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04-04-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
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Finally wanted to try out the DA* lens

Hi all,

I hold off to getting any DA* lens for 1. SDM issues; and 2. if Pentax go FF.... so I was avoiding getting any DA* lenses.... but I guess I missing out a lot by doing so...

I bought mostly prime lenses (all FA ltd, DA21, 35 ltd, FA*85, F50) in the past two years, obviously for their optical quality. But I found myself don't really like to change lenses that often, especially in the outdoor, so a zoom lens might be useful some time. But having use prime lenses and used to the excellent images they produce, I am hoping DA* lenses can give me the flexibility of zoom with the quality of the prime -- is this expectation reasonable??

So I am looking at DA* 16-50 f2.8 and DA* 50-135 f2.8. I am planning to get the 16-50 first as currently the widest lens I have is the kit lens at 18mm, am I looking at a good alternative to replace the kit lens with the 16-50? Is the SDM issue serious in this lens (happen often enough to avoid it at all)? I like the f2.8 across the whole range. I moved to a place with relatively dark nights and hope to have more chance to shoot starry nights.

Hope to get your input.

Thanks,
Lee

04-04-2011, 09:42 AM   #2
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Both the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 are outstanding lenses. I have both and consider them my two best lenses (out of about 45 lenses). You wont be disappointed with either of them.
04-04-2011, 10:01 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
Hi all,

I hold off to getting any DA* lens for 1. SDM issues; and 2. if Pentax go FF.... so I was avoiding getting any DA* lenses.... but I guess I missing out a lot by doing so...

I bought mostly prime lenses (all FA ltd, DA21, 35 ltd, FA*85, F50) in the past two years, obviously for their optical quality. But I found myself don't really like to change lenses that often, especially in the outdoor, so a zoom lens might be useful some time. But having use prime lenses and used to the excellent images they produce, I am hoping DA* lenses can give me the flexibility of zoom with the quality of the prime -- is this expectation reasonable??

So I am looking at DA* 16-50 f2.8 and DA* 50-135 f2.8. I am planning to get the 16-50 first as currently the widest lens I have is the kit lens at 18mm, am I looking at a good alternative to replace the kit lens with the 16-50? Is the SDM issue serious in this lens (happen often enough to avoid it at all)? I like the f2.8 across the whole range. I moved to a place with relatively dark nights and hope to have more chance to shoot starry nights.

Hope to get your input.

Thanks,
Lee
Frankly, all the SDM naysayers on the interwebs have almost got me convinced to stay away from them, and this is coming from someone with three of them, and never any sort of problem. If not for this, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending the 16-50. It has great IQ, fast focusing, and a reasonably compact form factor. It would be hard to beat for event photography. I would tend to believe that a new copy would be as reliable as any other sonic focus-motor lens. Complaints have definitely diminished somewhat (other than the pro journalist fella that uses the p*ss out of his gear). I am that much more confident in the 50-135. Very few complaints with that one these days. Even a little better IQ, slower focusing the only downside.

To sum up, with the 16-50 I would probably at least consider the Sigma alternative, as it seems to be quite good as well. With the 50-135, I would get the Pentax without question. For one thing, the new Sigma 50-150 is massive, and that alone would put it out of contention for me. I also prefer the IQ and rendering of the Pentax over any version of the 50-150, not to say that they are bad.
04-04-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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I recently used the 50-135 for an event. I can't see how it is beaten by any 70-200 (maybe in focus speed, but that wasn't even close to a problem for me) considering the 50-135 is half the weight (and 70-200 range for ff equivalent). He optical quality is second to none, and the form factor makes it easy to use. K5 with a grip and that lens was pure joy to use. Now I have to figure out how to buy one...

04-04-2011, 10:39 AM   #5
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I also considered getting both DA* zoom lenses. However, all the talk of sdm failures gave me pause.

So I bought the 50-135: great lens; nice and compact when compared to the 70-200 lenses and great image quality. Every time I use this lens for my kids sports, I wonder how I would ever carry anything heavier for that long.

For the 16-50 range: There are a lot more alternatives. The sigma 17-50 hsm came out recently and has had great reviews. The tamron is also well-liked. In the end I just did not want 2 sdm lenses. The tamron lenses tend to be loud and look cheap... A great alternative is maybe to get the pentax 50-135 and the sigma 17-50 hsm. Something I have long considered.

But I got the tamron 28-75 as I like portraits with the thought of getting the pentax 12-24 for the wide end some day. But there maybe a new WR wide angle zoom lens coming out from pentax ?soon so I have held off. I have to admit that if not for sdm complaints on this forum, I probably would have bought the 16-50 instead...There are days when I still wonder about getting rid of the 28-75 and keep it simple by getting the 16-50 instead to use as wide angle also.

P.S: I rented both pentax zoom lenses from cameralensrentals.com and tried them out first. Both gave nice images but the 50-135 was noticeably better albeit a different range. Both these lenses are expensive and no matter what others say, trying them out yourself is the only sure-fire way to know whether these lenses will suit you. Rent them if you can.
04-04-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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I did exactly what you are talking about, and then realized i could have it all in one package.

Save yourself some time and bother and get yourself the DA 18-135. It covers all the ranges you want, in a superb lens.
04-04-2011, 11:43 AM   #7
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I have 3 SDM lens, DA17-70, DA*16-50, DA*50-135. The DA17-70 had a spring break a week after I got it. After warranty repair - never a problem now for two years. The DA*16-50 had a problem with the mount ring (apparently not an SDM problem) after almost 2 years of use. The 50-135 is the new one of some 6 months. That's my record with these lenses but I don't consider this problematic. I've had problems with other lenses too. Things break and need to get repaired.

The bottom line for me is that the quality of the images I get from them makes it all worthwhile. While I wish there wasn't this gray cloud hanging over the SDM name, I love it when it works, which for me is most of the time.
04-04-2011, 12:31 PM   #8
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I've been using the DA* 16-50mm for almost a year now and have had absolutely no problems. The 16mm wide is *very* useful for indoor shots, and the WR has come in handy many times. I've also considered the Sigma/Tamron alternatives, but the two things mentioned above have kept me from actually pursuing anything else. I mean, to know with confidence while shooting in the rain that you're not ruining your lens is worth something to me.

04-04-2011, 12:32 PM   #9
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How many of you considered the 60-250 over the 50-135? I hear about the 16-50 + 50-135 combo a lot but don't hear too many folks talking about pairing the 16-50 with the 60-250?
04-04-2011, 12:41 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
I did exactly what you are talking about, and then realized i could have it all in one package.

Save yourself some time and bother and get yourself the DA 18-135. It covers all the ranges you want, in a superb lens.
Well, it is better IQ than the kit lens, but you give up about 2 stops to the DA*'s, and 2mm on the wide end that is noticeable.
04-04-2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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I own the DA * 16-50, DA * 50-135 and the DA *55. Got the 50-135 and have used it for three years without problem. 16-50 had a SDM failure 4 months after I got it. I have been using it for 18 months without problem since that time. DA *55 is three months old without problem.

I personally chose the 50-135 over the 70-200 lenses due to size (as well as sealing). The 60-250 wasn't available at that time, but if it had been, I don't think I would have chosen the 60-250. The increase size and losing a stop in aperture would not have been appealing to me, even with the increased focal length range.
04-04-2011, 01:25 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dmc Quote
I did exactly what you are talking about, and then realized i could have it all in one package.

Save yourself some time and bother and get yourself the DA 18-135. It covers all the ranges you want, in a superb lens.
Sorry, but the 18-135 is not quite in the same league as the DA*'s. It's a good lens for what it is, but I don't think many would describe it as "superb."
04-04-2011, 01:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
How many of you considered the 60-250 over the 50-135? I hear about the 16-50 + 50-135 combo a lot but don't hear too many folks talking about pairing the 16-50 with the 60-250?
I agree with Loren. I have this very pair. After some time with the 50-135, I felt a little lacking in range for a two lens kit. Wanting to keep up the high IQ, I opted to sell the 50-135 and get the 60-250. It is a larger lens but IQ is on par with the 50-135. If you can swing the extra expense, the 60-250 is well worth considering.
04-04-2011, 05:21 PM   #14
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I shoot with 16-50 and 60-250, they make a great kit for covering that range.
The 60-250 tends to get heavy after a while, mono pod could help I guess.
04-04-2011, 05:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
Sorry, but the 18-135 is not quite in the same league as the DA*'s. It's a good lens for what it is, but I don't think many would describe it as "superb."
I've either owned or own all the lenses in question; the DA*16-50, 50-135, 60-250 and DA 18-135. All great lenses, but DogLover is right that the 18-135 isn't up to the DA* level in terms of IQ. That said, I did replace my DA*16-50 with the 18-135, but that was a personal preference and I realize I am giving up some IQ and speed in exchange for a smaller lens with quicker AF and better reach.
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