Pentax Quality Control Strikes Again

Started Apr 23, 2015 | Discussions thread
OP Joseph Tainter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,996

I leave for Stockholm on May 2 and had hoped to give the DA 16-85 a workout. I am disappointed at not being able to. Instead I will take my DA 20-40 Limited, which has been a fine performer, although I wish it had more at the long end.

I have many lenses, mostly by Pentax. I have Pentax lenses from 10 to 600 mm, and most of everything in between. The majority of them have not had problems. So why do I test lenses? Here's why:

DA* 50-135:

My first copy arrived with a lens element loose and rattling around inside. Pentax used to individually inspect every * lens. Clearly they no longer do so. Pentax replaced it.

Second copy: I was in Rome. It worked fine. At the end of one day I put it to rest in my camera bag. The next day I took it out and it wouldn't focus. SDM dead. Pentax replaced it.

Third copy: It has been okay so far, but I haven't used it in a while. Letting an SDM lens sit around is apparently a primary cause of SDM failure.

DA* 16-50:

Copy 1: Optical decentering. Pentax replaced it.

Copy 2: Even worse optical decentering. I was busy and didn't have time to test the lens. As a result, I have many ruined photos from what will probably be my only trip to China. Pentax replaced it.

Copy 3: Slight decentering, but withing acceptable limits. SDM failed, and I paid to replace that.

DA 55-300:

Copy 1: Severe optical decentering at 150 to 170 mm.

Copy 2: Severe optical decentering.

Copy 3: Okay (I think).

DA 16-85:

Copy 1: Severe optical decentering.

Copy 2: I'll know in a couple of weeks.

I do much of my photography when traveling overseas. I have had photos from Italy, China, Sweden, and Tunisia ruined by faulty Pentax gear. I no longer take SDM lenses on these travels because I don't trust them.


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