screw drive DA*300mm?


Link Posted 07/01/2019 - 23:42
Just out of curiosity, has anyone a converted DA* 300mm they are thinking of selling? Despite John's comment about bad reputations being hard to shift I simply can't risk buying one with a potential self destruct bomb inside. Or, indeed, is there a straight screw drive alternative with comparable IQ?
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Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 07:56
SDM failure mostly happens with zoom lenses. The DA*300mm has a low failure rate and I've never had problems with mine. The 200mm is even more reliable.

The problems were usually with older lenses anyway.


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Last Edited by Algernon on 08/01/2019 - 07:59


Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 09:38
Very very little chance of the 300mm failing but if you want comparable performance in screwdrive then look no further than the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 I have for sale.

I can honestly say it is as good as my 300mm ... So much so I have been thinking about keeping the Sigma and selling the DA* instead.
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Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 11:22
I've got both the DA*300 F4 and the Pentax FA*300 F4.5. The FA* is just as good in sharpness and is faster to focus on a modern Pentax body. It is also smaller and lighter than the DA*. There is also the F*300 F4.5 which was the predecessor of the FA*, but had a tripod mount.
The DA* has the advantage of being weather sealed and has closer focus, full time manual focus override and obviously silent AF, but it's drawback is that my SDM stopped working while on holiday and in constant use. I managed to get it working again by constantly turning the focus ring for a few minutes and eventually it came back to life, phew But if it hadn't it would have been a paper weight because not even the manual focus was working.
My DA* is now with Pentax and I'm awaiting feedback from them. Dependent on their response I will decide on what to do with it next.
The DA* has in my opinion better rendering of the out of focus highlights which can be harsher on the FA*.
I've tried my DA* on my Pentax Z1 and the screwdrive was a lot quieter than my FA* and didn't seem to hit the stops so hard...
I use the DA* more than my FA* (obviously not at the moment) because it's newer(!) and I like the close focus for my insect shots and because I feel self conscious in shared bird hides etc when the screwdrive of my FA* misses and decides to nosily hunt. This was okay in the past because lots of people had noisy lenses but these days everybody seems to have silent wildlife lenses.
I also had the Sigma 100-300 F4 only in Canon mount, so it was silent and fast focus. It was a lovely lens that unfortunately had focus shift on stopping down and was not just heavier than my FA* but seemed cumbersome to use because it felt front heavy. I use heavier lenses these days on my canon, Tamron 150-600, but it just feels better balanced. I guess I also had the nagging in my head that said this is heavy for a 300 F4 when you've got the FA* at considerably less weight and size.... So it went, but I did miss that one at times, but replaced it with the Canon 200 F2.8 and 1.4x converter, so much lighter and just as good image quality.
Personally if you want a screw drive Pentax 300 prime, I'd happily recommend the FA* or F* 300 F4.5.
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Last Edited by walt on 08/01/2019 - 11:29


Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 11:35
Algernon wrote:
SDM failure mostly happens with zoom lenses. The DA*300mm has a low failure rate and I've never had problems with mine. The 200mm is even more reliable.

The problems were usually with older lenses anyway.



I previously had the DA*200 f2.8 fixed focal length lens and its SDM failed but that's not why I traded it in for the new DFA*70-200 which gives me more flexibility. It was a superb performer and Johnsons, (before they ran into difficulties) repaired it very quickly.
I'm currently planning to have my DA*16-50 2.8 zoom converted to screw drive because of SDM issues. This lens is more than 10 years old and has been used extensively as was the DA*200. Both lived up to their reputation for quality imagery.
Last Edited by davidtrout on 08/01/2019 - 11:39


Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 16:22
I converted my da*300 to screw drive, not because the sdm had failed but to see if the autofocus was quicker. It was, although still not as quick as I would have liked but its a cracking lens. Also converted my 16-50 as the sdm was playing up.



Kim C

Link Posted 08/01/2019 - 17:08
I would agree completely with what Walt says above with the exception that I use the F rather than the FA version. The tripod mount on which is far better than the DA* one.

But personally, I wouldn't worry about SDM failure on the DA* lenses. If for no other reason than they can be converted to screwdrive in about 5 mins very easily and are fully usable in that mode. My only concern with the 300mm is using it full frame. Yesw, before I get shouted down, it does have full frame coverage and you can select the K1 to use it as such. However, from all I have seen, the 200 was a reworked version of the 200 FA* which was and always has been FF. Again "my understanding" is that the 300 DA* was re-designed rather than being based on the older design. That was quite a while ago before the K1 was on the horizon. I suspect very strongly that it was designed for the cropped format. As Ricoh say, it can be used FF and the lens compensation function including CA is extended to the 35mm format but image quality cannot be guaranteed outside the APS format.
Last Edited by Kim C on 08/01/2019 - 17:19


Link Posted 09/01/2019 - 08:58
Out of my three DA* lenses my 300 is still with its' original motor - I did not buy it new, but from a member on here....

Nicer than my Nikkor AFS 300 f4D which, in itself, is a brilliant lens.
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Link Posted 09/01/2019 - 20:53
My DA*300 also has its original motor and shows no signs of failing, I'm confident it will continue to perform well, which is something I can't say about the DA*50-135. I have two of these now as my first is on its way out.


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Link Posted 09/01/2019 - 22:04
I also have the da*50-135 and had the SDM motor replaced donít know if it will not go
Again in the future and it was brought second
Hand form SRS
I have a da*300 no problem with SDM motor
Get it second hand from a forum member
Who was changing to Nikon
cheers Neil
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Link Posted 10/01/2019 - 00:53
I shall consult the piggy bank. Thank you for your reassurances.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

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