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01-27-2011, 06:05 PM   #1
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DA 16-45mm vs DA 17-70mm - Wide angle performance

Hi folks

I am considering one of these two lenses for use only at the wide end for landscape photos (day or night). From reading old threads and photozone reviews the 16-45 has less barrel distortion @ 16mm than the 17-70 @ 17mm, but worse CA than the 17-70.

I'm not really fussed by the telephoto performance, as I plan to use either mainly at the widest setting. Which would be the better choice for someone who is relatively new and isn't much of a pixel peeper or a post-processing genius yet?

I can pick up either reasonably cheaply so cost won't be a factor.


01-27-2011, 06:19 PM   #2
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Probably depends on whether you want SDM or not.
01-27-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
Probably depends on whether you want SDM or not.
I know there's discussions about SDM reliability, but was it just a teething issue or is still present?

I don't think a noisy focus motor is going to bother me too much.
01-27-2011, 06:43 PM   #4
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if you are comfortable at F/4, can consider the Sigma 17-70 F/2.8~F/4 as well.

01-27-2011, 06:50 PM   #5
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Having used both the DA 16-45mm and the DA 17-70mm SDM and the Sigma 17-70mm, I'd give the nod to the DA 17-70mm SDM. The DA 17-70mm is slightly bigger and heavier than the DA 16-45mm but build quality is a lot better. The DA 16-45 does go a little wider but loses out on the long end which is a big difference in terms of versatility as you can shoot head and shoulder portraits at 70mm. Flare control is pretty good from this shot. Not had any issues with the SDM which is fast and quiet and the sharpness is actually pretty good.

I've not had any issues optically with either lens but the discontinued DA 16-45mm has some quirks I didn't like like the lens barrel extending at 16mm which makes using the camera's pop-up flash unusable due to the heavy shadow cast. Also my copy consistently underexposed by 2/3 stop when tested. While sharpness of the DA 16-45 is pretty even across the frame, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 (older version) is a lot sharper in the centre but less so on the corners and does show a little more barrel distortion. Has a close focus feature which doubles up as a quick and dirty macro. Using the current cameras' built-in lens distortion features can tame most of the CA and curvature distortions.

Last edited by creampuff; 01-27-2011 at 06:57 PM.
01-28-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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If you get a 17-70mm cheaply ($200~$300), make sure to check its SDM. I know some cheap 17-70mms are returns due to focus issues @ 50-70mm. It can't lock focus at this range, especially @ 70mm. It is worst when lens is close to focus but not yet. The lens then will focus back and forth, not being able to lock to it.

If it doesn't have this issue, then it is an excellent choice. Optical performance is excellent (when focus right on).

Good luck.
01-29-2011, 09:39 PM   #7
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Wideangle for Landscape

If you are only going to use the wide end of a zoom you could get much better quality with a wide prime, e.g. DA15mm Ltd. A little wider than the zooms you mention but a cracking lens with low distortion and amazing flare resistance. It is a bit more expensive though.

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