what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt

Started 3 months ago | User reviews
Katmandude
Katmandude New Member • Posts: 1
what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
7

I'll make it short and sharp.

Optically , this is a revered lens in my lens lineup. nothing short of stunning. tack sharp.

Electronically , this is a dumpster fire, in a mine field , in hell. Bought it factory fresh, spanking brand new as part of my architectural firms photo gear, and after 6 months , focusing  motor died. No issues at that point, under warranty from factory. So I got it replaced no problems. Only problem is that my 2 year warranty was now 6 months. And guess what happened after 6 months and a day (literally...) motor died again.... so I paid the second time to get it fixed. And After 6 months , again. so basically it's  a manual lens now.  From what I have found out through my contacts within the Pentax community, is that this lens is a lottery. Some times you get the alcoholic who crashes periodically, some times you get the athlete who never falters. I got robbed on that scale. I got the worst one.

Don't get this lens unless you intend to use it as a manual.

-- hide signature --

eat, shoot, sleep, repeat ^_^ great motto from photo'Kina

 Katmandude's gear list:Katmandude's gear list
Pentax Optio WG-2 Pentax WG-3 Pentax K-30 Pentax K-3 Pentax Q-S1 +14 more
Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM
Telephoto zoom lens • Pentax KAF2 • 21660
Announced: Feb 21, 2007
Katmandude's score
2.5
Average community score
4.4
The Squirrel Mafia
The Squirrel Mafia Contributing Member • Posts: 930
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt

Sucks. I do believe that you can convert it to screw drive.

Supposedly Ricoh is revamping this lens with a new PLM motor. I'm waiting for it.

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DougOB
DougOB Senior Member • Posts: 2,807
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
1

The Squirrel Mafia wrote:

Sucks. I do believe that you can convert it to screw drive.

You can, mine is converted after the 2nd failure.  AF is actually a bit faster now than with the SDM

Supposedly Ricoh is revamping this lens with a new PLM motor. I'm waiting for it.

Ya, the rumour can out mid-March, lots of discussion, and now we wait.

Doug

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GossCTP Veteran Member • Posts: 6,046
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
9

It was bad enough that the SDM had so many problems. That Pentax never acknowledged it was worse. That the lenses stayed in the lineup for a decade without a mark II is disturbing.

-- hide signature --

"Law and order" is anathema to liberty and justice.

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PentUp
PentUp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,565
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt

DougOB wrote:

The Squirrel Mafia wrote:

Sucks. I do believe that you can convert it to screw drive.

You can, mine is converted after the 2nd failure. AF is actually a bit faster now than with the SDM

Supposedly Ricoh is revamping this lens with a new PLM motor. I'm waiting for it.

Ya, the rumour can out mid-March, lots of discussion, and now we wait.

Nothing to that effect on the DSLR Lens road map... but it's all good, it is up to date as at October 2021

Doug

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anware Regular Member • Posts: 196
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
3

Then again, I've had mine well over ten years and SDM has always - and still does - work perfectly.

I'm aware that some people have had the SDM motor fail, but they are the only ones you ever hear from. Those of us who have not experienced any problems are an unknown number so there's no way of knowing what percentage of these lenses have failed and therefore how much of a gamble you take buying one.

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Pentax K-5 Pentax K-3 Pentax K-3 Mark III Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM +3 more
T Evergreen Regular Member • Posts: 153
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
1

Katmandude wrote:

I'll make it short and sharp.

Optically , this is a revered lens in my lens lineup. nothing short of stunning. tack sharp.

Electronically , this is a dumpster fire, in a mine field , in hell. Bought it factory fresh, spanking brand new as part of my architectural firms photo gear, and after 6 months , focusing motor died. No issues at that point, under warranty from factory. So I got it replaced no problems. Only problem is that my 2 year warranty was now 6 months. And guess what happened after 6 months and a day (literally...) motor died again.... so I paid the second time to get it fixed. And After 6 months , again. so basically it's a manual lens now. From what I have found out through my contacts within the Pentax community, is that this lens is a lottery. Some times you get the alcoholic who crashes periodically, some times you get the athlete who never falters. I got robbed on that scale. I got the worst one.

Don't get this lens unless you intend to use it as a manual.

You can have this converted from SDM to Screw Drive for $45. Look here -- https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/311609-sale-sdm-screwdrive-conversions.html

davethebirder Regular Member • Posts: 344
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
2

I remember how the SDM lenses were defended to the death here for having the same fail rates as lenses of other makes such as Canon and Nikon, so I made the decision to go for the Sigma K mount 50-150mm F2.8 EX zoom because of a lack of confidence the SDM motors ......

....... many years after going Nikon, SDM reports and complaints are still coming in ....... but the defensive stance has given way to admittance!

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DougOB
DougOB Senior Member • Posts: 2,807
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt

anware wrote:

Then again, I've had mine well over ten years and SDM has always - and still does - work perfectly.

I'm aware that some people have had the SDM motor fail, but they are the only ones you ever hear from. Those of us who have not experienced any problems are an unknown number so there's no way of knowing what percentage of these lenses have failed and therefore how much of a gamble you take buying one.

I agree with you in principle, and yes I am one of the vocal minority that you hear from.

However, I only know two people with this lens (know in real life, not via on-line forums), myself and a friend.  We both had failures, twice for me.  Maybe I am a statistical anomoly

To be fair we both bought from the first production release in 2007 so perhaps things improved (the failures were relatively early on in their life).

And also to be clear, I love this lens, it is one of my favourites.  Since I did the screwdrive conversion I have no complaints or regrets.

Doug

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klimbkat
klimbkat Senior Member • Posts: 2,595
Re: listen up pentax? Ha ha, never mind
1

This issue has been ongoing for well over a decade and the next "new" compaint (OP's first post) isn't going to make any more difference to Pentax than the first few hundred. The glass is outstanding - get it converted to screw drive and enjoy the great rendering.

JasonTheBirder
JasonTheBirder Senior Member • Posts: 3,183
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
4

anware wrote:

Then again, I've had mine well over ten years and SDM has always - and still does - work perfectly.

I'm aware that some people have had the SDM motor fail, but they are the only ones you ever hear from. Those of us who have not experienced any problems are an unknown number so there's no way of knowing what percentage of these lenses have failed and therefore how much of a gamble you take buying one.

You certainly hear about SDM failures a lot more than the silent motors of most other lenses so that would be enough for me not to use them.

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KentG Veteran Member • Posts: 4,801
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
2

Ditto. The complaints came out before I had made a decision on the Pentax 50-135/2.8 so I opted for a Sigma 50-150/2.8 while it was still available. Glad I did.

Kent Gittings

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PentUp
PentUp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,565
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt
1

KentG wrote:

Ditto. The complaints came out before I had made a decision on the Pentax 50-135/2.8 so I opted for a Sigma 50-150/2.8 while it was still available. Glad I did.

Kent Gittings

I also got the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 HSM II while it was still available. It is a great little lens!

I hope that Pentax put out a 50-150 f/2.8 PLM sometime soon...

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xmeda
xmeda Senior Member • Posts: 1,740
Re: what could have been a great lens... listen up pentax, this will hurt

During 2012 they did some update on motors and new version seems to last longer than previous Sudden Death Motors, but it was never solved completely and over time many complaints emerged even about the updated design.

a) Convert lens to camera driven AF only. You only need some older body with service menu enabled. K5 for example. There are several manuals how to do it on internet. And it "solves" the issue forever. It is quite simple and you don't need to disassemble anything or pay for such service.

b) Sometimes it helps to put that lens on an old body (like for example MZ-10 etc) without SMC/DC contacts and just run it several times through AF range. In some cases it starts to work again after such excercise.

c) Try to find Sigma 50-150/2.8 which is IMO better lens, just without such level of weather sealing.

d) Do not leave SDM lenses sitting in cabinet for a long time. Run them time to time to keep them in condition.

-- hide signature --

Same applies for 16-50/2.8 (Alternative Sigma 17-50/2.8 EX DC, avoid Tamron 17-50/2.8 due to mechanical issues with zoom)

DA*200/2.8 also can be converted to screw-only AF. (Alternatives are Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX DG HSM II, Tamron 70-200/2.8)

DA*300/4 also can be converted to screw-only AF. (Alternative Sigma 100-300/4 EX DG)

DA17-70/4 is also frequent patient in service, but this lens does not have mechanical AF shaft and so it cannot be converted to camera driven AF only. Motor replacement is the only way. (But Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 is better and they are cheap these days

DA*60-250/4 had some SDM issues too, but less frequent. Also can be converted to screw-only AF. (Sig 100-300/4 again)

DA*55/1.4 is not very popular choice, so it has less users and less issues reported. Does not have backup shaft, so motor change only. (Alternatives are Sigma 50/1.4 or Pentax FA50/1.4 or new DFA*50/1.4 are the alternatives here)

--
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