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08-25-2010, 12:26 PM   #1
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DA* 16-50mm versus DA 16-45mm

I'm almost positive this has been discussed before but for some reason I can't locate any threads. Probably my ineptness.

Anyhow, I currently use the DA 16-45mm lens for my landscape work and it's become my workhorse. I really do like the lens but it's not perfect. I think it's a very sharp lens and I don't really care about it's slow speed as that is usually not an issue for the type of photography I do. It does show some CA issues at times and I'm disappointed with it's "starring" capabilities at low apertures as they are a bit "muddy" compared to some other lenses I have such as the 10-17mm or the 40mm prime.

I was wondering if anyone knows how the DA* 16-50mm stacks up against it? Would it be worth the extra money to upgrade or should I stick with what I have? If I you think I should upgrade, what will I gain from it besides speed and quietness?

Thanks for your time!

08-25-2010, 01:13 PM   #2
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Paranoia that the SDM is going to pack up? I'm pleased to report that mine hasn't yet... I moved from the 16-45 to the 16-50 about 18 months ago. I would say that the 16-50 is notably sharper, a bit more contrasty, bigger, heavier and quieter. I couldn't say if it focuses any faster - with screw-drive lenses you get an audiable clue that they have finished focusing, with SDM things just 'appear'. I don't care about the size and weight. Downsides? A little more barrel distortion at the short end (easily corrected in PP if you don't want it), slightly more flare-prone - not suprising really given the large front element - but controlable if you are aware, and again from the large front element, the 72mm filter mount which means I can't swap polarisers and grads with the 50-135...

Looking at your galleries (very nice work!) I think it would suit your style of photography, but try to have a play with one to see if you like the feel and balance as well as the image quality. I find it very well balanced on the K20D with grip, but my wife can't understand why I would want something so heavy and never borrows it for her *ist DL! (I can't keep her away from the 10-17mm though...)
08-25-2010, 01:45 PM   #3
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Thanks Talisker. I think I'll have to cruise to the city and check one out in person. I'm always looking for ways to improve image quality but there has to be a justifiable ROI or it just doesn't seem worth it.

I like the idea it is noticeably sharper. That might be a good reason. But I also am a bit leery of the quality issues it's had in the past.

I'll stop in to the camera store when I get back up that way. Thanks!
08-25-2010, 07:41 PM   #4
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I started with a 16-45 and recently just got my 16-50. It's an excellent lens. I found it to be sharper and obviously it's faster. Another big thing for me was the weather proofing. I gotta have that.

I stopped worrying about SDM issues and just bought. So far so good. I love the silence!

Check this thread out:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/106084-da%2A-1...at-can-do.html

09-05-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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Stick with DA16-45...

I started with an DA18-55 AL II a couple of years ago but quickly replaced it with a DA16-45, which was awesome and a significant step up. After about a year, I got my first DA*16-50 which was a few months old after Pentax had replaced it for a failed SDM with its previous owner.

It worked fine for just a few months after I purchased but the SDM died soon after. Then I sent it into Pentax and got the SDM replaced, for free. But now, the SDM died again after 8 months. I had sold my beloved DA16-45 after getting the DA* but really regretted selling it. Although now I have another DA16-45, I wouldn't be quick to sell it even after I get my current DA* fixed. In my opinion, the DA16-45 offers more than 90% of what the DA*16-50 does at one third of the price.

The DA* is only a half a stop faster and has weather proofing, but has an awful record with QA and SDM. Its extra 5mm reach is really insignificant.

My advice is to stick with the DA16-45 until Pentax fixes their SDM issues or starts giving you extended warranty on their DA* lenses.
09-05-2010, 09:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
I was wondering if anyone knows how the DA* 16-50mm stacks up against it? Would it be worth the extra money to upgrade or should I stick with what I have? If I you think I should upgrade, what will I gain from it besides speed and quietness?
You will also have bought a ticket to participate in Pentax SDM roulette. I had a chance to shoot with 16-45 for a few days recently and before that I was given an opportunity to shoot with 16-50 for a few days too. Except one stop of speed, I don't see any immediate advantage of one over the other. The differences are probably there, but I'd say I'd have to pixel peep to tell them.

If things such as quiet AF or weather resistant construction do not ring your bell, then likely you'd be better off with your current gear, that as you say, you have grown to like.

Last edited by Boris; 09-05-2010 at 10:02 PM.
09-05-2010, 09:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by EsBee Quote
In my opinion, the DA16-45 offers more than 90% of what the DA*16-50 does at one third of the price.

The DA* is only a half a stop faster and has weather proofing, but has an awful record with QA and SDM. Its extra 5mm reach is really insignificant.

My advice is to stick with the DA16-45 until Pentax fixes their SDM issues or starts giving you extended warranty on their DA* lenses.
I started off quite similar to yourself EsBee but cannot agree with your first statement above. It isn't an accurate portrayal and the 'less than 10%' that the DA* 16-50 does above the DA 16-45 is worth far more than just a percentage value. My own experience, not plagued with SDM failure, has been one of exquisite results simply above and beyond what the 16-45 could capture in every application. The DA* is a full stop faster than the 16-45 and this IS significant. I wouldn't dream of doing a wedding with the 16-45, but I have confidently done many with the DA*.

Nevertheless, I'd agree with your last statement, and my selling the DA* in favour of FA ltd primes is testament to that.
09-05-2010, 09:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
I'm almost positive this has been discussed before but for some reason I can't locate any threads. Probably my ineptness.

I was wondering if anyone knows how the DA* 16-50mm stacks up against it? Would it be worth the extra money to upgrade or should I stick with what I have? If I you think I should upgrade, what will I gain from it besides speed and quietness?

Thanks for your time!
My own discussion between these two lenses is here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/49602-da%2A-16...e-quality.html

Essentially, the 16-50 does suffer from minor barrel distortion and corner softness wide open (however way this can be ascertained accurately), but does have the X-factor that the 16-45 doesn't, and I only realised that much later in the thread I presented my data comparing the two lenses.

09-06-2010, 07:03 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone! I will probably stick with my 16-45mm for now. It's a great workhorse lens for landscape work and I'm not sure I want to take the chance of spending twice as much for the possibility of dealing with SDM quality issues. I would imagine that the DA* will have improvements in image quality to some degree...just not sure it will pay. Maybe some day!

Thanks again!
09-06-2010, 08:23 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
Thanks everyone! I will probably stick with my 16-45mm for now. It's a great workhorse lens for landscape work and I'm not sure I want to take the chance of spending twice as much for the possibility of dealing with SDM quality issues. I would imagine that the DA* will have improvements in image quality to some degree...just not sure it will pay. Maybe some day!

Thanks again!
OMG when the f**k will Pentax listen to this kind of reaction and settle the SDM issue?. Even if the SDM issue was solved, the fact that they do not say nothing is hurting the sales big time. If the SDM was not solved, for Pete's sake, every pentaxian knows about it so acknowledging it would not be an issue, but an assurance that something is done about it.

I am really thinking of switching only because of this nonsense which proves that somewhere there is a di*khead who does not want to approve addressing this once and forever. Who knows what other good decisions are postponed because of this person?
09-06-2010, 09:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
The DA* is a full stop faster than the 16-45...
Yes a full-stop difference, and that's what counts for most of the 10% difference in my opinion.
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