To repair or not to repair? DA* 16-50.


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 09:18

AF SDM failure on my favourite lens has led me to having a rather fancy paperweight over the last few months. Now repair can be costly and I am more than a little put off by reports of 7-8 month lead times for repairs to be completed. Conversely, the 2nd hand price has dropped to not hugely more (easily save uppable compared to a couple of years ago). I like my copy and it did perform very well over 1.5-2 years being used lots but is it worth the combination of hassle, looooong repair times, not worth all that much any more anyway and the fact I'd be sending to the UK as the local official Pentax repairer I have no earthly idea about?

Or is it worth just replacing it with another decent 2nd hand copy, a competitors version or just make do with the kit lens/35mm 2.5? I have been using my 50-135 DA* but it can be a bit long sometimes.......... Should have the cash by next month for the repair but now just wondering if better employed putting it towards a replacement.

Thinking aloud.........
K5, K200 and several film Pentax cameras!


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 09:53
Just another option....

I believe there is a software hack that can make the 16-50 revert to screw drive focus.
Too Old To Die Young


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 10:04
Why abandon a perfectly good, high class lens? Repair, however long it takes, will leave you with a top quality optic, so I'd just send it in to your local approved repairer and let them deal with it. They might even do it quickly.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 14:40


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 15:11
I am with John on this one. As long as repair costs less then a good second hand copy, why would you not repair it, even if just to resell it. Plus, if you would buy a second hand copy you would not have certainty that the same problem would no occur again. If you repair you would have a copy you are happy with, a brand new SDM and a warranty. And if I am not mistaken the new SDM should more reliable then the old one.....

Pentax Photo Gallery


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 15:50

Contains the links how to disable the sdm
Pentax K10D + Vivitar 55/2.8 macro + Super Takumar 55/1.8 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 85/1.8 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 135/3.5 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 200/4 + Super Takumar 300/4
Pentax K100D + DA18-55ALII + DA55-300
Pentax K5 + FA31Ltd + M50/1.7 + DFA100WR + M120/2.8 (+ DA18-55WR at occasion)
Last Edited by sterretje on 15/02/2015 - 15:52


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 16:11

One you just pointed out, Just back from SDM repair ... 475

To get his own lens repaired for the exact same fault ... approx 180

Saving .... Best part of 300.
. My Flickr


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 16:35
I converted mine to screw drive when the SDM failed and it now works perfectly and fast
Last Edited by gregmoll on 15/02/2015 - 16:36


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 16:48
The Pentax 16-50 (Sudden Death Motor, SDM) is simply not a reliable lens. One could never rely on having that lens without having a back up.

Quite sad really. That one would actually have the genuine need for a secondary lens in case of failure of the Pentax 16-50. That 16-50 is by far one of the worst examples of PK ever made; nothing comes close. I'd even settle for any of the entry level lenses before wanting or needing to use the 16-50

I've seen many personal examples of the Pentax 16-50 needing to be repaired more than once within two years of non professional use
Last Edited by 50mpCMOS on 15/02/2015 - 16:49


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 16:51
The AF in mine went a few months ago and with The 20% Pentax User discount with Johnsons cost 144


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 16:54
gregmoll wrote:
I converted mine to screw drive when the SDM failed and it now works perfectly and fast

Converted mine also, works great now.

SMC PENTAX-DA FISH-EYE 1:3.5-4.5 10-17mm ED [IF], SMC PENTAX-DA* 1:2.8 16-50mm ED AL [IF] SDM,
SMC PENTAX-DA 1:4 15mm ED AL Limited, SMC PENTAX-DA 1:3.2 21mm AL Limited,
SMC PENTAX-F 1:2.8 28mm, SMC PENTAX-FA 1:2 35mm AL,
SMC PENTAX-FA 1:1.4 50mm, SMC PENTAX-DA 1:2.4 70mm Limited,
SMC PENTAX-D FA MACRO 1:2.8 100mm WR, SMC PENTAX-DA* 1:4 300mm ED [IF] SDM,
HD PENTAX-DA 1:5.6 560mm ED AW,
PENTAX AF160FC Auto Macro Ring Flash.


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 17:05
I simply don't trust myself to conduct the SDM to screw drive hack and not completely mess it up, the lens and maybe the K5 as well. I have looked into it.

The local official repairer is a totally unknown quantity as outside of their own website I can find nothing on them. Hungary being a tiny market I wouldn't have thought Pentax would have spent much time checking them out or if they see much Pentax kit at all. Or as just a place with a workshop so they'll do......

Replacement would be saving up a bit longer. TBH it was really good until it wasn't and the quiet nature of the SDM I found really worthwhile and plenty fast enough. The thing is there are plenty of normal lenses from other mfgs as well as like the 17-70 that appear much more reliable and decent enough quality. I went for my 2nd hand 16-50 largely on the strength of Cabstar's review and opinion of it.
K5, K200 and several film Pentax cameras!


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 17:53
Well if you don't want to either get it repaired or convert it to screw drive the only alternative left seems to be to replace it with (whatever lens you prefer) and sell it on for someone else to get repaired or convert.



Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 19:35
if i were in the OP's position, i'd give up on the Da 16-50 and pick up the Tamron 17-50 2.8, 5 year european warranty.
Then sell the Pentax for spare or repair.
Sony A6000 plus a bunch of lenses
Sony A7ii plus loads of glass
Fuji X20
Last Edited by hogboy on 15/02/2015 - 19:38


Link Posted 15/02/2015 - 21:34
It's only early examples of this lens that were a problem. I thought Pentax said that the motors had been upgraded?
Best regards, John
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