Need to decide on 16-50 on SDM or screwdrive

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by hin_man, May 7, 2016.

  1. I am planning to pick either a screwdrive converted version of 16-50 or a used version of DA 16-50 with SDM intact. Both are used and with similar conditions. If you are on the market looking, which will you pick:
    1. Used 16-50 that has been converted to screwdrive due to SDM failure. Cost is about $360 with shipping included.
    2. Used 16-50 with reported good SDM, cost is $425 + roughly $15.00 shipping
    Both look similar in good used condition, which will you pick and what is the reason? I am more inclined towards to #2 option as I like quiet focusing. But the SDM story is plenty and fearful. I can take a chance on the #2 and convert to AF with screwdrive when it dies. What do you think, is the option #1 better as it saves me the misery of SDM and with lower cost.
    Any kind soul using the screwdrive on 16-50 can share your story with screw-drive usage. Is it loud or pretty reasonable? Is screwdrive faster than the SDM? How is the accuracy, are AF about the same on accuracy in both SDM or the converted screw drive. I know those are tough questions to answer as I don't have a clue but I sure can use some help.
    I recently shot events using my Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 on K-5 along with 50-135. The long zoom is great and the SDM is working well for me, the quiet focusing in event is big plus. My Tamron wide zoom is no sludge but I wish for faster speed in event shooting indoor when flash i not appropriate during speech or similar situations.
  2. I volunteered for Technovation 2016 challenge pitch event sponsored at my company. The flickr set is in this link
    where I shot with three cameras -- I am a snobs trying to cover the bases
    • Pentax K-5 with Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 (falsh) and DA* 50-135 (no flash)
    • Sony A6000 with 16-50 PZ zoom and a small flash
    • Sony A7 and a Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 without flash
    And the DA 16-50 will help me in the shooting taking the role of my slower Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4.0.
    Your inputs will help guide me.
  3. Surprised at your hesitancy, Hin. You have often commented on your fear of SDM failure so why would you even consider one with it?
    No brainer, go for the converted screw drive.
  4. The problem is that I actually like the SDM on my 50-135. The SDM has worked fine for me. Though a bit slower, the quiet AF is a big plus for me when I shoot events in a conference room. Of course, the frequent failures on SDM is something that I need to consider.

    When I shot a cultural dance using both FA 77 and DA 50-135, the DA* zoom with SDM. The quiet zoom with a useful range gave me what I need. Quiet focusing gave a big boost in confidence in shooting more when required. My FA 77 did quite well but the AF noise is not something that I can write home about


    That was way back in 2009 with the SDM lens and K20D. I would prefer the use of SDM zoom lens instead of the prime if I have to reshoot this event.

    The dilemma is wether I can risk on the 16-50 with SDM for about $80 difference. It may seem obvious to you but I like the SDM from past positive experience. I can be contradictory to what I said before but that is my current thoughts.
    Some pictures in this blog post Pentax FA 77 vs Pentax DA* 50-135
  5. If I am the professional getting paid for gigs, I would have gotten both deals. It may not be a bad idea to have 2 instead of 1. For a total of $800, you get two. But I am not professional getting paid for gigs, I need to choose wisely. I need to make up my mind by Tuesday.
    @Justin, you need to help me confirm if you still have interest on my FA 35. At the moment, I decide to keep my DA 35 f2.8 macro as a pair to go with DF-A 100mm WR macro. When it comes to getting the minimal ideal, my DA 35 f/2.8 macro limited will be the next candidate to go. For now, I will keep the two macros as pair. I wish I have not let go my 21mm as I do miss it on the Pentax gear list. I sold it stupidly thinking I got it all covered with 15. I love the 15 more but the 21 is sweet on aps-c.
  6. My current 21 is faster but it can't work on my Pentax.

    And I have sold my DA 21 alernate with Spiratone 20mm f/2.8 that is in K-mount. The Spiratone is reasonable but the DA 21 is better. I need the 16-50 for serious shooting. Please feel free to recommend others. I don't like DA 17-70 but I can be convinced, and I actually have thought of Sigma 17-70. But the WR and faster constant speed is what attract me for a used copy that is low-budget type.

  7. In my opinion, the $80 difference is a small fraction of the overall investment that you have in equipment, so the price
    difference, while not inconsequential, would be a smaller factor. As you have stated, you appreciate the SDM on your DA*
    50-135 and would like silent focus on your wide/normal event zoom. Depending on whether the SDM-enabled candidate
    was manufactured after Pentax started replacing the motors, you may never have a problem. If it did start to die, you can
    very easily convert to screw-drive yourself if you don't choose to replace the motor.

    Alternatively, a new Sigma EX 17-50 with HSM would be around the same price as the SDM-enabled Pentax, with better
    established reliability, and better across the frame sharpness. Could be a viable choice, unless you specifically want to
    maintain that Pentax rendering across your two primary event zooms.
  8. @Ross, thanks for your insightful inputs. I missed the deal on the converted screwdrive and I have sent out money for the SDM one. I am half-excited about the lens as that is only the tool that I will pick when serious work demanding faster speed. I much prefer lightweight gear as in Sigma 17-70 or the Sigma 17-50 with SDM but the color rendering as well as WR are the reasons that I go for the DA*. Thanks!
  9. Hi Hin! I got a 16-60 with "dodgy" SDM, but when it arrived to me it was totally dead. I'm debating having the SDM repaired vs. getting it converted. I have used it on my *ist, and the AF is pretty noisy with screw drive. Also it fails to lock more than my other lenses, hoping this will be better on the K3. Anyway, I think the lens with SDM is preferable for the price difference you quoted (and that's what you are getting, anyway!) Enjoy!
  10. I think you made the right choice. I bet the SDM failures have all (or mostly) happened by now on any that are likely to fail. The newer ones have a design change that fixed the issue and new failures seem to be unusual.
    SDM is nice. It's not blazing fast but I still like it.
  11. Ironically I'm one of those that likes to hear the buzz of focus, It confirms that something happened. With SDM you're out there in La La Land all the time, wondering did it work or didn't it?
  12. Thanks everyone on the inputs. It warms my heart to see inputs more than waiting for the lens to come. The lens will come in UPS and I don't like the brown truck delivery as past absence at home cot me great pain with UPS.

    Everyone's liking and preference are different. I prefer quiet focusing and it is especially useful when situation dictate. It also calms my nerves when it is quiet. I now shoot with Sony mirror-less and most E mount lenses are dead quiet and they hardly make a noise. The shutter in Sony is nothing like the Pentax, loud and intrusive in a quiet place. The Pentax shutter is much preferred by me. SDM with a quiet shutter in Pentax strike good for me.

    I look forward to trying out DC on either 18-135 or 16-85 as that would be a lens in my distant future, or maybe the 28-105 new full frame, does the new zoom use DC motor, I need to look that up. The older FA 28-105 is quiet compact and small but its AF is loud and wild in ring movement.
  13. @Nick, sorry to hear about your 17-70. If it is under warranty or if the lens can be returned, I will fix or return it. Fixing SDM cost too much money, I think. Converting it to screwdrive will be the next option that I will consider.

    For 17-70, I am biased and I like the Sigma Contemporary lens with Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 and I know constant aperture always best the variable one but I take the opposite pick on Sigma as I love my experience with the 1st version of Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 and it is a great walk-around lens and with good close up.

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