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09-22-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Is the DA 16-45mm a worthwhile upgrade (landscapes)

I came across a used 16-45mm and I'm interested in your opinions. I shoot mostly landscapes/nature, my kit currently consists of:
  • DA 18-55mm
  • DA 55-300mm
  • M 50 F2
  • Lensbaby composer

I use the wide angle a lot, and have been fairly impressed by the quality of my kit lens so far. I've been saving for an upgrade to the K5, 12-24mm and/or the 16-50mm. (Not sure which will come first)...

Anyway, I have the opportunity to buy a barely used 16-45mm that still has over 1.5 years left on the Pentax warranty for $275. I've read the reviews and done my research but am still questioning whether or not this is a worth upgrade from the 18-55 or if I should keep saving my pennies.

I have an upcoming trip across from Toronto to Calgary, and while it would be nice to have the extra reach - if there isn't a huge improvement over image quality... I'll probably hold off.

Thank you for your thoughts...

Taken with my 18-55mm...


09-22-2011, 10:47 AM   #2
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My piece of advice: buy DxO Pro. It will make you kit lens pics better than anything you can get with the DA 16-45mm and it's cheaper than the DA 16-45mm. (The 16mm end is a plus, but the DA 16-45mm is significantly heavier than the kit lens.) Plus, you can use it with tha DA 55-300 (provided it's not the DA L version) and a future 12-24mm or 16-50mm.
I had a 16-45mm, and I sold it because with the DxO there was no reason to keep it.
Talking of the 16-45mm IQ now, I'd say the improvement over the 18-55 is visible, although not huge. A Tamron 17-50mm is better, IMO.
09-22-2011, 11:09 AM   #3
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Interesting. I've never heard of DxO before. I took a look at the software and it looks promising. I already use lightroom but I'll download the trial for a test run tonight.
09-22-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Here are three PF threads for your consideration (you can find more by googling "DxO forum"):
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/8831...available.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/8831...available.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/5676...ive-tried.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/3232...mparisons.html
(Unfortunately, falconeye's comparison pics aren't available any more, but you can read his verdict.)


Last edited by causey; 09-22-2011 at 11:48 AM.
09-22-2011, 11:51 AM   #5
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I was browsing the forum when this topic caught my eye and lo and behold I think I'm the seller! So my totally completely unbiased opinion:

The 16-45 is, simply put, the greatest lens ever crafted by the hands of man. It has to power to cure diseases, grant all your wishes and bring everlasting peace on earth.

In all seriousness, If you want to borrow the lens for a week to test it out before you decide, I'd be more than happy to lend it out to you. It's not getting much use right now.

Last edited by Sol Invictus; 09-22-2011 at 05:23 PM.
09-22-2011, 12:08 PM   #6
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Since I got my first DSLR six years ago, I was always seeing great shots from the DA 16-45 and wondering exactly the same thing: is it worth it? At the time, they were $400 new and I'm too cheap for that. A couple of years ago, I saw one for $220 and couldn't resist any more. That makes it my second most expensive lens purchase ever. I think it's definitely worth the cost for the gain in image quality and extra wide-angle range over the DA 18-55. The range works out very well for me. I would hesitate to call the increase in image quality "huge". It is a very inexpensive way to get better quality and wider than the kit lens.

In your case, I would worry that the lenses you want in the future would make the DA 16-45/4 redundant. So it's a timing question too - when will you be in a position to buy the other lenses, is it long enough for the warranty to be relevant, etc. The 16-45 might be good enough to fill in at wide angle for you to put the new camera first.
09-22-2011, 12:18 PM   #7
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While I don't have an 18-55 to compare with, I can give you my thoughts on my DA 16-45.

I bought the 16-45 as one of my first lenses to use with a K20D when I purchased it. I was quite happy with the results from the lens especially for the price.

Then I learned about DxO - after trying it out for a couple weeks I bought it without question. DxO has taken my DA 16-45 and DA 55-300 to the next level in my opinion. In fact, as we all usually have that urge to upgrade our gear (LBA), running all my images through DxO now makes me really like these 2 lenses.

It looks like you have an offer to try the 16-45 before you buy it - how lucky is that?

DxO also works with your DA 18-55. Borrow that 16-45 and try DxO out with both lenses.

For me, for now, I am very happy with my 16-45.
09-22-2011, 12:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
I had a 16-45mm, and I sold it because with the DxO there was no reason to keep it.
Buying/using DxO, Lightroom, or Photoshop for post processing is one thing but to say you've sold a lens specifically because of DxO, I find such reasoning hard to believe. This is like the crap that was floating around here in PF about how the advances in the sensor technology of the K-5 made many of the legacy lenses obsolete - an absolute nonsense - even a pinhole lens shot will benefit from advances in sensor technology. Plus the extra 2mm at the wide end of 16-45 gives the shooter a fresh perspective, at least I found it so going from 28mm to 24mm with the Canon T90.

Thanks,

09-22-2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
This is like the crap that was floating around here in PF...
I understand you disagree--obviously, without having ever used DxO, and likely without having an idea of what DxO actually does--with my personal decision, but could you please use softer words? You know, for a plus of civility?

On the other hand, I fail to get the logic of your statement: how is what I said like the claims that "advances in the sensor technology of the K-5 made many of the legacy lenses obsolete"? I've used and still use many old lenses... I think the 50mm old lenses and many Taks are optically better than most modern zooms. Also, lots of old zooms (especially tele-) are in many ways superior to their modern counterparts. (BTW, I use an uncoated Takumar-F 70-200mm). I keep my old lenses, although DxO doesn't have modules for them.

My statement concerns strictly the possibility of factoring the advantages of the DxO in the specific comparison between the kit lens and the 16-45mm. I actually said the 16-45mm was the superior lens of the two.

Last edited by causey; 09-22-2011 at 01:04 PM.
09-22-2011, 12:51 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies, I've been going back and forth on this lens all day. Sol Invictus, thanks for your offer to test drive this lens. I sent you an email.
09-22-2011, 05:21 PM   #11
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I have the original 18-55mm and the 16-45mm. I don't have the new/improved 18-55mm.

The difference in my lenses isn't in quality, it's in the 2mm and the 10mm. On the wide side the 16mm is much less restrictive than the 18mm. And I do like the f4 fixed aperture, although it's not a huge deal, and is balanced by the heftier size. I also have a 50-200mm and I occasionally miss that 5mm in the middle, but more often find the 45mm just a little short and am irritated by having to change lenses when I wouldn't have had to if I'd been using the 18-55.

I don't have DxO software and have only read about it. But in general I think software will improve with time and can only make photographs that you create today (particularly with raw) better in the future.

But the bottom line is that if you envision getting a wider zoom some day (12-24, 10-20, 10-24, etc.), stay with the 18-55. If this lens will be as wide as you go, get the 16-45.

Remember also that if you will be taking landscape type images you'll be working a lot of f8-11 and any difference between lenses is going to be minimized at modest apertures. So if that's the intent then that's more reason not to focus on the image quality aspect of the decision. And in any case, it might be that sample variation might account for more performance difference than is represented by the theoretical design of the different lenses.


Incidentally that's a nice picture in your post.

Paul

Last edited by tibbitts; 09-22-2011 at 05:31 PM.
09-22-2011, 05:56 PM   #12
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This is where becoming friends and meeting up with other Pentax shooters in your area comes in - the ability to test lenses without having to buy them. It sounds like you might have the start of a Calgary area meet up...
09-22-2011, 05:57 PM   #13
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The 2mm difference between the DA 16-45mm and DA 18-55mm at the wide end is a lot in terms of angle of view. It makes a big difference when shooting landscapes or indoors. At the long end, the differences aren't that much. While the now discontinued DA 16-45mm is a sharp lens, it isn't perfect. The lens barrel extends at 16mm interfering the use of on board flash, the zoom and focus rings can become very loose over time, on some copies there can be a tendency towards underexposing. Most will find the zoom range limiting at the long end.
09-22-2011, 07:13 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
... Most will find the zoom range limiting at the long end.
If someone has gotten used to the DA 18-55 long end, 45mm does come up abruptly. It can be hard to match up with another zoom without some compromise or gap. I use that as an opportunity to fill in with prime lenses, like a 35, 40, 43, 50 or 55mm, then into another zoom.
09-22-2011, 07:28 PM   #15
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I used to have a 16-45 and it was optically a very good lens - no doubt better than the 18-55 (which I also owned - a WR version).

My only issue with it was that it extended when zoomed in to wide angle which made the built in flash ineffective and generally got 'in your face' with close ups.

I sold it in favour of a 12-24 and 28-105. Later I found I rarely needed to go wider than I did with the 16-45 (so I didn't keep the 12-24) but I did find the 28-105 more useful for photographing people even though its IQ was not as good as the 16-45.

Last edited by Spock; 09-22-2011 at 08:02 PM.
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