far as I know they're the only company that refuses to accept advertising from the companies they report on.
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I have questioned their integrity on several occasions.
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
But then, who's better?
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I trust the wisdom of the crowd over them.
I have been a member for about 15 years and have taken part in every survey they drop into my in-box. If there is a weakness in their reliability survey process, it is not related to the questions. That part is pretty straightforward. Did you buy? What brand/model? How long have you owned? Have you had a problem? What system failed (generally includes "other" with option to enter free text)? The most obvious weakness is that the target population are those who buy a particular item and who are ALSO members of Consumer Union and who are willing to take the survey. All told, I trust their survey results more than I trust a sex survey from Cosmopolitan.

That being said, I have been keeping loose track of the camera reliability ratings for almost a decade. The comparative numbers between brands go up and down, but only rarely have there been any stand-outs such as in the current ratings for Olympus. The huge concern in my mind is that the average reliability is so low and that the failure rate has been climbing in the last couple of years. 5% serious fault rate is one out of every 20 boxes out the door at B&H or Best Buy. In 2010, all of the makers on the list were under 5%. In the last several surveys half were at or above that number. Those numbers are truly alarming and a striking indictment of QA standards for the industry.


Steve

(...wishes Consumer Reports would include the aggregate reliability figure for ILC as a class...)
09-22-2016, 08:52 AM   #34
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I have been a member of CU for decades - back to the days of papyrus - principally to use their tables of features for comparison purposes on major purposes. I place little value on their rankings - because their weighting of features' importance is contrary to my weighting - and even less value on their surveys, which I find about as meaningful as Angie's List.

I have never returned a CU survey.
I have not had any failure of a Pentax camera, of the twenty or so I have owned since 1977; including digital cameras since 2006.


Last edited by monochrome; 09-22-2016 at 08:58 AM.
09-22-2016, 09:57 AM   #35
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I do not really factor reliability into my purchase decision on these cameras since there is little evidence, and the existing evidence suggests broad similarity. Anecdotally, I have two friends who are regular DSLR users both using Nikon. I am the heaviest user, and have had no problems with my K110D which is now about a decade old, and none with my K50. One of my friend's D70s had a total failure of the PC board. Had to buy a new body. Pentax has been offering a cheap extended warranty, but the service center reports are hit and miss.
09-22-2016, 10:09 AM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
. . . and that the failure rate has been climbing in the last couple of years.
Or at least the perceived rate. There are hidden factors in play today.

- On-line sales sources have found it desirable, if not absolutely necessary, to accommodate returns for any imaginable reason. The reasons given are often less than truthful, impulse buying or operator error and failure to RTFM. It's not human nature to admit that.

- There's still a lot of folks whose digital displays are still blinking '12:00' as they stare at new products like a pig at a wrist watch. It's not human nature to admit that either.

- On-line resources have enabled a home industry in generating biased anonymous reviews, critical reviews by self-proclaimed experts and paid commercial info-tainment.

- For every 'factory refurbished' re-sale item offered today there's a consumer trying to justify a returned product. (There's good news here: only a fraction of the affordable 'new' products have been individually functionally tested in QA sampling while most 'refurbished' items will probably be functionally tested.)

I've spent half a century 'facilitating the learning process' of folks dealing with sophisticated electronic devices in the world of civil and military aviation. Even with a selected, educated and motivated audience it's frustrating to realize the effort involved in going from ignorant to skilled with modern hardware. Keeping in mind that those of us here on PF are in the 'motivated' category and are only a fraction of the total consumer population it shouldn't be surprising that there's a misperception of high failure rates for digital photo gear in the wild.
09-22-2016, 11:17 AM   #37
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I will add to the statistics

Since 2004 when I bought my first dslr which was a Ds, I since have used K10, Kx, K5, K5IIs, KS2, and now K-3II. I have absolutely no issue with any of the camera bodies. (before that, I had MX, P30, 5n, ist)

As for lenses, I am still using these older SMC-M: 28 f/2.8, 50 f/1.7, 55 f/1.8, 135 f/3.5. I also have 35 f/2.4, FA 50 f/1.4, 100 f/2.8 macro. Zooms: 16-85, 50-135 (converted to screw drive)
09-22-2016, 11:41 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have been a member for about 15 years and have taken part in every survey they drop into my in-box. If there is a weakness in their reliability survey process, it is not related to the questions. That part is pretty straightforward. Did you buy? What brand/model? How long have you owned? Have you had a problem? What system failed (generally includes "other" with option to enter free text)? The most obvious weakness is that the target population are those who buy a particular item and who are ALSO members of Consumer Union and who are willing to take the survey. All told, I trust their survey results more than I trust a sex survey from Cosmopolitan.

That being said, I have been keeping loose track of the camera reliability ratings for almost a decade. The comparative numbers between brands go up and down, but only rarely have there been any stand-outs such as in the current ratings for Olympus. The huge concern in my mind is that the average reliability is so low and that the failure rate has been climbing in the last couple of years. 5% serious fault rate is one out of every 20 boxes out the door at B&H or Best Buy. In 2010, all of the makers on the list were under 5%. In the last several surveys half were at or above that number. Those numbers are truly alarming and a striking indictment of QA standards for the industry.


Steve

(...wishes Consumer Reports would include the aggregate reliability figure for ILC as a class...)
If I recall there were loopholes. I had products that broke and I replaced but because I did not repair them they did not fall into the survey parameters. So 2 year old vacuum dead - tossed in trash was not a failure for a product but a 2 year old vacuum kept and repaired was a failure. But I may be confused. I was pretty sure the DSLR survey was mixed with the compact camera reviews survey also. And I think after a long time the items drop off the list - if I recall my fridge which is 20 years old now wasn't part of their data because it was too old? Or am I confusing it with another survey. I just know I was angry with them and tired of their sloppy methods.

As for counting - Amazon counts reviews, Yelp does too. But I know what you mean. I just couldn't in good conscience continue supporting an organization that was unresponsive to members about methods. They were completely opaque and unwilling to take feedback.

09-22-2016, 12:19 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Or at least the perceived rate. There are hidden factors in play today.
Your points are well made in regards to general perception of product quality and performance as well as the factors that bias those perceptions.

In regards to the partial quote you copied, in context, it was in reference to my recollection of the Consumer Reports reliability ratings, not my personal perception. Those ratings are based on twice yearly survey polls of Consumer Reports subscribers by means of a selective e-mail campaign. Not all members receive invitations and participation is limited to once per survey. They are specifically targeted to product failure of materials or workmanship requiring repair or replacement. The reliability surveys are not customer satisfaction surveys nor are they based on store or manufacturers data.


Steve
09-29-2016, 06:32 PM   #40
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Thanks guys for your input, it sounds pretty good.
09-29-2016, 07:01 PM - 1 Like   #41
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Anecdotal stories: I ran my K-5IIs through the ringer for 35k activations and 3 years, the last year of which has been rough on it. Works like it always has. Put 10k+ shots on my K-1 in the 6 months I've had it and it's running like a champ. I push it pretty hard too.
10-01-2016, 12:45 PM   #42
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I think Pentax bodies are solid and well built. Reliability is stellar.

However, I do have a K-7 that is starting to have sudden issues. I notice on some of my lenses, particularly the FA 50mm 1.4, the images come out very blurry when shooting wide open. But stopping down to about 2.8 seems to fix it. Never had that issue before. One thing I can say is there were days at a time this summer that I've left the camera in the car or in the trunk, something I've done to it for years.

Other than that I think Pentax gear is built to last.
10-03-2016, 11:26 AM   #43
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My K-30 appears to have suffered an aperture motor failure. Bought April, 2013, with 24,600 shutter clicks (actuations). This site offers some useful info, but not a big enough sample size for Pentax: Camera Shutter Life | Sitemap
11-15-2016, 12:17 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have had no issues with my two purchases (K10D and K-3), though I do have a friend that had the aperture/mirror controller issue on her K-50.

WIW, Consumer Reports keeps a running account of failure or serious repair for interchangeable lens cameras based on member polls. The published numbers are:
  • Estimated failure rates for three-year old cameras
  • Based on member responses for cameras purchased between 2011 and 2016
  • Expressed as percent likelihood
The most recent tally goes like this:
  • Fuji: 3%
  • Canon: 3%
  • Nikon: 4%
  • Sony: 4%
  • Panasonic: 5%
  • Pentax: 6%
  • Olympus: 8%
Differences of less than 4 points are deemed insignificant. Both Nikon and Sony are doing better than the last report where IIRC, Sony was at 7% and Nikon at 6%. Pentax was at 5% and has been as low as 3%.

Edit: Boy was I off! I found a copy of the Fall 2015 reliability report and those numbers sorted out as follows:

Fall 2015 Report for period 2010-2015 (not current survey)
  • Panasonic: 4%
  • Canon: 5%
  • Sony: 7%
  • Pentax: 7%
  • Nikon: 8%
  • Olympus: 8%
There were no results for Fuji.

End edit

Steve
If I am interpreting the Consumer Report data correctly, it says "no matter which brand you buy, about 1 out of every 20 cameras will fail within the first 3 years"?!?

If true, I don't like those odds. And the dozens of posts to this thread report dozens of Pentax cameras purchased over many years with few failures, which seems to contradict the CR rates.

Two concerns about the CR data. First it's self reported data which may not represent the whole data, and second, we don't know how many data points are represented by the percentages. Statistics are useless if from a small number of values which are not a representative sample.

The same concerns apply to the comments in this thread, so sadly, an accurate answer to the OP's question will probably need to be found somewhere else.

Even a camera shop or repair center which works on a large volume of all brands would not know the answer. To say "We see many Nikons with problems but few Pentaxes" ignores the total number of each brand which are in use, and also, it may be that Nikon and Pentax owners may use their cameras in different ways.
11-15-2016, 12:28 PM   #45
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Consumer Reports member polls are useful for comparison between brands, but not so much to arrive at "1 out of every 20" failure rate. This is because members who have had product failures are more likely to fill in the survey than those who have not experienced a failure.As you rightly point out, the Consumer Reports data may not present the full picture.
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