Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Started Sep 10, 2009 | Discussions
gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Bought a K20D 15 months ago, then the 16-50, 50-135 and 300, all DA*, SDM, and not cheap.

I am not a pro, therefore I do not need my gear every single day, but I shoot at least once a week and more during weekends or vacations.

All my lenses gave me problems with SDM, all of them. The bad news is we can't even use them with the screw drive!

I spent $1,100 on the body and almost $2,500 on the lenses, I also bought the 540 flash unit a few months ago.

SDM is totally unpredictable. it works 1 time out of 5 and oblige me to use manual focus, so why ay for SDM.

They are out of warranty and I don't think I will spend 3 times $250 for repair and still doubt about it... I am the kind guy who keep lenses forever usually, but right now, I am almost ready to sell the whole thing for a good price and start from scratch.
If I do, I don't think I will stay with Pentax.

I love the K20D and was thinking of a K7 soon, but I won't...

There is no need to say which brand I might go for.\

I am extremely disappointed by Pentax and its SDM lenses.

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Shooting in JPEG is like taking your roll of film to the store to be processed, and when
you get your prints, throwing away the negatives...

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falcon_wizard Regular Member • Posts: 316
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

I think you might be able to have them repaired for free even if warranty is finished, as this falls under the general "fit for purpose" law, which basically dictates that a product should be fit for purpose for a reasonable amount of time. Companies don't advertise this, but when you put enough pressure, they might do it. Especially since all 3 failed...

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Steph

OP gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Well, your advice is good, thank you.

Actually I've called Pentax and they told me that they might repair it for free but they also could charge up to $250 for each + $ 24 each for shipment (in addition to my cost to ship it to them if I ever do it).
As I said, the trust is gone or almost even if I loved my gear very much...

Thank you again anyway.

Gerard

-- hide signature --

Shooting in JPEG is like taking your roll of film to the store to be processed, and when
you get your prints, throwing away the negatives...

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henryimages Senior Member • Posts: 1,188
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Gerard. I don't know any more than what you have just shared, but have you tried someone else's SDM lenses. In other words, have you eliminated that the problem is not with your copy of the K20? Just a thought.
Brent
--

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007peter
007peter Forum Pro • Posts: 12,820
what exactly are SDM's problem???

I'm not a native pentax user yet. What are the natives * SDM problem? Can you elaborate? I haven't read any issue of people complaining about HSM problem with Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM, so I'm assuming the * SDM problem is strictly with pentax's implementation of USM....right?

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awaldram
awaldram Forum Pro • Posts: 13,271
Re: what exactly are SDM's problem???

007peter wrote:

I'm not a native pentax user yet. What are the natives * SDM problem? Can you elaborate? I haven't read any issue of people complaining about HSM problem with Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM, so I'm assuming the * SDM problem is strictly with pentax's implementation of USM....right?

My take on this which could be right or wrong is.

People who don't use their lenses very often have issues this is because the Weather seals tighten up.

This leads to the AF being stiff which causes 1 of 2 issues

1 lens wont AF but after a little manual manipulation frees up and is OK till the next period of non use.

2 the jammed mechanism causes the SDM motor to fail, This can only be repaired by Pentax.

I wonder if its region based issue or envormental.

i.e is it humid/dry regions ot hot/cold regions that suffer the most.

I have 3 SDM lenses they all function fine though I would note that the algorithm of the DA*50-135 and DA*16-50 is different from the DA*55.

This can be seem by attempting AF with the lens cover on ...The original DA*'s will sometimes AF in the wrong direction (at infinity tries to go further) this will then lead to no AF action.
The newer DA*s never hesitate and always spin in the right direction.

Don't take this explanation as an excuse for Pentax's poor design.

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 6,759
Or maybe as simple as cheaply made SDM motor [nt]
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Stephan Busch Regular Member • Posts: 162
Re: what exactly are SDM's problem???

Just off the top of my head, if you have problems with all three SDM lenses, then perhaps it isn't the lenses at all but a faulty camera - logic tells me that your K20D is the common denominator here. If you cannot test your lenses on someone elses Pentax, then perhaps take them to a store and test them with a new camera - maybe with a K7. Otherwise I would send all the gear, camera and all, to Pentax and have them check & service everything. If you bought all the lenses at the same time, perhaps there is a problem with that batch at manufacture?

I have had my 16-50 SDM now for over 2 years and it is superb, no problems at all. Sometimes I won't use it for 3-4 months, othertimes I'll shoot a few hundred images in a day. Plus I live on a farm in Africa so it has seen its fair share of knocks, but it still runs smooth and true.

dick eduard
dick eduard Senior Member • Posts: 1,469
Sorry to hear that Gerard and for that reason I........

I took with me NO SDM-lenses on my trip to Cuba in june 09. I decide on the DA 18-250, DA 10-17 and the FA 43. So AF was insured and traveling light.

I have the 16-50, 50-135 and the 60-250 and they are incredable IQ but on a trip I need AF for quick pics.

I still hope that Pentax put their firmware on a higher, more secure level and give us the option for an choise for the screwdriver AF (seems quicker too). Every system has the need for a plan "B" imo.(planes, cruisships, computersystem etc)

This option is no admittance that they don't trust there SDM but is will be an EXTRA.
I'm asking for that option since january 09.

On my last trip to Norway I took with me the 16-50 and the 60-250 but I took the 18-250 with me just in case , but that makes my bag heavyer.

So PENTAX if you give your firmware this option then :
1) It will save the AF if the SDM fails
2) It will give a choice when the shooter want screwdriver AF (quicker?)
3) Will draw more buyers to the SDM-lenses

dick

godfrog Senior Member • Posts: 1,463
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Problems like this is why I dont want to buy SDM lenses. If they release a firmware update enabling screw drive focus selection I might consider it, but there is no way Im buying a SDM-only lens. Pentax (and Sigma as well with their HSM) have problems making lenses last a few years. I expect to use any expensive lens I buy 20 years from now without spending the minor fortune that SDM repair will cost 20 years from now, if it is available at all for such an old lens.

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Dantum Regular Member • Posts: 257
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

I can imagine your frustration. If it really gets on your nerves than sell the lot and start again. It's not about brand, it's about ability to take pics.

You might even be able to get a decent amount of money back at current lens prices.

Thankfully I don't have a single SDM lens.

mvb123 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,302
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

That's just too bad to hear.

Lots of problems here with SDM, I would hesitate to buy them now. Luckily I've only got screw-drive lenses and I'm happy with those.
--
Menno

Charlie Jin Forum Member • Posts: 99
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Dantum wrote:

It's not about brand, it's about ability to take pics.

True, but again, it is the brand that can maximize the ability of the photographers
and the chance of getting the better picture at the very moment.

Unfortunately, from my own experience, I don't think that Pentax belongs
in such brand.

I have many friends who are considering buying a DSLR or are going to buy one

soon, and they are asking me which camera they should buy. I know that they are no
software/hardware geek and they will never ever shoot in RAW in their
whole lives. It is a sad situation that as a Pentax user I cannot recommend them
Pentax equipments.

What Pentax really needs right now is much cheaper version of K7, which we
can safely recommend to such people. And you know, they are the majority of this
DSLR market.

You might even be able to get a decent amount of money back at
current lens prices.

Thankfully I don't have a single SDM lens.

Yes, indeed. I am also grateful that I didn't buy one.

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cj

parallaxproblem Veteran Member • Posts: 5,335
You're imagining it!!!!
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Sticks fingers in ears and shouts repeatedly--

There are no problems with Pentax lens QC, there are no problems with Pentax lens QC... all the other manufactures have exactly the same problems and we only hear from those whose lenses don't work

Sorry, I'm actually really sorry to hear about your problems... but I doubt you'll get much genuine sympathy here as many amongst the 'Pentax faithful' just want to shut their eyes to the obvious issues with Pentax's current lens output and repeat the same tired excuses to each other

I'm amazed there hasn't been any form of class-action against Pentax yet on this subject, and disappointed that Pentax themselves don't seem to want to do anything about it and prefer to pretend that it isn't happening

Maybe you could start using the words "fit for purpose" (these often have a 'magic' effect) to the Pentax support department if they refuse to repair your lenses for free and maybe speak to any consumer organisations you have in your country? Your lenses were expensive and should not have given you the problems they did

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mgm2 Contributing Member • Posts: 520
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

Sorry to hear about your lenses. Whenever I purchase an expensive optic, I always use American Express. That automatically extends your waranty. I also seriously consider a thrid party extended warranty. The investment is small and the peace of mind is great. Its not a perfect world and these things happen. I have two friends that have sent their Nikon lenses and cameras back so many times that I lost track. Their experience with Nikon weighed heavily on my decision to purchase an extended warranty for my DA*300mm lens.

That all being said, I think you should have your camera checked becauses when you think about the shear volumn of SDM lens sold the complaints have been relatively small.

wy2lam Veteran Member • Posts: 3,280
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

I agree. So far, knock on wood, that all of my SDM lenses work well. However when they fail within the next 2 years and Pentax refuses to repair them for free, or provide a firmware that lets people choose the screw drive, it'll be good-bye Pentax, hello Sigma EX, or even Nikon.

Don't want that to happen, so please, fix it.

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OP gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
yes, it's not the body's fault....

.... I went to a store in SFO and got the exact same issues with another K20D body.

I wish it will be the body since I care less about bodies, but more about those lenses.

Gerard

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Shooting in JPEG is like taking your roll of film to the store to be processed, and when
you get your prints, throwing away the negatives...

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photogerald Senior Member • Posts: 1,798
Re: Tired of SDM problems on my 3 DA* SDM lenses...

I can understand your disappointment and frustration at having all three SDM lenses fail - this is totally unacceptable and cannot be purely chance. I hope Pentax realizes this and does the right thing. Good luck!

Charlie Jin Forum Member • Posts: 99
Re: SDM lens have lots of problems

Hi, I just checked penfo.co.kr, which is a pentax forum in S. Korea.
In there, a lot of people were frustrated with the exactly the same problem
that you have now ( in other bodies also, including K7 and K10).

gerard boulanger wrote:

.... I went to a store in SFO and got the exact same issues with another K20D body.

I wish it will be the body since I care less about bodies, but more about those lenses.

Gerard

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cj

OP gerard boulanger Senior Member • Posts: 2,262
More about my SDM problems....

...
First of all, let's talk about what I do and don't do:

I am using all my lenses once a week at least
I kept my gear in mint condition
I never removed the lenses with power ON
I never turn power On with lenses cap on

I don't shoot in severe condition and I expect the weather seals to help me for the very little mist of rain I got on my 16-50 once for 2 minutes.

My lenses were never jammed completely, but refused to work after a few shots in a very unpredictable way

The screwdrived AF could be turn by a little screw driver, it;s not jammed

I never turn hard the focus ring (in MF mode) too much in one direction or the other
I have cleaned the contact once in 15 months (again, no reason to do)

I always protect the back of my lenses when I store them or when I have them with me on the go.

To summarize: I don't think I'm doing anything wrong and.... I am not trying to destroy the image of Pentax or have fun on this forum. My SDM lenses are working and I have good reasons to be upset about it.

All my 3 SDM lenses react differently: my 16-50 ha s a tendency to refuse to focus half of the time, the 50-135 and the 300 are a little bit better, but it's still unacceptable.

All my lenses were mounted on a brand new K20D body in a store and gave me the exact same problems.... so it's not my body.

Thanks for reading, Gerard

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Shooting in JPEG is like taking your roll of film to the store to be processed, and when
you get your prints, throwing away the negatives...

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Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8
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