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07-13-2010, 06:20 PM   #1
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Deciding whether the DA* 16-50mm is worth it.

Hey all, so here's where I am:

I have a K-7, the kit DA 18-55 WR, and a DA* 50-135.

Now, despite the fact that the 50-135 is my better lens, I tend to shoot more with the 18-55 because I don't shoot long zoom type stuff as often.

My question is whether the DA*16-50 is a worthy upgrade from the DA18-55. I have read in some places that the 18-55 is a very good kit lens and the 16-50 wouldn't offer me much. However, I've also seen people rave about the 16-50. Being the zoom range I shoot most regularly, would I appreciate the DA*?

Second, if I buy a 16-50, how new do I want it to be to ensure I get a really good copy? I've heard of of both SDM and glass complaints on earlier productions and I definitely wouldn't want to end up with a bad copy.


I truly appreciate the advice from all my fellow pentaxians,
MP45


Last edited by ManhattanProject; 07-13-2010 at 06:33 PM.
07-13-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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HSM is Sigma. Pentax is SDM.

DA* for the lens refers to weather sealing, SDM, SMC coating...if you need it.

The tokina version without the above features but similar optics for less money is not available in Pentax mount.

I believe there were comparisons made between the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and it. Try look for the threads.

as for the 18-55mm used in bright and sunny situations, even a pro will need time to tell the difference of the photos taken.

Last edited by Reportage; 07-13-2010 at 06:51 PM.
07-13-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
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If you like the 50-135, you wont be disappointed with the 16-50.

My SDM was having issues from about a month in, and when I sent it to be repaired, the service was wicked quick, and my lens is back working better than ever.

It also sounds as though Pentax has resolved whatever QC issue this was.

If I shattered the lens today, I'd buy it again, and hope for no issues. The glass is amazing.
07-13-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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I definitely think it is worth it. The 16-50 is about as heavy as the 50-135, but not nearly as long. It fits my style of shooting better. Having 1 to 2 stops of aperture throughout is nice and the bokeh is a lot cleaner than the kit lens (although not as nice as the limiteds). I do think they are fixing SDM right now. I have had my 16-50 fixed and it is faster now than when I first got it.

07-13-2010, 06:48 PM   #5
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The questions you may want to ask your self are: do you need to shoot faster, do you need less DOF, are you shooting at 18 most of the time but really need to shoot at 16. These are some of the limits of the 18-55 lens that you are using that you may over come with the DA* 16-50. You can get some other more subtle advantages but they are more of what your tastes are. If you are not bumping up on the harder limits then you are left with the issues of do you have the eye to see the other things and do you care. If you are just starting in photography you may not. On the flip side if you dont push to see and learn you will probably never see these things. So if you are hitting the hard limits or want to push then yes it is worth it but if not then no. To be truthful most dont but only you can decide and if you are in doubt of this then tie goes to no.

DAZ
07-14-2010, 07:24 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManhattanProject Quote
Second, if I buy a 16-50, how new do I want it to be to ensure I get a really good copy? I've heard of of both SDM and glass complaints on earlier productions and I definitely wouldn't want to end up with a bad copy.
The reports that DA* 16-50 problems have been fixed in later production, have been overstated. There are new models still being reported with SDM failure. Also, there is nothing you can do about the inherent edge softness in the DA* 16-50.

So my answer to the question in your thread title is: No!
07-14-2010, 08:07 AM   #7
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The DA*16-50 is an optically amazing lens, but the SDM issues would make me think twice. I have the 16-50 and 50-135, and they have both had SDM failures- the 16-50 twice. When they work, I absolutely love them, when they don't.....
If I were to do it all again, I would look into other options.
07-14-2010, 08:37 AM   #8
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Get an additional warranty. That's an option.

07-14-2010, 09:55 AM   #9
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Threads like this scare the hell out of me. I did buy the DA* 16~50 three months ago and so far I am very impressed. A little more distortion than I would like at 16mm but I don't shoot much at that focal length. Fabulous colour, sharp and contrasty it is the best zoom I have ever used. That being said I got the two year warranty and I hope I never have to use it.

Tom G
07-14-2010, 11:21 AM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
ManhattanProject: Deciding whether the DA* 16-50 is worth it.
If you are second guessing, particularly over SDM issues, you can go to Tamron or Sigma for that focal range, with constant f 2.8 apertures. The warranties are excellent in both cases.

I would not trade my Tamron 17-50mm 2.8!
07-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #11
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My hangup over the Tamron or Sigma is weather sealing, I'm an outdoors photographer, and that's pretty important to me. It's really why I got the K-7 itself.
07-14-2010, 02:32 PM   #12
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I have posted most of this elsewhere, but it bears repeating here;

I would not be at all scared of buying a new 16-50 today. They have apparently figured out what the problem was/is and how to fix it. I would be a little skittish about buying an older, out-of-warranty used one, though. The 16-50 is a blessing to Pentaxians. 98% of those who have had both know how much better it is than the kit lens (any version). The new PopPhoto that arrived yesterday agrees. This months lens guide is for wide-to-tele zoom lenses. The 16-50 received 4.5 out of 5 stars, tied for the highest on the list with the Nikon 17-55 2.8 ED, which, in reality, costs nearly twice as much. They called it "pro-level" and put a "best in class" label on its picture. The 18-55 AL II received 3 stars.

BTW, I am one of those who has never had any problems at all with any of my 3 DA* lenses, knock on wood (like Michael Scott once said, "I am not superstitious, I'm just a little stitious").
07-14-2010, 02:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
I would not be at all scared of buying a new 16-50 today. They have apparently figured out what the problem was/is and how to fix it. I would be a little skittish about buying an older, out-of-warranty used one, though. The 16-50 is a blessing to Pentaxians. 98% of those who have had both know how much better it is than the kit lens (any version).
Are you a Pentax "insider?" You seem to have some kind of inside knowledge about them knowing about the problem and fixing it. Also you are using some statistics that I have not seem proven anywhere. In fact there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to show the opposite is true.

QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
The new PopPhoto that arrived yesterday agrees. This months lens guide is for wide-to-tele zoom lenses. The 16-50 received 4.5 out of 5 stars, tied for the highest on the list with the Nikon 17-55 2.8 ED, which, in reality, costs nearly twice as much. They called it "pro-level" and put a "best in class" label on its picture. The 18-55 AL II received 3 stars.
The problem with all lens reviews is that they get a lens and use it for a short time. SDM failure is a gift that usually comes with time....
07-14-2010, 02:47 PM   #14
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It is really easy to spend other peoples money. Yes, upgrade
07-14-2010, 03:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
It is really easy to spend other peoples money. Yes, upgrade
Best advice ever
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