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08-28-2011, 08:09 AM   #1
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Wanting new zoom lens

I've had a Tokina 28-70 2.8 for a long time. I recently bought the K-5 moving from film. I've had a couple of issues with the lens, one being that the AF does not always lock. I tried the AF adjustment but I can't seem to get much better results with that. I've been looking at reviews and these are the lenses I'm looking at:
Pentax DA* 16-50 doesn't seem to get that good of reviews, just average. Image quality for that expensive of lens is mediocre. Internal focus, weather sealing, fast aperture are pluses.
Pentax DA 18-135 would be a nice range but gets fair to average image quality scores.
Pentax DA 18-55 also gets fair to average scores and doesn't have internal focus.
Pentax DA 16-45 gets the best optical quality scores of all the lenses I've listed. The negatives of this lens are that it's zoom range is the shortest, no internal focus, no weather sealing, and it only has 4.0 fstop.
If you have experience with any of these lenses please let me know what you think. I would also consider a Sigma lens in this zoom range. I had one Sigma that took really good photos but the build quality wasn't the greatest. It took a tumble onto the ground and worked for a while, but eventually died. Anyway, image quality is my biggest concern. I do not buy a billion lenses like some people so the few I do buy I want to be really good. Thanks

08-28-2011, 08:14 AM   #2
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DA*16-50 should be the best among the list
08-28-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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I'm a fan of the Sigma 24-60/2.8 & Tamron 28-75/2.8
08-28-2011, 09:13 AM   #4
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I can't recommend my 18~135mm highly enough. I bought as part of the kit with my K-5 and it has exceeded all my expectations, especially as a kit lens. I have no complaints as far as IQ is concerned. As mentioned, the range is great, and it is very reassuring to have the weather sealing - I used it extensively recently on beaches with blowing spray and sand.One thing not often mentioned, which was also a surprise for me, is the close focusing capabilities. It ain't no macro, but sure get's nice and close. It's my go to optic when I know I won't want to be changing lenses.

08-28-2011, 09:20 AM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
Pentax DA* 16-50 doesn't seem to get that good of reviews, just average. Image quality for that expensive of lens is mediocre. Internal focus, weather sealing, fast aperture are pluses.
Image quality for the DA*16-50 is FAR beyond 'mediocre'. If you're afraid to buy the lens because of SDM issues you've read about, fine but image quality shouldn't be one of your cons here.

08-28-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Have you looked into the sigma/tamron 17-50mm lenses? Soon, we'll be posting a review comparing these to the DA*.
08-28-2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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DA*16-50 is not mediocre. There is a significant and noticeable difference in image quality. It has its faults, the biggest being it is big and heavy. But if you want IQ in that range with "Pentax" on the side it is the one to get. The Sigma and Tamron equivalents are also reputed to be good but I do not have experience with them.
08-28-2011, 11:07 AM   #8
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Concerning the DA* 16-50, I drew the mediocre conclusion based on several review sites. They seem to rate the IQ of the 16-45 better than the 16-50. I don't write the reviews, I just read them. Going by the ratings and that the 16-45 is less than half the price of the 16-50, I have reservations about getting it. I would gladly pay the price if I was assured of the image quality, but from what I've read on other sites the ratings are not that outstanding. Maybe the reviews aren't acurate, I don't know, but the stores here do not carry many Pentax products so I have to depend on the internet to decide on a good lens.

08-28-2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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Buy what you want, it makes no difference to me but I can assure you that the assertion the 16-45 is 'better' for IQ than the 16-50, is false. Is it enough better for you that you're willing to pay the price? Your call but I really have to wonder how many of these 'reviewers' have actually USED both lenses. If you see someone posting reviews showing a Side by Side compare, and I'm not talking about brick walls and paper charts here, and they Still say that, then there may be a case for it. I won't say the 16-45 is a Bad lens, it isn't. It is really quite nice and a lot of bang for the buck. I would say the same thing for the 18-55 Kit lens as well.

08-28-2011, 11:26 AM   #10
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The IQ of 16-50 is very good..The center resoulution is just amazing..
A bit disppointment regard edge resolution at f2.8, and strong CA ..
people who give it very low score ususally due to the failure SDM....
The price is reasonable regard its performance...canon 17-55 f2.8 has obviously better optical but $200 more expensive (at B&H) besides no weather sealing and poorer build quality.

Last edited by liukaitc; 08-28-2011 at 11:33 AM.
08-28-2011, 08:31 PM   #11
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As far as the 16-50 goes I have bought it three times and sold it twice. Always because I gut turned off by the IQ and build quality. Vignetting at 2.8 is bad, CA's bad, sharpness is good but not great. But in my opinion it is really sub par build quality for a top of the line lens. Wobbly zoom, unsmooth zooming, low quality hood, etc. This is nothing like the top Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. When will Pentax bring out a wide to medium lens for digital which is worthy of the star designation? All I want is a high IQ high build quality weather sealed lens for landscape and travel photography, like the canon 24-105L but a 17-70 4.0 that is sealed with better materials of construction. Please please please, up the construction quality to Canon L level of both the 16-50 and 17-70 then seal the 17-70.

Last edited by atlnq9; 08-28-2011 at 11:04 PM.
08-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by atlnq9 Quote
As far as the 16-50 goes I have bought it three times and sold it twice. Always because I gut turned off by the IQ and build quality. Vignetting at 2.8 is bad, CA's bad, sharpness is good but not great. But in my opinion it is really sub par build quality for a top of the line lens. Wobbly zoom, unsmooth zooming, low quality hood, etc. This is nothing like the top Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc. When will Pentax bring out a wide to medium lens for digital which is worthy of the star designation? All I want is a high IQ high build quality weather sealed lens for landscape and travel photography, like the canon 24-105L but a 16-70 4.0.
I guess that has not been my experience. I've owned and used one as my walking around lens since not long after they came out.
I've seen no 'build issues' or wobble or other issues ...... The vignetting that is well documented is associated with the built in flash at some
focal lengths and some cameras.----The built in flash simply can't see over the top of it. This seems to be less of an issue with the K5 than it was with the K10D as theK5 seems to have a slightly taller flash.
08-28-2011, 10:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
I've seen no 'build issues' or wobble or other issues
And you have used a Canon 24-70 f2.8 or 24-105 f4.0 to know what a top of the line lens is suppose to feel like? Very sub-par. It is not a "issue" it is just how they are designed...

QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
The vignetting that is well documented is associated with the built in flash
I would call what you are describing as a shadow caused by the lens not vignetting. This is the vignetting I speak of (a -1 stop exposure drop in all four corners when used at 16-20mm and 2.8). Correctable in PP but takes the effort. Vignetting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Granted the Canons have the same problem, are only a little sharper. But what they have is a higher quality construction. If you need sealing for dust or water the Pentax 16-50 is your only logical choice. IQ problems can be solved in PP, you are stuck with the just good sharpness so if you need sharpness stop down to 5.6. I would be curious if the Sigma 17-50 2.8 EX is of similar or better build quality minus the sealing, I doubt it but can be hopeful? Anybody compared the two side by side?
08-29-2011, 11:14 AM   #14
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I find the 16-45 very useful. Keep your ISO high enough and you won't have any problems indoors or out. It's lightweight which helps if you're out all day.
08-30-2011, 05:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jool Quote
Pentax DA* 16-50 doesn't seem to get that good of reviews, just average. Image quality for that expensive of lens is mediocre. Internal focus, weather sealing, fast aperture are pluses.
While I don't share the DA*16-50mm unloving fest, it seems to me that a version II is urgently needed. Maybe a 15-50mm or 16-55mm would be great. The new Sony 16-50mm as tested by Slrgear just seems much better optically and is WR and SDM. Although that lock on the lens means it's probably prone to zoom creeping. Something the DA* is immune to (as most Pentax zooms).

What I'd like to see for version II:
- maybe slightly better range (without optical compromise): 15-50 or 16-55 (15-50 preferred!).
- CA is OK right now, easily correctable
- Same for distortion, this is something unavoidable for a zoom it seems. Only the 16-45mm seem to control this better than others.
- flare resistance is also good, but the latest coatings could be applied for even better performance.
- more compact if possible, it doesn't balance that well on K-5, the Tamron 17-50 is much lighter and smaller.
- smoother zoom action, my copy is quite stiff and especially around 28-35mm (seems to be common to all copies actually)
- SDM is already quite fast but I wouldn't object if faster. And of course more reliable.
- Much better performance at f/2.8-f/4 in the borders, at least on par with the competition.
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