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11-24-2007, 02:34 PM   #1
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DA* 16-50 vs. DA LTD primes

Hi,
I have been using a sigma 17-70 for a year or so and I decided to upgrade it.
My initial decision was to make a set of primes:

zenitar 16 (not a fan of ulta wide but nice to have)
DA21
FA35 (I may replace with a DA40)
DA70

Now, in the prime setup, I have only DA21 missing.

However,while I was discussing with one of my friends, he said that I should have bought a DA* 16-50 instead of these primes. The reason is:
Flexibility of a zoom,
overall price,
comparable image quality to the primes.
SDM and weather seal.

My point in choosing the prime set was that:
Better IQ
More compact body
Faster focus

What are your comments about choosing the above prime setup vs. DA* 16-50?

Thanks.

By the way, I have been following the forum passively for a long time and I decided to be active and this is my first post.

11-24-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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My opinion is that unless you need the flexibility of the zoom, the primes will be smaller and lighter. Not sure if the image quality will be that much better, but I do remember that either on this forum or on dpreview someone posted comparisons of the 16-50 and the 14 prime and I thought the prime showed a slight edge. In casual shooting and use I doubt you will notice the difference though.

So, I'd base my decision simply on the flexibility, as you will only be replacing the 21 and 40 with the 16-50. The 70 could still compliment it.
11-25-2007, 12:22 AM   #3
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I have already shot 60 gig of Raw with DA 16-50 f2.8; I think this zoom rocks!

The colour and contrast are just amazing. In some of limestone caves, I shot images with the lens wide open, not as soft and quite usable in fact.

Sure I miss all my primes but I think I would miss plenty of shots if I was spending time changing lenses in my current trip.

Will post the shots after 1 week.
11-25-2007, 12:45 AM   #4
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And remember...more compact only applies if you only take one prime with you when you go out shooting. Most prime shooters will agree that a zoom, although a bigger lens, ends up being much smaller than a bag full of primes.

And for the record, I've never used the 16-50 and do shoot with primes exclusively (for now).

11-25-2007, 03:22 AM   #5
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Thank you for all the replies.
So far zoom: 3, primes: 0
11-25-2007, 03:39 AM   #6
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Received my DA* 16-50 early October. My quick verdict so far:
-mechanically a very solid construction, operates smoothly
-bigger and heavier than standard kit zooms, being a stop or two faster . But definitely a lot smaller and lighter than having to carry three or four prime lenses!
-optically pretty good already at f 2,8. Stopped down - even a little - excellent!
-slight barrel distortion at 16 mm, as usual with nearly all wide angle zooms. In most cases this is unnoticeable, and disappears completely at longer focal lengths
- flare and reflections are kept at bay, especially with the lens hood provided.
- no sign of vignetting so far. And I sure have tried!
- the SDM AF may (or may not) be somewhat faster than the earlier ones. However,the special feature about this is the complete absence of the usual squeaks. This silence is almost spooky, and makes you wonder whether the lens is focussing at all! It takes a while to built the confidence!
-weather sealing is an additional bonus,and may come in handy depending on where you shoot

I am quite pleased with the lens. I also have some primes within the focal range of the DA*- lens for my 35mm film frames. In practice I have never bothered using them on my DSRL since buying this lens. I quess it is only serious architectural work where I might be tempted to stick to the primes.
Considering your options, I think in terms of flexibility, size and weight, the zoom option has the advantage. In terms of optical performance, the primes are marginally better at full aperture and maybe the extreme wide end. Elsewhere the differences are simply unnoticeable. In terms of lens speed the differences are insignificant.
Despite the DA* being priced above most other Pentax lenses, it is less expensive than the set of primes.
To give you some rought indication, enclosed one of the very first shots I took with the zoom early October. This is at 16mm focal length.

As usual, it is a bit of a tradeoff. Either way you can shoot stunning pictures!

Last edited by PePe; 08-06-2008 at 11:59 AM.
11-25-2007, 04:45 AM   #7
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Thank you for the comments PePe.
11-25-2007, 04:47 AM   #8
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Actually, I have a third option:
Keep the DA70 for portrait work, FA35 for indoor lowlight and get the DA16-45.
The total cost of these three is equal to 16-50 and it will be a compromise between the flexibility of a zoom and advantages of the primes.

This seems reasonable as well. What do you think?
With 16-45, will I gain much compared to 17-70 and will I loose much compared to 16-50

Thanks.

11-25-2007, 11:30 AM   #9
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Be aware...

this model lens has quality control problems unlike anything Pentax has ever produced. Some long time Pentax users have gone through as many as 3 samples before giving up on the 16-50.

BUT - if you get a good copy, it appears to be one of the best zooms ever produced- by any manufacturer.

This is one of the new lenses I am seriously interested in, but will wait until things in Viet Nam get straightened out before risking my $$$.

Just make sure you deal with a vendor that accepts returns with no hassles.
11-25-2007, 02:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by alib99 Quote
What are your comments about choosing the above prime setup vs. DA* 16-50?

Thanks.
Sorry to say this so directly:

Whats the difference between a Pentax Camera with a big DA 16-50 Zoom and a Canon Camera with a 17-55 Zoom (or so)??

Nothing to talk about!

Whats the difference between a Pentax Camera with a Da 21 or a Fa 31 or FA 43 and a Leica M8 with an Elmarit M21 or M35 or M50??

Nothing to talk about!

Thats all about. Pentax Limited is the difference! Lets be proud of it and show the world who rules!!

Rainer
11-25-2007, 02:45 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=PePe;123883]Received my DA* 16-50 early October. My quick verdict so far:
-mechanically a very solid construction, operates smoothly
-bigger and heavier than standard kit zooms, being a stop or two faster . But definitely a lot smaller and lighter than having to carry three or four prime lenses!

I'm sure the DA* 16-50 is a fine lens . . . . but small it ain't. The combined weight of a DA 21, 40 and 70 is 375 g (with hoods), compared with 600g for a DA* 16-50 alone (with hood).

Jer
11-26-2007, 12:52 AM   #12
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Plus the fact that you point on your "portrait-victim" with a gun thats more than a foot long!

Rainer
11-26-2007, 01:52 AM   #13
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for the record, my vote is for primes all the way...but given your specific list of requirements, you're justified in considering the zoom...
11-26-2007, 07:33 AM   #14
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Thank you for all the responses. The latest ones are mostly in favor of limited set
But nobody commented on my third option I guess it is not favored by anyone.

Thanks.
11-26-2007, 08:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by alib99 Quote
Actually, I have a third option:
Keep the DA70 for portrait work, FA35 for indoor lowlight and get the DA16-45.
Thanks.

Thats a nice choice.
But.
My choice in your shoes would be:

Sigma 17-70 as the fun-zoom.

Da21, FA35 and DA70 for the best pics.

Best,
Rainer
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